biography

Born in DeKalb, Illinois, on April 18, 1922, pretty Barbara Hale became a sought-after model upon completing high school. When her ambitions turned to acting, it wasn't long before Hale signed a contract with RKO Pictures (in 1942). While at RKO, Hale was first given bit parts in several RKO film series, including Lupe Velez's Mexican Spitfire series and The Great Gildersleeve. Her first credited performance was in the big budget 1943 musical Higher and Higher, and following this film Hale moved into bigger roles in the The Falcon film series starring Tom Conway. After a few more comedies and westerns, in 1948 Barbara Hale left RKO for greener pastures at Columbia; her first film at Columbia was also the biggest of her career, Jolson Sings Again (1949). Throughout the 1950s Hale acted in a number of westerns, often with husband Bill Williams. Although she has acted in nearly 50 films---both A's and B's---Barbara Hale is best known for her role as Della Street on the 1957-1966 CBS TV series Perry Mason.

Barbara HaleBarbara HaleBarbara Hale and Bill Williams

LEFT: Mid 1940s photo of Barbara Hale. CENTER: Late 1940s Columbia photo (thanks to Dave). RIGHT: With husband Bill Williams in the 1940s

While a starlet at RKO, in 1946 Barbara Hale met and married fellow RKO contract player Bill Williams, best known for his portrayal of Kit Carson in the 1951-1955 television series The Adventures of Kit Carson. Among their three children is actor/director William Katt, who has acted in films and television for more than 30 years. Katt has worked with his mother numerous times in films such as Big Wednesday (1978) and in the Perry Mason television films (from 1985 to 1995). Hale and Williams also had two daughters.

the films of barbara hale

Jolson Sings Again (1949)

Larry Parks and Barbara HaleLarry Parks, Tamara Shayne, Ludwig Donath, and Barbara Hale

Images from the 1949 Columbia musical Jolson Sings Again. LEFT: A 1949 article from Picturegoer magazine. RIGHT: Promotional photo with Larry Parks, Tamara Shayne, and Ludwig Donath

The First Time (1952)

Robert Cummings, Bea Benaderet, and Barbara Hale

From the Columbia comedy The First Time with Robert Cummings and Bea Benaderet

Lone Hand (1953)

Joel McCrea and Barbara HaleJoel McCrea and Barbara Hale

With Joel McCrea in the western Lone Hand

Seminole (1953)

Rock Hudson and Barbara HaleBarbara Hale and Richard Carlson

From the Universal-International western Seminole. LEFT: With Rock Hudson. RIGHT: With Richard Carlson

The Far Horizons (1955)

Charlton Heston and Barbara Hale

With Charlton Heston in Paramount's western The Far Horizons

Unchained (1955)

Barbara Hale

Sheet music from the Warner Bros. film noir thriller Unchained

Perry Mason (1957-1966 CBS TV Series)

Raymond Burr and Barbara HaleRaymond Burr and Barbara Hale

Raymond Burr portrayed Perry Mason on the TV series of the same name, and Hale portrayed Mason's secretary Della Street. William Hopper rounded out the cast as Paul Drake

The Giant Spider Invasion (1975)

Poster from The Giant Spider Invasion

Poster from Bill Rebane's The Giant Spider Invasion. This film was once featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000

Big Wednesday (1978)

Barbara Hale, William Katt, and Lee Purcell

With William Katt and Lee Purcell in the Warner Bros. surf epic Big Wednesday

later years

After the 1993 death of Perry Mason star Raymond Burr, Burr was replaced by Paul Sorvino and later Hal Holbrook. When production wrapped on the 1995 Perry Mason episode titled The Case of the Jealous Jokester, the series of television films ended. Sadly, Hale's husband Bill Williams passed away on September 21, 1992, a year before Burr died. Barbara Hale passed away on January 26, 2017 of natural causes. She is survived by her three children, including actor William Katt.

