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GIVE IT UP, GENE; MOVIES NOT FOR YOU

GIVE IT UP, GENE; MOVIES NOT FOR YOU

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Singing cowboy Gene Autry was presented with a recently discovered letter written in 1938 saying he had no future in Hollywood.

The letter, by producer Al Levoy, was found in the Republic Pictures archives. It said the young Autry needed to improve his acting, that a preliminary acting course was ``evidently wasted,' and that the actor needed darker makeup to ``give him the appearance of virility.'``A lot of that is true,' Autry, 83, said Thursday. ``I got better as I went along. I couldn't get any worse.'

Autry went on to become one of Republic's biggest stars. He starred in 93 motion pictures, including ``South of the Border' in 1939, ``The Last Roundup' in 1947 and ``Riders in the Sky' in 1949.

Russell Goldsmith, chairman of Republic Pictures, donated the letter to the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum in a brief ceremony. Autry said he never had heard of the letter.

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