Gene graduated from Ravia High School in 1925. He worked as a railroad apprentice and telegraph operator during high school. It is said that Gene was working in a telegraph office in 1926 and playing his guitar to pass the time when Will Rogers walked in to send a telegraph. Will liked his singing and told him he should get a job in radio. Taking that advice, Gene quit his job and went to New York in 1927 where he auditioned for Victor Records. In 1928, he performed nightly on radio as Oklahoma's Yodeling Cowboy (KVOO-Tulsa).
In 1929, he got his own radio show - the "Gene Autry Program", sponsored by Sears. In 1931, he became a regular on the WLS National Barn Dance carried by NBC. In 1932, his song "Silver Haired Daddy of Mine" became a major hit record, going gold a year later. In 1934, Gene went to Hollywood with the hope that he'd become an actor. He got his first acting job soon after in a film called "In Old Santa Fe'. He decided to make California his home in 1935 while he was filming "Tumbling Tumbleweeds".
In 1949, Gene had his first pop hit with "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", which eventually went platinum. In 1950, The Gene Autry Show debuted on CBS. After his show ended in 1956, Gene mostly retired for performing. A savvy businessman, he had become a multi-millionaire and spent his time managing his investment empire, occasionally producing and running the California Angels baseball team, an expansion franchise which he founded in 1961.
The GENE AUTRY WESTERN HERITAGE MUSEUM is located across from the Los Angeles Zoo in California.