Tex Ritter

Tex Ritter
Associated Press


Tex Ritter
Music: North side of the 6600 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Actor | Country Musician
Born Maurice Woodward Ritter on Jan. 12, 1905 in Panola County, TX
Died Jan. 2, 1974 of massive coronary in Nashville, TN

Tex Ritter was a cowboy actor and country music star.

Ritter was one of Hollywood's singing cowboys who followed in the wake of Gene Autry's success. He was a Texan and sang traditional songs rather than the manufactured tunes of other Hollywood cowboys.

One of the highlights of Ritter's screen career was the 1952 Academy Award winning film "High Noon." He did not appear in the film but sang the ballad that continued throughout the production.

He was one of the six original members of the Country Music Hall of Fame, the highest honor in the industry, and was a past president of the Country Music Assn.

Ritter enrolled in the University of Texas as a law major in the early 1920s and made use of his knowledge of Texas folklore by staging a show called "The Texas Cowboy and His Songs." His touring eventually took him to Chicago, where he enrolled for a while in Northwestern University.

He then moved on to New York for a crack at radio. As a writer and performer he had a part in the original Lone Ranger series. He performed on such radio shows in the 1930s as Death Valley Days, Tex Ritter's Campfire and Cowboy Tom's Roundup.

He also developed as an actor and landed a major role in a played called "Green Grow the Lilacs."

Ritter moved west to Hollywood in the late 1930s to become one of the most active performers in movie westerns of the 1940s and 1950s.

He also began recording with Capitol Records in the mid-'40s and by 1948 he had a hit with "Rock and Rye Rag." His "Daddy's Last Letter" was a hit in 1950.

Ritter made a screen debut in 1936 in "Song of the Gringo" and followed with a string of mostly small-budget Westerns that earned him in 1944 and 1945 recognition as one of the top 10 Western stars at the box office.

He starred in 78 movies in his 12-year Hollywood career and appeared in television Westerns such as "The Rebel" and Zane Grey Theater."

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