Sunday, April 18, 2010

Who's That Girl?

That's right, kids, it's Perry Mason's stalwart Della Street doing her best Barbara Nichols impression! (Photos from the Barbara Hale Annex.) Before she became Raymond Burr's girl Friday, Barbara Hale had been a fine arts student, a model, and finally, a B-movie leading lady. If films like West of the Pecos (1945) and Emergency Wedding (1950) were about as routine as their titles would suggest, they at least led to Hale becoming a popular, dependable presence, if not quite a "star."

But it was her role as the efficient, loyal Della Street which made Barbara Hale familiar to millions of television viewers from 1957 through 1966. For her work, Hale won the 1959 Supporting Actress Emmy, and was nominated again in 1961. After the Perry Mason series went off the air, Hale continued to act sporadically, devoting much of her time to her family: her husband of 46 years, Bill Williams, and their three children. Her son, William Katt, became an actor, beloved to children of the 1970's as The Greatest American Hero. And, of course, Barbara guest starred as his mom. From 1986 until his death in 1994, Hale also regularly appeared with Raymond Burr in a series of made-for-TV movies reprising their roles as Perry Mason and Della Street.

Retired since 2000, Barbara Hale lives quietly and happily in California. On behalf of hard-working, trustworthy, dependable, yet glamorous, working gals everywhere, we salute you, Miss Hale! We hope that you're enjoying your 88th!

April 18, 1922


  1. I used to watch Perry Mason re-runs when I was a kid with my mom. I should have made up a drinking game every time she said, "I'll make coffee, Perry."

  2. Remember Gertie the receptionist?
    Her character was a little like Carleton the Doorman in "Rhoda" but she did make a few appearances.

  3. And she was philandering Dean Martin's wife in Airport. I love it when she says to her brother Burt Lancaster that Dean won't leave her because she's his disaster insurance and Burt says, "More like group insurance."

    The text of the Lux ad is so hooty! Love it.

    She and her husband made this unbelievably horrible sci-fi film about a giant spider that was a Volkswagon bug with paper mache on it! Seriously!

  4. The CBS website has many of the old Perry Mason episodes that you can watch. For Free and Everything!

    Happy Birthday Miss 'Amana Radarange'.

  5. William Katt is her son? I never would have known. But now that you mention it, I can see it in his face.