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Tex Ritter

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Biography

Tex Ritter (Woodward Maurice Ritter, January 12, 1905 – January 2, 1974) was an American country music singer and movie actor popular from the mid-1930s into the 1960s, and the patriarch of the Ritter family in acting (son John and grandson Jason). He is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Tex Ritter, the son of James Everett Ritter and Martha Elizabeth Matthews grew up on his family’s farm in Panola County and attended grade school in Carthage. He then attended South Park High School in Beaumont. After graduating with honors, he entered the University of Texas at Austin; he studied pre-law, majoring in government, political science and economics.

One of the early pioneers of country music, Ritter soon became interested in show business. In 1928, he sang on KPRC Radio in Houston, a thirty-minute show featuring cowboy songs. In that same year, he moved to New York City and quickly landed a job in the men’s chorus of the Broadway show The New Moon (1928).

He appeared as “The Cowboy” in the Broadway production Green Grow the Lilacs (1930), which was the basis for the later musical Oklahoma!. He also played the part of Sagebrush Charlie in The Round Up (1932) and Mother Lode (1934).

Ritter also worked on various radio programs. In 1932, he starred on the WOR Radio show The Lone Star Rangers, which was New York’s first broadcast western. He sang songs and told tales of the Old West.

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