Barbara Hale, ‘Perry Mason’ Actress, Dies at 94

Barbara Hale dead Perry Mason
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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.

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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.

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  1. we all should have someone as loyal in our lives as della street. thanks for the memories barbara.

  2. catherine davids says:

    Before “That Girl,” (Marlo Thomas) and the “Mary Tyler Moore Show,” both showcasing their stars as non-married career women, there was Barbara Hale and Ann Sothern who portrayed Della Street and Susie McNamara, both of whom were non-married career women. Hale and Sothern’s contributions to both the movie and television industry have been overlooked for their personal success in both mediums but especially for their roles as non-married career-minded women who clearly enjoyed their lives. I remember, as a young girl, watching these programs and being both encouraged and enchanted by both Hale and Sothern, recognizing the truth and joy in their roles, and wanting very much to emulate that kind of success. I did not need the over-the-top feminist movement for encouragement when I had Hale and Sothern and their fabulous Della Street and Susie McNamara to be my role models for the “single woman with career” life. I wish that I had thought to send both of them cards of appreciation and thanks for their encouragement and grace and humor. I sincerely hope this will suffice.

  3. I had hardly caught my breath after hearing Mike Connors had passed away when I learned that Barbara Hale had passed away–just a day later, I believe. Two great favorites of mine, and my heart goes out to both families. I always thought that Miss Hale was one of the most naturally beautiful and adorable women out there and few years ago when I happened to google her name and learn that she was still alive and well in her then-early nineties, I was just thrilled and somehow comforted to know she was still on this plane. Now that she has crossed over, though, both this dimension and that one will benefit from her beautiful light. Rest in peace, fun, love, and fine wine, Miss Hale.

  4. Arden Lo says:

    Perry Mason was one of my favorite shows of ALL TIME….WHY? 1. If you observed closely, He never ever had a jury… 2. He presented incontrovertible evidence….irrefutable proof…3. Every show ended with the Guilty Party, blatantly screaming out their own personal confession… 4. Perry, Della, his P.I., and the client would meet in the aftermath of the trail and share the logic of their conviction with those that are kinda Slow!!! Like me…..LOL

  5. P. K. says:

    I actually met Barbara Hale at a celebration being held for Raymond Burr in a Santa Rosa theater some 10-12 years ago. I was so excited to meet and have a picture taken with her! I loved watching the show from the time I was 8 years old. My husband even took me to the Raymond Burr Winery where it was more fun to reminisce than drink! To me she wasn’t any different in person than on the screen…very beautiful, gracious and kind….I’m so sad that she’s gone…

  6. sc says:

    I loved all the movies and t v shows I have seen her in my lifetime. I loved her character Della Street the most ,One classy lady !!! I still watch her and Raymond daily as it is my all time favorite show. I did see Raymonds one man show at Drury Lane in Chicago, which of course was SUPERB and met him after the show very Exciting for me !! MISS you already LADY BARBARA RIP

  7. Kathy Evans says:

    She actually acted alongside her son in “Big Wednesday”, an episode of “The Greatest American Hero” (“Who’s Woo in America”), and in the reboot of Perry Mason in the late 80’s. She will be missed!

  8. Marylou says:

    Am watching Perry right now. A great lady . R I P Barbara. You will be missed and were loved and respected by many. Your fans are mourning with your family.

  9. Thomas Bates says:

    I am a Barbara Hale FAN! I LOVE Perry Mason! May
    GOD Bless her, and her son William Katt.

  10. Emily Jacquette says:

    Perry Mason has always been one of my favorite shows over the years. My family and I would be glued to our TV sets every Saturday night when it first came on. I’m still glued to my set every night at 11:30 to watch this amazing show. Della will be missed11

  11. I have just been on a PM marathon–still in it–even subscribed to cbs.com just so could have access to it. I remember as a kid watching it every week with my parents back in the 50’s and 60’s. I knew Burr had died but really did not know about Della-she was simply a great actress. In many ways her role broke a lot of barriers in that it portrayed a consummate professional woman in an a male dominated time. She was also of course the consummate actress. My mother, being an executive secretary, I think identified a lot with her; and it made me understand the importance of my mother’s job as a professional and why she liked it.

    • catherine davids says:

      Tommy Armstrong – well said. Love your tribute to your Mom and her career as as Executive Secretary – a very important career.

  12. Richard Ditewig says:

    Barbara Hale was SO gifted in her role in the 1957 – 1966 Perry Mason series. I have many of these
    episodes on CD and they are a never-ending source of fascination! I am uplifted every time I see the high-quality acting and photography in these episodes! Fred Steiner’s “Park Avenue Beat” (Perry
    Mason theme song) adds a perfect touch, musically.

  13. Sandra says:

    Loved Raymond Burr and Barbara Hale. To this day I still watch Perry Mason on ME TV

  14. Judee Drby says:

    I loved the Perry Mason show and still watch it to this day!! I had no idea she was born in my home town of DeKalb, Illinois!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! RIP to a great actress!

  15. Kathy Clark says:

    A great star. Really enjoyed watching her on Perry Mason, and still do on the re-runs. So sorry she’s gone. She was the last surviving member of the main cast. So happy she had a nice, long life, and my sympathy and condolences go out to her children and the rest of her family.

  16. Michelle says:

    RIP Barbara Hale! You were so good in Perry Mason. Another angel among many!

  17. Cynthia says:

    She is a lovely lady. I still enjoy watching her every day as Della Street on Perry Mason broadcast on MeTV. She’ll always be young and alive to her fans. Godspeed.

  18. Watched hear for year’s, see her on Big Wednesday, she’s kool in that. RIP.

    • Kathy Evans says:

      Yeah, I know, she was so nonplussed that her son and friends were having a wild party downstairs! Her only criticism was to make sure they stay off the table…..LOL

  19. Phillip Ayling says:

    As her family grieves, we do too. She brought joy to many with her talent and grace. Peace

  20. Andre Boudreaux says:

    The last of the main cast of the orignal Perry Mason. My all time fav shiw growing up. It was like watching my mon on Tv.
    Rip Della Street keep Perry in lineup there.
    I will have a glass of Ratmond Burrs wine to celebrate youe life. Cheers

  21. Julie Blake says:

    Lovely lady, classy lady!

  22. mcgwynne says:

    My sincere condolences to William with whom I worked in the movie “Butch and Sundance: The Early Years.” He played Sundance, I was Mike Cassidy’s and Tom Berenger was Butch. I missed meeting your mom that day in Telluride, Colorado but later years in Denver where I was guest staring in an episode of Father Brown she flew into my life with an elegance and ease that made a deep impression on me.
    We were all staying at the same hotel while she was doing a Perry Mason show.
    She arrived at the bar one night and was introduced to me by an actor I knew. It as if we had known each other forever! I’ll never forget her easy wit and charm and that greatest of all attributes to any actor..,a deep and easy way with and familiar grasp of…”silly.”
    Truly a gift.
    Thank you Barbara for a night I’ve not forgotten and never will.
    You have left many with great memories.
    One of them is mine.
    Michael C. Gwynne –

  23. Broker Rick says:

    Thoughts and prayers to the family. I grew up watching her, a model of class & all business w Perry.

  24. Tara says:

    Barbara Hale was so excellent as Della Street….I always wanted Della and Perry to get together…RIP

  25. Mary says:

    My prayers goes out to the i loved her

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