A Knight to RememberMay 9, 2014
If you’re into westerns, or famous people from West Virginia, or people with odd names, then this blog is for you!
John Forrest “Fuzzy” Knight
A man. A cowboy. A star.
May 9, 1901 was a momentous day for Marion County and, oddly enough, Hollywood. Born right here in Fairmont, John Knight lived and breathed West Virginia. That is, until he went out west to be a famous cowboy and movie star.
After attending Fairmont Senior High School, Knight went on to West Virginia University to study law. That didn’t go as planned when music and performing began to take hold of his passions.
Knight left school to perform in vaudeville and big bands and on Broadway. He was billed under a nickname, “Fuzzy,” because of his incredibly soft voice.
Mae West, movie star and Broadway sensation of the day, gave him his first notable film role in She Done Him Wrong, starring herself and Cary Grant.
Fuzzy was mostly acting in Western movies, and his parts consisted primarily of Western “sidekick” roles.His salary and fame weren’t anything less than leading-role status. Fuzzy was listed among the Top 10 Money-Making Western Stars in the 1940s.
Fuzzy didn’t simply act. He performed. He played the comic “pal” and the cowboy hero. He sang for the film The Trail of the Lonesome Pine and The Shepherd of the Hills starring John Wayne, Harry Carey and Beulah Bondi.
Movies come and go, but a TV show goes on and on and on. Knight reclaimed his fame to a new generation when he co-starred in the 1955 television series Captain Gallant of the Foreign Legion.
He retired in 1960, but continued to make cameo appearances in movies and shows.
Fuzzy Knight appeared in more than 180 films between 1929 and 1967.
February 23, 1976 Fuzzy died in his sleep at the Motion Picture Country Home and Hospital in Woodland Hills at the age of 74.
A West Virginia Legacy!
While in the Mountain State, Fuzzy wrote a WVU pep song, “Fight Mountaineers,” and it is still used by the WVU Marching Band. He also wrote the score for a WVU song entitled “To Thee Our Alma Mater.”
He was a mountaineer, a cheerleader, a drummer, a composer, an actor— an all around talent.
Are you a fan of old western movies?