Monte Hale

Monte Hale
Los Angeles Times


Monte Hale
Film: South side of the 7000 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Born Samuel Buren Ely on June 8, 1919 in Ada, Okla.
Died March 29, 2009 in Studio City, CA

Monte Hale was one of the last of Hollywood's celluloid "singing cowboys" and a founder of what is now the Autry National Center of the American West.

In the 1940s, Hale was a top B-western box-office draw, right along with Roy Rogers, Eddie Dean and Hale's friend Gene Autry. Hale made nearly three dozen films for Republic Pictures, including 19 action-and song-packed films as the hero Monte Hale. Later, he had a small but memorable role as Rock Hudson's lawyer Bale Clinch in the 1956 epic "Giant."

Hale made his debut in the small role of a singer in 1944's "The Big Bonanza." He had similar bit parts as a cowboy or a ranch foreman in several more westerns before he was given his own series for Republic in 1946.

First came "Home on the Range," followed rapidly by "Sun Valley Cyclone," "Out California Way," "The Man From Rainbow Valley," "California Gold Rush" and more.

Hale's westerns featured more action scenes and fewer musical production numbers than those of Autry or Rogers, meaning he usually sang fewer songs per film.

Because he was also less aggressive in pursuing recording contracts, Hale's singing is less known today than that of Autry, Rogers, Dean, Rex Allen or Tex Ritter.

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