Wild Bill Elliott
Wild Bill Elliott was an American film actor. Wild Bill Elliott specialized in playing the rugged heroes of B-Westerns, particularly in the Red Ryder series of films. By 1925, Wild Bill Elliott was getting occasional extra work in films. By 1927, Wild Bill Elliott had made his first Western, The Arizona Wildcat playing his first featured role. Several co-starring roles followed and Wild Bill Elliott renamed himself Gordon Elliott. But as the studios made the transition to sound films, Wild Bill Elliott slipped back into extra roles for the next eight years. Wild Bill Elliott began to be noticed in some minor B-Westerns and Columbia Pictures offered him the title role in The Great Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok, which was successful enough that Columbia offered him a contract as a leading man and renamed him as "Wild Bill". Within two years, Wild Bill Elliott was among the Motion Picture Herald's Top Ten Western Stars, where he would remain for the next fifteen years.
In 1943, Wild Bill Elliott signed with Republic Pictures, which cast him in a series of Westerns. The first of these, Calling Wild Bill Elliott, gave Wild Bill Elliott the name by which he would best be known and by which he would be billed exclusively for the rest of his career. Following several films in which both actor and character shared the name "Wild Bill Elliott," the actor took over the role for which he would be best remembered, that of Red Ryder in a series of sixteen movies about the famous comic strip cowboy and his young Indian companion Little Beaver. Elliott's trademark was a pair of six-guns worn butt-forward in their holsters. Wild Bill Elliott's career flourished during and after the Red Ryder films. His final contract as a Western star was with Monogram Pictures, where budgets declined as the B-Western lost its audience to television. Wild Bill Elliott finished out his contract with a series of modern police dramas, his first non-Westerns since 1938.
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