Tuesday, March 31, 2009

R.I.P. Monte Hale

Singing cowboy Hale dies at 89

Monte Hale, a singing cowboy whose tall frame, strong voice and handsome looks led to dozens of film roles in westerns during the 1940s, has died. He was 89.

Hale died Sunday at home in Studio City, Calif., after a lengthy illness, said Yadhira De Leon of the Autry National Centre of the American West.

Born in San Antonio, Texas, Hale picked up the guitar as a teen and was discovered as a player at a war bond rally during the Second World War, according to a press release from the centre.

Recommended for a screen test in Hollywood for Republic Pictures, he hitchhiked from Texas to California. He ended up snagging a part in The Big Bonanza (1944), then signed a seven-year contract with Republic.

Hale starred in almost 20 of his own films, including Home On the Range (1946) with Robert Blake and Out California Way (1946).

After departing the studio, he appeared in other movies, including Giant (1956) with James Dean and The Chase (1966) with Marlon Brando.

He also guest starred on television shows such as Gunsmoke, Honey West and Tales of Wells Fargo.

As for me…I’ll always remember Hale for a bit role in my all-time favorite serial, The Purple Monster Strikes (1945).

R.I.P., Monte. You will be missed. (A tip of the TDOY ten-gallon goes to Bill “Saturday Matinee” Crider, which is where I first saw this notice.)

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