20 Greatest Western Stars

by smartyjones35-152-343694 | created - 21 Nov 2013 | updated - 07 Sep 2016 | Public

These are my favorite B western stars i remember as a Kid

1. Clayton Moore

Actor | The Lone Ranger

Clayton Moore grew up in Chicago, Illinois and although his father wanted him to become a doctor, he had visions of something a little more glamorous. Naturally athletic, he practiced gymnastics during family summer vacations in Canada, eventually joining the trapeze act The Flying Behrs at 19. ...

2. Bill Elliott

Actor | Old Los Angeles

Born Gordon Nance in 1904 on a farm in Pattonsburg, Missouri -- a small town about 60 miles northeast of Kansas City -- the future "Wild Bill Elliott" grew up around horses. His father was a commissioner at the Kansas City Stockyards. and at age 16 Elliott won a first-place ribbon in that city's ...

3. Tex Ritter

Soundtrack | High Noon

Tex Ritter was born on January 12, 1905 in Murvaul, Texas, USA as Woodward Maurice Ritter. He was married to Dorothy Fay. He died on January 2, 1974 in Nashville, Tennessee, USA.

4. Roy Rogers

Soundtrack | Men in Black 3

Roy Rogers (born Leonard Slye) moved to California in 1930, aged 18. He played in such musical groups as The Hollywood Hillbillies, Rocky Mountaineers, Texas Outlaws, and his own group, the International Cowboys. In 1934 he formed a group with Bob Nolan called Sons of the Pioneers. While in that ...

5. Gene Autry

Soundtrack | The Gene Autry Show

After high school Gene Autry worked as a laborer for the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad in Oklahoma. Next he was a telegrapher. In 1928 he began singing on a local radio station, and three years later he had his own show and was making his first recordings. Three years after that he made his ...

6. Charles Starrett

Actor | The Fighting Frontiersman

While on the Darmouth College football team, Charles Starrett was hired to play a football extra in The Quarterback (1926). Impressed by the job, Starrett got the acting bug and next went into vaudeville, then regional stage work and finally to Broadway. Spotted by a Paramount talent scout, Starrett...

7. Bob Steele

Actor | The Big Sleep

Started working with his father on stage when he was two. Later he toured in a comedy act for Fanchon and Marco. His first screen experience was at age 14, in a Pathe production of "Adventures of Bill and Bob".

8. Tim Holt

Actor | The Magnificent Ambersons

As they say, like father, like son. Cowboy hero Tim Holt avidly followed in the boots of his famous character-actor dad, the granite-jawed Jack Holt (b. Charles John Holt), who appeared in hundreds of silents and talkies (many of them westerns) over the years. The two actually appeared together as ...

9. Allan Lane

Music_department | Mister Ed

Most western action film heroes begin and end their career in the saddle. Not so for cowboy idol Allan "Rocky" Lane, who started as a leading man in major studio dramas, only to segue into "B" serials and sagebrush sagas in later life. The Indiana native was born in 1909 (some sources claim 1904). ...

10. Monte Hale

Actor | Giant

American B-Western star and singing cowboy Monte Hale was born Samuel Buren Ely in 1919 in Ada, Oklahoma, to Herod and Helen Ely. He learned to sing and play guitar at an early age. In Houston and later Galveston, Texas, he played for vaudeville shows and local rodeos. During World War II a job as ...

11. Don 'Red' Barry

Actor | Jesse James' Women

Donald Barry went from the stage to the screen. After four years of playing villains and henchmen at various studios, Barry got the role that changed his image: Red Ryder in the Republic Pictures serial Adventures of Red Ryder (1940). Although he had appeared in westerns for two years or so, this ...

12. Robert Livingston

Soundtrack | Money Train

Bob Livingston's father was a newspaper editor in Quincy, Illinois. As a reporter for the Los Angeles Daily News Bob did a story on the Pasadena Playhouse, and that got him interested in acting. In his mid-20s, he was doing bit parts for Universal and Fox and went from there to romantic roles with ...

13. Ray Corrigan

Actor | The Painted Stallion

Ray Corrigan was a physical culturist and very good athlete. He began working in Hollywood, as a physical fitness trainer for movie stars. Bit parts in 1932 led to action roles in the Undersea Kingdom (1936) and The Leathernecks Have Landed (1936), the same year he began his role as Tucson Smith in...

14. Tom Tyler

Actor | Stagecoach

Popular American star of silent and early sound Westerns and serials. Raised in Michigan, he went through a number of strenuous jobs (sailor, boxer lumberjack, coal miner, etc.) before landing in Los Angeles and getting work as a movie extra and stuntman. His good looks and athletic physique (he ...

