While on the Darmouth College football team, Charles Starrett was hired for an extra role in a 1926 film titled The Quarterback. Starrett honed his performing skills in vaudeville and stock, eventually obtaining leading-man roles on Broadway. His first film was 1930's Fast and Loose; three years later, Starrett was one of several movie performers who put his career on the line by helping to organize the Screen Actors Guild. After several years of relatively colorless romantic leads, Starrett switched to Westerns, signing with Columbia Pictures in 1936 and remaining there until the 1950s; the actor's latter-day trade ads proudly proclaimed "Twenty years with the same brand." One of the most popular of all cowboy stars, Starrett was best known for his portrayal of the Durango Kid, a Lone Ranger-like masked avenger.
by Hal Erickson biography