Chapter Seven. “It’s Not the First Love”: Romance with Roy Rogers
Dale Evans attended Arline Rogers’s funeral on November 6, 1946, one of six hundred mourners at the Church of the Recessional at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale.
(Roy Rogers, Arline Rogers, and their two daughters, baby Linda Lou and three-year-old Cheryl, 1943)
Days after giving birth to their son, Roy Rogers, Jr., thirty-one-year-old Arline died from a blood clot in her brain. Roy found himself a widower with three young children to care for. He spent some time at home with them and hired staff to watch over them when he returned to work by the end of the month.
Dale Evans and Roy Rogers performed together on a radio show, the Saturday Night Roundup, and in live performances in and around Los Angeles during the late fall and early winter. “Once more, Roy and I were together most of our waking hours,” Dale later recalled.
(Dale Evans and Roy Rogers at a public appearance, 1947)
Now, they were both unattached, and rumors of romance began almost immediately. It was a tricky public relations situation for Republic Pictures, which supported the professional pairing of Dale Evans and Roy Rogers but not a personal one. This provided Dale with the unexpected (and longed-for) opportunity to return to non-Western films.
But also unexpected: Dale’s feelings for Roy. 1947 would bring major changes to her life.