Gene Autry (1907-98) starred as the straight-shooting hero in cowboy films, but he was also one of the most important figures in the history of country music after Jimmie Rodgers. In addition to hosting his own television series, Autry appeared in nearly 100 films between 1934 and 1954. As his film career flourished, so did his music career, although today he is perhaps best known for Christmas songs like “Frosty the Snowman” and “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”