Alan Hale

Active - 1912 - 1961  |   Born - Feb 10, 1892   |   Died - Jan 22, 1950   |   Genres - Drama, Adventure, Romance, Comedy, Crime

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Biography by Hal Erickson

The son of a patent medicine manufacturer, American actor Alan Hale chose a theatrical career at a time when, according to his son Alan Hale Jr., boarding houses would post signs reading "No Dogs or Actors Allowed." Undaunted, Hale spent several years on stage after graduating from Philadelphia University, entering films as a slapstick comedian for Philly's Lubin Co. in 1911. Bolstering his acting income with odd jobs as a newspaperman and itinerant inventor (at one point he considered becoming an osteopath!), Hale finally enjoyed a measure of security as a much-in-demand character actor in the 1920s, usually as hard-hearted villains. One of his more benign roles was as Little John in Douglas Fairbanks' Robin Hood (1922), a role he would repeat opposite Errol Flynn in 1938 and John Derek in 1950. Talkies made Hale more popular than ever, especially in his many roles as Irishmen, blusterers and "best pals" for Warner Bros. Throughout his career, Hale never lost his love for inventing things, and reportedly patented or financed items as commonplace as auto brakes and as esoteric as greaseless potato chips. Alan Hale contracted pneumonia and died while working on the Warner Bros. western Montana (1950), which starred Hale's perennial screen cohort Errol Flynn.

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