SALT LAKE CITY -- Glendale lost one of its foremost theatrical
figures when actress and theater founder Ruth Hale died in her home
state of Utah.
Hale died Sunday of natural causes. She was 94.
Hale was best known for co-founding the Colorado Street Theatre,
the Doran Street Theatre and the Orange Street Theatre, which became
the Glendale Centre Theatre in 1964. Glendale Centre Theatre is the
country's longest continually operating theater-in-the-round, which
draws more than 120,000 patrons annually, according to Hale's family.
Hale and her family ran the theater's affairs for more than 35
years, including script writing, casting, scenery and performing in
its productions. She retired in 1980.
"Grandma was bursting with life," said Hale's grandson, Tim
Dietlein, who continues to run the theater. "She had more energy,
love and compassion than any one person I've ever known. She was the
most giving person you could expect, and she gave a tremendous amount
of herself and her humor to the community."
Born in 1908 in Salt Lake City, Hale taught third grade before
moving to Glendale in 1941 to pursue screenwriting and acting with
her husband Nathan. Nathan Hale died in 1994 of prostate cancer.
Ruth Hale wrote more than 80 comedies and musicals, many of which
were published and performed worldwide.
Her numerous recognitions include citations from presidents Ronald
Reagan, George Bush Sr. and Bill Clinton for her achievement in
family theater arts.
Actor and director Mario DiGregorio got his start with Hale's
Doran Street Theatre in 1962.
"For me, it's the end of an era," he said. "[The Hales] started
this theater, they built it and they made it work. We all grew up as
actors working with [Ruth Hale], and it's an era I'm sorry to see go.
She was a great lady, and an awful lot of people got their start
because of her."
She is survived by six sons and daughters, including Sandra
Dietlein, 70; Phillip Hale, 68; Sherry Brian, 66; Sally Rice, 62;
Tanya Radebaugh, 59; Cody Hale, 51; and 122 extended family members.
A service is scheduled for noon Friday at Taylorsville Stake
Center Church in Taylorsville, Utah.
For more information, call (801) 968-3800.