Pat Brady (December 31, 1914 – February 27, 1972) was best known as cowboy Roy Rogers' "comical sidekick." Pat's full name was Robert Ellsworth Patrick Aloysious O'Brady and this was shortened to "Bob Brady," although it is not known when the "O'" was dropped from "O'Brady."
Born in Toledo, Ohio, Pat Brady first set foot on-stage at the age of four, in a road-show production of Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch. From that moment he was hooked on showbiz for life. While appearing as a bassist in California in 1935, Pat struck up a friendship with a young country & western singer named Leonard Slye, a member of the popular Sons of the Pioneers. When Len Slye was elevated to screen stardom as Roy Rogers, he recommended Brady as his replacement in "The Sons". However, as Bob Nolan, an original member of The Sons, was referred to as "Bob," and The Sons thought one "Bob" was enough, "Bob Brady" became "Pat Brady" from then on.
Making the transition to films himself in 1937, Brady played comedy relief in several of the Charles Starrett Westerns at Columbia. Brady served in WWII and was at the Battle of the Bulge, in Bastogne. In the early 1940s, he moved to Republic, where he played zany camp cook Sparrow Biffle in the Roy Rogers vehicles. When Rogers moved to television in 1951, he took Brady with him. Now billed as "himself," Brady enlivened over 100 episodes of The Roy Rogers Show, happily driving about the sagebrush at the wheel of his faithful jeep "Nellybelle."
Long after the cancellation of the weekly series, Brady continued his association with Rogers on television and in personal appearances. He also rejoined the Sons of the Pioneers in 1959, as a replacement for the defecting Shug Fisher, a well-known character actor. In late 1962, Brady appeared with Rogers and Evans in their short-lived ABC comedy, western, and variety program, The Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Show, which lost out in the Saturday evenings ratings to The Jackie Gleason Show on CBS. Joining Brady on that program was comedian Cliff Arquette in his Charley Weaver role. Coincidentally, Arquette, like Brady, was born in Toledo.
Pat Brady died at the age of fifty-seven in Green Mountain Falls, Colorado. At his funeral on March 1, 1972, Hugh Farr and Lloyd Perryman, both members of the Sons of the Pioneers, sang "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" and "At the Rainbows End".
By Dean Hanley
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