|The 'brains' and 'action' heavies who had meaty roles and lots of dialog ... and the players who were fathers, ranch owners, lawman, mayors, judges, lawyers, storekeepers, newspaper editors, wardens, etc.|
(From Old Corral collection)
(Courtesy of Jack Tillmany)
There's a double dose of confusion with prolific heavy and stage driver Bud Osborne. Some biographies have his birth location as Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) while Hollywood trade publications generally have him born in Knox County, Texas. Bud doesn't help resolve that question - on his World War II draft registration, he lists Montague County, Texas (which is about 150 miles from Knox County, Texas). However, his birth state is Oklahoma on a 1946 marriage license. Issue number two are all the variations in his last name. In the census, draft, and marriage info further down this webpage, you'll find Osbourn, Osbourne, Osburn, Osborn, and Osborne.
Several family trees on Ancestry.com have info on our guy. His father is identified as Beverly Fleming Osborne (or Osbourn, or Osburn, or Osborn) and he was born in Virginia and passed away in 1890. Bud's mother was Sarah Elizabeth 'Betty' Lowe and she hailed from Missouri.
Bud was born July 20, 1884. The 1890 census is unavailable, so the earliest paper trail on him is the 1900 census. He's about 16 years old, born in Texas, and living with his widowed mother Sarah, two brothers and a sister in Duncan town, Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). In 1904, 21 year old Bud is still in Oklahoma and he tied the knot with 18 year old Ruby Copenhaver, the first of his several wives. Still in Oklahoma for the 1910 census, he and Ruby have two daughters and Bud is a livery stable laborer.
Circa 1910, Bud worked on the Miller Bros. 101 Ranch Show and the Buffalo Bill Wild West show. Tradezines and newspapers also indicate that he was a rodeo performer.
In a 1948 interview, Bud said that his entry to Hollywood and movies was delivering some horses and cattle to Thomas H. Ince's California movie studio circa 1912. (There's a link further down this webpage with the complete 1948 interview.) He decided to stay in Hollywood and began doing bit and supporting roles. In silents, he appeared in serials with Ruth Roland and Allene Ray and lots of westerns with Leo Maloney, Neal Hart, Harry Carey, Hoot Gibson, Jack Perrin, Bob Custer, Buffalo Bill Jr. and many others. He free lanced everywhere, working for silent companies F. B. O., Pathe, Bison, more. And when he registered for the World War I draft in 1918, Bud was employed by Universal.
In the early 1920s, he tried (unsuccessfully) to become a leading man. He formed his own Bud Osborne Production company, and starred in THE PRAIRIE MYSTERY (Truart, 1923).
Bud easily made the transition to talkies. With his rough / tough looking appearance and unique voice, Osborne was most often cast as a gang member or second-in-command to the brains heavy. And he did so in hundreds of films through the 1950s at Universal, Columbia, Republic, Monogram, PRC, and most of the Poverty Row independent production outfits.
One of his greatest skills was the ability to drive a stagecoach, and you'll often see him handling the reins of a four or six-horse team.
In early television, he can be spotted in episodes of ANNIE OAKLEY, WILD BILL HICKOK, RIN TIN TIN and other shows. In the 1950s, he worked in three films and a TV pilot for Ed Wood, Jr. (who brought us PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE and other "classics").
When Bud was credited in a film, his last name was often misspelled - Bud Osborne vs. Bud Osbourne. (There were many others who had the same problem including George Chesebro, Cheseboro, etc.; Chief Thunder Cloud, Thunder-Cloud, Thundercloud; and Edmond vs. Edmund vs. Edwin Cobb.)
Les Adams has him identified in at least 475 sound era films, and that includes 407 westerns and 38 chapterplays. Included are about 65 appearances in Republic oaters and serials during the period 1936 - 1952. Add in a hundred or more silent films and Bud is in competition with Tom London for the crown of "person with the most movie appearances in Hollywood history".
He passed away from heart/coronary problems on February 2, 1964 at the Motion Picture Hospital, Woodland Hills, California. Newspaper obituaries mentioned his wife Elderine, son Brad and daughter Lillian.
Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Bud Osborne: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0651627/
Daniel Neyer's "The Files of Jerry Blake" serial website has a webpage on Bud Osborne doing serials: https://filesofjerryblake.com/serial-henchmen/bud-osborne/
1948 interview with Bud Osborne from the June 10, 1948 Los Angeles Evening Citizen News: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/84255149/los-angeles-evening-citizen-news/
The Circus Historical Society website has a lengthy writeup on the Miller Bros. 101 Ranch Show in a 1969 article in their Bandwagon magazine. Bud Osborne (as well as Bill Pickett) is one of the "cowboys" working for the 101 in 1911: http://www.classic.circushistory.org/Bandwagon/bw-1969Jan.htm
YouTube has various clips from the Ed Wood production NIGHT OF THE GHOULS (1959). This link will take you to B-western baddie Kenne Duncan doing a seance ... and pay attention as a very old and grey Bud Osborne is sitting at the table: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAQjps8u0ak
The FamilySearch website (free), Ancestry.com (subscription), death certificate, California Death Index, Social Security Death Index (SSDI), newspapers and trade publications provide more on Bud and family.
He was married at least four times - in the information below, you'll find wives Ruby Copenhaver, Hazel Inez Evans, June ???, and Elderine Carolina Meeks.
There also is much confusion with the spelling of his last name. In the below info, you'll find Osbourn, Osbourne, Osborn, Osburn, and Osborne.
1870 and 1880 census with his parents and siblings (prior to Bud's birth):
Bud is born in 1884:
Find A Grave website has info - Bud Osborne is interred at Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles, California: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/10024225/bud-osborne
The Library of Congress, Chronicling America website has early newspapers. Here's links to several articles on Bud Osborne:
(Courtesy of Ed Phillips)
|In the center of the above cast and crew still are Harry Carey and Olive Golden, who would become Mrs. Carey around 1920. The looped rope around the group confirms this as LOVE'S LARIAT (Bluebird/Universal, 1916) which was produced by Carey and directed by George Marshall.|
The back side of the photo identifies the picture as Harry Carey and his western company.
Crop/blowup on the left of a youngish Bud Osborne who would have been about 30 years old when this movie was made.
On Horseback from L-to-R are: 1 - William 'Bill' Gillis, 2 - Pedro Leon (Leone?), 3 - unknown, 4 - Tom Grimes, 5 - unknown, 6 - unknown, 7 - unknown, 8 - unknown, 9 - Pedro Clemento (Mexican rodeo star)
Standing from L-to-R are: 1 - Al Christie, 2 - unknown, 3 - Lynn Reynolds, 4 - Harry Carey, 5 - Olive Fuller Golden (Carey), 6 - George Marshall, 7 - unknown, 8 - Neal Hart, 9 - Joe Rickson
Seated/kneeling in front row from L-to-R are: 1 - Bud Osborne (with rope), 2 - unknown
Al Christie and Lynn Reynolds were Universal production folks. George Marshall spent about 60 years in Hollywood, and one of his A grade westerns was the Jimmy Stewart version of DESTRY RIDES AGAIN (Universal, 1939).
Bud Osborne had a fling as a leading man. The above review is from the June 30, 1923 issue of Exhibitors Trade Review (available at the Internet Archive). THE PRAIRIE MYSTERY is a lost / missing five reel western churned out by Truart and released on the states rights market. Osborne was in his late thirties when he did this film.
|On the right is an exhibitor / vending card showing a very young (and thin) Bud Osborne, circa 1920.|
And he's without his usual mustache.
The Ex. Sup. Co., U.S.A. marking stands for the Exhibit Supply Company of Chicago, a firm which manufactured vending machine novelties from about 1901 to the mid-1960s. It went out of business around 1979.
(Courtesy of Bart Romans)
(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Above from Left to right are Bud Osborne, Cliff Lyons, star Bob Custer and unidentified player (may be Tom/Tommy Bay) in a scene from the silent CODE OF THE WEST (Syndicate, 1929).