Dale Evans Rogers
| Dale Evans Rogers|
(Actress, singer, songwriter)
|Born|| October 31, 1912 |
|Died|| February 7, 2001 (aged 88) |
San Bernardino County
|Spouse|| (1) Thomas Frederick Fox (married 1927–1929, divorced)|
(2) August Wayne Johns
The daughter of T. Hillman Smith and the former Bettie Sue Wood, Rogers was born Lucille Wood Smith in Uvalde, some eighty miles west of San Antonio, Texas, but her name was soon changed to Frances Octavia Smith. Long after she lived elsewhere, Evans Rogers visited her grandparents' family homestead in Uvalde. She recalled in 1996 that as a child she had slept on the since-removed back porch during hot summer nights and hearing nearby Mexican families singing in the dark. The property was placed on the market in 2018, with an asking price of $149,500, but a buyer will need more money to bring the house up to standards. Or the property could be subdivided into eight lots that would sell for nearly $40,000 each. None of the original furnishings remain, and various owners altered the dwelling over the years.
She lived at times in Italy, Texas, north of Waco, and in Osceola in eastern Arkansas, there with her physician-uncle. At the age of fourteen, she eloped with and wed Thomas Frederick Fox, with whom she had one son, Thomas, Jr., a year after the marriage. After a year, Fox abandoned her, and she was a single mother in Memphis Tennessee, soon singing jazz, big band, and swing and playing the piano on local radio. After the first divorce, she assumed the show business name Dale Evans. Two more failed marriages followed, but no children were born from those unions. During her time at 20th Century Fox, the studio cast her as a sister of her teenage "brother" Tommy, her son Tom Fox, Jr. Then the showgirl was cast as co-star to Roy Rogers in the making of thirty-five motion pictures at Republic Studios.
From 1951 to 1957, Evans and Rogers appeared on NBC's The Roy Rogers Show, a family-oriented program in which Roy was a rancher and Dale operated a small restaurant. Pat Brady appeared as Roy's sidekick in the series, which aired in reruns in the early 1960s on CBS. Dale composed the popular western tune, "Happy Trails". In their return to television in the fall of 1962, The Roger Rogers-Dale Evans Show, a musical variety program with the Sons of the Pioneers, aired on ABC but was cancelled after thirteen episodes because of low ratings.
Evans and Rogers were prominent Hollywood conservative Republicans and outspoken Christians, who sometimes appeared at Billy Graham crusades. In 1964, Dale Evans Rogers spoke at a "Project Prayer" rally at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Hosted by Anthony Eisley (1925-2003) of ABC's Hawaiian Eye series, the rally sought to persuade Congress to adopt school prayer in the wake of two decisions in 1962 and 1963 of the United States Supreme Court which struck down the practice as a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Roy and Dale had only one child from their marriage, Robin Elizabeth, who died of complications of Down syndrome before her second birthday. Robin's life inspired Evans Rogers to write her bestseller, Angel Unaware. She then wrote other inspirational books calling upon people to seek God for answers to their travails.
An Evans and Rogers museum operated in Victorville, near Apple Valley, California, until it was moved in 2003 to the resort city of Branson, Missouri. The museum was located inside the Happy Trails Theatre at 3950 Green Mountain Drive, but was closed permanently in 2009, and the contents were sold at auction. Roy Rogers had told his son, Dale's stepson, Roy "Dusty", Jr., to sell the museum if it ever failed to turn a profit.
- Richard A. Marini, "Uvalde fixer-upper once Dale Evans' home", The San Antonio Express-News, April 27, 2018, pp. 1, A11.
- Elise Miller Davis, The Answer Is God, New York City: McGraw-Hill, 1955, pp. 59-62.
- Dale Evans Mini-bio. Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved on April 27, 2018.
- The Roy Rogers-Dale Evans Show. Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved on April 27, 2018.
- Dale Evans Biography. The Roy Rogers – Dale Evans Museum. Retrieved on February 2, 2008.
- Drew Pearson, The Washington Merry-Go-Round, May 14, 1964.
- Gary Groman (December 11, 2009). Legend of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans transcends a museum. Branson.com. Retrieved on April 27, 2018.