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Smiley Burnette ACTOR


Smiley Burnette was born with the birth name Lester Alvin Burnette on March 18th, 1911 in Summum, Illinois.  He was raised in Ravenwood, Missouri.  As a young boy he became interested in singing and was also quite talented with a variety of musical instruments.

As a teenager, he worked in vaudeville and in 1929 he worked at the state's first commercial radio station, WDZ-AM in Tuscola, Illinois.  He got his nickname, Smiley, when he was creating a character for a WDZ children's program.
In 1933, he was hired by Gene Autry to play the accordion on, "National Barn Dance" on Chicago's WLS-AM radio station.  As sound films were becoming popular both Autry and Burnette made their film debut on, "In Old Sante Fe" (1934).  The two men worked together in over eighty westerns.  By 1940, Burnette ranked second only to Autry in a Box-office magazine popularity poll of western stars.  Burnette also appeared in nine films with Roy Rogers.  Burnette worked with a horse known as, Black-eyes Nellie and then as Ring-eyes Nellie and finally just nicknamed Ring-eye.
In 1944, Burnette left his contract with Republic and began working with Columbia Pictures and another actor, Charles Starrett as his side kick in a series called, "Durango Kid" (1945-1952) which resulted in 52 films being made together.       
Along with being a well known television actor and film star, Burnette also used his musical talent to write over 400 songs and sang many of them on screen even though he never learned how to read or write music.  He was also responsible for composing musical scores for a variety of films such as, "The Painted Stallion" and "Waterfront Lady".  Burnette also produced a nationally syndicated 15 minute radio show, "The Smiley Burnette Show" through RadioOzark Enterprises from the late 1940's through the 1950's.   
Burnette was also a very intelligent man, inventing some unusual musical instruments in his home workshop.  He invented something called a Jassackaphone which resembled an organ with pipes, levers and pull mechanisms.  He also invented and patented a home audiovisual system called, "Cinevision Talkies".
In 1953, as the 'B' Movie Western reign was coming to an end, Burnette retired from the film industry but did choose to make a couple appearances on a variety of country music radio and television shows such as, "Louisiana Hayride", "Grand Ole Opry" and "Ranch Party" (1958).  He also made appearances at drive-in's, fairs, hospitals, town squares and rodeos.
Burnette had a very entrepreneurial spirit and even opened a restaurant chain in the 1950's called, The Checkered Shirt.  It was a drive through in which the first location was in Orlando, Florida and two locations are still in existence one in Escondido, California and the other in Redding California.   
In the mid 60's Burnette returned to the television screen as an actor in the series, "Petticoat Junction", portraying railway engineer, Charles Pratt for a total of 106 episodes. 
Burnette was married once to Dallas McDonald from 1940 through February 16th, 1967 when he passed away in Encino, California from leukemia.   Smiley and his wife adopted four children, Stephen, Linda, Brian and Carolyn.  Burnette was interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills California. 

Smiley Burnette was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1971 and for his contribution to the motion picture industry, he was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.   In 1998, Burnette was also inducted into the Western Music Association.   

