King of the Cowboys

The regal nickname of Roy Rogers, the star of the popular 1950s western adventure THE ROY ROGERS SHOW/NBC/1951-57 who portrayed a rough and tumble sheriff of Mineral City. Astride his horse Trigger, Roy maintained law and order in the contemporary west.


At the end of each program, Roy sang “Happy Trail’s” written by Dale Evans.

Born Leonard Franklin Slye on November 5, 1911, Roy Rogers spent his early years living in a small town near Portsmouth Ohio; working in a shoe factory with his father in Cincinnati; and then moving with his family to California in the depth of the Depression in the spring of 1930.

He began singing with the musical group the Rocky Mountaineers in 1932, founded his own group The Sons of the Pioneers in 1934 and then was discovered on the lot of Republic Studios by producer Sol Siegal. The rest is history.

Roy Rogers starred in 81 westerns for Republic Pictures and 100 filmed episodes for television. Once, New York Times critic Jack Gould said “Mr. Rogers is billed as the ‘King of the Cowboys’ but on the basis of the first film, he’s got a piece to travel before catching up with his rivals-Bill Boyd and Gene Autry” (excerpt review about THE ROY ROGERS SHOW premiere episode which aired December 30, 1951).

Despite his critics, Rogers became a heroic champion of good and justice to generations of children and adults alike. He put his boot-print in cement at Graumann’s Chinese Theater on April 21, 1949.

Memorabilia from his career can be found at the Roy Rogers Dale Evans Museum in Branson, Missouti (formerly in Victorville, California).

Roy Rogers died on July 6, 1998 at the age of 86.

See also “Queen of the West”


Born in Philadelphia, Jerome Alphonse Holst worked 30 years as a librarian. He has since retired and lives in Greensboro, North Carolina. Mr. Holst is also the author of the children’s books “Norman the Troll,” "Norman the Troll and the Haunted House," and "Gretchen and the Gremlins." In addition, he penned the fantasy novel “The Adventures of Glinda Gale,” a retelling of “The Wizard of Oz" and the reference text “The Encyclopedia of Movie and TV Insults.” .

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Posted in Showbiz Nicknames, Westerns

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