Roy Rogers – His Real Name

Roy Rogers’ name at birth was Leonard Franklin Slye. He was born on November 5, 1911, in Cincinnati, Ohio and passed away on July 6, 1998, at the age of 86 in Apple Valley, California.

The man who became famous as Roy Rogers used his birth name Leonard (or Len) Slye for the early part of his career as a successful singer, then used the name Dick Weston when he began playing bit parts in movies. He began using the name Roy Rogers in early 1938 after signing a movie contract with Republic Studios.

For more complete information on Roy Rogers, we suggest you see our Roy Rogers biography on this page.

Roy Rogers (formerly named Leonard Slye) in a 1948 photo
Roy Rogers, whose birth name was Leonard Slye, in a 1948 photo.

Image attribution: By frontrowkid (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Image has been cropped.

Roy Rogers and Co-Stars Name Trivia

Roy Rogers (1911 – 1998) – Roy Rogers’ real name, or name at birth, was Leonard Franklin Slye. In the mid 1930s when he began getting bit parts in movies he used the name Dick Weston. In late 1937 he signed a movie deal with Republic Studios and in early 1938 changed his name to Roy Rogers. The last name “Rogers” was chosen by the studio because of the popularity of the recently deceased Will Rogers. When one of the studio executives suggested using “Leroy” as a first name, Len refused. While growing up he had known a kid that he didn’t like with that name and he didn’t want it assigned to him. After a little consideration Len suggested just shortening “Leroy” to “Roy,” and the studio liked it. Although he began using the name Roy Rogers in 1938 he didn’t legally change his name to Roy Rogers until 1942. You can read our biography on Roy Rogers here.

Trigger (1932? – 1965) – For Roy’s first starring movie role in “Under Western Stars,” 1938, he needed to choose a horse. He was brought several horses to try out, including a golden palomino stallion named Golden Cloud. When he first rode Golden Cloud it was love at first ride. The young actor was later quoted as saying, “I got on him and rode him 100 yards and never looked at another horse. Not long afterwards while working on the set a character actor named Smiley Burnette commented “Roy, as quick as that horse of yours is, you ought to call him Trigger.” Roy liked the suggestion so much he quickly changed the horse’s name to Trigger. You can read our biography on Trigger here.

Dale Evans (1912 – 2001) – On New Year’s Eve 1947 Roy Rogers married his co-star and good friend Dale Evans. Dale’s name at birth was Frances Octavia Smith. She married at an early age and as a young singer used the names Frances Fox (her married name) and Marion Lee. While performing for a radio station in Louisville, Kentucky, the station manager talked her into changing her name to Dale Evans. She initially didn’t like the idea, stating that “Dale” sounded too much like a man’s name. The station manager talked her into accepting the name by telling her he chose it for a beautiful silent movie actress named Dale. He also said that both “Dale” and “Evans” were good professional names because they were short, easily pronounced by announcers, and difficult to misspell. You can read our Dale Evans biography here.

Bob Nolan (1908 -1980) – Roy Rogers, Bob Nolan, and Tim Spencer were the founding members of the Western singing group the Sons Of The Pioneers. The Sons Of The Pioneers were popular co-stars in many of Roy Rogers’ movies, often being billed as Bob Nolan and the Sons Of The Pioneers. Bob Nolan’s name at birth was Clarence Robert Nobles. Detailed information about Bob Nolan can be found here (<<< this link will open in a new window).

Pat Brady (1914 – 1972) – A member of the Sons Of The Pioneers, Pat Brady was born Robert Ellsworth O’Brady. He appeared in numerous Roy Rogers movies along with other members of the Sons Of The Pioneers, and was best known for his comical roles. He also co-starred in “The Roy Rogers Show” on television (1951 – 1957).