LASH LARUE BIOGRAPHY & FILMOGRAPHY:
Alfred LaRue, of Cajun ancestry, was born on June 14, 1921 near New Orleans, Louisiana. The son of a travelling salesman, he spent his earliest years on the road with his family, until they moved to Los Angeles when he was in his teens.
After attending St. John’s High School and studying law at the College of the Pacific he earned his way working various jobs. While at college he had taken some acting classes, it is thought initially to overcome a speech impediment.
There does not seem to be a record of how he first got into show business, but, performing as Al or Alfred LaRue, he worked at Universal as a supporting actor and bit player in 1945 in serials like “The Master Key” and feature-length films like “Train”.
He then went to work for Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC), a studio that was looking for a cowboy actor to work with country singer Eddie Dean in “Song of Old Wyoming” (1945). Cast as a villain, LaRue discovered that his character was supposed to use a bullwhip and he told the producer, Robert Tansey, that he had lots of experience doing just that. This was untrue, and LaRue immediately went out and bought two whips so that he could start practicing. Unfortunately, all he managed to do was injure himself, and had to admit to Tansey that he had lied. Tansey took the news in stride and got a coach for LaRue to teach him how to handle the whip. The pairing of LaRue and Dean seemed to work, and LaRue was again cast to work with Dean in “The Caravan Trail” and “Wild West”, both released in 1946.
When Larry 'Buster' Crabbe ended his contract with PRC they needed a new cowboy for their Western series, and remembered Lash LaRue. Lash signed a contract with PRC to do a season of 8 B-Westerns, along with Crabbe’s former movie sidekick, Al 'Fuzzy' St. John. LaRue’s character, The Cheyenne Kid, was not the typical clean-cut cowboy popular at the time, but rather had an anti-hero kind of demeanor, always wore black, and carried what had now become his trademark bullwhip. Lash and Fuzzy were paired in “Law of the Lash” and “Border Feud”, both released in 1947.
When Eagle Lion took over PRC they allowed Lash to complete his series, and also cast him in roles in two non-Western films, “Heartaches” (1947) and “The Enchanted Valley” (1948). By the end of 1948 however, Eagle Lion had decided that the days of the B-Western were ending, and declined to renew LaRue’s contract.
Convinced there was still an audience for B-Westerns, Western Adventure Productions, run by producer Ron Ormond, hired the LaRue/St. John team. Beginning with “Dead Man’s Gold” in 1948, LaRue would no longer use the character name of The Cheyenne Kid, but would use his own name in films. Lash LaRue and Fuzzy St. John would make eleven films with Ormond between 1948 and 1952, including “Frontier Revenge” (1948), “Outlaw Country” (1949), and “The Frontier Phantom” (1952).
These B-Western movies were aimed mainly at younger audiences, and Lash LaRue was very popular with the kids. He was known as one of the most accessible stars of his time, appearing at matinee performances at theaters and performing tricks with his whip for the audience.
Lash LaRue was so popular in fact, that Fawcett created a comic book featuring his character in 1949, and the comic book stayed in publication until 1961.
He had his own television show in 1953 titled “Lash of the West”, but the show was soon cancelled, although he did appear in some Western television shows of the time in supporting roles.
Lash LaRue would appear in few films after the completion of his series of movies with Ormond. He had a part in “Please Don’t Touch Me” (1963), and he would later have a cameo role in the 1986 television film remake of “Stagecoach”, starring Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson. His final film appearance was in "Pair of Aces” in 1990, another made-for-television film starring Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson.
Lash appeared several times on “The Gabby Hayes Show” on television in the late 1950’s, and also on the television series “26 Men”, featuring true stories of the Arizona Rangers. He appeared in different roles seven times on the television program “Judge Roy Bean”, starring Edgar Buchanan. LaRue also had the role of Sheriff Johnny Behan on “The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp ” on ABC.
After retiring from making movies Lash LaRue toured America, putting on shows with his whip, and appeared often at Western conventions and shows to visit with his fans.
Lash LaRue died in Burbank, California on May 21, 1996 at the age of 74.
1944 The Master Key
1945 Song of Old Wyoming
1945 Lady on a Train
1946 Wild West
1946 The Caravan Trail
1947 Return of the Lash
1947 Pioneer Justice
1947 Law of the Lash
1947 The Fighting Vigilantes
1947 Cheyenne Takes Over
1947 Border Feud
1947 Ghost Town Renegades
1948 Mark of the Lash
1948 Frontier Revenge
1948 The Enchanted Valley
1948 Dead Man's Gold
1948 Stage to Mesa City
1949 Son of a Badman
1949 Outlaw Country
1949 Son of Billy the Kid
1950 King of the Bullwhip
1950 The Dalton's Women
1951 Thundering Herd
1951 The Thundering Trail
1951 The Vanishing Outpost
1952 The Black Lash
1952 The Frontier Phantom
1954 The Gabby Hayes Show: Episode 1
1954 The Gabby Hayes Show: Episode 11
1954 The Gabby Hayes Show: Episode 3
1957 Action in the Afternoon / Lash of the West
1957 Guns Don't Argue
1969 Hard Trail
1985 The Dark Power
1985 Chain Gang
1985 Alien Outlaw
1990 A Pair of Aces