Gene Autry, America's Favorite Singing Cowboy, was born in Tioga, Texas in 1907, but he grew up and got his start in music in Oklahoma. By the late 1920s, Autry was singing on Tulsa station KVOO and was known as Oklahoma’s Yodeling Cowboy. Humorist Will Rogers, a fellow Oklahoman, discovered Autry, and his career soon exploded. He took over radios across the country, gaining a large following. In 1929, he signed a recording contract with Columbia Records, and soon after, performed on the "National Barn Dance" for radio station WLS in Chicago.
He joined the Army Air Corps in 1942 and became Sgt. Gene Autry. During the war, he ferried fuel, ammunition, and arms in the China-India-Burma areas and flew over the Himalayas, the hazardous air route known as "The Hump." When the war ended Autry was reassigned to Special Services, where he toured with a USO troupe in the South Pacific before resuming his movie career in 1946.
| Gene Autry riding Champion as he becomes an honorary member|
of the Miami Mounted Police
Although Autry was the first performer to sell out Madison Square Garden, in his heart, he was always a cowboy. As early as August 1947, Gene promoted cowboy-code mandates during his Melody Ranch radio show dramas. Life Magazine began publishing the rules as they evolved.
Gene Autry achieved much during his lifetime. He is the only entertainer to have all five stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for Radio, Recording, Motion Pictures, Television, and Live Theatre/performance. He received hundreds of honors and awards. Autry was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame; received the American Academy of Achievement Award, the Los Angeles Area Governor's Emmy from The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences; and the Board of Directors Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Achievement in Arts Foundation. Autry was also inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, The National Cowboy Hall of Fame, the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, and he received The Songwriters Guild Life Achievement Award.
If you'd like to hear a snippet of Gene Autry's music, click here. There are several different recordings on this page.
Meet the seven Hart brothers of the 7-Heart ranch in central Texas. Each man is content in his independent life, without the responsibilities of a wife and children—until their father decides 1874 will be the year his grown sons finally marry, or they will be cut from his will. How will each man who values his freedom respond to the ultimatum? Can love develop on a timeline, or will it be sacrificed for the sake of an inheritance?