Login | Forgot Password? | Join the Community
Tex Ritter ACTOR


Tex Ritter was born January 12, 1905 Murvaul, Texas with the birth name Woodward Maurice Ritter.  He was the youngest of six children to parents James Everett and Elizabeth Matthews Ritter, both ranchers.  In his early years his family moved to Nederland Texas where Ritter studied, Voice, trumpet and guitar as a teenager.  He was a very good student and graduated with honors from Beaumont high school in 1922.
Ritter went on to University at the University of Texas in Austin where he had set his mind on a degree in law.  While at the University, Ritter met music historians, J. Frank Dobie, Oscar J. Fox, and John Lomax, who helped expand his knowledge of cowboy songs and western folklore. Ritter decided to join the school glee club and in 1928 and hosted a half-hour Saturday evening program on Houston, Texas, radio station KPRC, where he sang cowboy songs.
His first chance to perform on stage was with Broadway as part of the chorus in, "The New Moon In New York City" (1928). He toured with the play and briefly attempted to finish his law degree at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.  However, it proved to be to much to handle both an acting career and an attempt at pursuing a degree in law so he let the law degree go.
His acting career was on an upward streak with his next role on another Broadway play, "Green Grow the Lilacs" (1930) as a guitar playing cowboy.  Ritter impressed a music producer, Art Satherley, of the American Record Company and together they produced four songs between 1932 and 1933, including "The Cowboy’s Christmas Ball" and "Rye Whiskey," which became one of Ritter’s signature songs.  Ritter followed with another role in two more Broadway plays, "The Roundup" (1932) and "Mother Lode" (1934) along with radio performances as well on, The Lone Star Ranger, Cowboy Tom's Roundup, Death Valley Days and Tex Ritter's Camp Fire.
In 1935, Ritter signed a record contract with Decca Records and released thirty songs. 
Ritter's popularity was increasing and soon, Ritter was convinced to move to Hollywood by Edward Finney of Grand National Pictures.  He made over 70 singing cowboy films such as, "Song of the Gringo", "Arizona Days", "Hittin' the Trail" and "The Mystery of the Hooded Horsemen".
In 1941, Ritter married Dorothy Fay Southworth, an actress he met while filming, "Song of the Buckaroo" and together  they had two sons, Tom and John.  John Ritter later became a famous actor on sun television series as, "The Waltons" and "Three's Company" and the films, "Sling Blade" and "Skin Deep".
Johnny Mercer signed Ritter, the first country star ever signed to Capital records, in 1942  where they experienced much success rerecording, "Rye Whiskey".  Ritter's success with Capital records was so amazing, he remained with them the rest of his career.  Some of his hit songs during his time with Capital were, "I’m Wastin’ My Tears on You", "Jealous Heart," "You Two-Timed Me One Time Too Often," "When You Leave Don’t Slam the Door," and "You Will Have to Pay."
"Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling" (1952), the song from the film, "High Noon" starring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly won an Academy Award for Best song and became one of Ritter's most requested songs.  Ritter was one of the first music artists to record theme albums such as a re release of country songs as well as patriotic and religious themed music. 
Ritter's film, radio, and television career were even more successful then his music recording career.  For seven years, Ritter was ranked among the top ten money-making stars in Hollywood. In all, he made 78 films between 1936 and 1948 for such studios as Columbia, Monogram, and Universal. 
Tex became a founding member of the Country Music Association in the early 1960's and served as the group’s president in 1964 and 1965.  He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1964 and his devotion to his God, his family, and his country is a continuing inspiration to his countless friends throughout the world."  Shortly before his death in 1974 Ritter provided the voice-over for the Gordon Sinclair single, "The Americans (A Canadian’s Opinion)," which was released several days after his death.
Ritter married actress Dorothy Fay on June 14, 1941, until his death. Together, they had  two sons, Thomas Ritter and television actor John Ritter.  He was  also a grandfather to Jason Ritter.  He helped start United Cerebral Palsy after he found out his son, Thomas had the affliction. Ritter and his sons were dedicated to raising money and public awareness to help others with the illness.

Tex Ritter died of a heart attack in Nashville on January 2, 1974.  He is interred at Oak Bluff Memorial Park in Port Neches, Texas.