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filmography

FILM
A Perry Mason Mystery: The Case of the Jealous Jokester (1995) with Hal Holbrook, William R. Moses, and Tony Roberts
A Perry Mason Mystery: The Case of the Grimacing Governor (1994) with Hal Holbrook, William R. Moses, and Bonnie Bartlett
A Perry Mason Mystery: The Case of the Lethal Lifestyle (1993) with Hal Holbrook, William R. Moses, Dixie Carter, Robert Englund, Diahann Carroll, and Tristan Rogers
A Perry Mason Mystery: The Case of the Wicked Wives (1993) with Paul Sorvino, William R. Moses, Maud Adams, Eric Braeden, Shelley Hack, Kathy Ireland, and Beverly Johnson
Perry Mason: The Case of the Killer Kiss (1993) with Raymond Burr, William R. Moses, Stuart Damon, Linda Dano, and Genie Francis
Perry Mason: The Case of the Telltale Talk Show Host (1993) with Raymond Burr, William R. Moses, Regis Philbin, Cristina Ferrare, G. Gordon Liddy, Montel Williams, Betsy Jones-Moreland, and Rick Lenz
Perry Mason: The Case of the Skin-Deep Scandal (1993) with Raymond Burr, William R. Moses, Polly Bergen, Morgan Fairchild, Tippi Hedren, Betsy Jones-Moreland, Patrick O'Neal, and David Warner
Perry Mason: The Case of the Heartbroken Bride (1992) with Raymond Burr, William R. Moses, Ronny Cox, Linda Blair, Paul Dooley, and Diane Baker
Perry Mason: The Case of the Reckless Romeo (1992) with Raymond Burr, William R. Moses, Geraldo Rivera, Tracy Nelson, Priscilla Barnes, Anjanette Comer, and Pat Finley
Perry Mason: The Case of the Fatal Framing (1992) with Raymond Burr, William R. Moses, John Rhys-Davies, Scott Valentine, David Soul, and Betsy Jones-Moreland
Perry Mason: The Case of the Fatal Fashion (1991) with Raymond Burr, William R. Moses, Valerie Harper, Diana Muldaur, and Scott Baio
Perry Mason: The Case of the Glass Coffin (1991) with Raymond Burr, William R. Moses, John Karlen, Peter Scolari, and Betsy Jones-Moreland
Perry Mason: The Case of the Maligned Mobster (1991) with Raymond Burr, William R. Moses, Mason Adams, Michael Nader, and Betsy Jones-Moreland
Perry Mason: The Case of the Ruthless Reporter (1991) with Raymond Burr, William R. Moses, John James, Jerry Orbach, Susan Sullivan, Philip Michael Thomas, and Betsy Jones-Moreland
Perry Mason: The Case of the Defiant Daughter (1990) with Raymond Burr, William R. Moses, Robert Culp, Ken Kercheval, Kevin Tighe, Robert Vaughn, and Don Galloway
Perry Mason: The Case of the Silenced Singer (1990) with Raymond Burr, William R. Moses, Tim Reid, Vanessa Williams, Angela Bassett, Alice Ghostley, Betsy Jones-Moreland, and Rex Smith
Perry Mason: The Case of the Desperate Deception (1990) with Raymond Burr, William R. Moses, Ian McShane, Yvette Mimieux, Terry O'Quinn, Marcy Walker, Teresa Wright, and Paul Freeman
Perry Mason: The Case of the Poisoned Pen (1990) with Raymond Burr, William R. Moses, Cindy Williams, Barbara Babcock, Tony Lo Bianco, and David Warner
Perry Mason: The Case of the All-Star Assassin (1989) with Raymond Burr, William R. Moses, Deidre Hall, Shari Belafonte, and Pernell Roberts
Perry Mason: The Case of the Musical Murder (1989) with Raymond Burr, William R. Moses, Debbie Reynolds, Jerry Orbach, and Lori Petty
Perry Mason: The Case of the Lethal Lesson (1989) with Raymond Burr, William R. Moses, and Brian Keith
Perry Mason: The Case of the Lady in the Lake (1988) with Raymond Burr, William Katt, David Hasselhoff, John Beck, John Ireland, Audra Lindley, and David Ogden Stiers
Perry Mason: The Case of the Avenging Ace (1988) with Raymond Burr, William Katt, Erin Gray, Larry Wilcox, Charles Siebert, Don Galloway, Richard Sanders, David Ogden Stiers, and Patty Duke
