Orvin Gene Autry, 29 September 1907, near Tioga, Texas, USA, d. 2 October 1998, Studio City, California, USA. The eldest of four children of Delbert Autry, a poor tenant farmer, who moved his family many times over the years, before eventually arriving at Ravia, Oklahoma. His grandfather, a Baptist minister, taught him to sing when he was a child so that he could perform in his church choir and at other local events. Autry also learned to ride at an early age and worked the fields with his father. He grew up listening to cowboy songs and received his first guitar at the age of 12 (initially he studied the saxophone but chose the guitar so that he could sing as well). He graduated from school in 1924 and found work as a telegraph operator for the Frisco Railroad in Chelsea, Oklahoma. He used to take his guitar to work and one night his singing was heard by the famous entertainer Will Rogers, who stopped to send a telegram. He suggested that Autry should look for a...