85 (passed away Apr. 14th, 1995)
Jun. 14th, 1909
Hunt, Illinois, USA
Burl Ives' Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles1988 - Two Moon Junction
1979 - Just You and Me, Kid
1976 - Baker's Hawk
1967 - Rocket to the Moon
1964 - Ensign Pulver
1963 - Summer Magic
1959 - Day of the Outlaw
1958 - The Big Country
1958 - Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
1957 - A Face in the Crowd
1955 - East of Eden
1948 - So Dear to My Heart
1948 - Station West
1948 - Green Grass of Wyoming
Guest TV Roles
Himself - Singer
Uncle Hiram Douglas
Sen. Arthur Johnson
Burl Ives was one of six children born to a Scottish-Irish farming family in Jasper County, Illinois in 1909. He first sang in public for a soldiers' reunion when he was age 4. In high school, he learned the banjo and played fullback, intending to become a football coach when he enrolled at Eastern Illinois State Teacher's College in 1927. He dropped out in 1930 and wandered, hitching rides, doing odd jobs, street singing.
Summer stock in the late 1930s led to a job with CBS radio in 1940; through his "Wayfaring Stranger" he popularized many of the folksongs he had collected in his travels. By the 1960s, he had hits on both popular and country charts. He recorded over 30 albums for Decca and another dozen for Columbia. In 1964 he was singer-narrator of Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964) (TV), an often-repeated Christmas television special. His Broadway debut was in 1938, though he is best remembered for creating the role of Big Daddy in the 1950's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) when it ran on Broadway through the early 1950s.
His four-decade, 30+ movie career began with Ives playing a singing cowboy in Smoky (1946) and reached its peak with (again) his role as Big Daddy role in the movie version of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) and winning an Oscar for best supporting actor in The Big Country (1958), both in 1958. Ives officially retired from show business on his 80th birthday in 1989 and settled in Anacortes, Washington, although he continued to do frequent benefit performances at his own request. Burl Ives died in 1995.
- Three step-children, Kevin Murphy, Rob Grossman, and Barbara Vaughn.
- Was inducted into the DeMolay Hall of Fame on June 24th, 1994.
- Was initiated into DeMolay at the George N. Todd Chapter in Charleston Illinois, in 1927.
- A string of Ives' hit records, mostly for American Decca and primarily under the supervision of the legendary 'Owen Bradley' (qv), included such songs as "The Blue-Tail Fly" (his all-time biggest hit), "A Little Bitty Tear," "(It's Just My) Funny Way of Laughin'," "Mr. In Between" , "A Holly Jolly Christmas," and, of course, "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.".
- His wife and three step-children were with him when he died.
- Interred at Mound Cemetery, Jasper County, Illinois, USA.
- Frequent benefits for Indian reservations, peace academies, Boy Scouts, environmental groups, arts foundations, children's medicine
- An activist liberal Democrat, in 1952 he named fellow folk singer 'Pete Seeger' (qv) and others as possible Communists to the House Unamerican Activities Committee (HUAC) in order to avoid being blacklisted.
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