Funeral services were pending Friday for Barbara Hale, the actress best known for her role as legal secretary Della Street opposite Raymond Burr’s ace lawyer Perry Mason on the hit legal drama of the same name in the 1950s and 1960s.
Hale, 94, died Thursday at her home in Sherman Oaks, according to her son, actor William Katt, who starred on the TV series “The Greatest American Hero.”
“Lost my beautiful mom Barbara Hale yesterday (Thursday) afternoon,” Katt wrote on his Facebook page. “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 businesswoman, 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.”
Hale began her career as a model, but she made dozens of film appearances beginning in the mid-1940s before moving to the small screen. In the 1950s, she appeared on programs such as “Science Fiction Theatre,” “Schlitz Playhouse,” “Damon Runyon Theater” and “The Millionaire.”
She became a star with “Perry Mason,” which ran from 1957 to 1966. Hale appeared in more than 260 episodes of the drama series, playing the resourceful secretary to Burr’s unbeatable Los Angeles defense attorney. She won a supporting-actress Emmy for the role in 1959.
Hale continued making regular television appearances after the show’s run ended, including a guest spot portraying Katt’s mother on “The Greatest American Hero.” She reprised her role of Della Street in more than two dozen “Perry Mason” television movies, including some that featured Katt portraying Mason’s private investigator, Paul Drake Jr.
She and her husband, Bill Williams, had three children. Bill Williams died in 1992.
— City News Service