Smiley Burnette

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  • burnettesmileybio.jpgSMILEY BURNETTE


    Date of Birth
    18 March 1911,
    Summum, Illinois, USA

    Date of Death
    16 February 1967,
    Encino, Los Angeles, California, USA (leukemia)

    Birth Name
    Lester Alvin Burnette

    Ole Frog

    Dallas McDonald (c. 1940 - 16 February 1967) (his death)

    Lester Alvin Burnett (March 18, 1911 – February 16, 1967),
    better known as Smiley Burnette, was a popular American country music performer
    and a comedic actor in Western films and on radio and TV,
    playing sidekick to Gene Autry and other B-movie cowboys.
    He was also a prolific singer-songwriter who could play as many as
    100 musical instruments, some simultaneously.
    His career, beginning in 1934, spanned four decades,
    including a regular role on CBS-TV's Petticoat Junction in the 1960s.

    Smiley worked on a local radio station and in Vaudeville after high school.
    Always interested in music, he was friends with Gene Autry and worked with him
    on the radio show "The National Barn Dance".
    When Westerns became a big draw with sound, the studios were always
    on the lookout for singing cowboys.

    In 1934, both Gene and Smiley made their debuts in In Old Santa Fe (1934).
    Smiley became well known as Gene's plump sidekick Frog Milhouse,
    and they worked together in over 80 Westerns.

    After Gene, Smiley provided the comic relief for other cowboy stars at Republic
    such as Sunset Carson and Charles Starrett (The Durango Kid).

    He also provided a lot of the music as he wrote over 300 western songs
    and sang quite a few in the films.
    Smiley was the first supporting actor to regularly appear on the
    Top Ten Western money-maker list.
    He became well known for his white horse with the black circle around one eye.
    When he used a team of white horses, as when he was
    'Spec Specialist' Smiley Burnette, each white horse had one black circle around one eye.
    When the 'B' movie Western reign ended in 1953,
    Smiley retired from the screen.

    He made occasional appearances on television including
    being a regular on the music show "Ozark Jubilee (1959)".
    His last performance was as railroad engineer
    Charlie Pratt on Petticoat Junction (1963) from 1963-67.
    - IMDb Mini Biography By: Tony Fontana

    In his later years, he was a part-time resident of Springfield, Missouri.
    In Springfield, he taped a radio program for RadiOzark Enterprises,
    and frequently appeared on the television program Jubilee USA. During one of his stays
    he had his name legally changed to Smiley.
    - IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

    He began singing as a child and played 100 instruments proficiently,
    yet never learned to read or write music.

    He and his wife adopted four children: Steven Burnett, Linda Burnette,
    Brian Burnette and Carolyn Burnette. Steven's daughter is Liz Burnette.

    He did a great deal of traveling, and once received an award from the
    National Safety Council for having worn out 27 cars without being involved in a single accident.

    He was posthumously awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at
    6125 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on May 22, 1986.

    Smiley Burnette passed away on February 16, 1967,
    a month away from what would have been his 56th birthday on March 18.

    Following his death, he was interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills)
    in Los Angeles, California.

    Posthumously inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1971
    and the Western Music Association in 1998.

    On May 5, 2012, he was posthumously inducted into the
    Cowtown Society of Western Music Hall of Fame as a Hero.

    In the 1960s he owned a drive-in restaurant in Escondido, CA,
    called "The Checkered Shirt".

    A part of his shtick was to talk and sing in a "frog" voice.
    In a number of his early westerns, he would play characters named "Frog Millhouse".

    In Old Santa Fe (1934) $75 per week
    Mystery Mountain (1934) $75 per week
    Melody Trail (1935) $50 per week
    The Singing Vagabond (1935) $50 per week
    The Oregon Trail (1936) $50 per week
    Comin' 'Round the Mountain (1936) $50 per week

