Saturday, January 28, 2017

Barbara Hale, Actress, Has Died at 94

Barbara Hale, best known for her Emmy Award-winning role as Perry Mason’s loyal secretary Della Street on the long-running 1950s and ’60s TV series starring Raymond Burr, has died. She was 94.
Hale died Thursday, according to her son, actor William Katt, who posted the news on his Facebook page. Katt’s agent, Jacqueline Sander, said Hale died at home, at peace with her family and friends. 
Based on characters in author Erle Stanley Gardner’s popular mystery series, the hourlong “Perry Mason,” about a crime-solving defense attorney, ran for nine seasons on CBS, from 1957 to 1966. “Della wasn’t really a very big role,” Ms. Hale told the New Jersey newspaper The Record in 1986. “I had six days, six lines and six wardrobe changes a show. When I changed clothes, it signified another day had gone by in the script."

Barbara Hale was born on April 18, 1922, in DeKalb, Ill., the younger of two daughters of Luther Ezra Hale, a horticulturist, and the former Willa Calvin. Two years later the family moved to nearby Rockford.
After graduating from Rockford High School, where she was May queen, Ms. Hale went to Chicago to study commercial art at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. Her dream job, she said years later, was to be an animator for the Disney studio. But at 19 she was spotted on a street corner by a models’ agent, who found her work locally (one early job was posing for a comic strip) and was so impressed with his discovery that he sent her photographs to RKO Studios.
Hale was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960. Among her later film roles were “Airport” and “Big Wednesday.”
Born in DeKalb, Illinois in 1922, Hale was the second child of Willa and Luther Hale. Her father was a landscape gardener. Her late husband, Bill Williams, starred in the western series “The Adventures of Kit Carson” and died in 1992. She is survived by her son William Katt, daughters Johanna Katt and Juanita King, six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

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