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:

Hank: Well, if it isn't my old friend, Beau Brummell Millhouse. Where did you get that or-chid?
Frog Millhouse: That's a night-blooming cryptogram - far rarer than any orchid.
Hank: What's so rare about it?
Frog Millhouse: (The "orchid" squirts water all over Hank) Introducing my new sideline of tricks, jokes and novelties. Buy some?
Hank: You got any explosive cigars?
Frog Millhouse: Here it is. Lights like a perfecto, goes off like a torpedo and it's only two bits!

[chased by an outlaw and out of bullets, Frog appeals to the audience for help]
Frog Millhouse: You gotta help me folks! You gotta! Now when he comes a little closer, I'll give the signal and everybody holler, "Bang!" real loud. Now do you understand? Don't forget! Ah-ah-ah! Not yet. Woo, this makes me nervous. Are you ready? All together now... Bang!
[the villain falls from the saddle as if shot]
Frog Millhouse: Thanks! We got him!

[last lines]
[Frog turns and speaks to the audience]
Frog Millhouse: You kids go home now. You been in here all day.

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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.

He was replaced by Pat Buttram as Gene Autry's sidekick in the forties.


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