Though a long time Western star, he had not learned to ride a horse until nearly 50 years of age. 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 Gabby 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 1914-1957. Olive Ireland performed in vaudeville under the name Dorothy Earle and thus is often mistaken for film actress/writer Dorothy Earle, and that Earle is often mistakenly listed as one of George 'Gabby' Hayes's wives. Dorothy Earle was never married to George 'Gabby' Hayes. He was awarded 2 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Radio at 6427 Hollywood Boulevard and for Television at 1724 Vine Street in Hollywood, California. "The Gabby Hayes Show" (1950) (NBC TV ) 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 NYC in the early '50s, 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 5 installments Mon-Fri. The final installment , or "the showdown", on Friday would coincide with the last day of the school week. A double treat for the 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. Hated westerns. "I hated them. Really can't stand them. They are always the same. You have so few plots. The stagecoach holdup, the rustlers, the mortgage gag, the mine setting and the retired gunslinger." This is from a personal quote about John Wayne, "He's my boy. He's the best. Couldn't think more of him if he was my own son."