Bud Osborne

Active - 1912 - 1960  |   Born - Jul 20, 1884   |   Died - Feb 2, 1964   |   Genres - Western, Action

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One of the most popular, and recognizable, character actors in B-Western history, pudgy, mustachioed Bud Osborne (real name Leonard Miles Osborne) was one of the many Wild West show performers who parlayed their experiences into lengthy screen careers. Especially noted for his handling of runaway stagecoaches and buckboards, Osborne began as a stunt performer with Thomas Ince's King-Bee company around 1912, and by the 1920s he had become one of the busiest supporting players in the business. Rather rakish-looking in his earlier years, the still slender Osborne even attempted to become a Western star in his own right. Produced by the Bud Osborne Feature Film Company and released by low-budget Truart Pictures, The Prairie Mystery (1922) presented Osborne as a romantic leading man opposite B-movie regular Pauline Curley. Few saw this little clunker, however, and Osborne quickly returned to the ranks of supporting cowboys, often portraying despicable villains with names like Satan Saunders, Piute Sam, or Bull McKee. Playing an escaped convict masquerading as a circuit rider in both the 1923 Leo Maloney short Double Cinched and Shootin' Square, a 1924 Jack Perrin feature Western, Osborne even demonstrated an affinity for comedy. The now veteran Bud Osborne continued his screen career into the sound era and became even busier in the 1930s and 1940s. As he grew older and his waistline expanded, Osborne's roles became somewhat smaller and instead of calling the shots himself, as he often had in the silent era, he now answered to the likes of Roy Barcroft and Charles King. But he seems to pop up in every other B-Western and serial released in those years, appearing in more than 65 productions for Republic Pictures alone. By the 1950s, the now elderly Osborne became one of the many veteran performers courted by maverick filmmaker Edward D. Wood Jr., for whom he did Crossroad Avenger: The Adventures of the Tucson Kid (1954), an unsold television pilot, Jailbait (1954), Bride of the Monster (1955), and Night of the Ghouls (1958). When all is said and done, it was a rather dismal finish to a colorful career.

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