18 April: birth in DeKalb, Illinois
Moves with parents and sister Juanita to Rockford, Illinois.
September: enters kindergarten at the age of 5. (Probably)
Starts to study tap dancing and ballet ("[...] at the age of twelve". RKO Gals, p.
May Queen |
(during senior year in High School: "So Barbara, who had been the May Queen during her senior year at Rockford High School, and who had posed for the cartoon strip 'Ramblinī Bill' during her art school days, went to the offices of the Chicago Model Bureau [...]" RKO Gals, p. 761.)
June: graduates highschool.
September: Moves to Chicago and enrolled at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. Cartoon strip:
("So Barbara, who had been the May Queen during her senior year at Rockford High School, and who had posed for the cartoon strip 'Ramblinī Bill' during her art school days, went to the offices of the Chicago Model Bureau [...]." RKO Gals, p. 761.)
Starts modeling |
("Hale was 'a green 19' when she began fashion modeling, and after about a year and a half, RKO offered her a six-month tryout. The day after she arrived in Los Angeles, she visited the studio and its casting director, Dick Stockton. Barbara Hale-The Faithful Secretary CT 5-16-1993. "In the course of her work assignments she did photo modeling for Stanley Johnson, posed for Gil Elvgren for an Orange Crush drink layout, and, because of her quick popularity in modeling one particular product, was tagged the 'Long Woolies Girl.'" RKO Gals, p. 761.)
June: leaves Chicago Academy of Fine Arts
October: moves to California. Lives at Studio Club. |
("Barbara packed her belongings, and, with a studio-supplied ticket on the Super Chief train, embarked one day in October, 1942, for California. [...] No sooner had Barbara arrived in Hollywood and registered at the Studio Club for a $15-a-week room, than she was advised to check in at the studio." RKO Gals, p. 761.)
Receives a 6 month tryout at RKO. |
("Hale was 'a green 19' when she began fashion modeling, and after about a year and a half, RKO offered her a six-month tryout. The day after she arrived in Los Angeles, she visited the studio and its casting director, Dick Stockton." Barbara Hale-The Faithful Secretary CT 5-16-1993.)
("RKO Studios was her 'paid education,' as she puts it, her training ground. Barbara Hale-The Faithful Secretary CT 5-16-1993.txt and "Hale studied dancing and singing at the studio." Barbara Hale-The Faithful Secretary CT 5-16-1993.)
First appearance in a movie: 'Gildersleeve's Bad Day' (1943)
"First line": 'Gildersleeve's Bad Day' (1943)|
("The day after she arrived in Los Angeles, she visited the studio and its casting director, Dick Stockton. 'As I was shaking hands with him, the phone rang. He took the call, and as he listened, he started looking at me. 'Yeah, yeah, yeah, just a minute.' He turned to me and asked, 'Honey, can you say a line?' I said, 'I don't know.' He said into the phone, 'There's a kid in the office right now. I think she'll work. I'll send her right over.' He told his assistant, 'Take her to wardrobe, take her to makeup, take her to Stage 6. One of the kids is sick. We've got to have a girl there immediately.' Apart from that walk-on, in 'Gildersleeve's Bad Day,' she made her debut in 1944 in 'Higher and Higher,' opposite Frank Sinatra." Barbara Hale-The Faithful Secretary CT 5-16-1993.)
RKO Stock Contract|
("A short time later, when Arthur Willi, head of the RKO talent department, was returning to the Coast from New York, he stopped off in Chicago. Barbara was summoned to his suite at the Sherman Hotel. He was satisfied with her film potential and passed in a favorable report to Charles W. Koerner, then general manager of the studio. When Koerner was next in Chicago he met with Barbara and signed her to a stock
contract. RKO Gals, p. 761.)
Contract from 1943 - 1948: "But Barbara, who had amazed more than one astute Hollywood observer by surviving three changeovers in the RKO regime, engineered her own relatively spectacular coup. Realizing that the September, 1948, shooting of The Clay Pigeon (released 1949) was the end of the road at RKO, [...]." RKO Gals, p. 776.)
