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Woodward Maurice "Tex" Ritter (January 12, 1905 – January 2, 1974) was an American country music singer and movie actor popular from the mid-1930s into the 1960s, and the patriarch of the Ritter family in acting (son John and grandsons Jason and Tyler). He is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Background information From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
He was born Woodward Maurice Ritter in Murvaul, Texas, the son of Martha Elizabeth (née Matthews) and James Everett Ritter. He grew up on his family's farm in Panola County and attended grade school in Carthage. He attended South Park High School in Beaumont, Texas. After graduating with honors, he entered the University of Texas at Austin in 1922; he studied pre-law and majored in government, political science, and economics. After traveling to Chicago with a musical troupe, he entered Northwestern Law School.
Radio and Broadway
An early pioneer of country music, Ritter soon became interested in show business. In 1928, he sang on KPRC-AM in Houston, a 30-minute program of mostly cowboy songs. That same year, he moved to New York City and landed a job in the men's chorus of the Broadway show The New Moon (1928).
He appeared as cowboy Cord Elam in the Broadway production Green Grow the Lilacs (1931), the basis for the musical Oklahoma!. He also played the part of Sagebrush Charlie in The Round Up (1932) and Mother Lode (1934).
In 1932, he starred in New York City's first broadcast Western, The Lone Star Rangers on WOR-AM, where he sang and told tales of the Old West. Ritter wrote and starred in Cowboy Tom's Roundup on WINS-AM in 1933, a daily children's cowboy program aired over two other East Coast stations for three years. He also performed on the radio show WHN Barndance and sang on NBC Radio shows; and appeared in several radio dramas, including CBS's Bobby Benson's Adventures.
In 1936, Ritter moved to Los Angeles. His motion picture debut was in Song of the Gringo (1936) for Grand National Pictures.
Ritter's recording career was his most successful period. He was the first artist signed with the newly formed Capitol Records as well as its first Western singer. His first recording session was on June 11, 1942.
In 1944, he scored a hit with "I'm Wastin' My Tears on You", which hit No. 1 on the country chart and 11 on the pop chart. Fourteen years later, an article in the trade publication Billboard noted that with that song "Tex reached the style of rhythmic tune that would assure his musical stature".
"There's a New Moon Over My Shoulder" was a country chart No. 2 and pop chart No. 21. In 1945, he had the No. 1, 2, and 3 songs on Billboard's Most Played Jukebox Folk Records poll, a first in the industry. Between 1945 and 1946, he registered seven consecutive top five hits, including "You Two-Timed Me One Time Too Often" (No. 1) written by Jenny Lou Carson, which spent eleven weeks on the charts. In 1948, "Rye Whiskey" and his cover of "The Deck of Cards" both made the top ten and "Pecos Bill" reached No. 15. In 1950, "Daddy's Last Letter (Private First Class John H. McCormick)" also became a hit.
Ritter first toured Europe in 1952, where his appearances included a starring role in the Texas Western Spectacle at London's Harringay Arena. That same year, Ritter recorded the movie titletrack song "High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darlin')", which became a hit. At the first televised Academy Awards ceremony in 1953, he sang "High Noon", which received an Oscar for Best Song that year.
.Ritter became one of the founding members of the Country Music Association in Nashville, Tennessee, and spearheaded the effort to build the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum into which he was inducted in 1964.
He moved to Nashville in 1965 and began working for WSM Radio and the Grand Ole Opry, earning a lifetime membership in the latter in 1970.
Ritter was married to actress Dorothy Fay [image] on June 14, 1941, until his death. The couple had two sons, Thomas Matthews "Tom" Ritter (b. January 8, 1947) and actor John Ritter (September 17, 1948 – September 11, 2003). Tex helped start United Cerebral Palsy after his son, Thomas was found to have cerebral palsy. Ritter and his sons spent a great deal of time raising money and public awareness to help others with the illness. He is also the grandfather of actors, Jason and Tyler Ritter. In the early 70s Mr. Ritter often sang gospel music and spoke at a number of southern churches.
In 1974, he had a heart attack and died in Nashville, 10 days before his 69th birthday. He was survived by his wife and two sons. Following the death of his son John from an aortic dissection in 2003, the family now believes that he died of it, as dissections often run in the family.
His last hit record was a cover of Gordon Sinclair's famous editorial "The Americans (A Canadian's Opinion)". It reached No. 35 on the country chart shortly after his death.
He is interred at Oak Bluff Memorial Park in Section 8 in Port Neches in Jefferson County, Texas. His son John is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles, California.
For his contribution to the recording industry, Ritter has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6631 Hollywood Boulevard. In 1980, he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He was a member of the charter group of inductees into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in Carthage, in 1998.
In 1986, Ritter was honored posthumously with a Golden Boot Award for his work in Western films.
Updated: 20170325 | 20190208 | 20201231
Wikipedia: This page was last edited on 25 December 2020, at 15:35 (UTC).