Barbara Hale (April 18, 1922 – January 26, 2017) was an American actress best known for her role as legal secretary Della Street in the television series Perry Mason (1957–1966), earning her a 1959 Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. She reprised the role in 30 Perry Mason movies for television (1985–1995). Her film roles included The Window (1949), in which she starred as the mother of a boy who witnesses a murder.
Barbara Hale in Jolson Sings Again, 1949
|Born||April 18, 1922|
DeKalb, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||January 26, 2017 94) (aged|
Sherman Oaks, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills)|
|Known for||Perry Mason|
(m. 1946; died 1992)
|Children||3, including William Katt|
Barbara Hale was born in DeKalb, Illinois, a daughter of Wilma (née Colvin) and Luther Ezra Hale, a landscape gardener. She had one sister, Juanita, for whom Hale's younger daughter was named. The family was of Scots-Irish ancestry. In 1940, Hale was a member of the final graduating class from Rockford High School in Rockford, Illinois, then attended the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, planning to be an artist. Her performing career began in Chicago, when she started modeling to pay for her education.
Hale moved to Hollywood in 1943, and under contract to RKO Radio Pictures, made her first screen appearance (uncredited) in Gildersleeve's Bad Day. She continued to make small uncredited appearances in films, until her first credited role alongside Frank Sinatra in Higher and Higher (1943) (even singing with him in the film). Hale had leading roles in movies including West of the Pecos (1945), Lady Luck (1946) — opposite Robert Young in what she described as her first "full stardom" and "her fifth A picture" — and The Window (1949).
Her roles in 1950s films such as the adventure Lorna Doone (1951); the comedy The Jackpot (with James Stewart) (also 1951); the drama A Lion Is in the Streets (1953), and the Westerns Seminole (also 1953) and The Oklahoman (1957) continued Hale's run of successful movies during that decade. The latter film, co-starring Joel McCrea, would mark Hale's last leading role in a motion picture. She seldom appeared in film after this time, but was part of an all-star cast in the 1970 movie Airport, playing the wife of an airline pilot (played by Dean Martin). Hale's final appearance in a feature film was in the 1978 drama Big Wednesday as Mrs. Barlow, the mother of the character played by Hale's real-life son William Katt.
Perry Mason (1957–1966; 1985–1995)
Hale was considering retirement from acting when she accepted her best known role as legal secretary Della Street in the television series Perry Mason, starring Raymond Burr as the titular character. The show ran for nine seasons from 1957 to 1966, with 271 episodes produced. The role won Hale a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.
In 1985, Hale and Burr (by then the only surviving cast members from the original series) reprised their roles for the TV movie Perry Mason Returns. The film was such a ratings hit, that a further 29 movies were produced until 1995. Hale continued her role as Della in the four telefilms produced after Burr's death in 1993, subtitled A Perry Mason Mystery (and starring Paul Sorvino as Anthony Caruso in the first film and Hal Holbrook as "Wild" Bill McKenzie in the remaining three). Hale is thus the only actor to feature in all 30 films.
Her last on-screen appearance was a TV biographical documentary about Burr that aired in 2000.
Private life and death
In 1945 during the filming of West of the Pecos, Hale met actor Bill Williams (birth name Herman August Wilhelm Katt). They were married for 46 years from June 22, 1946 until Williams' death from cancer on September 21, 1992. The couple had two daughters, Jodi and Juanita, and a son, actor William Katt. Williams had made guest appearances on four episodes of Perry Mason in the 1960s.
Katt played detective Paul Drake, Jr., alongside Hale in nine of the Perry Mason TV movies from 1985–1988. Hale guest-starred on Katt's series, The Greatest American Hero in which Katt played the title role, aka Ralph Hinkley; Hale played Hinkley's mother in the 1982 episode, "Who's Woo in America". She also played his mother in the 1978 movie Big Wednesday.
Hale died at her home in Sherman Oaks, California, on January 26, 2017, of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. She was 94 years old. She is interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills) next to her husband.
Hale was recognized as a Star of Television (with a marker at 1628 Vine Street) on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on February 8, 1960. She won the Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress (Continuing Character) in a Dramatic Series in 1959 and was nominated for the Emmy for Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role by an Actor or Actress in a Series in 1961.
