Buck Jones (Charles Frederick Gebhart)
Photos with Buck Jones
BiographyVincennes, Indiana, USA
Buck Jones was one of the greatest of the "B" western stars. Although born in Indiana, Jones reportedly (but disputedly) grew up on a ranch near Red Rock in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma), and there learned the riding and shooting skills that would stand him in good stead as a hero of Westerns. He joined the army as a teenager and served on US-Mexican border before seeing service in the Moro uprising in the Philippines. Though wounded, he recuperated and re-enlisted, hoping to become a pilot. He was not accepted for pilot training and left the army in 1913. Read more... menial job with the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch Wild West Show and soon became champion bronco buster for the show. He moved on to the Julia Allen Show, but with the beginning of the First World War, Jones took work training horses for the Allied armies. After the war, he and his wife, Odelle Osborne, whom he had met in the Miller Brothers show, toured with the Ringling Brothers circus, then settled in Hollywood, where Jones got work in a number of Westerns starring Tom Mix and Franklyn Farnum. Producer William Fox put Jones under contract and promoted him as a new Western star. He used the name Charles Jones at first, then Charles "Buck" Jones, before settling on his permanent stage name. He quickly climbed to the upper ranks of Western stardom, playing a more dignified, less gaudy hero than Mix, if not as austere as William S. Hart. With his famed horse Silver, Jones was one of the most successful and popular actors in the genre, and at one point he was receiving more fan mail than any actor in the world. Months after America's entry into World War II, Jones participated in a war-bond-selling tour. On November 28, 1942, he was a guest of some local citizens in Boston at the famed Coconut Grove nightclub. Fire broke out and nearly 500 people died in one of the worst fire disasters on record. Jones was horribly burned and died two days later before his wife Dell could arrive to comfort him. Although legend has it that he died returning to the blaze to rescue others (a story probably originated by producer Trem Carr for whatever reason), the actual evidence indicates that he was trapped with all the others and succumbed as most did, trying to escape. He remains, however, a hero to thousands who followed his film adventures.