The Story of Dale Evans, Queen of The West
Dale Evans the famous cowgirl, was best known for being married to singing
cowboy star Roy Rogers, she was also an accomplished actress, singer,
songwriter, leader, and mother.
Dale Evans was born in Uvalde, Texas as Lucille Wood Smith,
later changed to Frances Smith, on October 31, 1912.
She spent her teen years in Arkansas and married at
sixteen. At 17 her husband died. Dale took a job as
a stenographer while trying to pursue a career as
a radio and nightclub songstress.
She moved to Memphis, Tennessee to continue her singing
career. While there she worked in an insurance company
while taking occasional radio singing jobs.
After a second marriage which ended in divorce, she
moved to Louisville, Kentucky and became a popular
singer on a local radio station. There she took the stage
name Dale Evans (from her third husband, Robert Dale Butts,
and actress Madge Evans).
She married Butts and they moved to Chicago, where Dale
began to attract increasing attention from both radio
audiences and film industry executives. She signed with
Fox and made a few small film appearances.
Divorced in 1936, she moved to Dallas, Texas and again
found local success as a radio singer. Then she set out
to try her luck with Hollywood. Few good parts came her
way at the major studios. She had to settle for leading
roles at Republic Studios, a "B" factory. She wasn't keen
on westerns, but westerns were what she got, co-starring
with Republic's Number One singing cowboy, Roy Rogers.
It wasn't until Rogers' first wife died, that he and
Evans realized that theirs was more than just a happy
professional association. Roy Rogers and Evans were
married in 1947.
The Rogers starred together in two TV series, a standard
weekly western in the 1950s and an ABC variety show in 1962;
in the early '80s, Evans soloed as host of a long-running
syndicated religious talk show. In 1955, The Roy Rogers
Show was nominated for an Emmy Award.
Dale and Roy developed their own production company in 1950
and began producing their half-hour television series. Roy
and Dale made personal appearances around the world at
many state fairs and rodeos.
Dale had two comic book series: the first for DC Comics
beginning in the late '40's and then with Dell in the early
'50's. Her strip was also featured in Dell's Western Roundup
Dale wrote 25 songs, including the couple's theme song,
"Happy Trails." Other hits were "Aha, San Antone," which
sold 200,000 copies after its release in 1947, and the
Christian-oriented "The Bible Tells Me So," one of the best
sellers of 1955.
After her conversion to evangelical Christianity, Dale
became a popular speaker and tireless volunteer with Christian
groups. Her 17 books dealt primarily with her Christian faith.
Among her many accomplishments, Dale received the California
Mother of the Year Award in 1967 and the Texas Press
Association's Texan of the Year Award in 1970. She was also
indicted into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame and presented with the
Cardinal Clarence Cook Humanities Award in 1995.
One of Dale and Roy's daughters, Robin Elizabeth was born
on August 26, 1950 with Down syndrome. She died two years
later, but Robin Elizabeth had a profound effect on Roy and
Dale, and the world.
During that time, many folks believed that children like
Robin were a "burden on society" and in fact a prominent
Canadian psychiatrist, C.B. Farrar, wrote an editorial
suggesting that we kill all of these children when they
reach age five, Few people dared to raise their voices in
Many parents still loved their children who had disabilities
and kept them at home, but few had the courage to admit
Dale was one of the women who did a lot to change public
views on disabled children by publishing her book, Angel
The book is written as an imagined conversation between
Robin Elizabeth, who is returning to heaven after a two-year
mission on earth, and God. The book became a million
Dale Evans received the Mother of the Year Award (1967), The
Texas Press Association's Texan of the Year (1970), Cowgirl
Hall of Fame (1995), Cardinal Terence Cook Humanities Aware
(1995) and has three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
On February 7, 2001, Dale passed away due to congestive
heart failure, she had lived for 88 years.
Besides Roy Jr., she is survived by her son by her
first marriage, Tom; adopted daughter Dodie; foster
daughter Marion; stepdaughter Linda Lou; adopted
stepdaughter Cheryl; 16 grandchildren; and more
than 30 great-grandchildren
Thank Heavens For Dale Evans
Robin Lynn Macy
I grew up on Bob Wills and daydreams
My toes were a-tappin' to western swing
I wished upon a star
Atop an old boxcar
Chasing rainbows to the place the bluebirds sing
I painted my eyes up like Dolly
Sang with Kitty Wells 'til momma screamed
Then daddy shook his head as he carried me to bed
And tucked me in a-beggin' me to sing:
Thank Heavens for Dale Evans
You're everything I ever want to be
Dale Evans made a cowgirl out of me
Now I play my guitar with the cowgirls
And what I got they never bat an eye
Like Shirley Temple's curls
Thank heavens for the girls
We'll sing a song to make a cowboy cry
I never got the limo or the diamond
But I got my hat, my boots and my guitar
I'm proud enough to say
I'll always be this way
Like the girl who went and stole Roy Roger's heart
Back To All About Roy Rogers
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