Senior Living & Townehouse News

Ventura Townehouse resident Ron Hargrave

Meet Ventura Townehouse resident Ron Hargrave

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Ronald J. “Ron” Hargrave (born November 8, 1929) is a well-renowned ukulele player and actor from the 1950s era; he has become an icon to the Rockabilly fan base. He co-wrote music for Jerry Lee Lewis, had many singles, and was also identified as a billboard star musician in Japan. Ron was born in the Bronx to Vaudeville performers directly after the big Wall Street Crash of 1929. His family, trying to avert disaster, moved to Hollywood, California in 1936, where they settled, and he began his lifelong career choices for the entertainment industry.

In 1953 he was drafted into the Army Special Services. There, he entertained troops with his guitar and singing. During his military service, he met the daughter of Lou Costello; this chance meeting started him off in the film industry. After meeting Costello’s daughter, he met with Abbott and Costello and eventually was managed by Lou Costello in the film, “Dance with Me Henry”, released in 1956.

He began writing songs and was introduced to Jerry Lee Lewis where he co-wrote “High School Confidential” (Jerry Lee Lewis song) and wrote “Latch On” and other movie songs. He was also a boxer and his swagger in Costello’s movie earmarked him as one of the first on-screen rock and roll actors, in an era that had not yet adjusted to the young attitude of Elvis Presley or Jerry Lee Lewis.

At age 80 Ron Hargrave recorded a new album. The title is simply “Ron Hargrave.” It’s anchored by, of all things, the ukulele and the infectious way he plays it. Maybe we can talk Ron into playing a few tunes during our wine and cheese socials!

Ron Hargrave: Boxer and ukelele player in the army