1973   Sing a Country Song
1972   The Marshal of Windy Hollow
1966   The Girl from Tobacco Row
1965   Tom and Jerry
1958   Ranch Party
1956   Down Liberty Road
1955   The First Bad Man
1955   Apache Ambush
1955   Wichita
1952   Buffalo Bill in Tomahawk Territory
1950   Holiday Rhythm
1945   Flaming Bullets
1945   Frontier Fugitives
1945   Three in the Saddle
1945   Enemy of the Law
1945   Marked for Murder
1944   The Whispering Skull
1944   Dead or Alive
1944   Gangsters of the Frontier
1944   Oklahoma Raiders
1944   Cowboy Canteen
1944   Marshal of Gunsmoke
1943   Arizona Trail
1943   Frontier Badmen
1943   Lone Star Trail
1943   Raiders of San Joaquin
1943   Cheyenne Roundup
1943   Tenting Tonight on the Old Camp Ground
1942   The Old Chisholm Trail
1942   Little Joe, the Wrangler
1942   Deep in the Heart of Texas
1942   Vengeance of the West
1942   Prairie Gunsmoke
1942   The Devil's Trail
1942   North of the Rockies 
1942   Bullets for Bandits
1942   Lone Star Vigilantes
1941   Roaring Frontiers
1941   King of Dodge City
1941   The Pioneers
1941   Ridin' the Cherokee Trail
1940   Rolling Home to Texas 
1940   Take Me Back to Oklahoma
1940   Arizona Frontier
1940   Roll, Wagons, Roll
1940   Rainbow Over the Range
1940   The Golden Trail
1940   Cowboy from Sundown
1940   Pals of the Silver Sage
1940   Rhythm of the Rio Grande
1939   Westbound Stage
1939   Riders of the Frontier
1939   Down the Wyoming Trail
1939   The Man from Texas
1939   Rollin' Westward
1939   Sundown on the Prairie
1938   Song of the Buckaroo
1938   Where the Buffalo Roam 
1938   Starlight Over Texas 
1938   The Utah Trail 
1938   Rollin' Plains
1938   Frontier Town
1937   Tex Rides with the Boy Scouts 
1937   The Mystery of the Hooded Horsemen
1937   Riders of the Rockies 
1937   Sing, Cowboy, Sing 
1937   Hittin' the Trail
1937   Trouble in Texas
1937   Arizona Days
1936   Headin' for the Rio Grande
1936   Song of the Gringo 

Matinee Classics - Ranch Party hosted by Tex Ritter
Matinee Classics - Rollin' Plains starring Tex Ritter, Snub Pollard, Horace Murphy, Harriet Bennet, Hobart Bosworth, Edward Cassidy, Karl Hackett and Charles King
Matinee Classics - Arizona Trail starring Tex Ritter, 'Fuzzy' Knight, Dennis Moore, Janet Shaw, Jack Ingram, Joseph J. Greene
Matinee Classics - Arizona Days starring Tex Ritter, Syd Saylor, Eleanor Stewart, Forrest Taylor, Snub Pollard and Glenn Strange
Matinee Classics - Riders of the Rockies starring Tex Ritter, Louise Stanley, Horace Murphy, Snub Pollard, Earl Dwire, Charles King and Yakima Canutt
Matinee Classics - Sing, Cowboy, Sing starring Tex Ritter, Louise Stanley, Al 'Fuzzy' St. John, Charles King, Karl Hackett, Bob McKenzie, Horace Murphy, Snub Pollard and Hank Worden
Matinee Classics - Song of the Gringo starring Tex Ritter, Joan Woodbury, John Forrest 'Fuzzy' Knight, Monte Blue, Warner Richmond, Al Jennings, Martin Garralaga, Richard T. Adams, William Desmond and Forrest Taylor
Matinee Classics - Take Me Back to Oklahoma starring Tex Ritter, Bob Wills, Slim Andrews, Terry Walker, Bob McKenzie, Karl Hackett, Donald Curtis, Gene Alsace, Olin Francis, Carleton Young and George Eldredge
Matinee Classics - Take Me Back to Oklahoma starring Tex Ritter, Bob Wills, Slim Andrews, Terry Walker, Bob McKenzie, Karl Hackett, Donald Curtis, Gene Alsace, Olin Francis, Carleton Young and George Eldredge
Matinee Classics - Tex Rides with the Boy Scouts starring Tex Ritter, Marjorie Reynolds, Horace Murphy, Snub Pollard, Tommy Bupp, Charles King, Forrest Taylor, Karl Hackett, Lynton Brent and Philip Ahn

Copyright © 2014 Matinee Classics LLC - All Rights Reserved. Developed by: VividConcept.com