Happy Birthday Gene Autry: Celebrating the Singing Cowboy Legend

by Keeli Parkey

Gene Autry has been dead for more than 20 years. But, his legacy as the famous “Singing Cowboy” continues to live on with his fans.

It was on this day – Sept. 29 – that Autry was born in 1907, according to Cowboys & Indians. During his successful career, he gave us many beloved songs. A few of those hits had a Christmas theme and are still enjoyed by people of all ages to this day. These tracks included “Here Comes Santa Claus,” “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and “Frosty the Snowman.”

It’s a bit early to listen to Christmas music. However, listening to the “Singing Cowboy” is always entertaining, regardless of the season. So, check out his version of “Frosty the Snowman” below. It will help you get in the mood for the upcoming holiday season, for sure!

The “Singing Cowboy” Gene Autry Was Born in Texas in 1907

Like many other cowboys before him – both the signing and the most silent types – Gene Autry was born in Texas. According to IMDb, his birthplace was near Tioga, Texas, on Sept. 29, 1907. His given name at birth was Orvon Grover Autry.

After he completed high school, Autry didn’t immediately pursue a singing career. He actually went to work in Oklahoma as a laborer for the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad. He didn’t stay with the railroad career, but the singing career didn’t come just yet. He then worked as a telegrapher, then moved on to a local radio station in 1928. Three years after joining the station, he was given his own show and was also able to create his own recordings.

It was during the 1930s that Gene Autry signed a movie deal and started his career in Western films. Thanks to Autry, the “singing cowboy” rose to popularity. With World War II, however, his career was put on hold for his military service. After enlisting in the U.S. Army, he was a flight officer and served from 1942 until 1946 as part of the Air Transport Command.

Luckily for his fans, Gene Autry decided that making movies was the career for him after his military service came to an end. Following the war, he joined Columbia Pictures. After that, he had his own film company, Flying A Productions. It was with this company that he created “The Gene Autry Show,” “The Adventures of Champion,” as well as “Annie Oakley.”

In addition to singing, Gene Autry was also a songwriter. During his career he peened more than 200 songs. He decided in the 1960s that his entertainment career was pretty much at an end. He then turned his attention to business ventures. One of the most famous of these was the professional baseball team the California Angels. He also focused his attentions on radio stations, real estate, and hotels.

Gene Autry passed away at the age of 91 on Oct. 2, 1998. His cause of death was lymphoma. In his memory, check out this video of him singing “Back in the Saddle Again.”