Gene Autry was worth an incredible sum at the time of his death, even after adjusting for inflation
Gene Autry may have been known as the Singing Cowboy, but he’s accomplished so much more than his incredible career in entertainment. He was a gifted country musician and actor, but he also served in the military, was a smart businessman, and owned a professional baseball team. He built an astonishing legacy and at the time of his death had a staggering net worth of $500 million after adjusting for inflation.
Gene Autry was fired for singing too much
Gene Autry was born in Texas in 1907. The family moved to Oklahoma in the 1920s, where Autry spent his teenage years working on a ranch. In 1925, he decided to drop out of high school. His search for work led him to the St. Louis-San Francisco Railroad. He started working as a telegraph operator for the railroad – until his constant singing got him into trouble.
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Autry spent his free time at work singing and playing guitar, which cost him his job. The loss of his job proved lucky for Autry as he was encouraged to pursue a music career. In 1928 he began singing regularly for a local radio station, which led to a contract with Columbia Records a year later.
He spent the next four years recording music and working for the Chicago radio show. National Barn Dance. Eventually, Autry’s music career took off and he sold over 100 million records. Autry was a regular at the top of Billboard’s country charts and had the first-ever “certified gold” record.
Autry was the first major movie star to appear on the small screen
It didn’t take long for Hollywood to notice Gene Autry’s incredible music and penchant for entertainment. Britannica states that Autry’s first film debut was in the 1934 film, In old Santa Fe. The young singer was not the star, but he performed a song in the film. His first starring role came a year later, in the sci-fi western, The phantom empire.
Autry was just as dazzling on screen as he was in person. His film career went at high speed – he starred in 93 feature films. Many of these films were musical westerns, and Autry became widely recognized as the Singing Cowboy. Some of his most famous films included The Big Show, Tumbling Tumbleweedsand house on the prairie.
According to the Gene Autry website, the incredible actor wasn’t afraid to try something different. In 1950, he became the first major movie star to appear regularly on a television show. Autry produced and starred in the CBS series, The Gene Autry Show. After five years of producing his show, he used his talents to produce several other series, including Annie Oakley and The Range Rider.
Gene Autry created an amazing legacy
Gene Autry had an incredibly busy music and film career, but managed to do a lot of other awesome things with his life. His website says he joined the Army Air Corps in 1942. He spent four years overseas, transporting fuel, ammunition and weapons during the war, then touring the South Pacific with a USO troop.
The famous actor and singer was a huge baseball fan. In 1961, he became owner of the California Angels. He also served as vice president of the American League until his death.
In 1988 Autry was delighted to open the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum. He was very dedicated to providing enrichment on the heritage that had been such a big part of his career. In 2015, the museum (which had since merged with two other museums) became the Autry Museum of the American West.
Autry’s incredible accomplishments include five stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He is the only artist to have a star in every category – radio, recording, film, television and live performance. He has been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, and the National Association of Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame. He also received the Songwriters Guild Lifetime Achievement Award.
Autry died at home in 1998 after battling lymphoma. He was 91 years old.
RELATED: ‘Little House on the Prairie’ Star Victor French Left Surprising Message at His Own Funeral