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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.


Frank LaRue

Full name:
Frank Herman LaRue

1878 - 1960

(Courtesy of Jack Tillmany)



(Courtesy of Elsimae 'CiCi' Morse)

Above is Frank LaRue, circa 1912, when he was in his mid thirties.
Special thanks to Elsimae 'CiCi' Morse, Frank LaRue's granddaughter, for the photos and assistance in the creation of this webpage on her grandfather.


Frank Herman LaRue was born December 5, 1878 in Ridgeway, Ohio and passed away on September 26, 1960 in Hollywood, California.

His granddaughter, Elsimae 'CiCi' Morse, adds: "Frank's 2nd wife, Elsie May Payne (my grandmother) was in vaudeville with Frank. After their divorce, she went to Hollywood about 1922 as far as I can tell, and appeared in silent movies. Frank went later. They had one child, May LaRue (singer and dancer, mostly nightclubs). My sister 'Mikki' and I are their only grandchildren."

Frank LaRue specialized in playing the harassed ranch owner and father of the heroine ... and he also did "suit" roles as a judge, banker, politician, etc.  He possessed one of the most striking (booming) voices, which I can easily recognize without even looking at his face.

While he was mostly on the side of the law, he did step out of character to do villain roles - for example, he was the crooked banker in Gene Autry's RED RIVER VALLEY (Republic, 1936) and part of the rustler gang in the Rough Riders' GUNMAN FROM BODIE (Monogram, 1941). And a standout bad guy portrayal for Larue was in the Bill Elliott HANDS ACROSS THE ROCKIES (Columbia, 1941). In that film, Frank is just plain mean "Rufe Crawley" ... who takes his quirt to Mary Daily ... and he and his two no-good sons (Donald Curtis and Tom Moray) team up with Kenneth MacDonald for ultimate skullduggery.

Les Adams has LaRue in about 175 sound era films, and that number includes 121 westerns and 7 serials. He did some work for Republic Pictures, with about 20 credits during the period 1935-1942. But many of these were the A. W. Hackel productions (Supreme Pictures) starring Bob Steele and Johnny Mack Brown which were released under the Republic name during their startup in the mid 1930s.

One of LaRue's meatier cliffhanger roles was as "Commissioner Weston" in THE SHADOW (Columbia, 1940).

His last work was at Monogram in the late 1940s in westerns starring Johnny Mack Brown and Jimmy Wakely.

CiCi recalls that Frank had a stroke and passed away at the Motion Picture Home and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California on September 26, 1960.

You may want to go to the In Search Of ... page on the Old Corral and then to the California Death Records database. There you will find a record for: Frank H. LaRue, born 12/5/1878 in Ohio, Mother's maiden name of Coon, and he passed away on 9/26/1960 in California.



  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) has information on Frank LaRue: http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0479008/

The Family Search website has census info. Frank was married four times, and the census beginning in 1920 includes Florence, his last wife, who was called "Nanny Flo":



(Courtesy of Elsimae 'CiCi' Morse)

Above, Frank LaRue's letterhead circa 1900 when he was doing shows and billing himself as the 'Trombone Tramp'.



(Courtesy of Elsimae 'CiCi' Morse)

Family photo, Circa 1939.  Above from L-to-R are Frank's second wife Elsie May (Payne) LaRue (stage name: Elsie Gresham), Frank's daughter Loa May (LaRue) Robinson, Grandpa Frank, the baby is CiCi's sister 'Mikki' Marijane Robinson, and on the far right is Loa's husband, James William Robinson.  James was career Navy, rising up through the ranks, becoming a pilot, and retiring as a Commander.  He met and married Loa in Panama, and 'Mikki' was born there.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above - Buck Jones on trusty steed Silver chats with George Hayes, several years before he became 'Windy' and 'Gabby', and in the right background is Frank LaRue. Scene from Jones' THE THROWBACK (Universal, 1935).



(Courtesy of Elsimae 'CiCi' Morse)

Above from left to right are Bob Baker, Frances Robinson, Frank LaRue and Johnny Mack Brown in a scene from RIDERS OF PASCO BASIN (Universal, 1940).  This was one of a half-dozen oaters starring Brown and featuring Universal's earlier range hero and singin' cowboy Bob Baker as the second lead.



(From Old Corral image collection)

Above from left to right are Tom London, Frank LaRue and Tex Ritter in a lobby card from ROLL, WAGONS, ROLL (Monogram, 1940).



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from left to right are Archie Twitchell, Frank LaRue and Francis Walker in a scene from the PRAIRIE STRANGER (Columbia, 1941), which starred Charles Starrett.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from left to right are Frank LaRue, Donald Curtis, Mary Daily, Kenneth MacDonald (suit) and Tom Moray on the far right. Scene from the Bill Elliott HANDS ACROSS THE ROCKIES (Columbia, 1941). MacDonald is brains heavy "Juneau Jessup" and is ably supported by LaRue (as the mean and brutal "Rufe Crawley") and his sons "Dade Crawley" (Curtis) and "Hi Crawley" (Moray).



(Courtesy of Elsimae 'CiCi' Morse)

Above - an older Frank with a wounded arm and wearing a Cavalry officer uniform in an unidentified film.



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