Roy Rogers + Dale Evans: A Love Story Made in the West

Roy Rogers and Dale Evans
Roy Rogers and Dale Evans

Dale Evans was born in Uvalde, Texas in 1912 as Lucille Wood Smith, but her name was changed to Frances Octavia Smith when she was just a baby. Evans would go on to be part of a Hollywood power couple with her longtime love, Roy Rogers. But it was a wild ride for the couple to find their way to each other.

The future star married for the first time when she was just 14 years old to Thomas Fox. She gave birth to a son the following year. Fox abandoned Evans shortly after and Evans began pursuing a singing career in Memphis, Tennessee as a single mother. As her budding music career grew, she took the stage name Dale Evans. 

A lucrative career singing for radio stations led to a screen test with 20th Century-Fox opposite Bing Crosby in Holiday Inn. Though she didn’t win the part, she secured herself a one year contract with the studio. Her big break in Hollywood came in 1943 when she was cast opposite John Wayne in In Old Oklahoma. The following year she was cast opposite her future husband, Roy Rogers, in The Cowboy and the Senorita.

Evans married two more times — to August Wayne Johns and Dale Butts. Roy Rogers also married twice before Evans — to Lucile Ascolese and Grace Arline Wilkins. Sadly, shortly after giving birth to Roy Jr., Grace passed away due to complications with her delivery. Evans had gotten a divorce the year before. In time, Rogers and Evans found love together. 

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