Began in show business as a radio singer. In the early 1930s he became one of the first singing screen cowboys. He starred in a series of musical westerns for Paramount, and another series for 20th Century Fox. In later years he was featured in supporting roles well into the 1950s.
|1||Attended the University of Texas and got his first part-time job as a singer on a local radio station.|
|2||Was voted #8 in the top ten Western moneymaking stars of 1938.|
|3||According to Don Creacy in an in-depth article on Smith in Classic Images (April 2010), the cowboy actor retired from Hollywood and moved to Fort Worth, Texas, where he became a manager in the missiles division of an aircraft company.|
|4||Besides being a popular radio singer, he recorded hundred of records, as one of the prominent studio vocalists. His smooth, honest style of singing was featured on many important hot jazz sides of the late 1920s and early 1930s (a good example of his vocal style on a great hot jazz record is his vocal on Frank Traumbauer's version of "Happy Feet" from 1930, which is available on CD). He also had his own band for a time during the early 1930s.|
|5||Contrary to popular opinion, Ballew did NOT dub John Wayne's singing voice in Riders of Destiny (1933), which is generally considered to be the first "singing" western. Wayne's voice was dubbed by Bill Bradbury, an actor who was the son of the film's director, Robert N. Bradbury.|
|The Red Badge of Courage||1951||Captain (uncredited)|
|I Killed Geronimo||1950||Lt. Furness|
|Federal Man||1950||James Snow - Mining Engineer (uncredited)|
|Gun Cargo||1949||Singing Sailor|
|The Mutineers||1949||Beasly (uncredited)|
|Tex Granger: Midnight Rider of the Plains||1948||'Marshal' Blaze Talbot|
|Under Arizona Skies||1946||Band Singer|
|Drifting Along||1946||Band Singer Smith|
|The Man Who Walked Alone||1945||Alvin Bailey|
|Gaucho Serenade||1940||Buck Benson|
|Panamint's Bad Man||1938||Larry Kimball, alias John Smith|
|Hawaiian Buckaroo||1938||Jeff Howard|
|Roll Along, Cowboy||1937||Randy Porter|
|Western Gold||1937||Bill Gibson|
|Racing Lady||1937||Steven Wendel|
|Rambling 'Round Radio Row #5||1933||Short||Smith Ballew - Singer|
|Magic in the Moonlight||2014||performer: "You Call It Madness But I Call It Love"|
|Boardwalk Empire||2013||TV Series performer - 1 episode|
|Magic City||2013||TV Series performer - 1 episode|
|Under Arizona Skies||1946||performer: "Livin' Western Style", "Strawberry Blonde"|
|Drifting Along||1946||performer: "You Can Bet Your Boots and Saddles" - uncredited|
|Panamint's Bad Man||1938||performer: "Got Some Ridin' to Do", "Last Rose of Summer", "Auld Lang Syne"|
|Roll Along, Cowboy||1937||performer: "On the Sunny Side of the Rockies", "Stars Over the Desert", "Roll Along, Ride 'em Cowboy"|
|Western Gold||1937||performer: "Echoes of the Trail", "Tenting on the Old Camp Ground" uncredited, "Gwine to Rune All Night" aka "De Camptown Races", "Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair"|
|Palm Springs||1936||performer: "The Hills of Old Wyoming"|
|Rambling 'Round Radio Row #5||1933||Short performer: "Deep in Your Eyes" - uncredited|
|Rhythms||1929||Short performer: "If I Had You" - uncredited|
|The Cariboo Trail||1950||stunt double: Randolph Scott - uncredited|
|Screen Snapshots Series 17, No. 5||1938||Documentary short||Himself|
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