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Reno Browne /
Reno Blair

Real name:
Josephine Ruth Clarke

1924 - 1991

Reno Browne was an actress and equestrian who ranked among the better riders, be they man or woman. She was born Josephine Ruth Clarke on April 20, 1924 in Reno, Nevada and her parents were Moss Matilda Clarke and John Robb Clarke, a noted attorney who practiced in Reno for decades. (The initial version of this biography - as well as most others - have her born in 1921. Based on current information, it appears that 1924 is her correct birth year.)

The Newspaper Archive and trade publications had many articles on father and daughter, her two marriages, more. Below are some highlights, quotes and timelines:

As to her western movie career - during the years 1946 - 1950, she was busy at Monogram Pictures in oaters starring Johnny Mack Brown, Jimmy Wakely and Whip Wilson. To minimize confusion with hero Johnny Mack BROWN, she changed her last name and "became" Reno Blair. After about a half dozen as Blair, she returned to her Reno Browne moniker.

Reno wasn't Monogram's first female equestrian and trick rider. In the 1940s, stunt woman and great rider Betty Miles worked with Tex Ritter, Tom Keene and the Trail Blazers. And another hoss ridin' wizard, Evelyn Finley, did oaters with Ritter, Keene, the Range Busters and Johnny Mack Brown.

Les Adams has Reno Browne / Reno Blair identified in 14 B westerns. Les also found an article in the pressbook for Whip Wilson's HAUNTED TRAILS (Monogram, 1949) which notes that she was the star of her own 13 episode transcribed radio series called RENO RIDES THE RANGE and her horse was named Major.

She holds the distinction of being the only B-Western actress - besides Dale Evans - to have her own comic book series. Her brief comic book run was in 1950, and Marvel published three issues.

Josephine Ruth Clarke died of cancer in Reno, Nevada on May 15, 1991.

Reno Browne / Reno Blair westerns:

  • UNDER ARIZONA SKIES (Monogram, 1946) with Johnny Mack Brown
  • THE GENTLEMAN FROM TEXAS (Monogram, 1946) with Johnny Mack Brown
  • RAIDERS OF THE SOUTH (Monogram, 1947) with Johnny Mack Brown
  • THE LAW COMES TO GUNSIGHT (Monogram, 1947) with Johnny Mack Brown
  • FRONTIER AGENT (Monogram, 1948) with Johnny Mack Brown
  • SHADOWS OF THE WEST (Monogram, 1949) with Whip Wilson
  • ACROSS THE RIO GRANDE (Monogram, 1949) with Jimmy Wakely
  • WEST OF EL DORADO (Monogram, 1949) with Johnny Mack Brown
  • HAUNTED TRAILS (Monogram, 1949) with Whip Wilson
  • RIDERS OF THE DUSK (Monogram, 1949) with Whip Wilson
  • RANGE LAND (Monogram, 1949) with Whip Wilson
  • FENCE RIDERS (Monogram, 1950) with Whip Wilson
  • GUNSLINGERS (Monogram, 1950) with Whip Wilson
  • RED ROCK OUTLAW (Friedgen, 1950); low budget mess starring Bob Gilbert

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Reno Browne:

Sunset Carson and producer/director/friend Jerry Whittington were developing a TV series when Sunset passed away. There were dozens of interviews with B western personalities and most were filmed circa 1982 at Movieland Frontier Town, Colton, California. Sunset's interview with Reno Browne is on YouTube and will open in a separate window / tab:

Read about Reno Browne, Monogram Pictures Star, and her singing Buckaroos (which apparently, were Bill Haley and his Saddlemen, in Bill Haley's days before the Comets and "Rock Around the Clock" fame):

The Reno Rodeo website has Reno Browne as Miss Reno Rodeo for 1945:

Her short-lived comic book series from 1950 is covered at the Grand Comics Database (GCD) website:

The Family Search website (free), (subscription), and the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) provide more on our B western leading lady:

Jim Tipton's Find A Grave website notes that Reno Browne and her parents are interred at Mountain View Cemetery, Reno, Nevada:
     Josephine Ruth 'Reno Browne' Clarke (1924 - 1991):
     John Robb Clarke (1887 - 1970):
     Moss Matilda Edwards Clarke (1897 - 1958):

(Courtesy of Minard Coons)

From L-to-R are Max Terhune, Johnny Mack Brown and Reno Browne in WEST OF EL DORADO (Monogram, 1949).

(Courtesy of Minard Coons)

From L-to-R are Johnny Mack Brown, Max Terhune, Reno Browne, and Teddy Infuhr in another still from WEST OF EL DORADO (Monogram, 1949).

(From Old Corral collection)

From L-to-R are Andy Clyde, Reno Browne and Whip Wilson in HAUNTED TRAILS (Monogram, 1949).

(From Old Corral collection)

From L-to-R are Kenne Duncan, Andy Clyde, Riley Hill and Reno Browne in a still from the Whip Wilson SHADOWS OF THE WEST (Monogram, 1949).

(From Old Corral collection)

Above from L-to-R are Dale Evans, Roy Rogers, Reno Browne (Reno Blair) and Whip Wilson. Based on the "Introducing Rex Allen" sign in the left background, this has to be from 1950. Dale Evans and Reno Browne/Blair were the only B western heroines to have their own comic book series.

(Courtesy of Bill Sasser)

In the above picture, Lash LaRue was re-united with ex-wife Reno Browne (Reno Blair) at the 1987 Charlotte Film Fest. Browne is ill from the cancer that would ultimately claim her life in 1991.

(Courtesy of Bill McCann)

Above - Whip Wilson and Reno Browne (Reno Blair) on the cover of Western Love #2 from September/October, 1949.

(Courtesy of Bill McCann)

Above - Reno on the cover of her brief comic book series.

Reno Browne quotes and comments from Bobby Copeland's book, Trail Talk:

"When he (Whip Wilson) was hired, my boss asked me to go riding with Whip to check him out. The horse ran away on poor Whip, but after that incident, he improved quite a bit."

"When I made the Johnny Mack Brown films, they changed my name to Reno Blair, to avoid any confusion. They changed Johnny's horse's name from Reno to Rebel. Without those changes, things would have really been confused."

"I have been married twice, but never had children. I was married to Lash LaRue and Lash's children by a previous marriage still call me Mom."

"I was an excellent rider and could do anything on a horse the studio wanted. I did not need a double."

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