He became known as The Singing Cowboy for his appearances in ninety-three movies and ninety-one TV productions. His role as an honest American hero earned him a reputation as one of country music's primary figures.
He did work on his father's ranch and worked as a railroad telegrapher. While working, he performed as a singer and a guitarist at local dances.
He owned the Angels baseball team for over thirty years.
His grandfather was a Methodist preacher. His parents moved to southern Oklahoma when he was a child. Their names were Delbert and Einora. He was married to Jimmy Long's niece, May Spivey, from 1932 until her death in 1980.