Rex Allen

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Rex Allen
Rex Allen and Koko 1952.jpg
Allen and Koko, 1952
Born
Rex Elvie Allen

(1920-12-31)December 31, 1920
DiedDecember 17, 1999(1999-12-17) (aged 78)
Cause of deathInjuries suffered in an accident in his driveway.
Other namesRex E. Allen
Rex Allen, Sr.
"Cactus Rex"
"The Arizona Cowboy"
"The Voice of the West"
OccupationActor, singer, songwriter
Years active1948–1986
Spouse(s)Doris Winsor (m. 19??; div. 19??)
Bonnie Linder
(m. 1946;div. 1973)

Virginia Hudson
(m. 1992;div. 1999)
Children5, including Rex Allen, Jr.
Parent(s)Horace E. Allen
Luella Faye Clark

Rex Elvie Allen (December 31, 1920 December 17, 1999) was an American film and television actor, singer and songwriter, known as "the Arizona Cowboy" and as the narrator of many Disney nature and Western productions. For his contributions to the film industry, Allen received a motion pictures star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1975, located at 6821 Hollywood Boulevard. [1] [2]

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The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Actor person who acts in a dramatic or comic production and works in film, television, theatre, or radio

An actor is a person who portrays a character in a performance. The actor performs "in the flesh" in the traditional medium of the theatre or in modern media such as film, radio, and television. The analogous Greek term is ὑποκριτής (hupokritḗs), literally "one who answers". The actor's interpretation of their role—the art of acting—pertains to the role played, whether based on a real person or fictional character. Interpretation occurs even when the actor is "playing themselves", as in some forms of experimental performance art.

A songwriter is a professional that writes lyrics or composes musical compositions for songs. A songwriter can also be called a composer, although the latter term tends to be used mainly for individuals from the classical music genre and film scoring, but is also associated with writing and composing the original musical composition or musical bed. A songwriter that writes the lyrics/words are referred to as lyricist. The pressure from the music industry to produce popular hits means that songwriting is often an activity for which the tasks are distributed between a number of people. For example, a songwriter who excels at writing lyrics might be paired with a songwriter with the task of creating original melodies. Pop songs may be written by group members from the band or by staff writers – songwriters directly employed by music publishers. Some songwriters serve as their own music publishers, while others have outside publishers.

Contents

Family and early life

Allen was born to Horace E. Allen and Luella Faye Clark on a ranch in Mud Springs Canyon, forty miles from Willcox in Cochise County in southeastern Arizona. As a boy he played guitar and sang at local functions with his fiddle-playing father until high-school graduation when he toured the Southwest as a rodeo rider. He got his start in show business on the East Coast as a vaudeville singer, then found work in Chicago as a performer on the WLS-AM program, National Barn Dance. He left the show in 1949 and moved to Hollywood. In 1948 he signed with Mercury Records where he recorded a number of successful country music singles until 1952, when he switched to the Decca label where he continued to make records into the 1970s. He also recorded one album for Buena Vista (Disney, pictured) in the 1960s, although sources vary on the date of issue.

Willcox, Arizona City in Arizona, United States

Willcox is a city in Cochise County, Arizona, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 3,757.

Cochise County, Arizona County in the Arizona, United States

Cochise County is located in the southeastern corner of the U.S. state of Arizona. The population was 131,346 at the 2010 census. The county seat is Bisbee.

East Coast of the United States Coastline in the United States

The East Coast of the United States, also known as the Eastern Seaboard, the Atlantic Coast, and the Atlantic Seaboard, is the coastline along which the Eastern United States meets the North Atlantic Ocean. The coastal states that have shoreline on the Atlantic Ocean are, from north to south, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

Poster for Shadows of Tombstone, 1953 Shadows of Tombstone movie poster 1953.JPG
Poster for Shadows of Tombstone, 1953

When singing cowboys such as Roy Rogers and Gene Autry were very much in vogue in American film, in 1949 Republic Pictures in Hollywood gave him a screen test and put him under contract. Beginning in 1950, Allen starred as himself in 19 of Hollywood's Western movies. One of the top-ten box office draws of the day, whose character was soon depicted in comic books, on screen Allen personified the clean cut, God-fearing American hero of the wild West who wore a white Stetson hat, loved his faithful horse Koko, and had a loyal buddy who shared his adventures. Allen's comic-relief sidekick in his first few pictures was Buddy Ebsen and then character actor Slim Pickens.

