Barbara Hale, ‘Perry Mason’ Actress, Dies at 94
Art and Experience: Barbara Hale, who played secretary Della Street in the “Perry Mason” television series and movies, died Thursday. She was 94.
According to a Facebook post by her son William Katt, Hale passed away at her home on Sherman Oaks, Calif.
“Lost my beautiful wonderful mom Barbara Hale yesterday afternoon,” Katt, star of the television series “The Greatest American Hero,” wrote Friday. “She left peacefully at her home in Sherman Oaks Ca surrounded by close family and dear friends. We’ve all been so lucky to have her for so long. She was gracious and kind and silly and always fun to be with. A wonderful actress and smart business woman she was most of all a treasure as a friend and mother! We’re all a little lost without her but we have extraordinary stories and memories to take with us for the rest of our lives.
Hale played Street, assistant to Raymond Burr’s titular lawyer, in nine seasons of the series and 30 television movies. She spent her early career under contract with RKO, and went on to star in “Higher and Higher” with Frank Sinatra, “Lady Luck” with Robert Young and Frank Morgan, “The Window,” “Jolson Sings Again,” “Lorna Doone,” and “The Far Horizons” with Charlton Heston.
“Perry Mason” aired on CBS from 1957 to 1966 and starred Burr as a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney. The show was one of the first hour-long series in television history. Hale won a Primetime Emmy Award in 1959 for playing Street, and reprised the character when “Perry Mason” was revived in the 1980s as a series of television movies by NBC.
Hale was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960. Among her later film roles were “Airport” and “Big Wednesday.”
Born in DeKalb, Illinois in 1922, Hale was the second child of Willa and Luther Hale. Her father was a landscape gardener. Her late husband, Bill Williams, starred in the western series “The Adventures of Kit Carson” and died in 1992. She is survived by her son William Katt, daughters Johanna Katt and Juanita King, six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.