15. Johnny Mack Brown

Actor | Trail of Vengeance

An All-American halfback while attending the University of Alabama, Johnny Mack Brown chose the silver screen over the green grass of the football field when he graduated. Signed to a contract with MGM in 1926, Brown debuted in Slide, Kelly, Slide (1927) with William Haines in a film about - ...

16. Buster Crabbe

Actor | Flash Gordon

Buster Crabbe graduated from the University of Southern California. In 1931, while working on That's My Boy (1932) for Columbia Pictures, he was tested by MGM for Tarzan and rejected. Paramount Pictures put him in King of the Jungle (1933) as Kaspa, the Lion Man (after a book of that title but ...

17. Jimmy Wakely

Soundtrack | Song of the Range

He was one of filmdom's last dying breed of crooning cowpokes following WWII. Jimmy Wakely had many talents (singing, songwriting, guitar-playing) and performed in many venues (radio, film, TV, rodeos, clubs) over his career. He began life in Mineola, Arkansas in 1914, but was raised in ...

18. Eddie Dean

Actor | Range Beyond the Blue

Eddie Dean made his name as a country-western singer on radio in the '30s. He journeyed to Hollywood to make it in western movies, debuting in Manhattan Love Song (1934), but he could only land bit parts in features and musical shorts. His career started to take off in the early 1940s, though, and ...

19. Sunset Carson

Actor | Sheriff of Cimarron

An American cowboy star of "B" westerns who had a brief career in the 1940s, Sunset Carson was born with the decidedly unheroic name of Winifred Maurice Harrison (although he was generally known to his family as Michael or Mick) in Gracemore, Oklahoma. He moved to Plainview, Texas, as a boy and ...

20. George Houston

Actor | The Lone Rider Rides On

This movie cowboy was actually born in New Jersey just before the turn of the 20th century, the son of a Protestant minister. He sang in his father's church choir, and after graduating high school he attended the private Blair Academy and then continued his musical training at New York's famous ...

21. Rex Allen

Soundtrack | Tomorrowland

Rex Allen started out as a singer in vaudeville, and sang on numerous radio shows before hooking up with a traveling rodeo show. He signed with Republic Pictures and became a popular singing cowboy, and was often paired with sidekick Slim Pickens. He starred in his own western TV series, Frontier ...

22. William Boyd

Actor | Call of the Prairie

The son of a day laborer, William Boyd moved with his family to Tulsa, Oklahoma, when he was seven. His parents died while he was in his early teens, forcing him to quit school and take such jobs as a grocery clerk, surveyor and oil field worker. He went to Hollywood in 1919, already gray-haired. ...

23. Ken Maynard

Actor | The Fiddlin' Buckaroo

Studio publicity incorrectly puts his birthplace at Mission, Texas. Ken was a trick rider with the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show and later with Ringling Brothers and was also a champion rodeo rider. His movie debut, The Man Who Won (1923), was the first of many for this early cowboy movie superstar. ...

24. Hoot Gibson

Actor | Roaring Ranch

A pioneering cowboy star of silent and early talking Westerns, Hoot Gibson was one of the 1920s' most popular children's matinée heroes. In his real life, however, he had a rather painful rags-to-riches-and-back-to-rags career, a problem that seemed to plague a number of big stars who fell victim ...

25. Buck Jones

Actor | Law for Tombstone

Buck Jones was one of the greatest of the "B" western stars. Although born in Indiana, Jones reportedly (but disputedly) grew up on a ranch near Red Rock in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma), and there learned the riding and shooting skills that would stand him in good stead as a hero of Westerns. He...

26. Tim McCoy

Actor | The Western Code

One of the great stars of early American Westerns. McCoy was the son of an Irish soldier who later became police chief of Saginaw, Michigan, where McCoy was born. He attended St. Ignatius College in Chicago and after seeing a Wild West show there, left school and found work on a Wyoming ranch. He ...

27. Lash La Rue

Actor | The Dark Power

He looked so much like superstar Humphrey Bogart that character actress Sarah Padden asked if the two were related. LaRue said he didn't think so. After a long pause studying the young actor's face, she asked, "Did your mother ever meet Humphrey Bogart?"

Alfred "Lash" LaRue was born in Louisiana (...

28. Whip Wilson

Actor | Montana Incident

He was obviously handed one of those unique stage names, like Lash La Rue, in order for audiences (especially the kiddies) to immediately associate him with western heroics and the trademark he would be remembered for in films. Not one of the better remembered sagebrush heroes in today's world, ...

29. George O'Brien

Actor | Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans

George was the son of the San Francisco Chief of Police who became a college athlete. He was the Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the Pacific Fleet during World War I. In the early 1920s, George wound up in Hollywood where he worked as a stuntman and part time actor. In 1924, Director John Ford ...



Recently Viewed