Rogers, Roy

Rogers, Roy, 1911–98, American Western film star, b. Cincinnati, Ohio, as Leonard Franklin Slye. The guitar-strumming Rogers succeeded Gene Autry as America's favorite singing cowboy in movies of the mid-1940s. An ex–fruit picker and cowpuncher, he and his brother performed on the radio during the 1930s. Rogers was a founder (1934) of the Sons of the Pioneers, a singing trio that began appearing in movies in 1935. His first starring role came three years later. In 1947, Rogers, by then the “king of the cowboys,” married Dale Evans, 1912–2001, b. Uvalde, Tex., as Frances Octavia Smith. Together, they sang, rode, and acted in dozens of B movies, usually accompanied by their bearded sidekick George “Gabby” Hayes and Roy's palomino horse Trigger. The couple also starred (1951–57) in television's Roy Rogers Show and hosted (1962–63) a variety program. The Roy Rogers–Dale Evans Museum, which displays their memorabilia, is in Branson, Mo.

See R. Rogers and D. Evans, Happy Trails (1979, repr. 1995); biography by R. W. Phillips (1995); D. Rothel, The Roy Rogers Book (1987).

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