1963-1967  Petticoat Junction
1965-1966  Green Acres
1958   Ranch Party
1953   Last of the Pony Riders 
1953   Saginaw Trail  
1953   Pack Train
1953   Goldtown Ghost Riders
1953   On Top of Old Smoky  
1953   Winning of the West
1952   The Kid from Broken Gun  
1952   Junction City 
1952   The Rough, Tough West
1952   Laramie Mountains
1952   The Hawk of Wild River  
1952   Smoky Canyon
1951   Pecos River
1951   The Kid from Amarillo 
1951   Cyclone Fury  
1951   Bonanza Town 
1951   Snake River Desperadoes 
1951   Whirlwind 
1951   Fort Savage Raiders 
1951   Ridin' the Outlaw Trail  
1951   Prairie Roundup
1950   Lightning Guns 
1950   Frontier Outpost
1950   Raiders of Tomahawk Creek  
1950   Across the Badlands
1950   Streets of Ghost Town  
1950   Texas Dynamo 
1950   Outcasts of Black Mesa  
1950   Trail of the Rustlers
1949   Renegades of the Sage 
1949   Horsemen of the Sierras
1949   Bandits of El Dorado
1949   South of Death Valley 
1949   The Blazing Trail 
1949   Laramie
1949   Desert Vigilante  
1949   Challenge of the Range 
1948   Quick on the Trigger 
1948   El Dorado Pass 
1948   Trail to Laredo 
1948   Blazing Across the Pecos 
1948   Whirlwind Raiders 
1948   West of Sonora 
1948   Phantom Valley 
1948   Six-Gun Law 
1947   Last Days of Boot Hill
1947   Buckaroo from Powder River 
1947   Riders of the Lone Star 
1947   The Stranger from Ponca City 
1947   Prairie Raiders 
1947   Law of the Canyon
1947   West of Dodge City 
1947   The Lone Hand Texan 
1947   South of the Chisholm Trail 
1946   The Fighting Frontiersman 
1946   Terror Trail 
1946   Landrush
1946   Heading West 
1946   The Desert Horseman 
1946   Two-Fisted Stranger 
1946   Galloping Thunder 
1946   Gunning for Vengeance 
1946   Roaring Rangers 
1944   Firebrands of Arizona 
1944   Code of the Prairie 
1944   Bordertown Trail 
1944   Call of the Rockies
1944   The Laramie Trail 
1944   Beneath Western Skies 
1944   Pride of the Plains 
1943   Raiders of Sunset Pass 
1943   Beyond the Last Frontier 
1943   Silver Spurs 
1943   King of the Cowboys 
1943   Idaho 
1942   Heart of the Golden West 
1942   Bells of Capistrano 
1942   Call of the Canyon 
1942   Stardust on the Sage 
1942   Home in Wyomin' 
1942   Heart of the Rio Grande  
1942   Cowboy Serenade 
1941   Sierra Sue
1941   Down Mexico Way 
1941   Under Fiesta Stars 
1941   Sunset in Wyoming 
1941   The Singing Hill 
1941   Back in the Saddle 
1941   Ridin' on a Rainbow 
1940   Ride Tenderfoot Ride 
1940   Carolina Moon
1940   Gaucho Serenade 
1940   Rancho Grande 
1939   South of the Border 
1939   Rovin' Tumbleweeds
1939   In Old Monterey
1939   Colorado Sunset  
1939   Mountain Rhythm
1939   Blue Montana Skies 
1939   Mexicali Rose 
1939   Home on the Prairie 
1938   Western Jamboree 
1938   Rhythm of the Saddle 
1938   Prairie Moon 
1938   Billy the Kid Returns 
1938   Man from Music Mountain
1938   Gold Mine in the Sky  
1938   Under Western Stars 
1938   Hollywood Stadium Mystery 
1938   The Old Barn Dance
1937   Manhattan Merry-Go-Round 
1937   Springtime in the Rockies
1937   Boots and Saddles
1937   Public Cowboy No. 1
1937   Meet the Boy Friend
1937   Yodelin' Kid from Pine Ridge
1937   Rootin' Tootin' Rhythm
1937   Git Along Little Dogies 
1937   Round-Up Time in Texas 
1937   I Dick Tracy
1937   Larceny on the Air 
1936   A Man Betrayed 
1936   I The Old Corral 
1936   The Big Show 
1936   Ride Ranger Ride
1936   Oh, Susanna
1936   Guns and Guitars 
1936   The Border Patrolman 
1936   Undersea Kingdom 
1936   Hearts in Bondage 
1936   The Singing Cowboy 
1936   Comin' Round the Mountain 
1936   Doughnuts and Society 
1936   Red River Valley 
1935   The Cheyenne Tornado 
1935   Hitch Hike Lady 
1935   The Singing Vagabond 
1935   Sagebrush Troubadour 
1935   Harmony Lane 
1935   Melody Trail 
1935   Waterfront Lady 
1935   Tumbling Tumbleweeds 
1935   The Adventures of Rex and Rinty 
1935   The Kids in the Shoe (short)
1935   The Phantom Empire 
1935   Arizona Bad Man 
1935   Lightning Triggers
1934   Mystery Mountain 
1934   The Marines Are Coming
1934   In Old Santa Fe 

