Ridge Bond

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Ridge Bond as Curly in 1949 Ridge Bond 1949.jpg
Ridge Bond as Curly in 1949

Ridgely McClure "Ridge" Bond (July 12, 1922 – May 6, 1997) was an American actor, singer and businessman, who is best known for playing the role of Curly in the musical Oklahoma! on Broadway and on tour. He retired from acting when the musical closed in 1954, and entered the insurance business.

<i>Oklahoma!</i> Rodgers and Hammerstein musical

Oklahoma! is the first musical written by the team of composer Richard Rodgers and librettist Oscar Hammerstein II. The musical is based on Lynn Riggs' 1931 play, Green Grow the Lilacs. Set in farm country outside the town of Claremore, Indian Territory, in 1906, it tells the story of farm girl Laurey Williams and her courtship by two rival suitors, cowboy Curly McLain and the sinister and frightening farmhand Jud Fry. A secondary romance concerns cowboy Will Parker and his flirtatious fiancée, Ado Annie.


Life and career

Bond was born in McAlester, Oklahoma. [1] He attended the University of Tulsa, where he played a leading role in the play Green Grow the Lilacs , which was later adapted as Oklahoma!. [2] He served in the U.S. Navy in World War II. After his discharge, he joined the Broadway cast of Oklahoma! in 1946, soon taking over as Curly for Howard Keel, [3] and, according to Deseret News, he played the role of Curly for the longest period of any actor during the original Broadway production. [4] He then toured with the show and played the role in the 1951 and 1953 Broadway revivals. He reportedly performed this role 2,600 times during his career. He was also the only Oklahoma native to play the role. [1]

McAlester, Oklahoma City in Oklahoma, United States

McAlester is a city in and county seat of Pittsburg County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 18,363 at the 2010 census, a 3.4 percent increase from 17,783 at the 2000 census, making it the largest city in the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, followed by Durant. The town gets its name from James Jackson McAlester, an early white settler and businessman who later became lieutenant governor of Oklahoma. Known as "J. J.", McAlester married Rebecca Burney, the daughter of a full-blood Chickasaw family, which made him a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation.

University of Tulsa

The University of Tulsa (TU) is a private research university located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States. The University of Tulsa is renowned for its undergraduate, graduate and professional programs across a number of disciplines, including law, literature, computer science, natural sciences, psychology, and engineering. Its faculty includes prominent scholars, scientists, and writers. TU has a historic affiliation with the Presbyterian Church and the campus architectural style is predominantly Collegiate Gothic. The University of Tulsa has been recognized as one of the five most international universities in the United States, by undergraduate enrollment.

Green Grow the Lilacs is a folk song of Irish origin that was popular in the United States during the mid-19th century.

In 1953, Bond was instrumental in assisting Oklahoma state representative (and later Governor) George Nigh to promote the show's title song in becoming the Oklahoma state song. [1] [4] [5] After Oklahoma! closed in 1954, Bond retired from acting and joined American Family Life Insurance Co. as a district coordinator in its Tulsa office. [6] He continued in the insurance business. [4]

George Nigh American politician

George Patterson Nigh is an American politician and civic leader from the U.S. state of Oklahoma. Nigh served as the 17th and the 22nd Governor of Oklahoma and as the 8th and 10th Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma. He was the first Oklahoma governor to be re-elected and the first to win all 77 counties in the state. Additionally, short term vacancies in the governor's office twice resulted in Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma Nigh assuming gubernatorial duties while serving as lieutenant governor.

"Oklahoma" is the title song from the Broadway musical Oklahoma!, named for the setting of the musical play. The music and lyrics were written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. The melody is reprised in the main title of the 1955 film version and in the overtures of both film and musical productions.

Aflac Inc. is an American insurance company and is the largest provider of supplemental insurance in the United States. The company was founded in 1955 and is based in Columbus, Georgia. In the U.S., Aflac underwrites a wide range of insurance policies, but is perhaps more known for its payroll deduction insurance coverage, which pays cash benefits when a policyholder has a covered accident or illness. The company states it "provides financial protection to more than 50 million people worldwide".


In 1991, Bond was the recipient of the Lynn Riggs Award, presented by Rogers State University. [lower-alpha 1] In 1993, the Oklahoma Heritage Association named Bond an Ambassador of Goodwill. [3] [6]

Rogers State University is a public, regional university in Claremore, Oklahoma, with branch campuses in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and Pryor Creek, Oklahoma. Since it began offering bachelor's degrees in 2000, it has outpaced the growth of all other public universities in Oklahoma. It currently has a total enrollment of more than 4,300 students in programs at its three campuses and in its nationally recognized distance-learning programs. Of those, 2,759 were enrolled in its main campus at Claremore in fall 2013.

Bond's likeness, in character as Curly (along with Laurie), was featured on the U.S. postage stamp commemorating the 50th anniversary of Oklahoma! Also in 1993, Bond was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. [6]

Family life

Bond married restoration artist Maxine Vincent (1921–2008) on September 25, 1943. [7] They were married for 54 years, and had two children, musician and sound engineer Geoffrey Bond and Pamela Bond-Simmons. [8]

He died in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1997, aged 74. He and his wife are buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Claremore, Oklahoma. [7]


  1. Lynn Riggs, a native of Oklahoma, was the author of "Green Grow the Lilacs.

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  1. 1 2 3 "Ridge Bond, Oklahoman", Tulsa World, May 9, 1997
  2. "Tributes: Ridge Bond", Oklahoma Today , p. 76
  3. 1 2 "Oklahoma Memories: Official State Song", Oklahoma Historical Society, March 24, 2012, accessed July 31, 2014
  4. 1 2 3 "Ex-Oklahoma Actor Readies for Song's 50th", Deseret News, March 30, 1993.
  5. Burke, Bob. "How Oklahoma Got the Best State Song", Oklahoma magazine, Oklahoma Heritage Association, December 2013, p. 36
  6. 1 2 3 "Musical Actor to Be Honored With Hall of Fame Award", Oklahoman, November 7, 1993
  7. 1 2 Photo of Bond's grave
  8. "Maxine Vincent Bond Obituary", Obitsforlife.com, accessed July 31, 2014