Charlie Dunn

Charlie Dunn Brief Biography

Charles Russell "Charlie" Dunn (c. 1898 - September 23, 1993) was an American bootmaker of handmade Western, or cowboy, boots for more than 80 years. Dubbed the "Michelangelo of cowboy boots," he first gained widespread notice in the wake of Jerry Jeff Walker's song "Charlie Dunn" (1972). By the time he retired in 1988 from Texas Traditions, his shop in Austin, he routinely charged up to $3,000 for a pair of boots, had a waiting list of hundreds of interested buyers willing to wait three years for delivery, and had made boots for a long list of celebrities, including Arnold Palmer, Mary Kay Place, Gene Autry, Slim Pickens, Don F Brooks, Harry Belafonte, Ernest Tubb, Peter Fonda, and Carole King.

Don Counts, who owned several pairs of Charlie's boots and lured him out of a premature retirement, described Charlie as "a real character, an elflike creature who captivated everybody." Known for his colorful language and broad sense of humor, Charlie in his customary black beret and cobbler's apron measured out at 5'4" and 135 pounds of pure imp. One friend noted that even though he was "quiet-spoken," he could "tell stories all day and all night."

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