His name? Bronco Billy. His game? A rootin’ shooting cowpoke. There may never have been a Roy Rogers or a Gene Autry had it not been for the grandson of a rabbi, who became the first cowboy hero.


Born Max Aronson in Little Rock Arkansas in 1880, Max, (also known professionally as Gilbert Maxwell Anderson) starred in hundreds of westerns. He appeared in the seminal film “The Great Train Robbery” (1903), then, from 1907 to 1919, he was cowpoke “Bronco Billy.” Aronson, actor, writer, director, and producer of these short films, not only fashioned new camera techniques that fathered the western, but co-founded the Essanay Film Manufacturing Co., which launched the careers of Ben Turpin, Gloria Swanson, Francis X. Bushman, and Charlie Chaplin.

This film pioneer who died in relative obscurity at age 88, was, however, honored with a special Academy Award in 1958.

Source: Did Jew Know?

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