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.
He was born Dayle Lymoine Robertson, in Harrah, Oklahoma, and attended Oklahoma Military Academy, Claremore, where he was named "all around outstanding athlete". During the second world war, he served with Patton's Third Army,