What can you tell me about Bill Elliott from the Red Ryder movies?
—Ray B., Oregon
From 1944 until 1948, Bill Elliott, credited as Wild Bill Elliott, starred in 15 films in which he played the character Red Ryder. Elliott was born Gordan Nance in 1903 on a farm in Pattonsburg, Mo. (pop. 261), where his growing up around horses would later come in handy. At 16 he won first place at a horse show, but when he moved to California his interest in acting blossomed. He was spotted by a talent scout while performing at the Pasadena Playhouse, which led to a stream of about 230 movies beginning in 1925. He played police detective Andy Doyle in his final few movies. After his movie career cooled, he moved to Las Vegas and began hosting a weekly TV show. His 34-year marriage to Helen Meyer ended in 1961, and he later married model Dolly Moore. Elliott died of cancer in 1965.