Image of Monte Hale

Monte Hale

Monte Hale (born Samuel Buren Ely) was an American B-Western film star and country musician. Sometimes reported to have been born in San Angelo, Texas, he was actually born in Ada, Oklahoma but grew up in Shawnee, Oklahoma, attending Washington Grade School and Shawnee High School. (Texas birthplace reportedly sounded better for the movies). After working as a laborer at various jobs in Ada and Enid OK Herod Ely settled in Shawnee and became an evangelist with the Church of God. His oldest son, Buren, was known to use his musical talent during his father's services. The boy had gathered pecans and picked cotton to earn money to buy his first guitar. Soon he was singing and playing the guitar wherever he could find an audience. His parents had divorced and both had remarried with youngest brother Bobby going with his mother. In 1934, 16-year-old Buren left home as many boys did during the Depressions. He headed for Houston and found work playing his music. From there he went to Albuquerque working on a radio station. A man there convinced him to head to California but all he was able to do there was scratch together a small band and play at a winter resort dude ranch. After four years he returned to with the Texas Vaudeville and local rodeo shows. During World War II he got a job as a replacement guitarist with the Stars Over Texas Bond Drive joining several Republic Pictures celebrities and staff. This introduced him to western stars like Chill Wills and convinced Phil Isley to recommended him to Herbert Yates, head of Republic Pictures. Yates agreed to "test" him but he must fund his own trip. Some friends gave him $200 and he flew to Los Angeles. It was 1944 and he signed with the company for seven years and changed his name from Buren Ely to "Monte Hale". He soon starred in his first major role in Home on the Range. He appeared in some of the first westerns filmed in color and was given use of Roy Rogers' musical sidekicks, the "Sons of the Pioneers" for one of his movies. He was often cast as a young cowboy with cameos by Don Barry, Allen Lane and Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. Hale then played more traditional Western heroes in films set in the late 19th century. By 1947 the formula was set with Paul Hurst joining the series as Hale's sidekick and Riders of the Purple Sage providing the music. At this point he ceased playing the character named for himself. Hale was also a recording star and appeared in a series of Western comics published by Fawcett Comics. Beginning in 1948 Hale had his own title with more than 50 issues. In fact, his comic book stardom lasted longer than his film stardom. Republic began cutting back on the Western genre moving to television. He finished his Republic contract with an appearance in the Roy Rogers-Dale Evans movies Trail of Robin Hood with fellow Republic stars Rex Allen and Rocky Lane. Hale made many public appearances at rodeos and other Western shows. He played a villain role in the 1954's Yukon Vengeance. His last movie appearance was in Giant in 1956, where part of his job was to teach James Dean to use a lariat. He appeared in a few television roles and movies up until 1966. On November 12, 2004, for his work in movies, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was also instrumental in the foundation of what is now the Autry National Center of the American West.

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Jun 8, 1919 In Ada, Oklahoma, USA
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the movie The Big Bonanza 1944-12-30
Latest Project:
Movie Return to 'Giant' 2003-06-10
Known For
Poster of The Chase
Poster of Gunsmoke
Poster of The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok
Poster of Law of the Golden West
Movie Return to 'Giant' Himself 2003-06-10
Movie It's Showtime Unknown 1976-03-31
Movie Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch (archive footage) 1976-05-01
Movie The Chase Dental Delegate (uncredited) 1966-02-18
Series Honey West Unknown 1965-09-17
Series The Texan Unknown 1958-09-29
Movie Giant Bale Clinch 1956-11-24
Series Gunsmoke Unknown 1955-09-10
Movie Yukon Vengeance Jim Barclay 1954-01-17
Series The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok Unknown 1951-04-15
Movie The Vanishing Westerner Chris Adams 1950-03-30
Movie The Old Frontier Barney Regan 1950-07-20
Movie The Missourians Marshal Bill Blades 1950-11-25
Movie Trail of Robin Hood Monte Hale 1950-12-15
Movie South of Rio Jeff Lanning 1949-07-29
Movie Prince of the Plains Bat Masterson 1949-04-08
Movie Law of the Golden West Bill Cody 1949-05-23
Movie Outcasts of the Trail Pat Garrett 1949-06-08
Movie San Antone Ambush Lieutenant Ross Kincaid 1949-10-06
Movie Pioneer Marshal Marshal Ed Sherwood Posing as Ted Post 1949-11-24
Movie Ranger of Cherokee Strip Steve Howard 1949-11-04
Movie The Timber Trail Monte Hale 1948-06-14
Movie California Firebrand Monte Hale 1948-04-01
Movie Son of God’s Country Monte Hale 1948-09-15
Movie Along the Oregon Trail Monte Hale 1947-08-30
Movie Last Frontier Uprising Monte Hale 1947-02-01
Movie Under Colorado Skies Monte Hale 1947-12-15
Movie California Gold Rush Pete - Driver That Quits 1946-02-04
Movie The Phantom Rider Cass 1946-01-26
Movie Home on the Range Monte Hale 1946-04-18
Movie Out California Way Monte Hale 1946-12-15
Movie Sun Valley Cyclone Jeff 1946-05-10
Movie Man from Rainbow Valley Monte Hale 1946-06-15
Movie The Purple Monster Strikes Dr. Harvey 1945-10-06
Movie Bandits of the Badlands Steve Carson 1945-09-14
Movie Rough Riders of Cheyenne Ward Tuttle 1945-10-31
Movie Colorado Pioneers Cowhand That Quits 1945-11-14
Movie The Big Bonanza The Singer 1944-12-30