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Roy Rogers, "The King of the Cowboys"
Roy Rogers was born Leonard Slye in Cincinnati, Ohio on November 5, 1911. After a successful career in radio, film and television with a devoted following, he was dubbed by Republic Studios in 1943 as “The King of the Cowboys”. He defined what every boy and girl imagined a cowboy should be: the white Stetson with its silver hatband, hand-tooled boots and his majestic steed Trigger gave him the airs of an armored American knight of the prairies and rugged mountains. He fought for the good guy-- a straight-shooter that never lied or swore, and stood proudly next to his sweetheart, Dale Evans, the “Queen of the West”. His numerous albums, movies and TV shows endeared him to a generation of children, who admired him and who wanted to imitate him. As evidence of this devotion, in 1950 there were more than two thousand Roy Rogers fan clubs internationally. This fact was not lost on Bro. Roy, and he filled his role with dignity and aplomb.
He gave us standards to live by that helped teach us the difference between right and wrong.
His willingness to stand up for the things he believed in inspired us. And his religious faith and his concern for the less fortunate helped mold our character. Roy lived his life off camera with the same decency and humility that he projected on television and on the silver screen. He was the hero who never let us down. Despite all the success that came to him, Roy never seemed to lose his way. And he never forgot that his fans were the ones who made it possible for a poor boy from Ohio to attain a level of success greater than anything he could ever have imagined. His decency and strength of character come from a simpler time in America. Yet it was anything but an easy time.
Laurence Zwisohn, Happy Trails: The Life of Roy Rogers
Brother Rogers was made a Mason in Hollywood Lodge No. 355 in Los Angeles on April 15, 1946 and was raised as a Master Mason on June 27 the same year. Roy’s love of children and his personal experience with their sometimes unfortunate circumstances endeared him to the Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (A.A.O.N.M.S., or colloquially, “The Shrine”), which he joined in 1950 in Al Malaikah Shrine Temple alongside the famous clown, Red Skelton, and actor William Powell, Jr.
Roy also held membership in the Los Angeles Scottish Rite beginning in 1950, being knighted a Knight Commander Court of Honour in 1975 and coroneted a 33rd Degree Inspector General Honorary in 1979. He later transferred his membership to Long Beach Scottish Rite in 1988. He was also a Companion of the Royal Arch, a Royal and Select Master (Cryptic Rite) and a Knight Templar (1983).
Through assistance by the George Washington Masonic Memorial, Roy Rogers Jr. (aka Dusty) was put into contact with the Henry Wilson Coil Library and Museum of Freemasonry. The Roy Rogers Museum in Missouri had closed and these precious artifacts illustrating his Masonic career needed a home. Thus, in early 2010, we acquired his belongings. Not only are his personal Masonic effects included in the collections, but also items of earlier Masonic histories belonging to others that were gifted to him.