Roy “King of the Cowboys” Rogers was born Leonard Franklin Slye on November 5, 1911, in Duck Run, Ohio. In 1929, Roy left Ohio for California. During the years of the Great Depression, Roy worked as a truck driver and fruit picker in the California orchards. Seeing the joy his guitar brought around the workers’ evening campfires, Roy left the orchards for Los Angeles to pursue a music career. In l934 he formed the Sons of the Pioneers along with Bob Nolan and Tim Spencer. From his first film appearance in 1935, Roy worked steadily in western pictures as a singing cowboy. He became a matinee idol and an American legend. He appeared in 88 movies and 100 television episodes with his famous palomino, Trigger. For 15 consecutive years from 1939 to 1954, Roy held first place in the Motion Picture Herald Top Ten Money-Making Western Stars poll. He also held first place from 1943-1952 in the Box Office poll.
Dale “Queen of the West” Evans was born Francis Octavia Smith on October 31, 1912, in Uvalde, Texas. During her career, Dale was famous as a singer-songwriter, actress, and best-selling author. Her first of 26 books, Angel Unaware, was written in 1953 and is still in print today. She and Roy met on the set of their first film together in 1944. They co-starred in 28 of Roy’s movies. They married in 1947 on a film location in Oklahoma. Their marriage lasted 51 years and they had nine children–four biological, four adopted, and one foster child.
Roy and Dale’s memory is kept alive through their son, Roy “Dusty” Rogers Jr., and grandson Dustin Roy Rogers. Their live music show in Branson, Missouri, at the RFD-TV The Theatre, is dedicated to continuing the legacy of Roy Rogers & Dale Evans.