the Cowboys and Francis Octavia Smith, Queen of the West.
It doesn't have the same ring to it as Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, does it? Both Roy and Dale had begun careers under their birth names before assuming their now famous ones.
Leonard Slye was born in Ohio November 5, 1911 in Ohio, the son of a shoe factory worker. The family moved often looking for a better life and faced hardship during the Depression. Leonard headed for Los Angeles to start a career as a singer. After a few years of little success he joined with others to form the group Sons of The Pioneers which soon had hit songs. His first acting job in a movie came in 1935 and before long he was appearing regularly in westerns. It was while he was working on a Gene Autry film that he adopted the name Roy Rogers.
Roy married his first wife, Arline in 1936. She died of
complications following the birth of their son Dusty in 1946.
Francis Octavia Smith was born in Texas in 1912. She eloped
with her high school sweetheart at the age of fourteen and was a mother by the time she was fifteen. The marriage didn't last long. Francis and Thomas Fox divorced in 1929.
She worked in an insurance office while trying to start a singing career. Eventually she changed her name to Dale Evans and began acting in cowgirl roles. She starred in
a movie with Roy Rogers in 1944 and they had an instant
After Arline's death in 1946 a romance bloomed between
Dale and Roy; they were married in 1947. This was the beginning of a long relationship both on and off the screen. They made more than one hundred movies together.
In addition to the movies they had a wide audience on
television and became icons in the industry. Everyone knew not only Roy and Dale but also Trigger and Buttermilk, their horses, and Bullet the dog. Dale and Roy represented to the public everything that could be right about a relationship. They had a loving marriage and also reached out to others not so fortunate. They were known for their kindness and charity, and for their work with foster children and children with disabilities.
They had one child together Robin, who was born with Down
syndrome and died before she was two. Dale Evans wrote a book about their daughter called Angel Unaware. She also wrote many other inspirational books.
Roy and Dale adopted four children, two of whom died at a
young age, one from a bus accident and one from choking while serving with the US army overseas.
Their marriage lasted over fifty years, until Roy's death
in 1998 from heart failure. Dale died, also of heart failure, in
2001. They are buried side by
side at Sunset Hills cemetery in
Apple Valley California. It is nearly impossible to think now of one without
also thinking of the other. They
are a true example of enduring love that has overcome obstacles only to become