Though a long-time western star, he didn't learn to ride a horse until he was 50 years old.
The hero of "Gabby Hayes Western" comics, published by Fawcett Publications from November 1948 until January 1957.
In real life he was the exact opposite of the characters he played on film. He was well read, well-groomed, serious and highly philosophical.
Western sidekicks Hayes and Smiley Burnette were so popular with audiences that they consistently placed in "top 10" box-office cowboy star polls alongside Gene Autry and Roy Rogers..
Inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 2000.
Married one time, to Olive E. Ireland, from 1914-57. She performed in vaudeville under the name Dorothy Earle and thus is often mistaken for film actress/writer Dorothy Earle, and Earle is often mistakenly listed as one of Hayes' wives. For the record, Dorothy Earle the actress/writer was never married to Hayes.
He was awarded two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Radio at 6427 Hollywood Boulevard and for Television at 1724 Vine St.
The Gabby Hayes Show (1956) featured weekly live "Western teleplays" with a different cast each week. Unique even to this day.
He hosted a local 15-minute late afternoon show in New York City in the early 1950s, aimed at school aged children (WNBT Ch. 4). This show presented western feature films from the '30s and '40s. Each film would be presented in five installments Monday through Friday. The final installment , or "the showdown", on Friday would coincide with the last day of the school week--a double treat for fans.
Although Hayes publicly claimed Wellsville, New York, as his birthplace, he was actually born in the Hayes Hotel (owned by his father) in Stannards, New York, a tiny hamlet on the outskirts of Wellsville.
The character of Gabby Johnson in Blazing Saddles (1974) is a tribute to Hayes.
Whenever he made a solo personal appearance as his "Gabby" character, he would attract crowds as large as stars such as Gene or Roy.