Dale Evans was the buckskin-fringed "Queen of the West" and wife of "King of the Cowboys" Roy Rogers. She was a prolific song writer, author and admired Christian lay leader.
The unlikely celluloid cowgirl starred in tandem with Rogers in most of her 38 motion pictures and in two television series, "The Roy Rogers Show" from 1952 to 1957 and the short-lived musical variety hour "The Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Show" in 1962.
Evans wrote 25 songs, including the couple's theme song, "Happy Trails." Other hits were "Aha, San Antone," which sold 200,000 copies after its release in 1947, and the Christian-oriented "The Bible Tells Me So," one of the bestsellers of 1955.
Stardom came after some rocky teenage years. At 14, she ran away to marry Thomas Frederick Fox. A year later she gave birth to Thomas F. Fox Jr. but the young couple divorced before she turned 17. Rejecting her parents' offer to adopt the child and support her if she returned to high school, she studied typing and shorthand at a Memphis business school. That led to a job as a secretary at an insurance company.
One of the bosses at the firm heard her singing and promptly placed her before a microphone on a local radio show. Within a few weeks, she was a paid regular at the station.
When she came to Hollywood in 1940, she was instructed to shave seven years off her age and introduce her 12-year-old son as her brother. It wasn't until 1945 that she was able to publicly acknowledge him as her child.
Some of Evans' early films included the country musical "Swing Your Partner," "Here Comes Elmer," "Hoosier Holiday," "In Old Oklahoma" and "Casanova in Burlesque."
Eventually, Evans was slated for a chance as a female lead. It was a B western musical to be called "The Cowboy and the Senorita." Her costar was Rogers, whom she had first met at a USO performance.
They married in 1947, a year after his wife, Arline, died of an embolism eight days after giving birth to a son.
Her final picture with Rogers was "South of Caliente," released in 1951, and it was followed almost immediately by the television series "The Roy Rogers Show."