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Burl Ives was a star football player in high school, and intended to become a football coach, but he didn't complete college, and he had learned the banjo, and he bummed around the country doing odd jobs and street singing in the 1930s! He became a successful folk singer in the 1940s, and was cast as a singing cowboy in "Smoky" in 1946, billed as "The Singing Troubador", and he alternated between folk singing and acting for the rest of his life. He is likely best remembered for playing the role of "Big Daddy" in the movie version of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof", and for his best supporting Oscar winning role in "The Big Country". He was also the voice of Sam the Snowman in the classic children's Christmas movie, "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer". Ives passed away in 1995 at the age of 85.
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