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Profiles in Mojave Desert History

Dale Evans

ORIGINAL NAME Frances Octavia Smith
BIRTH 31 Oct 1912
Uvalde, Uvalde County, Texas, USA
DEATH 7 Feb 2001 (aged 88)
Apple Valley, San Bernardino County, California, USA
Sunset Hills Memorial Park
Apple Valley, San Bernardino County, California, USA

Actress, Singer. She was born Lucille Wood Smith in Uvalde, Texas to a farmer father who also operated a hardware and general store in Italy, Texas, she was married at 15, and divorced at 16. Her singing voice launched her career. From many performances on local radio shows, she was summoned to Hollywood for a screen test resulting in a contract with 20th Century-Fox. After many name changes she settled on Dale Evans. Her first movie was as a co-star with Roy Rogers in a movie called 'The Cowboy and the Senorita.' Three other movies followed: 'Yellow Rose of Texas, Lights of Old Santa Fe and San Fernando Valley.'

Dale Evans was divorced for a third time when Roy a widower by the death of his first wife proposed marriage. She withdrew from motion pictures after the marriage. Evans and Rogers became a team. She co-starred with him riding her horse, Buttermilk, while he astride Trigger appeared in most of her 38 motion pictures and in two television series, 'The Roy Rogers Show' and the hotline musical variety hour 'The Roy Rogers & Dale Evans Show' She wrote 25 songs, including the couple's theme, "Happy Trails." Her other hit was the Christian-oriented "The Bible Tells Me So." After her conversion to Christianity, she became a tireless volunteer to Christian groups as a lay minister. Her 17 books dealt primarily with her faith in light of the many family tragedies the couple endured. The only child born to the couple died of complications from the mumps on her second birthday, an adopted child was killed in a 1964 church bus crash and the following year their adopted son choked to death while serving in the army.

Full retirement proved elusive for Dale. She continued as a best selling author and had a weekly television show 'A Date With Dale' for the Trinity Broadcast Network. The couple's headquarters became the The Roy Rogers-Dale Evans Museum in Victorville, California near their Apple Valley home which chronicled their lives. She and her husband routinely greeted fans at their museum. Dale received many honors before her own death at her residence: California Mother of the Year (1967), The Texas Press Association's Texan of the Year (1970), inducted into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame (1995), Cardinal Terrence Cook Humanities Award (1995), and her three stars on The Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In the few years that she outlived her husband Roy a marriage that lasted 50 years, she suffered bouts with illness which included a stroke, heart attack and a pacemaker implant all of which contributed to her death at the age of 88 in the company of her remaining family at her residence in Apple Valley. A memorial service was held at the Church of the Valley and she was interred beside her husband in nearby Sunset Hills Memorial Park. Their original birth names are inscribed on the two slabs located in a special landscaped garden enclosure at a pond with the Cowboy's Prayer in the brick wall and a sculpted eagle rising from the water.

Bio by: Donald Greyfield

Roy Rogers

Apple Valley, Ca.

Frances Octavia Smith

Dale Evans was born Frances Octavia Smith on October 31, 1912. In 1954, however, when she requested a copy of her birth certificate to apply for a passport, she discovered that it listed her given name as Lucille Wood Smith and her birthdate as October 30.

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