She was presented one of the Golden Boot Awards in 2001 for her contributions to western cinema.
|1943||Gildersleeve's Bad Day||Girl at Party Getting Peavey to Donate||Film debut; Uncredited|
|Mexican Spitfire's Blessed Event||Girl at Airport||Uncredited|
|The Seventh Victim||Subway Passenger||Uncredited|
|The Iron Major||Sarah Cavanaugh||Uncredited|
|Gildersleeve on Broadway||Stocking Salesgirl||Uncredited|
|Government Girl||Girl in Hotel Lobby||Uncredited|
|Around the World||Barbara Hale||Uncredited|
|Higher and Higher||Katherine Keating|
|1944||Prunes and Politics||Short|
|The Falcon Out West||Marion Colby|
|Goin' To Town||Patty|
|The Falcon in Hollywood||Peggy Callahan|
|1945||West of the Pecos||Rill Lambeth|
|First Yank into Tokyo||Abby Drake|
|1946||Lady Luck||Mary Audrey|
|1947||A Likely Story||Vickie North|
|1948||The Boy with Green Hair||Miss Brand|
|1949||The Clay Pigeon||Martha Gregory|
|The Window||Mrs. Mary Woodry|
|Jolson Sings Again||Ellen Clark|
|And Baby Makes Three||Jacqueline 'Jackie' Walsh|
|1950||The Jackpot||Amy Lawrence|
|Emergency Wedding||Dr. Helen Hunt|
|1951||Lorna Doone||Lorna Doone|
|1952||The First Time||Betsey Bennet|
|Castle in the Air||Barbara Hale||Uncredited|
|1953||Last of the Comanches||Julia Lanning|
|The Lone Hand||Sarah Jane Skaggs|
|A Lion Is in the Streets||Verity Wade|
|The Far Horizons||Julia Hancock|
|1956||The Houston Story||Zoe Crane|
|7th Cavalry||Martha Kellogg|
|1957||The Oklahoman||Anne Barnes|
|Slim Carter||Allie Hanneman|
|1958||Desert Hell||Celie Edwards|
|The Red, White and Black||Mrs. Alice Grierson|
|1975||The Giant Spider Invasion||Dr. Jenny Langer|
|1978||Big Wednesday||Mrs. Barlow||Final film role|
|1952–56||The Ford Television Theatre||Marta Linden, Nora White||Episodes: "The Divided Heart", "Remember to Live", "Behind the Mask"|
|1953||Footlights Theater||Katherine Charles||Episode: "Change of Heart"|
|1953–55||Schlitz Playhouse of Stars||Episodes: "Vacation for Ginny", "Tourists-Overnight"|
|1955||Studio 57||Ruth||Episode: "Young Couples Only"|
|General Electric Theater||Ellen Newman||Episode: "The Windmill"|
|Screen Director's Playhouse||June Waters||Episode: "Meet the Governor"|
|Celebrity Playhouse||Episode: "He Knew All About Women"|
|Climax!||Mamie Eunson||Episode: "The Day They Gave Babies Away"|
|Science Fiction Theatre||Nancy Stanton, Pat Hastings||Episodes: "Conversations With an Ape", "The Hastings Secret"|
|1956||The Loretta Young Show||Bill's Wife||Episode: "The Challenge"|
|Damon Runyon Theater||Wendy Longfield||Episode: "The Good Luck Kid"|
|Crossroads||Jane Sherman||Episode: "Lifeline"|
|The Millionaire||Kathy Munson and Marian Munson||Episode: "The Kathy Munson Story"|
|1956–57||Playhouse 90||Mrs. Julia Wiley, Ann Barnes, Allie Hanneman||Episodes: "The Country Husband", "The Blackwell Story"|
|1957–66||Perry Mason||Della Street||Credited in all 271 episodes|
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (1959)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (1961)
|1959||General Electric Theater||Lorraine||Episode: "Night Club"|
|1963||Stump the Stars||Herself||2 episodes|
|1967||Custer||Melinda Terry||Episode: "Death Hunt"|
|1969||Insight||Mom||Episode: "A Thousand Red Flowers"|
|Lassie||Sarah Caldwell||Episode: "Lassie and the Water Bottles"|
|1970||The Most Deadly Game||Episode: "Model for Murder"|
|1971||Ironside||Marsha Connell||Episode: "Murder Impromptu"|
|Adam-12||Bonnie Jessup||Episode: "Pick-up"; Hale's husband Bill Williams also appears|
|1972||The Doris Day Show||Thelma King||Episode: "Doris' House Guest"|
