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Gene Autry

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Tioga TX, United States (1907 – 1998)

Orvon Gene Autry (September 29, 1907 – October 2, 1998) was an American performer who gained fame as The Singing Cowboy. Autry is the only entertainer to have been honored in all five categories by the Hollywood Walk of Fame, having been awarded stars for his performances in Radio, Recording, Motion Pictures, Television, and Live Theatre/performance.

Born in Tioga, Texas, Autry was raised in Texas and Oklahoma. Discovered by humorist Will Rogers, in 1929 Autry was billed as “Oklahoma’s Yodeling Cowboy” at KVOO in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He gained a popular following, a recording contract with Columbia Records in 1929, and soon after, performed on the “National Barn Dance” for radio station WLS in Chicago. Autry first appeared on screen in 1934 and up to 1953 popularized the musical Western and starred in 93 feature films. In 1940 theater exhibitors of America voted Autry the fourth biggest box office attraction, behind Mickey Rooney, Clark Gable, and Spencer Tracy.

While best known today as the singer of such holiday fare as Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane), Frosty The Snowman, Peter Cottontail, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the second all-time best selling Christmas single of all time, Autry made 640 recordings, including more than 300 songs written or co-written by him.

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