Ridge Bond was born and raised in McAlester, Oklahoma. He attended the University Of Tulsa, and it was there, in the school of drama that he received his introduction to “Green Grow The Lilacs”, by Lynn Riggs, the play from which “Oklahoma!” is derived.
Following graduation (with honors) he married Maxine Vincent (daughter of Frank Vincent World Champion outboard boat racer) and then spent the next three years on active duty as an officer in the Navy’s Torpedo Boat Division.
After the war (WWII) ended, he worked for CBS and RCA, announcing and singing commercials live on the radio until then, in 1946, he auditioned for the part of understudy to the then star of “Oklahoma!”, Howard Keel. Bond got the part and 7 months later Keel left the show, and a new star was born.
In September of 1951 the U.S. State Department sent Mr. Bond and the cast of “Oklahoma!” to West Berlin as a goodwill gesture for the Berlin Arts Festival. They performed in bombed out theaters without chairs and surrounded by rubble but also at the incredible Titania – Palast Theater.
In 1953 he was instrumental in helping childhood friend, George Nigh, the State Representative from Pittsburgh County, make “Oklahoma!” the official State Song. Along with Chickasaw Women’s College Choir he sang “Oklahoma!” to the Legislature and the rest is history. (On March 24, 2012 the Oklahoma Historical Society presented a podcast on Oklahoma Memories, the Official State Song).
He also appeared on such TV programs as “Omnibus”, “The Kate Smith Show” and “Show Time U.S.A. as well as his own show, “The Ridge Bond Show”.
In 1954 “Oklahoma!” closed, and after more than 2,000 performances Mr. Bond retired as “Curly”.
In 1955 he produced and also appeared in, “Melody Circus”, a series of music and theatrical performances presented in the round in both Canada and the USA.
In 1956 he returned to Tulsa where he was a TV personality for ABC affiliate KTUL-TV and CBS affiliate KOTV. He also starred in Tulsa Little Theater productions of “Kiss Me Kate” and “Kismet”.
In 1993 he was named Ambassador Of Goodwill by the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. Also in ’93 on March 30th the U.S. Postal Service issued the official state stamp based upon his likeness.
He is the only Native American (Choctaw Nation) to have starred as “Curly” on Broadway.
Mr. Bond passed away in 1997 and is buried in Claremore, Oklahoma.
A tribute in the Tulsa Daily World newspaper praised Mr. Bond: “One of the best things that ever happened to the international image of the 46th State was Ridge Bond…
Oklahoma has lost a fine artist, a fine man and a native son, who, like Will Rogers, was always an ambassador of good will for the Sooner State. Even in death Ridge Bond’s legacy lives on in every production of Oklahoma! and every time our State Song is sung. In life, as on the stage, he was the authentic Oklahoman, blessed with the same warm spirit as the make-believe pioneers in the play.”

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