|1973–78||Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color||Mrs. Belle Kincaid, Mrs. Hanson, Mrs. Ogle, Mrs. Barlow||Episodes: "Chester, Yesterday's Horse", "Flight of the Grey Wolf, Parts 1 and 2", "The Young Runaways", "Big Wednesday"|
|1974||Marcus Welby, M.D.||Marjorie||Episode: "The Faith of Childish Things"|
|1982||The Greatest American Hero||Paula Hinkley||Episode: "Who's Woo in America"|
|1985||Perry Mason Returns||Della Street||Perry Mason TV movie|
|1986||The Case of the Notorious Nun|
|The Case of the Shooting Star|
|1987||The Case of the Lost Love|
|The Case of the Sinister Spirit|
|The Case of the Murdered Madam|
|The Case of the Scandalous Scoundrel|
|1988||The Case of the Avenging Ace|
|The Case of the Lady in the Lake|
|1989||The Case of the Lethal Lesson|
|The Case of the Musical Murder|
|The Case of the All-Star Assassin|
|1990||The Case of the Poisoned Pen|
|The Case of the Desperate Deception|
|The Case of the Silenced Singer|
|The Case of the Defiant Daughter|
|1991||The Case of the Ruthless Reporter|
|The Case of the Maligned Mobster|
|The Case of the Glass Coffin|
|The Case of the Fatal Fashion|
|1992||The Case of the Fatal Framing|
|The Case of the Reckless Romeo|
|The Case of the Heartbroken Bride|
|1993||The Case of the Skin-Deep Scandal|
|The Case of the Telltale Talk Show Host|
|The Case of the Killer Kiss|
|The Case of the Wicked Wives||A Perry Mason Mystery TV movie|
|1994||The Case of the Lethal Lifestyle|
|The Case of the Grimacing Governor|
|1995||The Case of the Jealous Jokester|
|2000||Biography||Herself||Episode: "Raymond Burr, The Case of the TV Legend"|
- Wright, Gilson (April 15, 1973). "Barbara Hale is "my kind of people" says writer". The Journal News. p. 12. Retrieved September 4, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- Descendants of John Hale Sr. (Frontiersman) – Hale Roots Archived March 8, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
- "Barbara Hale – The Private Life and Times of Barbara Hale. Barbara Hale Pictures". Glamourgirlsofthesilverscreen.com. Retrieved 2014-03-12.
- "Barbara Hale". 20 (16). Life. April 22, 1946: 111–14. Cite journal requires
- Gunson, Victor (March 16, 1946). "Barbara Hale Attaining Film Stardom, Happiest over Obtaining a New House!". The Morning Herald. p. 16. Retrieved September 4, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- King, Susan (December 12, 1993). "Retro: Barbara Hale's Success Is No Mystery". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
- Barnes, Mike; Byrge, Duane (January 27, 2017). "Barbara Hale, the Loyal Della Street on 'Perry Mason', Dies at 94". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
- Grimes, William (September 14, 1993). "Raymond Burr, Actor, 76, Dies; Played Perry Mason and Ironside". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-12-26.
- "Hale, Barbara". radioGOLDINdex. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
- 1973 Radarange TV commercial (first 30 seconds of video) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auSzyKg4bHE
- York, Cal (September 1962). "Raymond Burr Saved My Marriage". TV Radio Mirror. 58 (4): 62–64. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
- "Bahai faith teaches universal acceptance of God". Associated Press. 2000-12-30. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
- Bernstein, Adam (January 29, 2017). "Barbara Hale, who played Della Street on 'Perry Mason', dies at 94". Washington Post. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
- "Barbara Hale". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
- "Awards Search: Barbara Hale". Television Academy: Emmys. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
- "Golden Boot Awards 2001". Retrieved January 29, 2017.
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