Matinee Classics - Under Western Stars starring Roy Rogers, Smiley Burnette and Carol Hughes
Matinee Classics - Back in the Saddle starring Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette, Mary Lee, Edward Norris, Julie Bishop, Addison Richards, Arthur Loft, Edmund Elton, Joe McGuinn, Robert Barron and Edmund Cobb
Matinee Classics - South of the Border starring Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette, June Storey, Lupita Tovar, Mary Lee, Duncan Renaldo and Frank Reicher
Matinee Classics - Saginaw Trail starring Gene Autry, Connie Marshall, Champion, Eugene Borden, Ralph Reed, Henry Blair, Myron Healey, Mickey Simpson and Smiley Burnette
Matinee Classics - Ridin' on a Rainbow starring Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette, Mary Lee, Carol Adams, Ferris Taylor, Byron Foulger, Forrest Taylor and Georgia Caine
Matinee Classics - Rootin' Tootin' Rhythm starring Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette, Armida, Monte Blue, Hal Taliaferro, Ann Pendleton, Max Hoffman Jr., Al Clauser and His Oklahoma Outlaws and Champion
Matinee Classics - Rhythm of the Saddle starring Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette, Pert Kelton, Peggy Moran, LeRoy Mason, Arthur Loft, Ethan Laidlaw and Walter De Palma
Matinee Classics - On Top of Old Smoky starring Gene Autry, Gail Davis,  Smiley Burnette, Champion, Grandon Rhodes, Sheila Ryan and Kenne Duncan
Matinee Classics - Prairie Moon starring Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette, Shirley Deane, Tommy Ryan, Walter Tetley, David Gorcey, Stanley Andrews, William Pawley, Warner Richmond, Raphael Bennett, Tom London, Bud Osborne, Jack Rockwell and Peter Potter
Matinee Classics - Man from Music Mountain starring Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette, Carol Hughes, Sally Payne, Ivan Miller and Ed Cassidy
Matinee Classics - Last of the Pony Riders starring Gene Autry, Kathleen Case, Dickie Jones, Champion, John Downey, Howard Wright, Arthur Space, Gregg Barton and Smiley Burnette
Matinee Classics - Home on the Prairie starring Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette, June Storey, George Cleveland, Jack Mulhall and Walter Miller
Matinee Classics - Git Along Little Dogies starring Gene Autry
Matinee Classics - Guns and Guitars starring Gene Autry
Matinee Classics - Gold Mine in the Sky starring Gene Autry
Matinee Classics - In Old Monterey starring Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette, June Storey, George 'Gabby' Hayes, Robert Warwick, The Hoosier Hotshots and Sarie Sallie
Matinee Classics - Colorado Sunset starring Gene Autry
Matinee Classics - Comin' Round the Mountain starring Gene Autry
Matinee Classics - Carolina Moon starring Gene Autry
Matinee Classics - The Big Show starring Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette, Kay Hughes, Sally Payne, William Newell and Max 'Alibi' Terhune
Matinee Classics - Silver Spurs starring Roy Rogers, Smiley Burnette, John Carradine, Phyllis Brooks, Jerome Cowan, Joyce Compton, Dick Wessel, Hal Taliaferro, Forrest Taylor, Charles Wilson, Byron Foulger, Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers and Trigger
Matinee Classics - Sierra Sue starring Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette, Fay McKenzie, Frank Thomas, Robert Homans, Earle Hodgins, Dorothy Christy, Kermit Maynard, Jack Kirk, Eddie Dean, Budd Buster and Rex Lease
Matinee Classics - King of the Cowboys starring Roy Rogers, Smiley Burnette, Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers, Peggy Moran, Gerald Mohr, Dorothea Kent, Lloyd Corrigan, James Bush, Russell Hicks, Irving Bacon, Norman Wills and Forrest Taylor

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