Friday, 1 March 2013
Dale Robertson RIP
Dale Robertson as Jim Hardie in the TV series Tales of Wells Fargo, which ran for four years from 1957.
In Hollywood, in the days when men were men, Dale Robertson, who has died aged 89, was considered the epitome of masculinity. In the Clarion Call episode from O Henry's Full House (1952), a giggling, snivelling crook, played by Richard Widmark, whom Robertson, a cop, has come to arrest, keeps calling him "the beeg man". Robertson, an ex-prize fighter, was indeed "beeg" – tall, well-built and ruggedly handsome, with a gravelly voice. He was tough but fair to men, and courteous to ladies, particularly in the many westerns in which he starred in the 1950s, and in his most famous role, that of special investigator Jim Hardie in the TV series Tales of Wells Fargo.
As the movie western declined in the late 1950s, Robertson found his niche in westerns for TV, such as Tales of Wells Fargo, which ran for four years from 1957. The stories revolved around Robertson as troubleshooter for the pioneering transport company. Not always the most animated of actors, Robertson was effective as a stolid, taciturn type, often letting his left-handed gun speak for him. His other long-running series was Iron Horse (1966-68), in which he was a gambler turned railway baron.
In the 60s, Robertson returned to the big screen in a few B westerns, and starred in the British-made Coast of Skeletons (1964) as a US tycoon whose African diamond operation is being investigated by Richard Todd. However, most of his later appearances were on TV, in series such as Death Valley Days, and as a guest on Love Boat, Murder She Wrote, Dallas and Dynasty, while he lived in semi-retirement at his ranch in Oklahoma.