Favorite cowboy, restauranteur passes on

Roy Rogers, one of the most beloved cowboys ever to ride though Hollywood, died today at 86 from congestive heart failure. During his 60-plus years in show business, Rogers found fame as a singer, actor, TV star, and fast-food restaurant entrepreneur.

Rogers — who was born Leonard Slye — was first cast in Westerns in the late ’30s along with his singing group, the Pioneer Trio. But he left the band as his popularity soared, eventually making 87 movies and becoming the No. 1 Western box office draw for 12 years, from 1943 to 1954. He starred with his second wife, Dale Evans, in the popular “Roy Rogers Show,” which aired from 1951 to 1957. The “King of the Cowboys,” as he was known, later dueted with Clint Black on the song “Hold On Partner,” which was nominated for a 1992 Country Music Association award. Since its 1967 opening, the Roy Rogers-Dale Evans Museum (which features the singer’s late horse, Trigger, stuffed and mounted) near Roger’s Apple Valley, California, home is a popular tourist destination.