DALE EVANS Biography - Musicians


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Name: Dale Evans                                                                         
Born: 31 October 1912 Uvalde, Texas                                                     
Died: 7 February 2001 Apple Valley, California                                           
Dale Evans was the stage name of Frances Octavia Smith (October 31, 1912-February       
7, 2001), a writer, movie star, and singer-songwriter. She was the third wife of         
singing cowboy Roy Rogers.                                                               
Born Lucille Wood Smith in Uvalde, Texas, her name was changed in infancy to             
Frances Octavia Smith. She had a tumultuous early life, eloping at age 14 with           
her first husband Thomas F. Fox. She bore one son, Thomas F. Fox, Jr. when she           
was 15 years old. Divorced in 1929 at 17, she married August Wayne Johns that           
same year, a union that lasted until their divorce in 1933. She took the name           
Dale Evans in the early 1930s to promote her singing career. She then married           
her accompanist and arranger Robert Dale Butts in 1935.                                 
After beginning her career singing at the radio station where she was employed           
as a secretary, Evans had a productive career as a jazz, swing, and big band             
singer that led to a screen test and contract with 20th Century Fox studios. She         
gained exposure on radio as the featured singer for a time on the Edgar Bergen/Charlie   
McCarthy show.                                                                           
During her time at 20th Century Fox, the studio promoted her as the unmarried           
supporter of her teenage "brother" Tommy (actually her son Tom Fox, Jr.). This           
deception continued through her divorce from Butts in 1946, and her development         
as a cowgirl co-star to Roy Rogers at Republic Studios.                                 
Evans married Roy Rogers at the Flying L Ranch in Davis, Oklahoma on New Year's         
Eve 1947. Rogers ended the deception regarding Tommy. Rogers and Evans were a           
team on- and off-screen from 1946 until Rogers' death in 1998. Together they had         
one child, Robin Elizabeth, who died of complications of Down's Syndrome shortly         
before her second birthday. Her life inspired Evans to write her bestseller             
Angel Unaware. Evans went on to write a number of religious and inspirational           
From 1951 to 1957, Dale Evans and her husband starred in the highly successful           
television series The Roy Rogers Show, in which they continued their cowboy/cowgirl     
roles, with her riding her trusty buckskin horse, Buttermilk. In addition to her         
successful TV shows, over 30 movies, and 200 songs, Evans wrote the well known           
songs Happy Trails. In later episodes of the TV show, she was outspoken in her           
Christianity telling people that God would assist them with their troubles and           
imploring adults and children to turn to God for help. This turned some people           
off of the show.                                                                         
In the 1970s, Evans recorded several solo albums of religious music. The 1980s           
saw Rogers and Evans introducing their films weekly on The Nashville Network. In         
the 1990s, Dale hosted her own religious television program.                             
Evans died of congestive heart failure on February 7, 2001.