    1963-1967 Petticoat Junction (TV Series) ...Charley Pratt
    - Go Away, Fat (1967) ... Charley Pratt (credit only)
    - Kate's Cousin Mae (1967) ... Charley Pratt
    - That Was the Night That Was (1967) ... Charley Pratt
    - Steve's Ol' Buddy (1967) ... Charley Pratt (credit only)
    - Kate's Big Deal (1967) ... Charley Pratt
    in all 110 episodes ...
    1965-1967 Green Acres (TV Series) ...Charley Pratt
    - It's So Peaceful in the Country (1967) ... Charley Pratt (uncredited)
    - Never Trust a Little Old Lady (1966) ... Charley Pratt
    - The Hooterville Image (1966) ... Charley Pratt
    - Lisa Bakes a Cake (1966) ... Charley Pratt
    - What Happened in Scranton? (1965) ... Charley Pratt
    in all 7 episodes..
    1953 Last of the Pony Riders ...Smiley
    1953 Saginaw Trail ...Smiley
    1953 Pack Train ...Smiley Burnette
    1953 Goldtown Ghost Riders ...Smiley Burnette
    1953 On Top of Old Smoky ...Smiley
    1953 Winning of the West ...Smiley
    1952 The Kid from Broken Gun ...Smiley Burnette
    1952 Junction City ...Smiley
    1952 The Rough, Tough West ...Fire Chief Smiley Burnette
    1952 Mountain Desperadoes ...Sgt. Smiley Burnette
    1952 The Hawk of Wild River ...Smiley Burnette
    1952 Smoky Canyon ...Smiley Burnette
    1951 Without Risk ...Smiley Burnette
    1951 Silver Chains ...Smiley Burnette
    1951 Cyclone Fury ...Smiley Burnette
    1951 Two-Fisted Agent ...Smiley Burnette
    1951 Snake River Desperadoes ...Smiley Burnette
    1951 Whirlwind ...Smiley Burnette
    1951 Fort Savage Raiders ...Smiley
    1951 Ridin' the Outlaw Trail ...Smiley Burnette
    1951 Prairie Roundup ...Smiley Burnette
    1950 Lightning Guns ...Smiley Burnette
    1950 Frontier Outpost ...Smiley Burnette
    1950 Raiders of Tomahawk Creek ..Smiley
    1950 Across the Badlands ...Smiley
    1950 Streets of Ghost Town ...Smiley Burbette
    1950 Suspected ...Smiley Burnette
    1950 The Clue ...Smiley
    1950 Lost River ...Smiley Burnette
    1949 The Fort ...Smiley
    1949 Remember Me ...Sheriff Smiley Burnette
    1949 Bandits of El Dorado ...Smiley Burnette
    1949 River of Poison ...Marshal Smiley Burnette
    1949 The Forged Will ...Smiley Burnette
    1949 Laramie ...Smiley Burnette
    1949 Desert Vigilante ...Smiley Burnette
    1949 Moonlight Raid ...Smiley Burnette
    1948 Condemned in Error ...Smiley
    1948 Desperate Men ...Smiley
    1948 Sign of the Dagger ...Smiley Burnette
    1948 Under Arrest ...Marshal Smiley Burnette
    1948 State Police ...Smiley Burnette
    1948 West of Sonora ...Smiley Burnette
    1948 Phantom Valley ...Smiley Burnette
    1948 Six-Gun Law ...Smiley Burnette
    1947 On Boot Hill ...Deputy Smiley Burnette
    1947 Buckaroo from Powder River ...Smiley Burnette
    1947 Riders of the Lone Star ...Smiley Burnette
    1947 The Stranger from Ponca City ...Smiley Burnette
    1947 Prairie Raiders ...Smiley Burnette
    1947 The Price of Crime ...Smiley
    1947 West of Dodge City ...Smiley Burnette - Editor
    1947 The Cheat ...Smiley Burnette
    1947 South of the Chisholm Trail ...Smiley Burnette
    1946 Golden Lady ...Smiley Burnette
    1946 Terror Trail ...Smiley Burnette
    1946 The Claw Strikes ...Smiley Burnette
    1946 The Cheat's Last Throw ...Smiley Burnette
    1946 Checkmate ...Smiley Burnette
    1946 High Stakes ...Deputy Smiley Burnette
    1946 On Boot Hill ...Smiley Burnette
    1946 Jail Break ...Smiley Burnette
    1946 Roaring Rangers ...Smiley Burnette
    1944 Firebrands of Arizona ...Frog / Beefsteak Discoe
    1944 Screen Snapshots Series 24, No. 4 (Short) ...Smiley Burnette
    1944 Code of the Prairie ...Frog
    1944 Bordertown Trail ...Frog Millhouse
    1944 Call of the Rockies ...Frog Millhouse
    1944 The Laramie Trail ...Frog
    1944 Beneath Western Skies ...Sheriff Frog Millhouse
    1944 Pride of the Plains ...Frog Millhouse
    1943 Raiders of Sunset Pass ...Frog Millhouse
    1943 Beyond the Last Frontier ...Frog Millhouse
    1943 Silver Spurs ...Frog
    1943 King of the Cowboys ...Frog Millhouse
    1943 Idaho ...Frog Millhouse
    1942 Heart of the Golden West ...Frog
    1942 Bells of Capistrano ...Frog
