Born: Jan. 12, 1905 in Panola County, Texas
Died: Jan. 2, 1974
Maurice Woodward Ritter, better known as "Tex" embodied the spirit and nostalgia of the American Cowboy. He was born in Panola County, Texas he moved to Nederland, Texas as a child.
Ritter began his career in radio and theater. He sang on KPRC-AM in Houston and appeared as Cord Elam in the Broadway production Green Grow the Lilacs (1931), the basis for the musical Oklahoma!
In 1932, he starred in New York City's first broadcast Western, The Lone Star Rangers. Ritter also wrote and starred in Cowboy Tom's Roundup on WINS-AM, a daily children's program.
Moving to California, Ritter teamed up with Johnny Mack Brown for films such as The Lone Star Trail (1943), Raiders of San Joaquin (1943), Cheyenne Roundup (1943) and The Old Chisholm Trail (1942). He was also the star of the films Arizona Trail (1943), and Marshal of Gunsmoke (1944).
Ritter first toured Europe in 1952 and recorded the movie title-track song "High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me)", which became a hit. At the first televised Academy Awards ceremony in 1953, he sang "High Noon", which received an Oscar for Best Song.
Ritter was named to Country Music Hall of Fame in 1964.
He moved to Nashville in 1965, and began working for WSM Radio and the Grand Ole Opry. During this period, Ritter played himself in the 1966 film Nashville Rebel, which introduced little-known country singer named Waylon Jennings. Ritter's 1967 single "Just Beyond The Moon" with lyrics by Jeremy Slate hit No. 3 on the country chart. For his contribution to the recording industry, Ritter has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.