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Alan Hale Sr.
Silent film actor Alan Hale in "Long Live the King" (SAYRE 3402).jpg
Hale in 1922
Rufus Edward Mackahan

(1892-02-10)February 10, 1892
DiedJanuary 22, 1950(1950-01-22) (aged 57)
OccupationActor, director
Years active1899–1950
(m. 1914)
Children3, including Alan Hale Jr.

Alan Hale Sr. (born Rufus Edward Mackahan; February 10, 1892 – January 22, 1950) was an American film actor and director, best remembered for his many character roles, in particular as a frequent sidekick of Errol Flynn, as well as films supporting Lon Chaney, Wallace Beery, Douglas Fairbanks, James Cagney, Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart, and Ronald Reagan. Hale was usually billed as Alan Hale and his career in film lasted 40 years.[1] His son, Alan Hale Jr., also became an actor and remains most famous for playing "the Skipper" on the television series Gilligan's Island.


Hale was born Rufus Edward Mackahan in Washington, D.C. He studied to be an opera singer and also had success as an inventor. Among his innovations were a sliding theater chair (to allow spectators to slide back to admit newcomers rather than standing), the hand fire extinguisher, and greaseless potato chips.[2][3][4]

His first film role was in the 1911 silent movie The Cowboy and the Lady. He became a leading man while working in 1913–1915 for the Biograph Company in their special feature film productions sponsored and controlled by Marc Klaw and Abraham Erlanger. Later, he became more of a character actor; he played "Little John" in the film Robin Hood (1922), with Douglas Fairbanks and Wallace Beery, reprised the role 16 years later in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) with Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone, then played him once more in Rogues of Sherwood Forest (1950) with John Derek as Robin Hood's son, a unique 28-year string of portrayals of the same character in theatrical films. Hale played Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, in The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939), featuring a pivotal confrontation with the Earl of Essex, portrayed by Flynn.

His other films include the epic The Trap (1922) with Lon Chaney, Skyscraper (1928); as well as Fog Over Frisco with Bette Davis; Miss Fane's Baby Is Stolen with Baby LeRoy and William Frawley; The Little Minister with Katharine Hepburn; and It Happened One Night with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert; (all released in 1934); Stella Dallas with Barbara Stanwyck; High, Wide, and Handsome (both 1937) with Irene Dunne and Dorothy Lamour; The Fighting 69th with James Cagney and Pat O'Brien; They Drive By Night with George Raft and Humphrey Bogart; Virginia City (all 1940) with Errol Flynn, Randolph Scott, and Humphrey Bogart; Manpower (1941) with Edward G. Robinson, Marlene Dietrich, and George Raft; and as the cantankerous Sgt. McGee in the This Is the Army (1943) with Irving Berlin. He also co-starred with Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland in the successful western film Dodge City (1939) where he played the slightly dimwitted but likeable and comical Rusty Hart, sidekick to Flynn's character, Sheriff Wade Hatton. Hale co-starred with Errol Flynn in 13 movies.[5]

Hale directed eight movies during the 1920s and 1930s and acted in 235 theatrical films in total.

Personal life

Gretchen Hartman
Gretchen Hartman

Hale's wife of over 30 years was Gretchen Hartman (1897–1979), a former child actress, silent film player, and mother of the couple's three children.[6]

He was the father of actor Alan Hale Jr., best known as "the Skipper" in the Gilligan's Island television series.[6] Father and son closely resembled one another, leading to occasional confusion after Hale Sr.'s death when Hale Jr. dropped the Jr. from his name. Hale Sr. and Hale Jr. both played the same character, Porthos the musketeer, in movies 40 years apart. Alan Hale Sr. played the character in the 1939 film Man in the Iron Mask, while Alan Hale Jr. played him in The Fifth Musketeer in 1979.

Alan Hale Sr. died at age 57 in Hollywood, California, on January 22, 1950, following a liver ailment and viral infection. He is interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California, next to his wife.[citation needed]


See also

P vip.svg Biography portal


  1. ^ "Billboard". February 4, 1950.
  2. ^ "Hobbies of the Hollywood Stars". Popular Mechanics. 63 (3): 372–374. March 1935. Retrieved January 29, 2018.
  3. ^ Juran, Robert A. (September 1, 1995). Old Familiar Faces. Movie Memories. p. 100. ISBN 978-0964634008.
  4. ^ Variety, January 25, 1950[full citation needed]
  5. ^ Gatti, Annmarie (February 10, 2015). "Errol Flynn and his Trusty Sidekick Alan Hale". Retrieved July 4, 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Alan Hale (Jr.) MacKahan & Bettina Reed Doerr Marriage Certificate".

Further reading

  • Alistair, Rupert (2018). "Alan Hale Sr.". The Name Below the Title : 65 Classic Movie Character Actors from Hollywood's Golden Age (softcover) (First ed.). Great Britain: Independently published. pp. 119–121. ISBN 978-1-7200-3837-5.

External links

This page was last edited on 7 August 2021, at 23:04
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