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Gene Autry Biography

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Orvon Gene Autry (September 29, 1907 – October 2, 1998) was an American performer who gained fame as The Singing Cowboy on the radio, in movies and on television.

Autry, the grandson of a Methodist preacher, was born near Tioga, Texas. His parents, Delbert Autry and Elnora Ozmont, moved to Ravia, Oklahoma in the 1920s. After leaving high school in 1925, Autry worked as a telegrapher for the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway.

In 1932 he married Ina May Spivey (who died in 1980), who was the niece of Jimmy Long. He married his second wife, Jackie Autry, in 1981.

He had no children by either marriage.

In 1972, he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

His autobiography was published in 1976, co-written by Mickey Herskowitz; it was titled Back in the Saddle Again after his 1939 hit and signature tune. He is also featured year after year, on radio and "shopping mall theme music" at the holiday season, by his famous recording of "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer". "Rudolph" became the first #1 hit of the 1950's.

CMT in 2003 ranked him #38 in CMT's 40 Greatest Men of Country.

When the Anaheim Angels won their first World Series in 2002, much of the championship was dedicated to him.

The interchange of Interstate 5 and California State Route 134, located near the Gene Autry Museum of Western Heritage, is signed as the "Gene Autry Memorial Interchange."

The Museum of the American West, in Los Angeles' Griffith Park, was founded in 1988 as the "Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum", featuring much of his collection of Western art and memorabilia. It has become a very respected institution, preserving the essence of everything related to the "mythic appects" of the American "old west". Everything from true historical lifestyles, to the 70-year sage of the Hollywood "western movie" genre.
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