American B-Western star and singing cowboy Monte Hale was born Samuel Buren Ely in 1919 in Ada, Oklahoma, to Herod and Helen Ely. He learned to sing and play guitar at an early age. In Houston and later Galveston, Texas, he played for vaudeville shows and local rodeos. During World War II a job as a replacement guitar player with the Stars Over Texas War Bond Drive led to a friendship with several Republic Pictures stars and staff. At the completion of the tour, the Republic contingent recommended young Hale to studio president Herbert J. Yates. Hale went to California and met Yates, who saw promise in the tall, good-looking musician, and signed him to a seven-year contract, and promptly discarded his birth name for the more appealing name of Monte Hale. After a quick apprenticeship in a couple of bit parts, Hale was given the lead in Home on the Range (1946), which led to a five-year run as one of Republic's popular singing-cowboy stars.
Following the demise of the "B" western in the early 1950s, Hale toured the country as part of a musical cowboy act in rodeos and circuses. He made a few television guest appearances and taught James Dean his rope tricks during their work together on Giant (1956). Hale thereafter retired from films. In his later years, he wrote songs and continued making appearances at Western film fan conventions.