    1942 Call of the Canyon ...Frog Millhouse
    1942 Stardust on the Sage ...Frog
    1942 Home in Wyomin' ...Frog
    1942 Heart of the Rio Grande ...Frog Millhouse
    1942 Serenade of the West ...Frog
    1941 Sierra Sue ...Frog Millhouse
    1941 Down Mexico Way ...Frog
    1941 Under Fiesta Stars ...Frog
    1941 Sunset in Wyoming ...Frog Millhouse
    1941 The Singing Hill ...Frog Millhouse
    1941 Back in the Saddle ...Frog Millhouse
    1941 Ridin' on a Rainbow ...Frog
    1940 Ride, Tenderfoot, Ride ...Frog Millhouse
    1940 Carolina Moon ...Frog Millhouse
    1940 Gaucho Serenade ...Frog Millhouse
    1940 Rancho Grande ...Frog Millhouse
    1939 South of the Border ...Frog
    1939 Rovin' Tumbleweeds ...Frog Millhouse
    1939 In Old Monterey ...Frog
    1939 Colorado Sunset ...Frog Millhouse
    1939 Mountain Rhythm ...Frog Millhouse
    1939 Blue Montana Skies ...Frog Millhouse
    1939 Mexicali Rose ...Frog Millhouse
    1939 Home on the Prairie ...Frog Millhouse
    1938 Western Jamboree ...Frog Millhouse
    1938 Rhythm of the Saddle ...Frog Millhouse
    1938 Prairie Moon ...Frog Millhouse
    1938 Billy the Kid Returns ...Frog Millhouse
    1938 Man from Music Mountain ...Frog Millhouse
    1938 Gold Mine in the Sky ...Frog
    1938 Under Western Stars ...Frog Millhouse
    1938 Hollywood Stadium Mystery ...Smiley Burnette
    1938 The Old Barn Dance ...Frog Millhouse
    1937 Manhattan Music Box ...Frog - Accordian Player
    1937 Springtime in the Rockies ...Frog Millhouse
    1937 Boots and Saddles ...Frog Millhouse
    1937 Public Cowboy No. 1 ...Frog Millhouse
    1937 Meet the Boy Friend ...Band Leader
    1937 Yodelin' Kid from Pine Ridge ...Colonel Millhouse
    1937 Rootin' Tootin' Rhythm ...Frog Milhouse
    1937 Serenade of the West ...Frog Millhouse
    1937 Round-Up Time in Texas ...Frog
    1937 Dick Tracy ...Mike McGurk
    1937 Larceny on the Air ...Jimmy
    1936 A Man Betrayed ...Hillbilly
    1936 Texas Serenade ...Deputy Frog
    1936 The Big Show ...Frog
    1936 Ride, Ranger, Ride ...Frog
    1936 Oh, Susanna! ...Frog Millhouse
    1936 Guns and Guitars ...Frog Millhouse
    1936 The Border Patrolman ...Chuck Owens (as 'Smiley' Burnette)
    1936 Undersea Kingdom ...Briny Deep
    1936 Hearts in Bondage ...Rammer (uncredited)
    1936 The Singing Cowboy ...Frog Millhouse
    1936 Comin' 'Round the Mountain ...Frog
    1936 Stepping Into Society ...Mover #2
    1936 Red River Valley ...Frog
    1935 Eventful Journey ...Singer (uncredited)
    1935 The Singing Vagabond ...Frog
    1935 The Cheyenne Tornado ...Singer Over Credits (uncredited)
    1935 Sagebrush Troubadour ...Frog Millhouse
    1935 Melody Trail ...Frog Millhouse
    1935 Waterfront Lady ...Musician
    1935 Harmony Lane ...Singer (uncredited)
    1935 Tumbling Tumbleweeds ...Smiley
    1935 The Adventures of Rex and Rinty ...Jensen
    1935 Lightning Triggers ...Singer Over Opening Credits (uncredited)
    1935 The Kids in the Shoe (Short) ...Kid (singing voice, uncredited)
    1935 The Phantom Empire ...Oscar (as Lester 'Smiley' Burnett)
    1935 Arizona Bad Man ...Credits Singer (uncredited)
    1934 Mystery Mountain ...Lake Teamster [Ch. 6-7] (uncredited)
    1934 The Marines Are Coming ...Sailor Delivering Flowers to Bill (uncredited)
    1934 In Old Santa Fe ...Accordionist-Singer (uncredited)

    Best Wishes
    London- England

  • Lester Alvin Burnett (March 18, 1911 – February 16, 1967), better known as Smiley Burnette,
    was a popular American country music performer and a comedic actor in Western films
    and on radio and TV, playing sidekick to Gene Autry and other B-movie cowboys.

    He was also a prolific singer-songwriter who could play
    as many as 100 musical instruments some simultaneously.


    His career, beginning in 1934, spanned four decades,
    including a regular role on CBS-TV's Petticoat Junction in the 1960s.

    A honored guest because of his service to the western genre.
    I would have liked to have seen him as a sometime sidekick to Duke
    as I think he would have been as good as Gabby Hayes or Walter Brennan

    Best Wishes
    London- England