Bob Baker (actor)

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Bob Baker
Bob Baker singing cowboy.jpg
Born Stanley L. Weed
(1910-11-08)8 November 1910
Forest City, Iowa, USA
Died 29 August 1975(1975-08-29) (aged 64)
Prescott, Arizona, USA
Nationality American
Known for Singing cowboy

Bob Baker (8 November 1910 - 29 August 1975) was a singer who had several starring roles as a singing cowboy in the late 1930s.

Early years[edit]

Baker was born Stanley Lelend Weed on 8 November 1910 in Forest City, Iowa. He spent part of his childhood and youth in Colorado and Arizona.[1] Unlike most movie cowboys, Baker really worked as a cowboy in his youth, and was a rodeo champion when he was sixteen.[2] He joined the army at the age of 18, where he learned to play the guitar.[1] He began singing professionally at the age of twenty, for the KTSM (AM) radio station in El Paso, Texas.[2] In Chicago he spent several months with WLS (AM).[3] In 1935 he married Evelyn. They were to have four children.[1]

Film career[edit]

Baker won a Universal Studios screen test in 1937 in competition against Leonard Slye (Roy Rogers), and became the studio's lead singing cowboy. He starred in a dozen pictures before suffering an injury and being demoted to secondary roles.[3] Bob Baker starred in the "B" western Courage of the West (1937) with Lois January. She said, "Bob Baker was too pretty! He was nice, but didn't get friendly. He didn't want me to sing a song in his picture. That business is full of jealousy...".[4] This movie, his first, was thought to be his best. The others suffered from predictable plots and poor scripts.[2]

Fuzzy Knight worked with Baker as a sidekick on his first four films. Starting with The Last Stand (1938) Baker rode Apache, a pinto he had bought in Arizona. A well-trained horse, Apache tolerated his signature trick of vaulting over the horse's rear into the saddle.[2] Between work on the sets, Baker had to tour and perform at movie theatres, in part to promote the pictures and in part to earn extra income.[5] Bob Baker accompanied his singing with a Gibson Advanced Jumbo guitar.[6] He did not make any recordings.[3]

In a poll of 1939, Baker was rated tenth in a list of moneymaking Western stars.[1] However, he did not have the star quality of a performer like Gene Autry.[7] In 1939 he was partnered with Johnny Mack Brown and Fuzzy Knight in a series of movies where Brown clearly emerged as the star. His career went downhill, and he began playing in secondary roles, then in bit parts.[1]

Later years[edit]

After leaving the movie industry Baker served again in the army in World War II.[2] He then became a member of the police force of Flagstaff, Arizona.[3] He once again served in the US Army during the Korean War.[1] He later ran a dude ranch and became an expert in leather crafts.[3] He had a series of heart attacks towards the end of his life. He died of a stroke on 29 August 1975 in Prescott, Arizona.[1]

Films[edit]

Year Star? Title Role Notes
1937 * Courage of the West Jack Saunders
1937 * The Singing Outlaw Bob 'Scrap' Gordon
1938 * Border Wolves Rusty Reynolds
1938 The Last Stand Tip Douglas posing as the Laredo Kid
1938 * Western Trails Bob Mason
1938 * Outlaw Express Captain Bob Bradley
1938 * Black Bandit Sheriff Bob Ramsay / Don Ramsay
1938 * Guilty Trails Bob Higgins
1938 * Prairie Justice U.S. Marshal Bob Randall, aka Bob Smith
1938 * Ghost Town Riders Bob Martin
1939 * Honor of the West Sheriff Bob Barrett
1939 * The Phantom Stage Bob Carson
1939 * Desperate Trails Clem Waters
1939 Oklahoma Frontier Tom Rankin
1939 Chip of the Flying U Dusty
1940 West of Carson City Nevada
1940 Riders of Pasco Basin Bruce Moore
1940 Bad Man from Red Butte Gabriel 'Gabby' Hornsby
1941 - Along the Rio Grande Deputy Bob Uncredited
1941 - Arizona Bound Marshal Bat Madison Uncredited
1942 - Ride 'Em Cowboy Ranch Cowhand Driving Bus Uncredited
1942 Overland Mail Bill Cody [Chs.1,14]
1943 Wild Horse Stampede Marshal Bob Tyler
1944 - Oklahoma Raiders Cowhand in Saloon / Lyncher with Rope Uncredited
1944 - Mystery Man Bar 20 Cowhand Uncredited, (Last appearance)

References[edit]

Citations

Sources

External links[edit]