A singing cowboy was a subtype of the archetypal cowboy hero of early Western films, popularized by many of the B-movies of the 1930s and 1940s. The typical singing cowboys were white-hat-wearing, clean-shaven heroes with the habit of showing their emotions in song.

Roy Rogers American singer and actor

Roy Rogers was an American singer and actor. He was one of the most popular Western stars of his era. Known as the "King of the Cowboys", he appeared in over 100 films and numerous radio and television episodes of The Roy Rogers Show. In many of his films and television episodes, he appeared with his wife, Dale Evans; his golden palomino, Trigger; and his German shepherd dog, Bullet. His show was broadcast on radio for nine years and then on television from 1951 through 1957. His productions usually featured a sidekick, often Pat Brady, Andy Devine, George "Gabby" Hayes, or Smiley Burnette. In his later years, Rogers lent his name to the franchise chain of Roy Rogers Restaurants.

Gene Autry American actor and singer

Orvon Grover "Gene" Autry was an American singer, songwriter, actor, musician and rodeo performer who gained fame as a singing cowboy in a crooning style on radio, in films, and on television for more than three decades beginning in the early 1930s. Autry was the owner of a television station, several radio stations in Southern California, and the Los Angeles/California/Anaheim Angels Major League Baseball team from 1961 to 1997.

"Don't Go Near The Indians"

One of Allen's most successful singles was "Don't Go Near The Indians", which reached the Top 5 of Billboard magazine's Hot Country Singles chart in November 1962.[ citation needed ] It features The Merry Melody Singers. The producer was Jerry Kennedy. The song is a tale of a young man who disobeys his father's advice stated in the title. When the father finds out that he had developed a relationship with a beautiful Indian maiden (named Nova Lee), he decides to reveal to his son what he had kept secret for so long: The man's biological son was killed by an Indian (as stated in the lyrics) during a clash between the white man and a tribe, and in retaliation, he kidnapped the boy as a young baby and raised him as his son. The other secret: His son cannot marry Nova Lee because she's the boy's biological sister.[ citation needed ]

<i>Billboard</i> (magazine) American music magazine

Billboard is an American entertainment media brand owned by the Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group, a division of Eldridge Industries. It publishes pieces involving news, video, opinion, reviews, events, and style, and is also known for its music charts, including the Hot 100 and Billboard 200, tracking the most popular songs and albums in different genres. It also hosts events, owns a publishing firm, and operates several TV shows.

Hot Country Songs Weekly chart published by Billboard

Hot Country Songs is a chart published weekly by Billboard magazine in the United States.

Personal life

Allen was married three times; all three marriages ended in divorce. First, on August 25, 1946, he married Bonnie Linder, with whom he had four children. His second marriage was to Doris Winsor, with whom he had one child (Rexine Allen). His third and final marriage was to Virginia Hudson, on November 25, 1992. The couple divorced in 1999.

His five children included Rex Allen Jr., who became a singer like his father.

Rex Allen Jr. is an American country music singer, who started singing at the age of six; he had followed in the footsteps of his father, Rex Allen, a singing cowboy and the narrator of many Walt Disney films. Allen followed his father's footsteps as a film narrator when he lent his voice as narrator of the Jim Carrey movie, Me, Myself, and Irene.

Later career

Allen wrote and recorded many songs, a number of which were featured in his own films. Late in coming to the industry, his film career was relatively short as the popularity of westerns faded by the mid 1950s. But he starred in a number of B-Westerns during the 1950s, often filming on the Iverson Movie Ranch in Chatsworth, Calif., known for its huge sandstone boulders.

The year 1950 in film involved some significant events.