Perry Mason: The Case of the Scandalous Scoundrel (1987) with Raymond Burr, William Katt, Robert Guillaume, Morgan Brittany, George Grizzard, Wings Hauser, Yaphet Kotto, and David Ogden Stiers
Perry Mason: The Case of the Murdered Madam (1987) with Raymond Burr, William Katt, Anthony Geary, Bill Macy, James Noble, John Rhys-Davies, Ann Jillian, and David Ogden Stiers
Perry Mason: The Case of the Sinister Spirit (1987) with Raymond Burr, William Katt, Robert Stack, Kim Delaney, Leigh Taylor-Young, and David Ogden Stiers
Perry Mason: The Case of the Lost Love (1987) with Raymond Burr, William Katt, Jean Simmons, Robert Mandan, Robert Walden, Gordon Jump, Gene Barry, and David Ogden Stiers
Perry Mason: The Case of the Shooting Star (1986) with Raymond Burr, William Katt, Joe Penny, Ron Glass, Alan Thicke, Ivan Dixon, David Ogden Stiers, and Jennifer O'Neill
Perry Mason: The Case of the Notorious Nun (1986) with Raymond Burr, William Katt, Timothy Bottoms, Barbara Parkins, David Ogden Stiers, and Tom Bosley
Perry Mason Returns (1985) with Raymond Burr, William Katt, Richard Anderson, Al Freeman Jr., and Patrick O'Neal
Big Wednesday (1978) with William Katt, Jan Michael Vincent, Reb Brown, and Gary Busey
The Young Runaways (1978) with Anne Francis, John Lupton, and Gary Collins
Flight of the Grey Wolf (1976) with Bill Williams
The Giant Spider Invasion (1975) with Steve Brodie, Leslie Parrish, Alan Hale Jr., and Bill Williams; once featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000
Chester, Yesterday's Horse (1973) with Bill Williams
Buffalo Soldiers (1970) with Cesar Romero, Isabel Sanford, and Robert DoQui
Airport (1970) with Burt Lancaster, Dean Martin, and Dana Wynter
Buckskin (1968) with Barry Sullivan, Wendell Corey, Lon Chaney Jr., John Russell, Richard Arlen, and Bill Williams
Desert Hell (1958) with Richard Denning and Brian Keith
Slim Carter (1957) with Jock Mahoney, Julie Adams, William Hopper, Joanna Moore, and Bill Williams
The Oklahoman (1957) with Joel McCrea and Gloria Talbott
The Houston Story (1956) with Gene Barry and Jeanne Cooper
7th Cavalry (1956) with Randolph Scott, Jeanette Nolan, and Frank Faylen
The Far Horizons (1955) with Fred MacMurray, Charlton Heston, Donna Reed, and Larry Pennell
Unchained (1955) with Chester Morris
A Lion Is in the Streets (1953) with James Cagney, Anne Francis, and Lon Chaney Jr.
Lone Hand (1953) with Joel McCrea, Charles Drake, and Alex Nicol
Seminole (1953) with Rock Hudson, Hugh O'Brian, Russell Johnson, Richard Carlson, Anthony Quinn, and James Best
The First Time (1952) with Robert Cummings, Jeff Donnell, and Bea Benaderet
Last of the Comanches (1952) with Broderick Crawford, Lloyd Bridges, Martin Milner, and Steve Forrest
Lorna Doone (1951) with Richard Greene and Carl Benton Reid
Emergency Wedding (1950) with Larry Parks, Una Merkel, and Jim Backus
The Jackpot (1950) with James Stewart and Fred Clark
The Clay Pigeon (1949) with Bill Williams and Martha Hyer
The Window (1949) with Bobby Driscoll and Ruth Roman
And Baby Makes Three (1949) with Robert Young
Jolson Sings Again (1949) with Larry Parks and William Demarest
The Boy with Green Hair (1948) with Pat O'Brien and Robert Ryan
A Likely Story (1947) with Bill Williams
Lady Luck (1946) with Robert Young and Frank Morgan
West of the Pecos (1945) with Robert Mitchum and Bill Williams
First Yank Into Tokyo (1945) with Tom Neal
Goin' to Town (1944) with Chester Lauck and Norris Goff (Lum and Abner) and Grady Sutton
The Falcon in Hollywood (1944) with Tom Conway, Veda Ann Borg, Rita Corday, and Robert Clarke
Heavenly Days (1944) with Jim and Marion Jordan (Fibber McGee and Molly) and Eugene Pallette
The Falcon Out West (1944) with Tom Conway and Lyle Talbot
Higher and Higher (1943) with Frank Sinatra, Jack Haley, Leon Errol, Mary Wickes, and Mel Torme

