Rex Allen (December 31, 1920 - December 17, 1999) was an actor, singer, and songwriter (a.k.a. the Arizona Cowboy) who became famous beginning in the early 1950s at the height of the "singing cowboy" movie craze. His huge popularity on the silver screen also carried over to the charts, and as a performing artist, he is best known for his rendition of "Crying In The Chapel" (1953, later also a top hit for Elvis Presley in 1965) and "Don't Go Near The Indians" (1962).
Born in Willcox, Arizona, he began performing in public as a child singing and playing the guitar alongside his fiddle-playing father and after high school, toured the Southwest as a rodeo rider. He began his singing career on radio in Phoenix, Arizona, Chicago, and various cities in the Northeast before signing with Mercury and landing a movie contract in 1949 with Republic Pictures in Hollywood. From 1950-1954, he starred as himself in 19 musical Westerns and became a top box office draw beginning with "The Arizona Cowboy" (1950), the movie from which he got his famous moniker.
Rex Allen debuted on the Country charts in 1949 with "Afraid," performed with The Arizona Wranglers and Jerry Byrd. He had his first hit on the Pop/Rock charts in 1951 with "The Roving Kind," which was followed later that year on both charts by "Sparrow In The Tree Top" and "Crying In The Chapel," the latter of which became his greatest hit and crossover success along with "Don't Go Near The Indians" (1962). Other hits include "Marines, Let's Go" (1961), "Tear After Tear" (1964), and "Tiny Bubbles" (1968).
In addition to his "singing cowboy" movies, Rex Allen also starred in a number of other Westerns as well as his own TV show, "Frontier Doctor." Beginning in the late 1950s, he became a longtime narrator for many Disney nature and other specials and also lent his trademark voice to the Purina Dog Chow commercials and other TV ads for many years. He was honored in 1975 with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
- CMT remembers famed country singer and actor Rex Allen.
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- Don't Go Near The Indians 1962
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