Allen has the distinction of making the last singing western in 1954. As other cowboy stars made the transition to television, Allen tried too, cast as Dr. Bill Baxter for a half-hour weekly series called Frontier Doctor , which filmed much of its outdoor action on the Republic Pictures backlot and at the Iverson Movie Ranch. In 1961 he was one of five rotating hosts for NBC-TV's Five Star Jubilee .

Allen had a rich, pleasant voice, ideally suited for narration, and was able to find considerable work as a narrator in a variety of films, especially for Walt Disney Pictures wildlife films and television shows. The work earned him the nickname, "The Voice of the West." He narrated the original 1963 version of The Incredible Journey . He also was the voice of the father on Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress, first presented at the 1964 World's Fair and now at Walt Disney World. A 1993 renovation replaced Allen with Jean Shepherd as the voice of the father, but Allen was given a cameo as the grandfather in the final scene.

Allen provided the narration for the 1973 Hanna-Barbera animated film Charlotte's Web . He was also the voice behind Purina Dog Chow commercials for many years. After moving to Sonoita, Arizona in the early 1990s, he was a viable voice talent almost until his death, recording hundreds of national advertising voice tracks at his favorite Tucson studio, Porter Sound. In his later years he also performed frequently with actor Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzalez. He wrote and sang the theme song for the early 1980s sitcom Best of the West .

Death

Rex Allen died on December 17, 1999, two weeks before his 79th birthday, in Tucson, Arizona, after he sustained fatal injuries when his caregiver accidentally ran over him in the driveway. [3] Cremated, his ashes were scattered at Railroad Park in Willcox where most of his memorabilia are on display. A few months before his death, Allen gave an extensive interview on his days at WLS-AM to announcer and producer Jeff Davis for the 75th Anniversary History of WLS radio program, broadcast after Allen died. That segment of the program was dedicated to his memory.

Legacy

For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Allen was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6821 Hollywood Boulevard.

In 1983, he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

In 1989, his life story was told in the book Rex Allen: My Life, Sunrise to Sunset – The Arizona Cowboy, written by Paula Simpson-Witt and Snuff Garrett.

The Rex Allen Arizona Cowboy Museum and Willcox Cowboy Hall of Fame in Willcox, Arizona features an Allen's collection of memorabilia, including photos, movie posters, cowboy outfits, records and musical instruments. Across the street from the museum is a bronze statue of Allen.

Allen was a cousin of the Gunsmoke cast member Glenn Strange, who played bartender Sam Noonan. His son, Rex Allen, Jr., is a singer.

Discography

Albums

YearAlbum US Country Label
1956Under Western SkiesDecca
1958Mister Cowboy
1960Rex Allen SingsHacienda
1961Say One for MeBuena Vista
196216 Golden Hits
Faith of a ManMercury
Sings and Tells Tales of the Golden West
1964Western BalladsHilltop
1968The Smooth Country Sound of Rex Allen42Decca
1970Touch of God's Hands
1973Boney Kneed Hairy Legged Cowboy SongJMI
1980Love Gone ColdLonghorn

Singles

YearSingleChart PositionsAlbum
US Country US
1949"Afraid"14singles only
1951"The Roving Kind"-20 [4]
1951"Sparrow in the Treetop"1028
1953"Crying in the Chapel"48
1961"Marines, Let's Go"21
1962"Don't Go Near the Indians"417Sings and Tells Tales of the Golden West
1964"Tear After Tear"44single only
1968"Tiny Bubbles"71The Smooth Country Sound of Rex Allen

Partial filmography

See also

Notes

  1. "Hollywood Walk of Fame - Rex Allen". walkoffame.com. Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. August 20, 1975. Retrieved May 8, 2017.
  2. "Hollywood Star Walk - Rex Allen". projects.latimes.com. Los Angeles Times. December 19, 1999. Retrieved May 8, 2017.
  3. Michael LaFleur (1999-12-18). "Allen's death a tragic accident, police say". tucsoncitizen.com. Retrieved 2015-05-10.
  4. Whitburn, Joel (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research, Inc. p. 22. ISBN   0-89820-083-0.

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