Actor. Born Rufus Alan McKahan in Washington, D.C. he first attempted to gain entry to the stage via opera, but his career as an operatic singer was effectively stillborn. By 1911 his attention had been diverted to Hollywood where he made his film debut in the silent film ‘The Cowboy and the Lady.’ With his big build and bluff looks, he quickly came to be in demand as a character actor, often portraying the heavy. In 1914, he married Gretchen Hartman with whom he had three children including a namesake son who would also find fame as an actor. Hale first played the role of Little John, which would become one of his most recognized characters, in 1922’s silent ‘Robin Hood’ opposite Douglas Fairbanks. He became a central figure in the so called Warner Brothers Stock Company, the busiest of the character players under contract to the studio. In the 1930s and 1940s he appeared in dozens of films. In 1938, he appeared as Little John once more opposite his good friend, Errol Flynn, in ‘The Adventures of Robin Hood.’ The pair would appear together in a dozen more films including ‘Dodge City’ in 1939, 1940’s ‘The Seahawk,’ ‘Gentleman Jim,’ in 1942, and ‘The Adventures of Don Juan’ in 1948. His last film appearance was yet another reprise of the role of Little John in 1950’s ‘Rogues of Sherwood Forest’ opposite John Derek, earning him the record for appearing as Little John in more separate productions than any other performer. Hale died later that year following a liver ailment complicated by a viral infection. His star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is located at 6532 Hollywood Blvd.
- February, 10, 1892
- January, 22, 1950
- Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale)