Barbara Hale

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Barbara Hale
Barbara Hale in The Houston Story trailer.jpg
as a blonde in The Houston Story (1956)
Born(1922-04-18) April 18, 1922 (age 91)
DeKalb, Illinois, U.S.
Years active1943–2000
Spouse(s)Bill Williams
(1946–92; his death; 3 children)
ChildrenJodi Hale
Juanita Hale
William Katt
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Barbara Hale
Barbara Hale in The Houston Story trailer.jpg
as a blonde in The Houston Story (1956)
Born(1922-04-18) April 18, 1922 (age 91)
DeKalb, Illinois, U.S.
Years active1943–2000
Spouse(s)Bill Williams
(1946–92; his death; 3 children)
ChildrenJodi Hale
Juanita Hale
William Katt

Barbara Hale (born April 18, 1922) is an American actress best known for her role as legal secretary Della Street on more than 250 episodes of the long-running Perry Mason television series and later reprising the role in 30 made-for-TV movies.

Acting career[edit]

Hale was born in DeKalb, Illinois, to Luther Ezra Hale, a landscape gardener, and his wife, Wilma Colvin.[1] She is of Scots-Irish ancestry.[2] Hale graduated from high school in Rockford, Illinois, then attended the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, planning to become an artist. Her performing career began in Chicago when she started modeling to pay for her education. She moved to Hollywood in 1943, and made her first screen appearances playing small parts (often uncredited).

Hale was under contract to RKO Radio Pictures through the late 1940s. She appeared in Higher and Higher (1943) with Frank Sinatra; played leading lady to Robert Mitchum in West of the Pecos (1945); enjoyed top billing in both Lady Luck (1946) opposite Robert Young and The Window (1949) with Arthur Kennedy; and co-starred in Jolson Sings Again (1949), with Larry Parks playing Al Jolson and Hale as Jolson's wife, Ellen Clark. She played the top-billed title role in Lorna Doone (1951) and portrayed Julia Hancock in The Far Horizons (1955) with Fred MacMurray and Charlton Heston.

Her flourishing movie career more or less ended when Hale accepted her best known role, Della Street, secretary to attorney Perry Mason, in the TV series with Raymond Burr. The show ran from 1957 to 1966, and she reprised the role in several television movies. Her last performance to date was in 2000 at age 78. In 1967 she guest starred on the ABC series Custer. Hale also had a featured role in the 1970 ensemble film Airport, playing the wife of a jetliner pilot (Dean Martin).


Barbara Hale also is remembered as a spokeswoman for Amana, makers of Radarange microwave ovens, memorably intoning, "If it doesn't say Amana, it's not a Radarange."[3]

Private life[edit]

In 1945 during the filming of West of the Pecos, Hale met actor Bill Williams. They married the following year and became the parents of two daughters, Jodi and Juanita, and a son, actor William Katt. Katt played detective Paul Drake, Jr., with her in several made-for-television Perry Mason movies. She also guest-starred as the mother of Ralph Hinkley (played by Katt) in an episode of The Greatest American Hero (Episode 29, "Who's Woo in America"), and appeared as his mother in the movie Big Wednesday (1978).

Bill Williams died of cancer in 1992, after 46 years of marriage. Hale herself is a cancer survivor, and a grandmother. She is a follower of the Bahá'í Faith.[4]


Hale has been recognized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She won an Emmy Award in 1959 and was nominated a second time in 1961.


1943Gildersleeve's Bad DayGirl at Party Getting Peavey to Donate
1943Mexican Spitfire's Blessed EventGirl at Airport
1943The Seventh VictimSubway Passenger
1943The Iron MajorSarah Cavanaugh
1943Gildersleeve on BroadwayStocking Salesgirl
1943Government GirlGirl in Hotel Lobby
1943Around the WorldBarbara
1943Higher and HigherKatherine Keating
1944Prunce and Politics
1944The Falcon Out WestMarion Colby
1944Goin' To TownPatty
1944Heavenly DaysAngie
1944The Falcon in HollywoodPeggy Callahan
1945West of the PecosRill Lambeth
1945First Yank into TokyoAbby Drake
1946Lady LuckMary Audrey
1947A Likely StoryVickie North
1948The Boy with Green HairMiss Brand
1949The Clay PigeonMartha Gregory
1949The WindowMrs. Mary Woodry
1949Jolson Sings AgainEllen Clark
1949And Baby Makes ThreeJacqueline 'Jackie' Walsh
1950The JackpotAmy Lawrence
1950Emergency WeddingDr. Helen Hunt
1951Lorna DooneLorna Doone
1952The First TimeBetsey Bennet
1952Rainbow ‘Round My ShoulderSelf
1953Last of the ComanchesJulia Lanning
1953SeminoleRevere Muldoon
1953The Lone HandSarah Jane Skaggs
1953A Lion Is in the StreetsVerity Wade
1955UnchainedMary Davitt
1955The Far HorizonsJulia Hancock
1956The Houston StoryZoe Crane
19567th CavalryMartha Kellogg
1957The OklahomanAnn Lorens
1958Desert HellCelie Edwards
1968BuckskinSarah Cody
1970AirportSarah Bakersfeld Demerest
1970The Red, White and BlackMrs. Alice Grierson
1975The Giant Spider InvasionDr. Jenny Langer
1978Big WednesdayMrs. Barlow

The made-for-TV Perry Mason movies[edit]

  • Perry Mason Returns (1985)
  • The Case of the Notorious Nun (1986)
  • The Case of the Shooting Star (1986)
  • The Case of the Lost Love (1987)
  • The Case of the Sinister Spirit (1987)
  • The Case of the Murdered Madam (1987)
  • The Case of the Scandalous Scoundrel (1987)
  • The Case of the Avenging Ace (1988)
  • The Case of the Lady in the Lake (1988)
  • The Case of the Lethal Lesson (1989)
  • The Case of the Musical Murder (1989)
  • The Case of the All-Star Assassin (1989)
  • The Case of the Poisoned Pen (1990)
  • The Case of the Desperate Deception (1990)
  • The Case of the Silenced Singer (1990)
  • The Case of the Defiant Daughter (1990)
  • The Case of the Ruthless Reporter (1991)
  • The Case of the Maligned Mobster (1991)
  • The Case of the Glass Coffin (1991)
  • The Case of the Fatal Fashion (1991)
  • The Case of the Fatal Framing (1992)
  • The Case of the Reckless Romeo (1992)
  • The Case of the Heartbroken Bride (1992)
  • The Case of the Skin-Deep Scandal (1993)
  • The Case of the Telltale Talk Show Host (1993)
  • The Case of the Killer Kiss (1993)
  • The Case of the Wicked Wives (1993)
  • The Case of the Lethal Lifestyle (1994)
  • The Case of the Grimacing Governor (1994)
  • The Case of the Jealous Jokester (1995)

All other television[edit]


External links[edit]