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Monte Hale Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (17) | Personal Quotes (2) | Salary (1)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 8 June 1919Ada, Oklahoma, USA
Date of Death 29 March 2009Studio City, California, USA  (age-related causes)
Birth NameSamuel Buren Ely
Height 6' 5" (1.96 m)

Mini Bio (1)

American B-Western star and singing cowboy Monte Hale was born Samuel Buren Ely in 1919 in Ada, Oklahoma, to Herod and Helen Ely. He learned to sing and play guitar at an early age. In Houston and later Galveston, Texas, he played for vaudeville shows and local rodeos. During World War II a job as a replacement guitar player with the Stars Over Texas War Bond Drive led to a friendship with several Republic Pictures stars and staff. At the completion of the tour, the Republic contingent recommended young Hale to studio president Herbert J. Yates. Hale went to California and met Yates, who saw promise in the tall, good-looking musician, and signed him to a seven-year contract, and promptly discarded his birth name for the more appealing name of Monte Hale. After a quick apprenticeship in a couple of bit parts, Hale was given the lead in Home on the Range (1946), which led to a five-year run as one of Republic's popular singing-cowboy stars.

Following the demise of the "B" western in the early 1950s, Hale toured the country as part of a musical cowboy act in rodeos and circuses. He made a few television guest appearances and taught James Dean his rope tricks during their work together on Giant (1956). Hale thereafter retired from films. In his later years, he wrote songs and continued making appearances at Western film fan conventions.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net> (qv's & corrections by A. Nonymous)

Spouse (2)

Joanne Dorothy Levitov (20 November 1977 - 29 March 2009) (his death)
Cherie De Castro (? - ?) (divorced)

Trivia (17)

Featured in "Monte Hale Western" comic books from 1948-1956, as well as various other Western comic books including "Real Western Hero," "Western Hero," "Six-Gun Heroes," "Movie Comics," and "Cowboy Western Comics."
He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work in motion pictures on November 12, 2004. At a ceremony held at the Star's location, 7000 Hollywood Blvd., Monte was surrounded by family, friends, special guests, and fans who celebrated this very special honor.
One of the last of the "singing cowboys" on film (1946-1950).
A good friend of cowboy icon Gene Autry, he was a founder of the Autry National Center of the American West in 1988. Located near the Griffith Park Zoo in Los Angeles, he donated his own white hat, guns, gun belt and other prized belongings for the museum. His wife Joanne was a successful businesswoman and held the post of executive director from the beginning until retiring in 1999. Monty served on the board from the outset.
Groomed by Republic to replace Gene Autry, after the cowboy star decided to leave the studio. Monte became a top B-western box office draw in the late '40s along with Autry, Roy Rogers and Eddie Dean, appearing in nearly three dozen westerns in only half a decade.
Among his more recognized song recordings are "In My Stable There's an Empty Stall" and "Statue in the Bay".
Six Monte Hale comic books were published in 27 languages.
His cowboy heroes were Ken Maynard and Bob Steele while growing up.
His parents divorced when he was about 12 or 13 and Monte was sent to live in rural Kansas with his uncle, who was a bootlegger.
First broke into the entertainment field as a teenager, playing guitar and singing in a Galveston, Texas vaudeville theatre.
Was taught by the renowned stuntman Yakima Canutt requisite horseback riding and fistfighting film techniques.
Was a collector of police badges, believed to be the largest in the world. They were donated to the Gene Autry Museum.
Discovered by Phil Isley, actress Jennifer Jones father, while working for the Stars Over Texas Bond Drive during World War II. Isley, the chairman, recommended him to Herbert J. Yates, head of Republic Pictures, and Monte, who hitchhiked from Texas to California for the opportunity, earned a seven year contract as a result.
Hale and his wife, Joanne, co-founded the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum, later renamed the Autry Museum of Western Heritage and now part of the Autry National Center, with the late singing cowboy Gene Autry and his widow, Jackie.
As a child, he bought his first guitar for $8.50 which he had saved up from jobs picking cotton and pecans.
Was a guest at the 1980 Memphis Film Festival.
Ex-brother-in-law of Peggy De Castro and Babette De Castro.

Personal Quotes (2)

[on why he never watched himself on film] Cowboy stars are supposed to be brave, but I just don't have that kind of courage.
[on Roy Barcroft] . . . the most likable, kindly, soft-spoken gentleman you ever crossed trails with. But when the cameras started rolling, he was the meanest, low-down, orneriest son-of-a-gun on the face of the earth. He always made the leading man look really good, no matter with whom he was working. He could always handle his part with the best of actors.

Salary (1)

The Big Bonanza (1944) $150 /week

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