Smiley Burnette Overview:

Character actor, Smiley Burnette, was born Lester Alvin Burnette on Mar 18, 1911 in Summum, IL. Burnette died at the age of 55 on Feb 16, 1967 in Encino, CA .


In the days when every "B" western star had comic-books devoted to their imaginary adventures, only two "sidekicks" were awarded the accolade of a comic to themselves. One of these was George "Gabby" Hayes; the other was tubby Smiley Burnette, with his flapjack black stetson, and manic humor. Living up to his nickname by always grinning, Burnette came on like a chubbier version of Eddie Bracken, coming into films with his friend Gene Autry (whose radio vocals he had backed on guitar). He remained one of the most popular "B"-westerners, with a number of partners, through the 1930s and 1940s, sticking with the genre until it petered out in 1953. When appearing as a regular on the TV comedy series Petticoat Junction, Burnette learned that he had leukemia, the disease that killed him at 55. Also a prolific songwriter.

(Source: available at Amazon Quinlan's Film Character Actors: an Illustrated Directory).



He was honored with one star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the category of Motion Pictures.

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Smiley Burnette Quotes:

Gene Autry: Say, did you ever feel like a rat?
Frog: Well, no. I had one one time, though. He was a cute little fellow with pink ears.

[Walker shows Gene and Frog their new executive offices]
Henry Walker: Well, boys, what do you think of it.
Gene Autry: I'd feel a lot more at home down in the stockyard.
Frog Milhouse: Well, me too. I-I don't like being cooped up. You're liable to get hydrophobia or something.

Briny Deep: I'm gonna fry a parrot one of these days.

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Smiley Burnette on the
Hollywood Walk of Fame

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Smiley Burnette Facts

He did a lot of traveling, and once received an award from the National Safety Council for having worn out 27 cars without being involved in a single accident.

Played 100 instruments proficiently.

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