Why Was Barbara Hale Absent from Perry Mason in 1964? Exploring the Mystery Behind Her Disappearance

Why Was Barbara Hale Absent from Perry Mason in 1964? Exploring the Mystery Behind Her Disappearance

Why Was Barbara Hale Absent from Perry Mason in 1964?

Barbara Hale’s absence from the popular television show Perry Mason in 1964 has been a topic of mystery and speculation for many years. Hale, who portrayed the character of Della Street, Perry Mason’s loyal secretary, was noticeably missing from the show’s fourth season. Fans, as well as the media, were left wondering why the actress did not appear in the iconic courtroom drama during that time.

An Unexpected Hiatus

During the show’s initial run, Barbara Hale’s character, Della Street, played a crucial role in assisting Perry Mason, brilliantly portrayed by Raymond Burr, in solving complex murder cases. However, her absence in 1964 left fans bewildered and eager to unravel the mystery behind why she was not part of the show’s fourth season.

A Medical Leave

The truth behind Barbara Hale’s absence from Perry Mason in 1964 was related to her health. The actress had been dealing with a medical condition that required her to take a temporary leave from the show. Although the specific details of her health issue were kept private, it was reported at the time that Hale had undergone surgery and needed time to recover.

The Impact on the Show

Hale’s absence undoubtedly had a significant impact on the dynamic of Perry Mason. The character of Della Street was an integral part of the show, providing important insights and assisting Mason in crucial moments. With her character gone, the writers and producers had to devise creative ways to fill the absence and maintain the show’s high quality.

During Hale’s absence, the character of Della Street was written out of the plot, citing a vacation taken by the character. Various temporary secretaries were introduced to assist Perry Mason, played by Raymond Burr, until Hale’s return. The show attempted to maintain its core essence by keeping the focus on the courtroom drama and the complex murder cases that Perry Mason was known for.

A Welcome Return

Barbara Hale’s absence from Perry Mason was short-lived. The actress returned to the show in its fifth season, bringing back the beloved character of Della Street. Her return was met with great excitement from fans and was seen as a vital component in restoring the show’s original charm and chemistry.

The Legacy of Barbara Hale

Barbara Hale’s performance as Della Street in Perry Mason cemented her status as one of the most beloved television stars of her time. Her portrayal of the intelligent and dedicated secretary captivated audiences, and her absence in 1964 only emphasized her importance to the show’s success.

Despite her temporary leave, Barbara Hale’s impact on Perry Mason and her contribution to the show’s legacy cannot be overstated. Her return in 1965 reaffirmed her significant role and solidified her place as an essential member of the Perry Mason ensemble.


The mystery behind Barbara Hale’s absence from Perry Mason in 1964 can finally be put to rest. Her temporary leave due to health issues shed light on the challenges faced by both the actress and the producers of the show. Although her absence had a noticeable impact, it ultimately served as a testament to the irreplaceable role Hale played as Della Street. Her return in the following season brought back the familiar dynamic that fans had come to love, ensuring the show’s continued success for years to come.


1. Why did Barbara Hale disappear from Perry Mason in 1964?

Barbara Hale disappeared from Perry Mason in 1964 due to health issues.

2. What specific health issues did Barbara Hale face?

Barbara Hale faced problems with her eyesight, which required her to undergo surgery and take a break from filming.

3. How long was Barbara Hale absent from Perry Mason?

Barbara Hale was absent from Perry Mason for approximately four episodes during the 1964 season.

4. Did the show address Barbara Hale’s absence in any way?

Yes, the show acknowledged Barbara Hale’s absence by explaining that her character, Della Street, was on vacation in Europe.

5. Who filled in for Barbara Hale during her absence?

Actress Joan Banks filled in for Barbara Hale and portrayed a character named Alice, a temporary secretary for Perry Mason.

6. Was Barbara Hale’s absence a significant setback for the show?

While Barbara Hale’s absence was notable, the show managed to maintain its popularity and continued without major disruptions.

7. How did Barbara Hale’s return to the show happen?

After recovering from her health issues and surgery, Barbara Hale made a full recovery and returned to Perry Mason to reprise her role as Della Street.

8. Were there any changes to the show’s storyline due to Barbara Hale’s absence?

No, the show’s storyline was not significantly altered during Barbara Hale’s absence. Her character’s absence was explained within the existing plot.

9. How did fans react to Barbara Hale’s absence?

Fans of Perry Mason were disappointed to see Barbara Hale absent but understood and supported her need to take a break for health reasons.

10. Did Barbara Hale’s absence affect her long-term involvement with the show?

No, Barbara Hale’s absence in 1964 did not affect her long-term involvement with Perry Mason. She continued to play Della Street until the show’s end in 1966.