TELEVISION SERIES
Perry Mason, 1957-1966 CBS TV series. Hale portrayed Della Street. Also in the cast were Raymond Burr, William Hopper, William Talman, and Ray Collins. Additionally, Hale reprised her role as Della Street in more than 30 Perry Mason made-for-TV films between 1985 and 1995

TELEVISION GUEST APPEARANCES
The Greatest American Hero, episode Who's Woo in America, originally aired April 14, 1982
Marcus Welby, M.D., episode The Faith of Childish Things, originally aired September 17, 1972
The Doris Day Show, episode Doris' House Guest, originally aired January 31, 1972
Adam-12, episode Pick-up, originally aired December 29, 1971
Ironside, episode Murder Impromptu, originally aired November 2, 1971
The Most Deadly Game, episode Model for Murder, originally aired December 19, 1970
Lassie, episode Lassie and the Water Bottles, originally aired October 26, 1969
Insight, episode A Thousand Red Flowers, originally aired July 27, 1969
Custer, episode Death Hunt, originally aired November 22, 1967
General Electric Theater, episode Night Club, originally aired October 11, 1959
Playhouse 90, episode The Country Husband, originally aired November 1, 1956
The Millionaire, episode The Kathy Munson Story, originally aired September 12, 1956
Crossroads, episode Lifeline, originally aired May 11, 1956
The Ford Television Theatre, episode Behind the Mask, originally aired May 10, 1956
Damon Runyon Theater, episode The Good Luck Kid, originally aired January 21, 1956
Letter to Loretta, episode The Challenge, originally aired January 15, 1956
Climax!, episode The Day They Gave Babies Away, originally aired December 22, 1955
Science Fiction Theatre, episode The Hastings Secret, originally aired November 18, 1955
Celebrity Playhouse, episode He Knew All About Women, originally aired November 15, 1955
Screen Directors Playhouse, episode Meet the Governor, originally aired October 5, 1955
Studio 57, episode Young Couples Only, originally aired September 3, 1955
Science Fiction Theatre, episode Conversation with an Ape, originally aired June 17, 1955
General Electric Theater, episode The Windmill, originally aired April 24, 1955
Schlitz Playhouse of Stars, episode Tourists--Overnight, originally aired April 1, 1955
The Ford Television Theatre, episode Remember to Live, originally aired November 4, 1954
Footlights Theater, episode Change of Heart, originally aired July 10, 1953
Schlitz Playhouse of Stars, episode Vacation for Ginny, originally aired May 15, 1953
The Ford Television Theatre, episode The Divided Heart, originally aired November 27, 1952

barbara hale links

The Barbara Hale Home Page
Visit the Barbara Hale Home Page for biographical information, a filmography, and an extensive gallery of photos.
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