Jimmy Wakely

Jimmy Wakely

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Jimmy Wakely
Music: East side of the 1600 block of Vine Street
Actor | Country Musician | Singer | Songwriter
Born Jimmy Clarence Wakely on Feb. 16, 1914 in Mineola, AR
Died Sept. 23, 1982 of heart failure in Mission Hills, CA

Jimmy Wakely was a country and western singer and actor who turned out hit records and starred in nearly 30 films.

Born in a log cabin in Mineola, Ark., Wakely went on to become one of the nation's most popular western singers in the late 1940s. He wrote songs and performed on television, stage and radio.

His family moved to Oklahoma when he was 4. When he was 7, he took his first music lessons on a borrowed guitar.

In his early 20s, he was heard over an Oklahoma City radio station as part of the Wakely Trio. Gene Autry signed the group to come to Hollywood to be on Autry's "Melody Ranch Show." The group was with Autry for two years.

He starred in a series of western movies for Monogram. His films included "The Tulsa Kid," "Deep in the Heart of Texas," "Moon Over Montana," "Cowboy Cavalier" and "Across the Rio Grande."

By 1962, he had sold more than 15 million records.

His big records included "One Has My Name," "I Love You So Much It Hurts" and "Slipping Around."

Trade publication Cashbox found him to be the top cowboy recording singer of 1949. That same year, Billboard named him the third-ranked pop male vocalist — behind Perry Como and Frankie Laine, but ahead of Bing Crosby.

At one point, however, his career ebbed and he spent most of his time appearing in Nevada casinos — until he was signed in the 1960s by Los Angeles television station KTTV Channel 11 to star in a weekly musical show.

Wakely died of heart failure at age 68 in a Mission Hills hospital on Sept. 23, 1982.

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