Rufe Davis

Rufe Davis

actor, soundtrack

Rufe Davis was born on Dec 02, 1908 in USA. Rufe Davis's big-screen debut came with Mountain Music directed by Robert Florey in 1937, strarring Ham Sheppard. Rufe Davis is known for Green Acres directed by Richard L. Bare, Eddie Albert stars as Oliver Wendell Douglas and Eva Gabor as Lisa Douglas. The upcoming new movie Rufe Davis plays is Angel in My Pocket which will be released on Apr 02, 1969.

Perhaps best remembered today for the '60s sitcom Petticoat Junction (1963), Rufe Davis had a long and varied career in show business, winding from an Oklahoma farm to the bright lights of New York and ultimately to Hollywood, including stops around the world.Rufus Eldon Davidson was born in Vinson, Oklahoma on December 2, 1908, one of twelve children. He began imitating animal sounds at a young age and proved himself to be a natural mimic. Although he was a fullback on the Mangum High football team, Rufus was more interested in practicing his imitations than schoolwork or sports and he dropped out in the tenth grade. Mimicry would become his trademark; he later claimed to be able to imitate over 200 different sounds, though he regretted that he never mastered the sound of a piano. As an adult, he carried a tape recorder with him so that he could record various noises and perfect his repertoire.After teaching himself some basic guitar chords, he won $5 in a local talent contest. Inspired by the possibility of life as a performer rather than a cotton farmer, he left home to try his hand at show business. Initially compelled to pick up farm work in Kansas, he continued to perform at every chance until he impressed the manager of a tent show and earned himself a $15 a-week-gig (roughly $280 today.) Adopting the stage name Rufe Davis, he toured with such vaudeville groups as Weaver Brothers and Elviry and The Radio Rubes and eventually landed in New York, performing with Xavier Cugat, and at numerous theatres and nightclubs. In the 1930s, he was active on the famed radio broadcast National Barn Dance, where his fellow players included future Petticoat Junction (1963) colleagues Smiley Burnette, Pat Buttram, and Curt Massey.He made his big-screen debut in the Warner Brothers' short The City's Slicker (1936), playing a hillbilly mimic pursuing stardom in the big city. Paramount signed him to a film contract in 1937 after one of their talent scouts caught his performance in New York's aptly-named Hollywood Restaurant. Following eight films in three years for Paramount, Rufe signed with Republic in 1940 and was immediately cast in their "Three Mesquiteers" series as Lullaby Joslin, a role he would play for a total of fourteen films.It was during a USO tour of the South Pacific after WWII that he first met Gene Autry, who invited him to appear in his touring company and The Strawberry Roan (1948). He recorded several songs during this time, the most well-known being "The Sow Song," "I'm The Sound Effects Man," and "Mama Don't Allow It." While Rufe continued to make films throughout the 1940s, his stock-in-trade remained the live show. He made repeated tours with the Autry group (which often included Burnette and Buttram) in addition to his individual performances, which blended music, imitations and down-home country humor. That solo work sustained him for over a decade as he criss-crossed the country maintaining an ambitious schedule; he estimated that in 1962, he put over 75,000 miles on his car, in addition to his considerable rail and bus travel.Reunited again with old pal Smiley Burnette on Petticoat Junction in 1963, Rufe provided comic relief as Floyd Smoot, fireman and conductor of the Hooterville Cannonball. Occasionally the show would display Rufe's mimicry and musical skills. Smiley penned the song "Steam, Cinders, and Smoke," which the duo performed on the show and released as a single in 1964. Rufe and Smiley spent much of their time off from the show traveling the country, entertaining audiences as their Hooterville characters - and fishing as time allowed. In 1966, the two even became neighbors when Rufe took the apartment next door to Smiley, in a building within walking distance to the studio. Their personal and professional collaboration continued right up until Smiley's death in 1967, one day before the pair was scheduled to perform at LA's Shrine Auditorium.Rufe left Petticoat Junction the following year when producers refused his request for a guaranteed number of episodes, though he did return to the show twice in 1970. In his final appearance, Petticoat Junction: Last Train to Pixley (1970), he sang a shortened version of "Steam, Cinders, and Smoke," perhaps a bittersweet tribute to his late friend. Off-screen he kept up a steady touring schedule, with a particular fondness for country fairs and children's hospitals.Married to former ballerina Hermoine Hawkinson from 1940 to 1956, Rufe was the father of four children: Susan, James, Richard, and Vivian. In 1969, he married Nettie Jane Scott Nettie Scott, the wardrobe mistress on Petticoat Junction. The couple soon embarked on a cross-country trip in their camper so that Rufe could continue his personal appearances. He suffered a heart attack in the fall of 1974 and later underwent open-heart surgery. Rufus Davidson died on December 13, 1974, eleven days after his sixty-sixth birthday. He is interred at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, where Nettie joined him in 1999.

  • Birthday

    Dec 02, 1908
  • Place of Birth

    Vinson, Oklahoma, USA

Known For

Movies & TV Shows

TV Shows