George Montgomery

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    George_Montgomery_Pic_1George Montgomery, the youngest of 15 children, was born on August 27, 1916, and spent his formative years on a Montana homestead south of the Canadian border, not far from the areas where Charles Russell painted so vividly. During Montgomery's first year at the University of Montana, he left his architecture studies and moved to Hollywood. He became a film idol to millions, during the motion Picture industry's "golden years", following in the footsteps of actor and fellow Montanan, Gary Cooper.
    Exhibit_Information_Click_Here__72_horge's film career spanned almost six decades. He starred in 87 films and numerous television shows, including the lead role as 'Matt Rockford' in the CIMARRON CITY TV series, which ran on NBC in 1958.

    His earliest film work --- as George Letz --- occurred in the mid to late 1930s at Republic Pictures where he did bit parts and supporting roles in about thirty films, most of which were B westerns and serials.  During this period, his most remembered role was as 'Jim Clark', one of the five Rangers in the 1938 cliffhanger, THE LONE RANGER.  It was in late 1939, around the time that he exited Republic and signed with 20th Century Fox, that George Letz became George Montgomery.

    George_Montgomery_SculptureIn addition to a demanding acting career, George found the time and energy to design and build a number of exceptional homes; craft fine furniture, create bronze sculpture and collect Western American artwork.



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Audie Murphy

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  • Audie Murphy - Background +

    Audie_Murohy_w_metalsAudie Leon Murphy (June 20, 1925 – May 28, 1971) was one of the most famous and decorated American combat soldiers of World War II. He was awarded every U.S. military award for valor available from the U.S. Army, and was also decorated by France and Belgium. He served in the Mediterranean and European Theater of Operations. He was presented the Medal of Honor for his defensive actions against German troops on January 26, 1945, at the Colmar Pocket near Holtzwihr, France. During an hour-long siege, he stood alone on a burning tank destroyer firing a machine gun at attacking German soldiers and tanks. Wounded and out of ammunition, Murphy climbed off the tank, refused medical attention, and led his men on a successful counter assault.

    He was born into a large sharecropper family in Hunt County, Texas,Audie_Murphy_decorated and his skill with a hunting rifle was a necessity for feeding the family. His father abandoned the family, and his mother died when he was a teenager. Murphy dropped out of school in fifth grade to pick cotton and find other work to help support his family. His older sister helped him falsify documentation about his birth date in order to meet the minimum age requirement for enlisting in the military. He received training at Camp Wolters, Texas, Fort Meade, Maryland and Arzew, Algeria. He first saw action in the Allied invasion of Sicily and Anzio, and was part of the 1944 liberation of Rome. On August 15, 1944, he was part of the Allied Invasion of southern France, where he saw action at Montélimar and the capture of German Brigadier General Otto Richter. He led his men on a successful assault at the L'Omet quarry near Cleurie in northeastern France in October 1944. Murphy was only 19 years old when he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at the Colmar Pocket. He always maintained that the medals belonged to his entire military unit. Suffering what would in later wars be labeled post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), he slept with a loaded gun under his pillow and looked for solace in addictive sleeping pills. The Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital in San Antonio is named for him.Exhibit_Click_Here_2

     AfAudie_Murphyter the war, Murphy enjoyed a 21-year career as an actor. He played himself in the 1955 autobiographical To Hell and Back based on his 1949 memoirs of the same name. Most of his 44 films were Westerns. He made guest appearances on celebrity television shows and starred in the series Whispering Smith. As a songwriter, he penned the successful "Shutters and Boards". He bred quarter horses in California and Arizona, and became a regular participant in horse racing. In the last few years of his life, he was plagued with money problems. He remained aware of his role model influence and refused offers for alcohol and cigarette commercials. Murphy died in a plane crash in Virginia in 1971, just 23 days before his 46th birthday. He was interred with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery.


    Audie_Murphy_HaircutFarmersville, TX 1946. Audie Murphy getting a haircut. Look at all the men outside looking in!

    Look how young he looks at 21 years of age - - like a 14 or 15 year. Mind you, he had already served four years in the military and oversees in the war!

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  • Audie Murphy - Exhibit +

    Audie Murphy Made three films in Lone Pine

    Hell Bent for Leather (1960)
    Posse From Hell (1961)
    Showdown (1963)


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Contact Info

The Museum of Western Film History
701 S. Main Street
Lone Pine, CA 93545