Gene Autry was the singing cowboy superstar of the silver screen, as well as a media entrepreneur and original owner of the Anaheim Angels.
Viewed as the kindly gentleman in the white hat, Autry was the only entertainer to have five stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame — one each for films (more than 90 of them), recordings (635), television (91 episodes of "The Gene Autry Show") and radio (16 seasons of "Melody Ranch"), and one for live performance.
He was enormously successful at almost anything he tried — radio, records, songwriting, television, real estate and business, as well as movies and museums. He ranked on Forbes' list of the 400 richest Americans for several years and in 1990 was the elite group's only entertainer. By 1995 he had slipped into the "near miss" category with an estimated net worth of $320 million.
To moviegoers in the 1930s and '40s, Autry was a red-blooded American hero whose films featured a dashing horse, Champion, a flood of happy endings and simple Western songs.
In the world of baseball, he was "the Cowboy," one of the most popular owners in sports, who purchased the rights to the expansion Angels, spending his vast millions on players who made the club a winner if not a world champion. He attended his final Angels game only 10 days before he died.
To historians, preservationists, artists and lovers of Western lore, Autry was the man who could package the Old West for future generations. Always a collector, he contributed his own memorabilia and art as well as the money and vision for his Griffith Park museum. Along with the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, where he was formerly chairman of the board, the Autry National Center of the American West has become a classic Western showcase.
|1941||Best Song||"Be Honest With Me" from Ridin' on a Rainbow||Nomination*|