Esther Dale (November 10, 1885 – July 23, 1961) was an American actress of the stage and screen.[1]

Esther Dale
Dale in Made for Each Other (1939)
Born(1885-11-10)November 10, 1885
DiedJuly 23, 1961(1961-07-23) (aged 75)
Queen of Angels Hospital, Hollywood, California, U.S.
Occupation(s)Actress, singer
Years active1932–1961
Spouse(s)Arthur J. Beckhard
(m. 1922; died 1961)

Esther Dale died in the summer of 1961 following surgery in Queen of Angels Hospital in Hollywood. Her husband, writer-director Arthur J. Beckhard, had died four months earlier.[2]

Early years


Dale was born in Beaufort, South Carolina. She attended Leland and Gray Seminary in Townshend, Vermont. In Berlin, Germany, she studied music and enjoyed a successful career as a singer of lieder on the concert stage.[3] Her singing career included appearances with the New York Philharmonic and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.[4]

At one point, Dale was head of Smith College's vocal department.[3]



In America, Dale transferred to the acting stage and cultivated a career as an actress in Summer stock. She starred in Carrie Nation on Broadway in 1933. Her other Broadway credits include Harvest of Years (1947), And Be My Love (1944), and Another Language (1932).[5]



Dale's first film was Crime Without Passion (1934) in an uncredited role. She played Birdie Hicks in the Ma and Pa Kettle films The Egg and I (1947), Ma and Pa Kettle (1949), Ma and Pa Kettle at the Fair (1952), and Ma and Pa Kettle at Waikiki (1955).



Dale played many roles in television over the years.

In 1957, she appeared in the 1957 Maverick episode "According to Hoyle" opposite James Garner. That same year, she guest-starred in the TV Western series Wagon Train, playing Grandma Birch, in the episode "The Julie Gage Story".

In the 1958-1959 season of The Donna Reed Show, Dale played a job-seeking housekeeper who is frightened from the Stone home by Jeff Stone's pet mouse.

Dale played a ladylady, Mrs. Finch, in The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis episode "Live Alone and Like It".

Partial filmography



  1. ^ "Esther Dale, Stage Star, Signs Screen Contract". Schenectady Gazette. December 19, 1934.
  2. ^ "Esther Dale, Actress, Dies in Hospital". Independent. California, Long Beach. Associated Press. July 24, 1961. p. 10. Retrieved March 29, 2017 – via  
  3. ^ a b Nissen, Axel (2012). Mothers, Mammies and Old Maids: Twenty-Five Character Actresses of Golden Age Hollywood. McFarland. pp. 49–55. ISBN 9780786490455. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  4. ^ Harrison, Paul (January 19, 1937). "Screen Chats". Shamokin News-Dispatch. Pennsylvania, Shamokin. p. 9. Retrieved March 29, 2017 – via  
  5. ^ "("Esther Dale" search results)". Playbill Vault. Playbill. Retrieved March 30, 2017.