- NAME: Dale Evans
- OCCUPATION: Film Actress, Television Actress, Songwriter, Singer, Television Personality
- BIRTH DATE: October 31, 1912
- DEATH DATE: February 07, 2001
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Uvalde, Texas
- PLACE OF DEATH: Apple Valley, California
- Originally: Frances Octavia Smith
- Nickname: "Queen of the West"
- AKA: Dale Evans Rogers
- AKA: Dale Evans
Best Known For
Dale Evans was the longtime screen partner and wife of singing cowboy Roy Rogers. She wrote several hit songs, including "Happy Trails to You."
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Dale Evans was born on October 31, 1912 in Uvalde, Texas. She got her start singing on radio before appearing on film opposite Roy Rogers, the "King of the Cowboys." Eventually, they married and became one of Hollywood's best-loved couples. They appeared together on television for decades and were well known for their theme song, "Happy Trails to You," which Evans wrote. Known fondly as the "Queen of the West," Evans died of congestive heart failure in 2001.
At an early age, actress and singer Dale Evans dreamed of stardom. However, the future "Queen of the West," born in Uvalde, Texas on October 31, 1912, struggled for many years before finding fame. Evans eloped with her high school sweetheart, Thomas Frederick Fox, when she was fourteen years old. The marriage didn't last, and Evans ended up as a single mother of son Tom the following year. She got her start singing on the radio in Memphis, Tennessee. A radio station manager convinced her to take Dale Evans as her professional name.
Eventually moving to Chicago, Evans worked as a singer for big bands there. She also performed on a local radio station. After being discovered by a talent scout, Evans did a screen test for Paramount Pictures, which was considering casting her in Holiday Inn (1942) with Bing Crosby. She didn't get that part, but she soon landed a one-year contract with 20th Century Fox.
Evans appeared in the 1942 comedy Girl Trouble with Don Ameche and Billie Burke. She had parts in such musicals as Swing Your Partner (1943) and Hoosier Holiday (1943). Changing studios, Evans moved to Republic and appeared in her first western film, In Old Oklahoma(1943) (the film was later retitled The War of the Wildcats), opposite John Wayne. In 1944, she was cast in The Cowboy and the Señorita. Evans' leading man in that film was Roy Rogers, the rugged star of many well-known Westerns who had become known as the "King of the Cowboys."
The Cowboy and the Señorita proved to be the start of one of Hollywood's most famous on-screen duos. Evans joined Rogers and his famous horse, Trigger, for The Yellow Rose of Texas (1944). The pair continued to work together, co-starring in a total of 28 films, including My Pal Trigger, Rainbow Over Texas, and Roll on Texas Moon. In addition to acting, Evans wrote and performed songs for many of her projects with Rogers.
Evans and Rogers also became inseparable off-screen as well. She divorced her second husband, the pianist Robert Dale Butts, in 1945. The following year, Rogers' wife Arlene died after the birth of their third child, Roy Jr. Evans and Rogers soon fell in love, and were married in December 1947.
"The King of Cowboys" and "The Queen of the West" enjoyed tremendous popularity on the big screen. They also had a hit television series The Roy Rogers Show, which lasted from 1951 to 1957. The western show usually closed with the couple's theme song, "Happy Trails to You," which Evans wrote.
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During the 1930s, partly to avoid the hillbilly image and partly owing to Hollywood's romance with the West, country music headed to the range. Western fringe and cowboy hats turned up on many singers onstage, while Gene Autry and Roy Rogers hit the country charts as "The Singing Cowboy" and the "King of the Cowboys," respectively. Autry made it big in Hollywood and on the radio, singing favorites like "Here Comes Santa Claus" and "Frosty the Snowman." Rogers and his wife, "Queen of the West" Dale Evans, also straddled the worlds of music and movies with their Wild West personas.
The association of country music with the wide open spaces of the western United States made such a deep impact on popular culture during this time that it never quite faded from the public perception of the country genre. To this day, Cowboy Country music serves as a reminder of our continued yearning for a life that's beautiful, pastoral and—ultimately—more simple.
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In entertainment, where the line between fiction and reality is often blurry, names are a crucial part of a celebrity's image. Stage names are often chosen to make an actor or musician's name easier to pronounce or remember, or simply to make it sounds more attractive. Here are famous celebrities who have changed their names.
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Got chaps? Their cowboy and cowgirl personas are tough, rugged, and wild—just like the frontier in which they come from—and in turn, they elicit the nostalgia of The Old West with its fierce individualism and sense of golden opportunity. From the indomitable swagger of John Wayne to the intimidating scowl of Clint Eastwood, explore our Wild West Film Actors group.
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