Funeral services were pending today for Monte Hale, a singing cowboy
of the 1940s who appeared in the classic film "Giant" with James Dean.
Hale, 89, died Sunday at his Studio City home following a lengthy illness,
according to Ydhira DeLeon at the Autry National Center.
During an entertainment career that spanned more than 60 years, the Texas native
starred in a string of westerns and was featured in the "Monte Hale Western"
comic books, which sold more than 2 million copies per month and are now
considered collector's items.
"My husband was the most wonderful, generous,
giving and loving man I have ever known," Hale's wife of 31 years, Joanne Hale,
said in a statement. "He was a gentleman to all. He brought laughter, adventure
and joy into my life and into everyone's life that he touched."
Hale was discovered when he was a guitar player on a war bond drive in Texas
during World War II. He became friends with several Republic Pictures stars and
executives on the tour, who recommended him to studio President Herbert Yates.
Hale hitchhiked to California, took a screen test and was signed to appear
in 1944's "The Big Bonanza."
He then was signed to seven-year contract and starred in 20 of his own films.
The first was 1946's "Home On The Range," featuring a young
Later that year, Blake and Hale appeared together in "Out California Way," in
which Blake's character tries to get his horse Partner into
movies, with help from Hale. In Hale's remaining Republic Films, he would ride
Hale's Walk of Fame star -- unveiled in 2004 -- is in front of the Hollywood
Roosevelt Hotel, next to one of his friend and fellow Republic Pictures
singing cowboy, the late Gene Autry.
In addition to his wife, Hale is survived by his brother, Dick Hale.
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