Actor, Singer. He was born Leonard Franklin Slye in Cincinnati, Ohio to a musical family; his father played guitar and his Kentucky-born mother was a singer. He grew up in Duck Run, Ohio a little town near Portsmouth. He quit high school after two years forced to work in a shoe factory to help support his family. At nineteen, he moved to California and formed a band which became known as the Sons of The Pioneers. Soon, they were on the radio and with the songwriting of Bob Nolan a band member, they yodeled and sang their way to stardom. Their recording "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" becoming a number one hit on the charts. Leonard began working as an extra at Republic Pictures. Given the name "Roy Rogers" he teamed up with his horse Trigger, and made his first picture "Under Western Stars" while receiving a contract with Republic Pictures which lasted 13 years producing some 37 movies. During World War II, Roy became "The King of The Cowboys," while making numerous USO tours with his horse Trigger raising millions of dollars through the sale of War Bonds. He began making movies with Dale Evans known as "The Queen of the West." which led to marriage and a partnership which lasted the rest of their lives. With the onset of television, The Roy Rogers Show staring Roy, Dale and co-star Pat Brady, Trigger, Dale's horse Buttermilk and their dog Bullet aired on NBC lasting for seven years while the song penned by Dale, "Happy Trails" became a hit and the Rogers theme song. His continued recordings produced another major hit with "Candy Kisses" and finally while Roy and Dale were running their museum in Victorville, California in late life another hit which put him back on the charts "Hold On Partner" from a special "Tribute" album he made at age 80. In 1988, he was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. The couple remained favorites through their connection with Christian programs and the Roy Rogers Museum in Victorville. Roy Rogers died at the age of 86 in his home in at Apple Valley, California from heart failure. A public service was held at the Church of the Valley with a western theme laced with frontier Army traditions. With the singing of his western songs by the Sons of the Pioneers, his body was conveyed in a glass enclosed 1898 hearse drawn by a single Clydesdale to his final resting place while accompanied by an array of people dressed in old western style garb. Dale joined him upon her death and even the animals who starred with the famous couple, Trigger who lived to be 33, Dales horse Buttermilk and even the dog Bullet were all mounted with places of honor in the Roy Rogers-Dale Evans Museum. However: the stuffed animals as well as the museum, suffering from dwindling attendance, hit the trail and was moved from Victorville to Branson, Missouri in 2003.
Bio by: Donald Greyfield