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Orange County Digest

Anaheim : Autry Doing Well After Surgery for Broken Hip

July 19, 1986|Times Wire Services

Gene Autry, owner of the California Angels and an old-time singing cowboy star, underwent surgery Friday to repair a broken hip he suffered in a fall at Santa Ana Superior Court.

Surgeons removed part of Autry's fractured right hip, the ball portion of the hip joint, and replaced it with a metal prosthesis, a spokeswoman at St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank said.

Autry, 78, was reported in good condition after the two-hour operation. "The surgery went well and without complications," the spokeswoman said.

Autry fell and fractured his hip when a man accidentally bumped into him outside the courthouse Thursday afternoon, team spokesman John Sevano said.

The Angels owner was attending the trial in his $100-million breach of contract lawsuit aimed at blocking the City of Anaheim and the Los Angeles Rams from building a cluster of high-rise office buildings in the Anaheim Stadium parking lot.

"Although aggravating by nature, I'm happy to report that the injury is not considered serious," Angels General Manager Mike Port said earlier. "When I talked to Mr. Autry he was in very good spirits."

Team officials said Autry will be hospitalized about a week.

Autry, a multimillionaire with homes in Palm Springs and Los Angeles, has often attended the Orange County trial, looking frail and walking unsteadily down the hallways in his trademark ostrich-skin cowboy boots.

His wife, Jacqueline, often joins him in court but did not come with him Thursday, Sevano said. He was accompanied by several associates, including former baseball executive Red Patterson and Angels vice president Michael Schreter.

Autry, born in Tioga, Tex., in 1907, was discovered at age 18 by Will Rogers singing and playing his guitar while working as a telegraph operator for the railroad in Oklahoma.

He went on to record more than 1,000 songs, including "Back in the Saddle Again," "That Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine," "Tumbling Tumbleweeds," "You Are My Sunshine," "Peter Cottontail," "Mexicali Rose" and one of the most-recorded songs of all time, "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."

Along with his horse, Champion, he also made nearly 100 movies and about the same number of television shows, always portraying a white-hat character who never shot first.

He later turned to the business side of show business, producing other Western TV shows and buying up a series of radio and television stations as well as hotels, real estate and the Angels baseball franchise.

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