Dale Robertson


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Dale Robertson, an Oklahoma native who became a star of television and movie Westerns during the genre's heyday, died Tuesday. He was 89.

Robertson's niece, Nancy Robertson, said her uncle died at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, Calif., following a brief illness.

Dale Robertson had bit parts in films including "The Boy with the Green Hair" and the Joan Crawford vehicle "Flamingo Road" before landing more high-profile roles such as Jesse James in "Fighting Man of the Plains."

In the 1950s, he moved into television, starring in series such as "Tales of Wells Fargo" (1957-62), "Iron Horse" (1966) and "Death Valley Days" (1968-70).

Robertson continued to work in TV in the 1970s, and in the 1980s he landed roles in the popular night-time soap operas "Dallas" and "Dynasty."

In 1993, he took what would be his final role, as Zeke in the show "Harts of the West," before retiring from acting to spend more time at his ranch in Yukon, Okla., where he lived until moving to the San Diego area in recent months, Nancy Robertson said.

Dale Robertson would want to be remembered as a father, a grandfather and an Oklahoman, she said.

"He came back a lot when he was in Hollywood, and he came back (to Oklahoma) after retiring," she said.

"I remember him as a larger-than-life fellow," she said. "When he was in town it was always very exciting. It always meant something magical was going to happen," such as another actor or performing artist accompanying him on his visits.

Born Dayle Lymoine Robertson to Melvin and Vervel Robertson in Harrah, on July 14, 1923, Robertson attended Oklahoma Military College at 17 and boxed in professional prize fights to earn money.

He joined the U.S. Army and fought in North Africa and Europe during World War II. Robertson was wounded twice and awarded the Bronze and Silver Stars and the Purple Heart.

While stationed at San Luis Obispo, Calif., he had a photograph taken for his mother. A copy of the photo displayed in the photo shop window attracted movie scouts, and the 6-foot-tall, 180-pound Robertson soon was on his way to Hollywood.

Will Rogers Jr., son of fellow Oklahoma-born actor and writer Will Rogers, once told Robertson to avoid formal training and keep his own persona.

Robertson received the Golden Boot Award in 1985, and was inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers and the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City.

He was married several times, most recently in 1980 to Susan Robbins, who survives him along with two children.

Nancy Robertson said her uncle will be cremated and that a memorial service will be held in a few weeks.

Former Associated Press writer Rochelle Hines contributed to this report.

KEN MILLER, Associated Press

Copyright © 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Guest Book

Not sure what to say?

Mr. Robertson was truly a man. We still watch his shows daily and enjoy every single one of them. If he was a kind in "real life" as he portrays in his television life, we lost a truly kind soul.

Linda Bouchillon
West, MS

He was a very good looking man I watch him almost every day on tales of wells Fargo

We watch you every day and love those shows Wells Fargo. Handsome well groomed and fair . Well miss you dearly.

I remember and still watch Tales of Wells Fargo to this day. Being from Oklahoma, I love the fact that this wonderful man was a native of Oklahoma. He was so handsome and talented, Mr. Robertson will always be missed. Love you Jim Hardie. Rest in peace. May Father God be with you!

Thanks. You were one of my heros. A young boy growing up, needs such a hero to help. Where have all the heros gone?

Talking about heroes with my children, they asked me who was my hero as a youngster. I told them I was an avid western fan, this made them mention certain great movie cowboys. I told them my hero was Jim Hardie, a Wells Fargo detective and the high point of my week was seeing Tales Of Wells Fargo on television. The character, Jim Hardie, was to me the epitome of a hero, honest, straight talking and respectful. I believe Dale Roberton was like this in real life.
I've come late to his...

Dale, RIP. I've been reading about all your many appearances in rodeos, county fairs and livestock expositions with a musical group, how humorous and entertaining you were. I'd loved to have been at the Florida State Fair in 1960 and seen your Wells Fargo Western Show. You are still beloved by a growing group of fans. Thank you for your kindness through the years.

I am a 78 year old woman and I can say that I really enjoyed seeing you in the movies and I still love to watch your Tales of Wells Fargo shows every day on T.V. I think you are the most Handsome man ever.

Dale and Jubilee

I'm thankful that I got to know you by watching your TV shows and films and through all the sweet comments I've read about you. You were a man of men. I wish our paths had crossed if for no more than a minute or two. Love your natural acting and good heart, Dale. RIP. Ever, yours.