Bob Baker (actor)
Stanley Leland Weed
8 November 1910
|Died||29 August 1975 (aged 64)|
|Known for||Singing cowboy|
The son of Guy Weed and Ethel Leland Weed, Baker was born in Forest City, Iowa. He spent part of his childhood and youth in Colorado and Arizona.[full citation needed] Unlike most movie cowboys, Baker really worked as a cowboy in his youth, and was a rodeo champion when he was sixteen. He joined the army at the age of 18, where he learned to play the guitar.
Baker began singing professionally at the age of twenty, for the KTSM radio station in El Paso, Texas. In Chicago he spent several months with WLS. As a professional rodeo roper and rider, he competed in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Pendleton, Oregon, and Salinas, California, among other sites.
In 1935 he married Evelyn. They were to have four children.
Baker won a Universal Studios screen test in 1937 in competition against Leonard Slye (Roy Rogers), and became the studio's lead singing cowboy. Known as "Tumbleweed" Baker, he starred in a dozen pictures before suffering an injury and being demoted to secondary roles. He performed many of his own stunts. 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...". This movie, his first, was thought to be his best. The others suffered from predictable plots and poor scripts.
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. 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. Bob Baker accompanied his singing with a Gibson Advanced Jumbo guitar. He did not make any recordings.
In a poll of 1939, Baker was rated tenth in a list of moneymaking Western stars. However, he did not have the star quality of a performer like Gene Autry. 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.
After leaving the movie industry Baker served again in the army in World War II. He then became a member of the police force of Flagstaff, Arizona. He once again served in the US Army during the Korean War. He later ran a dude ranch and became an expert in leather crafts.
Baker had a series of heart attacks toward the end of his life and died of a stroke on August 29, 1975, in Prescott, Arizona. He was buried at the Clear Creek Cemetery in Camp Verde, Arizona.
|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, (final film role)|
- Petroski, William (June 17, 2014). "Lights! Camera! Historical exhibition!". The Des Moines Register. Iowa, Des Moines. p. 10 A. Retrieved September 21, 2019 – via Newspapers.com. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Publisher's Perspective – Volume 5, Issue 1". Iowa History Journal. Iowa Publishing Corp. Archived from the original on September 21, 2019. Retrieved September 21, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Brumburgh 2012. sfn error: no target: CITEREFBrumburgh2012 (help)
- Driscoll 2008, p. 42. sfn error: no target: CITEREFDriscoll2008 (help)
- Tribe 2006, p. 62.
- "Bob Baker Here in Person April 19". The Daily Times-News. North Carolina, Burlington. April 17, 1939. p. 10. Retrieved September 21, 2019 – via Newspapers.com. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Freese, Gene Scott (2014). Hollywood Stunt Performers, 1910s–1970s: A Biographical Dictionary, 2d ed. McFarland. ISBN 9781476614700. Retrieved September 21, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Fitzgerald & Magers 2009, p. 106.
- Stanfield 2002, p. 91.
- Aldrich, Dregni & Murray 2003, p. 51.
- Stanfield 2002, p. 98.
- Aldrich, Margret; Dregni, Michael; Murray, Charles Shaar (2003). This Old Guitar. Voyageur Press. ISBN 978-0-89658-631-4. Retrieved 2013-01-28. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Fitzgerald, Michael G.; Magers, Boyd (2009). Ladies of the Western: Interviews With 25 Actresses from the Silent Era to the Television Westerns of the 1950s and 1960s. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-3938-6. Retrieved 2013-01-28. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Stanfield, Peter (2002). Horse Opera: The Strange History of the 1930s Singing Cowboy. University of Illinois Press. p. 98. ISBN 978-0-252-07049-5. Retrieved 2013-01-28. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Tribe, Ivan M. (2006). Country: A Regional Exploration. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-313-33026-1. Retrieved 28 January 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)