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Wild West ShowBiz Cowboys

William S. Hart

December 6, 1864- June 23, 1946

Movie Cowboy:   Film star and director, William Surrey Hart achieved his fame in the silent era. Born on December 6, 1890 in Newburgh, New York, he first became a stage actor who starred on Broadway before traveling to Hollywood.

Among his films: The Bargain, (the first teaming of Hart and his Pinto pony Fritz), Hell´s Hinges, The Return of Draw Egan,, The Cradle of Courage, The Narrow Trail.

His last and most highly praised film, Tumbleweeds was released in 1925 and then reissued in 1939 with a synchronized sound track and a spoken prologue by Hart. He retired after that one. William S. Hart died June 23, 1946 in Los Angeles.

William S. Hart was a silent film actor, screenwriter, director, and producer. Born in Newburgh, New York on December 6, 1864, Hart began his acting career in his twenties. A successful Shakespearian actor on Broadway, Hart appeared in the original 1899 stage production of Ben Hur. It was at the age of 49 in 1914, that Hart went west to Hollywood to start his movie career.In Hollywood, after playing supporting roles in two short films, he achieved stardom as the lead in the feature, The Bargain. During the next 11 years, he made more than 65 silent films, the last and probably his most famous being "Tumbleweeds" in 1925.

Hart was fascinated by the Old West and particularly interested in making his western films realistic, noted for their authentic costumes and props. He acquired Billy the Kid's “six shooters”, and was a friend of legendary lawmen Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson.In 1921, Hart purchased a ranch house and surrounding property in which he built a 22 room mansion which today houses his collection of western art, Native American artifacts, and early Hollywood memorabilia. Hart lived at the ranch nearly 20 years until his death in 1946.In his will, Hart gave the Horseshoe Ranch to the County of Los Angeles.

It was to be set aside for the use and enjoyment of the public, at no charge. Today, the Horseshoe Ranch consists of 265 acres. Both the ranch house and the Hart residence are open to the public. An assortment of animals reside at Hart Park, including a small herd of bison which were a gift from the Walt Disney Studios in 1962. As part of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, California, Hart's ranch in Newhall is now called the "William S. Hart Park".

The William S. Hart Union High School District as well as William S. Hart Senior High School, both located in the Santa Clarita Valley in the northern part of Los Angeles County, were named in his honor.For his contribution to the motion picture industry, William S. Hart has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In 1975, he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

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