Singer/songwriter/musician and B-movie cowboy Eddie Dean (born Edgar Dean Glosup) appeared in Hollywood westerns of the late '30s through the late '40s and also had a modest career in country music. He was born in Posey, Texas to a farmer and a singing school teacher, who taught her son to harmonize. In 1926, Dean moved to Chicago to see if he could make it on the radio, but was only able to obtain a few guest spots. He shortened his name to Eddie Dean and the following year was hired in Shenandoah, Iowa.
In 1929, Dean and his older brother Jimmy (not the sausage magnate) began singing together. By late 1933, they were appearing on an early morning Chicago show and the prestigious National Barn Dance. Through 1935, they recorded duets for the ARC label under the direction of Art Satherley, plus some gospel tunes for Decca. After the Deans separated, Jimmy moved to a new station and appeared on a network daytime show, Modern Cinderella. Eddie decided to try his luck in Hollywood in 1936 and began playing minor roles in Westerns. He also appeared regularly on Judy Canova's network radio show and released eight singles between 1941 and 1942, including "On the Banks of the Sunny San Juan." As an actor, Dean got his big break in 1944 when he starred in the musical Western The Harmony Trail. After that, he went on to star in 19 more Westerns; at the apex of his film career, Dean was listed among the top ten cowboy stars of the 1940s.
After 1948, Dean retired from films and focused on using his movie fame to promote his singing career. Although a talented vocalist with a remarkably strong, clear voice, Dean never made it big. He did have a few hits and wrote some excellent songs, including "One Has My Name (The Other Has My Heart)," co-written by his wife and recorded by Jimmy Wakely and Jerry Lee Lewis in 1961 and 1969, respectively. As a songwriter, his best-known hit remains 1955's "I Dreamed of a Hill-Billy Heaven," a country music classic. Dean continued recording on low-budget labels through the 1970s. Through the 1980s, Dean continued to sing and share anecdotes at Western film fairs, and in 1993 was inducted into the Cowboy Hall of Fame. ~ Sandra Brennan