Monte Hale, 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, has died. He was 89.
Hale had been in failing health and died Sunday of age-related causes at his home in Studio City, according to a statement from the Autry National Center.
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.