Sunset Carson (1920-1990) was born Winifred Harrison.
Sunset Carson was 6', 6". He was one of the tallest western stars to ride across the silver screen. Prior to his film success, he had traveled with rodeos and had competed in 40 rodeos by the time he was "12 years old." Since he was tall for his age, some fibbing had got him into the competition. He won every known riding contest that was possible for a teenager to enter, bronco busting, bull-dogging, calf roping and trick riding. He was so good he was invited to join the circus by Tom Mix.
Catching the attention of Republic Pictures executive Lou Grey, he was signed to a contract and given his own series of B-westerns, along with having his name changed to "Sunset Carson".
In just two years, 1945 and 1946, Sunset Carson made more of an impression on western filmdom than most cowboys managed in their entire movie careers. Those were the Republic years, in which Sunset starred in eleven action pictures plus a guest stint in a Roy Rogers extravaganza.
Sunset blamed bad advice for his departure from Republic. Others have blamed his off-camera behavior. Film historian Richard B. Smith III wrote in Boyd Magers' Western Clippings that Sunset was fired by Republic president Herbert G. Yates himself, as related by stuntman-director Yakima Canutt. Canutt's account was that Sunset appeared at a gathering of the studio's western stars not only under the influence but with a girl who was apparently a minor. Yates supposedly told Carson at that time that his starring roles at Republic were over. Whatever the reason, he went on to make five low-budget independent B-Westerns (although at least one was in color).
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