A compendium of Barbara Hale magazine articles, photographs and memorabilia.
Barbara Hale Annex
About Barbara Hale's Birthday...
In my opinion, Barbara Hale was born on 18 April 1922. But, prominent sources say her birthday is 18 April 1921. One source even says 18 February 1921! Such variations are disturbing. So, as a student of Barbara's life and career, I set off to investigate. Below is a summary of the evidence, one way or the other, that I've found. Links go to material in the Annex Document Collection unless noted.
It is clear that, in the beginning, Barbara was born on April 18, 1922. Published sources reported this date during her movie star career. Biographical information was probably provided by movie studio publicity departments. RKO until about 1949 and Columbia into the 50s. Later, she was born on April 18, 1921. I suspect that this date may have been provided by the CBS televison publicity department when she began her TV star career on Perry Mason. It is reported, for example, as early as 1962 in TV Guide.
It seems odd that Barbara didn't correct the date if it was indeed wrong. Who wants to be a year older? But, perhaps she simply didn't care. From what I have read, I think this might be the case. She was busy with her family.
Using NewspaperARCHIVE.com, I was able to examine a variety of newspapers for information on Barbara. Nearly 5,800 search results from 1942 through 2004 were reviewed. From these, over 250 items were added to my collection. Most did not mention her birthdate or age. There were about 33 that did. These were consistent with a 1922 birth year through 1997. In that year, the Associated Press feature "Today In History" gave her age, on the "Today's Birthdays" list, as 75. The same feature on April 18, 2001 gave her age as 80. The 1921 birthdate prevailed from then on.
Material Supporting 1922
1. Barbara's age is shown as 7 on the 1930 U.S. Census forms. The official date of the census is April 1, 1930. The data for her family appears at the bottom of one page and the top of the next. See the full pages here and here. See the important rows enlarged here (dad and mom) and here (the kids, including column titles).
2. She graduated from Rockford High School in 1940 probably at age 18, maybe age 17 (like me) but not very likely at age 19. [see here]
3. The one-page photo feature "Introducing: Career Beginners...." in the October 1941 Mademoiselle magazine states that "Nineteen-year-old model, Chicago's Barbara Hale, works before the camera only." [see here]
5. In the article "Hollywood's Newest Cinderella Girl," LOOK magazine of 30 October 1945 recreates, in pictures, Barbara's rise to movie stardom. The caption of the first picture states "The year is 1940. Barbi (then 18)..." [see here] The text of the article states "Today, 23-year-old Barbara is a movie star..." [see here]
6. In the "Look Movie Awards" piece appearing in the 19 February 1946 issue of LOOK magazine, Barbara receives the "Newcomer" award as "most promising newcomer of 1945." She is said to be 22 years old. [see here]
7. In the March 1946 issue of Screen Guide magazine, Barbara's birthday is given as April 18, 1922. [see here]
8. In the 22 April 1946 issue of Life magazine, Barbara is said to be 24. [see here]
9. In the September 1, 1946, issue of Cámara magazine from Spain, Barbara's birthdate is given as "18 de abril de 1922." [see here]
10. Birthdate is given as April 18, 1922, in a typed sheet on the back of a studio promo photo for The Clay Pigeon (1947). [see here]
11. Birthdate is given as April 18, 1922, in a 1948 issue of Modern Hostess magazine. [read here]
12. The 1 May 1950 issue of the Australian magazine Adam and Eve featuring Movie Life gives Barbara's age as "this 27-year-old." [see here]
13. The caption of the first picture in Barbara's photographic timeline in the February 1951 issue of Movie Life magazine states that she was "born April 18, 1922." [see here]
14. Birthday is given as "18. IV. 1922." in the 1 August 1955 issue of Filmski Vjesnik magazine from Yugoslavia. [see here]
15. The biography in the 1959 edition of TV's Top Stars states that Barbara was born on April 22, 1922. [see here]
16. The biography in the 1965 edition of TV Top Stars states that Barbara was born on April 18, 1922. [see here]
17. The entry for Barbara in the "Noted Personalities - Entertainers" section of the 1991 World Almanac (Copyright © 1990 Pharos Books) shows 4/18/22. [see here]
18. The book Elvgren - His Life and Art by Max Allan Collins (1998, Collectors Press) states "Two of the most famous of Elvgren's model/actresses were Barbara Hale and Lola Albright. Hale, born in 1922 was an RKO starlet who achieved starring roles in the late '40s and early '50s, notably as Al Jolson's second wife in Jolson Sings Again (1949)."
20. An article in the October 4, 1994, issue of National Enqurer gives her age correctly as 72. [see here]
Library Sources (Courtesy the King County Library System)
1. New York Times Historical Backfile database: 28 August 1949, the article "Hail to Miss Hale" states: "No beginner when she tackled the role in the second installment of Columbia's Jolson biography, the 27-year-old Miss Hale was nevertheless having a slight case of jitters in one of the first scenes to go before the camera."
2. April 18, 1922. Biography Resource Center (Farmington Hills, Mich.: The Gale Group. 2004) databases: "Barbara Hale" entries in Almanac of Famous People, 8th ed. (Gale Group, 2003), Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television, Volume 26 (Gale Group, 2000) and Marquis Who's Who™ (Marquis Who's Who, 2004).
Material Supporting 1921
1. The article "The Case of the Silent Secretary" in the 3 March 1962 issue of TV Guide states that Barbara is 40 and, later, that she was born on April 18, 1921. [rtf file]
2. The book The RKO Gals by James Robert Parrish (1974, Arlington House Publishers) states that she was "...born on April 18, 1921, ..."
3. A biographical article in the November 9, 1978, issue of Cine Revue, a French movie magazine, gives a birthdate of "18 avril 1921." [see here]
4. The article about Barbara in the May 1979 issue of Films In Review states that she was born "...on April 18, '21, ..." [rtf file]
5. The biography for Barbara in The Perry Mason TV Show Book by Brian Kelleher and Diana Merrill (1987, St. Martin's Press) states that she was born "... on February 18, 1921, ..." [see here] at The Perry Mason TV Show Book.
6. The book The Perry Mason Casebook by David Martindale (1991, Pioneer Books) states that "Hale was born April 18, 1921 in DeKalb, Ill."
(last update 4/19/11)