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Born July 14, 1923 in Harrah, Oklahoma, Western actor Dale Robertson was christened Dayle Lymoine Robertson by his parents, Melvin and Vervel Robertson. After being an outstanding athlete at Oklahoma City's Classen High School and at Oklahoma Military Academy, Claremore, he served in the U.S. Army in World War II.

Dale Robertson at State Fair in 1956

Robertson got his acting break because movie producers thought he looked and sounded like Clark Gable, the actor who played the character of Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind (1939). Robertson parlayed those looks and the accent grown out of his Oklahoma background into many roles in Hollywood Westerns. He starred as Jesse James in Fighting Man of the Plains (1949) and had leading roles in Return of the Texan (1952), Devil's Canyon and City of Bad Men (1953), Sitting Bull (1954), Dakota Incident (1956), and Hell Canyon Outlaws (1957).

With the evolution of television, Robertson played in several Western roles on the small screen such as Gunfight in Black Horse Canyon (1961) and Scalplock (1966). He also starred in the popular television series Tales of Wells Fargo (1955-62) and hosted Death Valley Days (1968-72). Through the 1970s Robertson continued his Western roles but also added gangster characters to his repertoire in Melvin Purvis: G-Man (1974) and The Kansas City Massacre (1975). His recognizable western character evolved maturely as Judge Isaac Parker in The Last Ride of the Dalton Gang (1979). Robertson was also in the original cast of the nighttime television soap opera Dynasty (1981). After retiring from Hollywood ventures, Robertson made his home on his ranch near Yukon, Oklahoma.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Ruth Halliwell and John Walker, Halliwell's Filmgoer's and Video Viewer's Companion (New York: Harper Collins, 1993).

Hugh W. Foley, Jr.

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