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Ken Maynard ACTOR


Ken Maynard was born in Vevay, Indiana on July 21, 1895 to parents William Maynard and Emma May Maynard.  He had one brother and three sisters.  He spent the majority of his childhood in Columbus, Indiana and began becoming involved in performing arts at the age of sixteen when he became employed working at carnivals and circuses.  He also became very involved with horses and performed rodeos and was also a trick rider with the Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.
When World War I occurred, Maynard joined the United States Army and after the war he returned to working as a circus rider with the Ringling Brothers circus.  It was when the circus traveled to Los Angeles, CA that the actor Buck Jones saw Maynard perform and suggested he give a try to working in the film industry. 
He began with working on silent pictures in 1923 as an actor and also stuntman.  He was known as one of the first singing cowboy with Columbia Records.  His breakthrough role was on, "Cosmopolitan" (1924) where he portrayed Paul Revere.  In 1925, he chose to sign with an independent film production company called Davis.  Ken worked on a couple low budget films with this company such as, "$50,000 Reward" (1925) and "The Grey Vulture" (1926).
Maynard then decided to work with First National Pictures and was known as the resident range rider.  He starred in almost twenty silents such as, "The Red Raiders" (1927) and "Code of the Scarlet" (1928).
Hollywood was now getting quite familiar with Maynard and Universal Pictures then stepped in to make a contract offer.  They offered that if Maynard join their studio he would receive his own productions unit, have creative financial control over his movies and also a good salary with royalty percentage from the films profits. 
Maynard took the offer and between 1920 and 1930 he worked on eight pictures with Universal.  He starred in both silents and sound films, but when Universal found themselves in financial hardship and unsure how to use sound in Westerns, they decided to stop making cowboy films and therefore, Maynard's contract was not renewed.  
Tiffany Productions and Sono Art-World Wide Pictures had Maynard work on some films with them in 1931 and 1932.  "Hell Fire Austin" (1932) was one of his better known films done while working with Tiffany Productions.  However, in 1932 due to financial strains the company closed down.

K.B.S Film Company took on Maynard but only for a short while and then soon Universal had a change of heart in 1933 and asked Maynard to return to them.  He worked on several more pictures with them such as, "The Fiddlin' Buckaroo" (1933) and "The Trail Drive" (1933).  They gave him control over the films and called them Ken Maynard productions.  A total of eight features were made this time with Universal.  Some of the better known names were, "Strawberry Roan" (1933) and "Wheels of Destiny" (1934).  
In 1934, he again made the switch to another studio working with Mascot Pictures when Universal let him go again.  They hired Maynard to do a serial titled "Mystery Mountain" (1934) and paid him a salary of about $10,000 per week.  However, Maynard began trying to get involved in production details and through tantrums when things were not done the way he wanted, therefore, Mascot Productions let him go.
Next, Maynard moved to work with Columbia Pictures and replaced Tim McCoy.  With Columbia, Maynard did a total of eight films between 1935 and 1936.  The best film was, "Western Frontier" (1935).  When Columbia decided to stop making Westerns, Maynard was a forty year old man and his time had come to an end as portraying a western cowboy.
Maynard was able to prolong his career despite his age and also his slight weight gain.  He did some films with Colony Pictures.  He did however begin to face some issues in his personal life with his current wife, Mary Leeper.  They divorced in 1939 and about this time, Maynard also left the industry for about three years.  
He chose to dedicate his time to owning a circus, the Diamond K Wild West Circus and Indian Congress as well as headlining for the Cole Brothers Circus.  This did not last too long before in 1943 he entered into another series venture, "The Trail Blazers" (1943) under Monogram Pictures.   He completed six episodes and then decided to leave the series.    
His final starring role was on, "Harmony Trail" (1944) with Walt Mattox Productions.  After the release of this film, Maynard's career and popularity finally began to fade due to the advent of television, sci-fi movies and the fade of the B grade sagebrush adventure.
Since his film career had come to an end, for the most part so had his acting career, however he did do a couple circus appearances and also a fifteen minute radio show called, "Tales From The Diamond K" (1951).   
In the 70's, Maynard made a brief appearance in, "Bigfoot" (1970) and "Marshal of Windy Hollow" (1972).
Maynard was married twice to Jeanne Knudsen for about one year and then to Mary Leeper.  He appeared in more then ninety films from the span of his career from 1920 to the mid 40's.  Sadly, he had such an addiction to alcohol, that he ended up losing all his money after retirement and was living in an old rundown mobile home. 
Ken Maynard passed away in 1973 in Woodland Hills with no money to his name.  He was interred at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Cypress, California.  He did receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