12 February: Meets Raymond Burr at RKO lot for the first time.|
(compare 1993: works together with Raymond Burr for 50 years.) Raymond Burr was "under a standard contract with RKO beginning in late 1944. He had earlier signed an exclusive contract with Frank Ross of RKO on March 18, 1944." Ona A. Hill: Raymond Burr: A Film, Radio and Television Biography)
Meets Bill Williams (Herman Katt) on the set of 'West of the Pecos' (1945).
22 June: Wedding |
("It took me two years to talk him into marrying me." ImDb.com. Furthermore: "The wedding took place on June 22, 1946, in Rockford, Illinois, with the Reverend B. E. Allen officiating. All of Barbara's family and hometown friends were present for the traditional affair. Williams's
old vaudeville stage partner, Stuart Morgan, was the best man." RKO Gals, p.772.)
24 July: Birth of Barbara Willa Johanna ('Jody') Katt|
Last RKO Movie: 'The Clay Pigeon' (1949). |
("But Barbara, who had amazed more than one astute Hollywood observer by surviving three changeovers in the RKO regime, engineered her own relatively spectacular coup. Realizing that the September, 1948, shooting of The Clay Pigeon was the end of the road at RKO, she quietly shopped around for a new studio berth, not such an easy task for a demure performer with no sensational screen credits to her name. She brought herself to the attention of Columbia Pictures' veteran producer Sidney Buchman, who was then seeking a wholesome screen type to play opposite Larry Parks in Jolson Sings Again (1949), [...]." RKO Gals, p. 776.)
New Contract: Columbia Pictures. |
("She brought herself to the attention of Columbia Pictures' veteran producer Sidney Buchman, who was then seeking a wholesome screen type to play opposite Larry Parks in Jolson Sings Again (1949), the projected sequel to the studio's $8 million musical moneymaker, The Jolson Story (1946) [...] The deal was announced in the trade papers on October 27, 1948, which stated that Barbara had signed a Columbia term pact and would co-star in Jolson Sings Again. Three days later the film went into production on the Gower Street soundstages." RKO Gals, p.776.
And "Upon signing her seven-year Columbia contract, Barbara unpretentiously informed the press: "I probably am being trite, but I'm being honest when I say that I would like to do parts that I believe in. Otherwise how can I do my best work? I might add that I have done both kinds." RKO Gals, p. 776 - 777.)
"On May 22, '50, this time opposite Al Jolson himself, Hale recreated her role
on the "Lux Radio Theater" dramatization of Jolson Sings Again."
(Films in Review 1979)
Pregnant with son Billy |
(" 'I told Billy (her son, actor William Katt, who starred in the television series 'The Greatest American Hero') he should put on his resume that he was in 'The Jackpot' and 'Lorna Doone',' and he said, 'Mother, I wasn't,' and I told him, 'Oh, yes, you were!' " Barbara Hale-The Faithful Secretary CT 5-16-1993.) He was probably also "in" 'Emergency Wedding'.
16 February: Birth of William Theodore ('Billy') Katt
22 December: Birth of Juanita Lauralee ('Nita') Katt
Lives in Bel Air |
("By the time 'A Lion Is in the Streets' was released, Barbara had given birth to a third child, Laura Lee, born on December 22, 1953. Thereafter Barbara was off the screen for over a year. The domestic-minded
actress admitted: "All I want is to pay off the mortgage [on their new Bel Air home] and to have Daddy succeed with his own show." RKO Gals, p. 782.)
Takes role in "Perry Mason" series: Della Street. |
("She says that Della 'was-and still is, to a great degree-a woman who knew what everybody was thinking. She was informed, and very observant of everything that went on. That was my challenge as an actress-to be a necessary part of the office without being too aggressive. Della was quietly overpowering: She knew when to speak and when to keep her mouth closed.' " Barbara Hale-The Faithful Secretary CT 5-16-1993.
Furthermore: "Although he (Raymond Burr) was thought to be television's highest-paid episode actor at the time, Burr was once quoted as having called the role of Perry Mason "a burden." But Hale said 'he never indicated that to me. Oh, Lord, no.' And she never tired of playing his secretary, saying, 'Della's my other side.' " Barbara Hale-Her Long Friendship TWP 11-28-1993.)
