Lash LaRue

Family tree of Lash LaRue

Actor

AmericanBorn Alfred LaRue Wilson

American actor

Born on June 15, 1917 in Watervliet, Michigan , United States

Died on May 21, 1996 in Burbank, California , United States

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Alfred "Lash" LaRue (June 15, 1917 – May 21, 1996) was a western motion picture star of the 1940s and 1950s.


...   Alfred "Lash" LaRue (June 15, 1917 – May 21, 1996) was a western motion picture star of the 1940s and 1950s.


Biography


Early life and education
Born Alfred LaRue in Gretna, Louisiana in 1917, he was reared in various towns throughout Louisiana, but in his teens the family moved to Los Angeles, California, where he attended St. John's Military Academy and the College of the Pacific. Strangely, his California death records reportedly indicate the actor's father's surname was Wilson and that Lash was born in Michigan.


Film career
LaRue was originally screen tested by Warner Bros. but was rejected because he looked too much like Humphrey Bogart, then one of the studio's contract stars.
He signed a contract with Universal Pictures in 1944 as "Alfred LaRue", appearing in two Deanna Durbin musicals and a serial. Durbin and LaRue were romantically involved during his tenure there.
In 1945 independent producer Robert Emmett Tansey, releasing through the small PRC studio, launched a new western series with a difference: the features would be filmed in then-unusual Cinecolor. Singing cowboy Eddie Dean starred, with "Al LaRue" featured as "The Cheyenne Kid" and using a bullwhip expertly to disarm villains.
LaRue graduated to his own starring series (as "Cheyenne") in 1947, first for PRC, then for its successor Eagle-Lion (which continued to use the PRC brand name for its westerns), and finally for producer Ron Ormond. It was at this time that he developed his image as cowboy hero Lash LaRue, dressed all in black. Al St. John had been Buster Crabbe's comic sidekick in PRC westerns; after Crabbe left the studio, St. John's character "Fuzzy Q. Jones" was written into the Lash LaRue scripts.
Lash LaRue was different from the usual cowboy hero of the era. Dressed in black, he spoke with a "city tough-guy" accent somewhat like that of Humphrey Bogart, whom he physically resembled. His use of a bullwhip, however, was what set him apart from contemporary cowboy stars such as Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. His influence was felt throughout the dying medium of B-westerns; for example, he had an imitator, Whip Wilson, who starred in his own brief series, and even Roy Rogers started using a bullwhip in some of his Republic Pictures Westerns made during the same period.
LaRue made frequent personal appearances at small-town movie theaters that were showing his films during his heyday of 1948 to 1951, a common practice for cowboy stars in those days. However, his skillful displays of stunts with his whip, done live on movie theater stages, also convinced young Western fans that there was at least one cowboy hero who could perform in real life the things he did on screen. He continued working in films and television until he retired in 1990.


Personal life
For a time he was married to Reno Browne, a B-western film actress, who together with Dale Evans was one of only two Western actresses ever to have their own comic book fashioned after their characters. He later married Barbra Fuller, a radio, film and television actress. Their marriage lasted 14 months; they wed February 23, 1951 in Yuma, Arizona, and divorced June 2, 1952. They had no children but did have a godchild, child actor J.P. Sloane, the son of "Television's Singing Troubadour" Jimmie Jackson and "Television's Hollywood Hostess" Anita Coleman.


Television
In the later 1950s, LaRue was featured on the children's program The Gabby Hayes Show (in footage from his old PRC westerns). He appeared several times on the syndicated television series 26 Men, true stories of the Arizona Rangers. LaRue also appeared on Jimmie Jackson's television show Memory Lane. He appeared seven times in different roles in the 1956 TV western Judge Roy Bean. One of his roles on Judge Roy Bean was as the outlaw John Wesley Hardin. He portrayed another real-life criminal, Doc Barker, in the TV series Gangbusters, which was later recut into the film Guns Don't Argue. LaRue and Steve Brodie shared the role (from 1959–1961) of Sheriff Johnny Behan in Cochise County, Arizona, on ABC's The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, starring Hugh O'Brian. LaRue appeared five times; Brodie, nine times.
A role as the villain in a pornographic western, Hard on the Trail, in 1972, led him to repentance as a missionary for ten years, as he had not been informed of the adult nature of the film and would not have consented to appear in the film. He did not actually appear in any of the pornographic scenes. The film was later released without the pornographic scenes and retitled Hard Trail in an attempt to eliminate the double entendre.


Death
LaRue died of emphysema in 1996 at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California. He had recently undergone triple-bypass surgery and suffered from emphysema. He was cremated at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California. He was survived by his wife, Frances Bramlett LaRue, three sons and three daughters. He had reportedly been married at least ten times.


Legacy
LaRue was mentioned in the 1973 song "Childhood – 1949", written and recorded by Bobby Goldsboro as the B-side to his hit single "Summer (The First Time)".
He is one of many classic western stars mentioned in the 1974 Statler Brothers song "Whatever Happened to Randolph Scott?".
Writer/singer/producer Bruce Blackman of the pop group Starbuck wrote and recorded the tribute song "Lash LaRue", included on their 1976 album Moonlight Feels Right.
He was mentioned in the Shel Silverstein song "The Great Conch Train Robbery" in Silverstein's 1980 album of the same name.
A fifth season episode of Rockford Files, "A Material Difference", has Rockford confronting his notorious sidekick Angel Martin at an outdoor restaurant, asking of his leather jacket and dark clothing, "What are you, a clone of Lash LaRue?"
LaRue is seen on the 1986 Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings duet album Heroes. On the back cover, LaRue is standing with the duo.
In Quentin Tarantino's 1994 film Pulp Fiction, Winston Wolfe (Harvey Keitel) jokingly refers to Vincent Vega (John Travolta) as "Lash LaRue".
Professional wrestler Mark LeRoux borrowed his ring name from LaRue, dubbing himself "Lash LeRoux" in 1999.


Filmography

Comics
Lash LaRue Western comic books were published first by Fawcett Comics (issues #1 through 46) and later by Charlton Comics (issues #47 through 84), between 1949 and 1961. The first issue alone today is worth upwards of $1,000 in near mint condition. They were among the most popular Western-themed comics of the era. Initially, LaRue and other Western stars weren't paid royalties by Fawcett; they were satisfied with just the publicity. (AC later published two reprint editions in 1990.) LaRue comics sold well with a total of 12 million copies in 1952 alone. Many stories featured his godson, J.P. Sloane.

Later films


References


Bibliography
Lash LaRue, the King of the Bullwhip, by Chuck Thornton and David Rothel (Empire Publishing, NC, 1988). ISBN 0-944019-06-4.
The King of the Bullwhip: Lash LaRue, the Man, not the Legend, by Charles M. Sharpe (Sharpeco, NC, 1996). ASIN B0006QS5T6.


External links
Lash LaRue at IMDb
Lash LaRue-bio on (re)Search my Trash



Biography from Wikipedia (see original) under licence CC BY-SA 3.0

 

Geographical origins

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