1972  The Marshal of Windy Hollow
1970  Bigfoot
1962  "Here's Hollywood
1944  Harmony's Trail
1944  Arizona Whirlwind
1944  Westward Bound
1943  Death Valley Rangers
1943  Blazing Guns
1943  The Law Rides Again
1943  Wild Horse Stampede
1940  Lightning Strikes West
1940  Phantom Rancher
1939  Death Rides the Range
1939  Flaming Lead
1938  Six-Shootin' Sheriff
1938  Whirlwind Horseman
1937  Trailing Trouble
1937  Boots of Destiny
1936  Screen Snapshots Series 16, No. 1
1936  The Fugitive Sheriff 
1936  The Cattle Thief
1936  Avenging Waters 
1936  Heroes of the Range
1935  Lawless Riders 
1935  Western Courage
1935  Heir to Trouble
1935  Screen Snapshots Series 14, No. 13
1935  Western Frontier
1934  Mystery Mountain
1934  In Old Santa Fe
1934  Smoking Guns
1934  Honor of the Range
1934  Wheels of Destiny
1933  Gun Justice
1933  Fargo Express
1933  Strawberry Roan
1933  The Trail Drive
1933  The Fiddlin' Buckaroo
1933  King of the Arena
1933  The Lone Avenger
1933  Phantom Thunderbolt
1933  Hollywood on Parade No. A-7
1933  Drum Taps
1932  Tombstone Canyon
1932  Between Fighting Men
1932  False Faces 
1932  Come On, Tarzan
1932  Dynamite Ranch
1932  Whistlin' Dan
1932  Hell Fire Austin
1932  Texas Gun Fighter
1932  Sunset Trail
1931  The Pocatello Kid
1931  Branded Men
1931  Range Law
1931  Arizona Terror
1931  Alias: The Bad Man
1931  The Two Gun Man
1930  Fighting Thru; or, California in 1878
1930  Sons of the Saddle
1930  Song of the Caballero
1930  Mountain Justice
1930  The Voice of Hollywood No. 9
1930  The Fighting Legion
1930  Lucky Larkin
1930  Parade of the West
1929  SeƱor Americano
1929  The Wagon Master
1929  The California Mail
1929  The Lawless Legion
1929  The Royal Rider
1929  Cheyenne
1928  The Phantom City
1928  The Glorious Trail
1928  The Code of the Scarlet
1928  The Upland Rider
1928  The Canyon of Adventure
1928  The Wagon Show
1927  Gun Gospel
1927  The Red Raiders
1927  The Devil's Saddle
1927  The Land Beyond the Law 
1927  Somewhere in Sonora
1927  The Overland Stage
1926  The Unknown Cavalier
1926  Senor Daredevil
1926  Haunted Range
1926  The Grey Vulture
1925  Fighting Courage
1925  North Star
1925  The Demon Rider
1924  $50,000 Reward
1924  Janice Meredith 
1923  Somebody Lied
1923  Cameo Kirby
1923  The Gunfighter
1923  The Man Who Won
1923  Brass Commandments 

Matinee Classics - Alias The Bad Man starring Ken Maynard, Virginia Brown Faire, Frank Mayo, Irving Bacon and Lafe McKee
Matinee Classics - Arizona Whirlwind starring Ken Maynard, Hoot Gibson, Bob Steele, Myrna Dell and Ian Keith
Matinee Classics - Between Fighting Men starring Ken Maynard, Ruth Hall and Josephine Dunn
Matinee Classics - Mystery Mountain starring Ken Maynard, Tarzan, Verna Hillie, Syd Saylor, Edward Earle, Hooper Atchley, Edward Hearn, Al Bridge, Bob Kortman, Lee Meehan, George Chesebro, Tom London and Lynton Brent
Matinee Classics - Tales of the Diamond K Radio Show hosted by Ken Maynard
Matinee Classics - Phantom Rancher starring Ken Maynard, Dorothy Short, Harry Harvey, Ted Adams, Dave O'Brien, Tom London, John Elliott, Reed Howes and Steve Clark

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