Jimmy Wakely, 68, known as the "Singing Cowboy," who appeared in westerns on radio, television and motion pictures and was named the most popular male western singer of 1949, died Sept. 23 in Holy Cross Hospital here. He had asthma and a heart ailment.
His best remembered hits include, "Slipping Around" and "Silver Bells." He also sang "Tennessee Waltz," "Beautiful Brown Eyes," "One Has My Name" with Mary Ford, and "Wide Open Spaces." Other recordings included "I Love You So Much It Hurts."
Mr. Wakely was born in Mineola, Ark., and was reared in Oklahoma on a cattle and hog ranch. He learned to play guitar at the age of 7, and in 1937 was featured on Oklahoma City radio station WKY as part of the Wakely Trio with Johnny Bond and Dick Reinhart.
Through the program, the trio met Gene Autry, who brought them to Hollywood. In Hollywood, he made his first picture in 1939, "Saga of Death Valley." He became one of the top western stars, appearing in 28 feature films.
He and a son, John, and a daughter, Linda Lee Olsen, had performed together for the past 20 years. Mr. Wakely lived in Sylmar, Calif. He and his familty ran Shasta Records and a music publishing business.
In addition to his son and daughter, survivors include his wife, Inez, and two other daughters, Deanna and Carol.