Dale Evans Lucille Wood Smith, name changed in infancy to Frances Octavia Smith, famous as Dale Evans, (31 October 1912 - 7 February 2001) was a prolific writer, movie star, singer/songwriter and the wife of singing cowboy Roy Rogers.
Born in Uvalde, Texas, Evans had a tumultuous early life, eloping with her first husband Thomas F. Fox at 14. She bore one son, Thomas Fox, Jr. at 15. 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. 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 1945, and her development as a cowgirl co-star to Roy Rogers at Republic studios.
Evans married Roy Rogers on New Year's Eve 1946. Rogers ended the deception regarding Tommy. Rogers and Evans were a team on screen and off from 1946 until Rogers' death in 1998. Rogers and Evans 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 best-seller "Angel Unawares".
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" and "The Bible Tells Me So".
For her contribution to radio, Dale Evans has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6638 Hollywood Blvd. and a second star at 1737 Vine Street. for her contribution to the television industry. In 1976, she was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
See also: Other notable figures in Western films