The Lives Of The Original Cast Of The Lone Ranger After The Show Ended

Even though it has been off the air for more than six decades, the original "The Lone Ranger" TV series is still beloved by fans of Old Hollywood. It mainly revolved around the exploits of crime-fighting partners Tonto and The Lone Ranger. Tonto was a Native American, while The Lone Ranger was a former Texas Ranger. When they were kids, the Lone Ranger helped to save Tonto's life after his family had been killed, and Tonto returned the favor many years later when they were adults. The two then staged the Lone Ranger's death, allowing him to continue on as an anonymous crime fighter.

"The Lone Ranger" first began life not on the screen, but as a radio show in 1933. In 1938, the "The Lone Ranger" first made it to the screen as a movie serial, and the next year returned as "The Lone Ranger Rides Again." The franchise then lay dormant until 1947, when "The Lone Ranger" TV show first debuted. The show would go on to air 221 episodes over five seasons, and became one of the staples of early TV, getting two Primetime Emmy nominations.

Jay Silverheels famously starred as Tonto, while Clayton Moore and John Hart played the role of The Lone Ranger. Other stars included Chuck Courtney and Glenn Strange, who played Dan Reid Jr. and Butch Cavendish. Many decades later, here's what happened to the original cast of "The Lone Ranger" after it ended.

Jay Silverheels

Besides the titular character, nobody was more important on "The Lone Ranger" than his companion Tonto, who was played by Jay Silverheels. According to The Lone Ranger's origin story, he and Tonto had come across paths when they were both kids. The Lone Ranger found Tonto after his mother and sister had been killed in an ambush by rival natives, and he helped nurse Tonto back to health before giving him a horse to find his father with. In return, Tonto gave him his good luck ring. Years later, when The Lone Ranger found himself ambushed and his fellow Texas Rangers killed by Butch Cavendish and his gang, Tonto came to his aid, recognizing his good luck ring, which had since been made into a necklace.

Silverheels was of the Canadian Mohawk tribe. He was the only actor to play Tonto on the TV series, and he also played the Native American chief Geronimo in a number of movies in the '50s. Before becoming an actor, Silverheels was both a Golden Gloves boxer and a lacrosse player. He was instrumental in getting Native American recognition in Hollywood, and helped found the Indian Actors Workshop. In 1979, he was honored with his own Hollywood Walk of Fame star, the first Native American to receive one. Silverheels died in 1980 from pneumonia.

Clayton Moore

Though he was not in every episode of "The Lone Ranger," Clayton Moore was by far the most recognizable actor to portray the title character on the TV series. The Lone Ranger was a former Texas Ranger, who became an anonymous crime fighter following the death of several of his fellow officers. They were led into a trap by outlaw Butch Cavendish, and only The Lone Ranger survived. He was helped by Tonto, who found him lying by the river, almost near death, and saved his life.

Moore played The Lone Ranger for 169 episodes from 1949–1957, appearing in every season except for the third, when he was replaced by John Hart. Moore got his start acting in the 1930s, and he was a consistent presence in many westerns in the '40s and '50s. His stints on "The Lone Ranger" were his last significant acting roles, and he only acted once more after the '50s ended.

However, even if he was no longer playing the role onscreen, Moore still lived and breathed the life of "The Lone Ranger" for the rest of his days. Moore would appear at public and private events as The Lone Ranger, and he identified strongly with the Ranger's creed in his personal life. He became a member of the Cowboy Hall of Fame, and got his own place on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1987. Moore died in 1999 from a heart attack at age 85.

John Hart

John Hart only played the role of the title character on "The Lone Ranger" for one season and 52 episodes, but he made an everlasting impression with his solid acting and rugged good looks. Previously, Hart had played a couple of supporting roles in two episodes of the first season, but returned as the main character for every episode of the third season, in Clayton Moore's absence. Like Moore, Hart also started acting in the late 1930s, appearing in many westerns in addition to "The Lone Ranger."

Following his brief stint as The Lone Ranger, Hart continued regularly acting through the late-1970s, and his final appearance was on the TV show "Happy Days," where he reprised his role as The Lone Ranger. In 1970, he appeared in "The Phynx" as The Lone Ranger, alongside Jay Silverheels as Tonto, where they played humorous versions of their former characters.

Apart from his acting career, Hart was also an actual, real-life cowboy growing up, albeit part-time, and his wife of 52 years, Beryl Braithwaite, was 19 years his junior. He was also a filmmaker, had his own Hollywood Star, and was a veteran of the Second World War in the U.S. Army. Hart died in 2009 at the age of 91, and was reportedly suffering from dementia.

Chuck Courtney

For 14 episodes over three seasons, Chuck Courtney played the role of Dan Reid on "The Lone Ranger." Reid was an orphan, and the nephew of The Lone Ranger, with his father being the Ranger's older brother — also named Dan Reid. The younger Reid was still a boy when his father was killed during an ambush by Butch Cavendish, and he lived with his Grandma Frisby after his mother also died.

Courtney started his career in 1950 with "The Lone Ranger," and he also had several small uncredited roles to begin his career, too. After his time as Reid ended, Courtney continued to be a successful actor in Hollywood, racking up title after title. Some of his most notable works included stints on "Dragnet," "The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin," and "Star Trek."

In addition to his work as an actor, Courtney also appeared in 51 movies as a highly regarded stuntman. His last work as a stuntman was for the 1990 Clint Eastwood and Charlie Sheen film "The Rookie." Courtney died by suicide in 2000 at the age of 69.

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Glenn Strange

As the evil villain Butch Cavendish, Glenn Strange had a short but very memorable run on "The Lone Ranger." Strange played Cavendish for four episodes during the first season, including for the entire three-part origin story spanning the first three episodes. Cavendish was the villain who lured The Lone Ranger and his band of Texas Rangers into the ambush at Bryant's Gap, which led to the death of five rangers, as well as the birth of The Lone Ranger. Eventually, Cavendish would be caught and sent to jail for life, though in later rebooted versions he is sometimes killed.

In addition to portraying Cavendish, Strange also made four other appearances on "The Lone Ranger" in the third and fourth seasons, playing various secondary characters. However, Strange is most well known for his portrayal of Sam Noonan in the drama "Gunsmoke" for more than 240 episodes from 1961–1973, and as the wolfman in 1942's "The Mad Monster." In all, Strange managed to appear in more than 300 movies and in around 500 TV shows, and he was also a real-life cowboy and a stuntman to boot. Strange died at the age of 74 in 1973 from cancer.