Billy's in 1st grade and stated that his mom is a secretary. |
(" 'When (my son) Billy was in the 1st grade, we went to school for the first parent meeting, and on his desk were little projects he'd made - pictures of Daddy and Mommy and his sister and his animals. And underneath my picture - I wish I had it now, but the teacher kept it - he'd written in inch-high block letters, 'This is my mom. I love her. She is a secretary.' " Barbara Hale-The Faithful Secretary CT 5-16-1993.)
Wins Emmy Award: "Best Supporting Actress (Continuing Character)
in a Dramatic Series for: "Perry Mason" (1957)". (ImDb.com)
Emmy nomination: "Outstanding Performance in a Supporting
Role by an Actor or Actress in a Series for: "Perry Mason" (1957)". (ImDb.com)
Lives in "a fashionable ranch house in San Fernando Valley" (TV Radio Mirror: September, 1962 Atlantic Edition Vol. 58,
No.4 'Raymond Burr saved my marriage')|
Lives in Van Nuys: "They (Barbara and Bill) have been to my home and I've (Raymond) been invited several times to theirs, in Van Nuys." (TV Radio Mirror, December,1962 Midwest Edition Vol. 59, No.1. 'The Girl Who Is All-Woman. The Barbara Hale I know.' by Raymond Burr)
27 February - 26 March (broadcast dates): One month of absence from Perry Mason set.
(TCOT Frightened Fisherman (#200), TCOT Arrogant Arsonist (#201), Garrulous Go-between (#202), TCOT Woeful Widower (#203))
Reunited with Raymond Burr since 1966|
(""In November of that year Barbara was professionally reunited with Raymond Burr for the first time since the spring of 1966, when she guest-starred as a playwright on the Murder Impromptu segment of the police-detective series "Ironside" (NBC, November 2, 1971)." RKO Gals, p. 788 - 789.)
("[...] she is familiar today as the video spokeswoman for Amana kitchen appliances." Films in Review 1979
"That fall [of 1971] she began her chores as a television spokeswoman for the Amana Company, promoting their oven appliances, [...]." RKO Gals, p. 789.)
|1985 - 1995:||
'Perry Mason' Movies: Della Street. |
("Hale sees Della as having remained constant, to an extent. Her task is basically the same. But there have been some subtle emotional changes. 'I think she's a little more at home, relaxed, showing her knowledge not only of the case, but also of her boss. In the early days, it was all business. Today there's more of a camaraderie between them, a little more humor and more sensitivity to each other, which comes with years of being side by side. 'She's trying to see that he stays healthy,' she says. 'She's taking him off coffee.' " Barbara Hale-The Faithful Secretary CT 5-16-1993.)
Starts shooting 'Perry Mason' Movies with a broken hip. |
("Hale nearly ruined her own perfect record [of appearing in nearly all of the PM episodes] when she fell and broke her hip just six weeks before making the reunion film, 'Perry Mason Returns,' in 1985. [...] Hargrove delayed the shooting schedule, then accommodated Hale in a wheelchair. "By the time we shot, I could stand, so they propped me against a table or a doorway, and when I had any walking scenes, a double did it." Barbara Hale-Her Long Friendship TWP 11-28-1993.)
21 September: Death of Bill Williams (Burbank,
Has four grandchildren |
("In addition to his son, Williams is survived by two daughters, Jody Katt Coulter and Nita Katt King, and four grandchildren." Bill Williams Obit LAT 9-24-92.)
12 February: works together with Raymond Burr for 50 years. |
("Last Feb. 13, Hale said, she reminded Burr that they had been working together for 50 years. "I said, 'It's today,' and he said, 'No, it was yesterday.' He was right -- it was the 12th of February. We were stock players then, and did war bond tours. Things were so busy. My, he was a handsome man." Barbara Hale-Her Long Friendship TWP 11-28-1993.)
12 September: Death of Raymond Burr (Sonoma,
16 September, at a reception, on opening night, at Pasadena's Celestino restaurant for the cast and crew of the Pasadena Playhouse production of 'A Life in the Theatre.' (Social Circuits LA Times 9-23-2001)
07 September 2002: Last TV appearance since today in 'Entertainment
Tonight: What happened to your favorite TV Star?'.