b. 8 June 1921, San Angelo, Texas, USA. Hale learned to ride, rope, play guitar and sing as a boy and entertained at local venues in the early 40s. In 1944, he played guitar and sang with Jimmy Wakely, which led to a contract with Republic. Between 1944 and 1946, he appeared in eight films with various cowboy stars before he went on to star with his horse, Pardner, in 19 B-westerns for that studio. The first of these, Home On The Range (1946), was the first of the genre that Republic made in colour. Hale was noted for his fancy Nudie -made cowboy shirts and his fine singing voice was supported in many of his films by Foy Willing And The Riders Of The Purple Sage. Strangely, by the time he played his last cowboy lead in 1950, he no longer sang in the films. He appeared in some non-westerns includingGiant (1955) and taught the star, James Dean, the rope trick that he had to perform in the film. During the 50s and 60s, he played in various television programmes, includingTales Of Wells Fargo. He recorded for Beltone and MGM Records in the late 40s, without major success. He apparently never showed any great ambition to be a star, usually professing that he was happier back home on the range. He finally retired to California, where his wife became the director of his great friend Gene Autry’s Western Heritage Museum, and he continued to appear at rodeos and film festivals.
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