: [on John Wayne] He's my boy. He's the best. Couldn't think more of him if he was my own son.
American character actor, the most famous of Western-movie sidekicks of the 1930s and 1940s. As a young man, George Hayes worked in a circus and played semi-pro baseball while a teenager. He ran away from home at 17, in 1902, and joined a touring stock company.
Retired in his 40s, he lost much of his money in the 1929 stock market crash and was forced to return to work.
Though a long-time western star, he didn't learn to ride a horse until he was 50 years old.
In real life he was the exact opposite of the characters he played on film. He was well read, well-groomed, serious and highly philosophical.
Western sidekicks Hayes and Smiley Burnette were so popular with audiences that they consistently placed in "top 10" box-office cowboy star polls alongside Gene Autry and Roy Rogers..