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Jean Hale, Actress in ‘In Like Flint’ and ‘Batman,’ Dies at 82

The Hollywood Reporter logo The Hollywood Reporter 9/27/2021 Mike Barnes
© Courtesy of Coleman Family

Jean Hale, who tussled with James Coburn’s character in the spy spoof In Like Flint and portrayed the hatcheck-girl accomplice of David Wayne’s Mad Hatter on TV’s Batman, has died. She was 82.

Hale died Aug. 3 of natural causes in Santa Monica, her family announced Monday.

She was married to Emmy winner Dabney Coleman — the two met while studying acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York — from 1961 until their 1984 divorce.

The glamourous Salt Lake City native appeared in other films including Taggart (1964), The Oscar (1966) and The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (1967) and on television on Perry Mason, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Bonanza, The Fugitive, Hawaii Five-O, McHale’s Navy, My Favorite Martian, Hogan’s Heroes, The Wild Wild West and Mod Squad.

In the Fox CinemaScope film In Like Flint (1967), Hale’s Lisa Norton works for an organization made up of female business executives who brainwash women (through the use of salon hairdryers that transmit subliminal messages!) into trying to overthrow the male-dominated world. Coburn’s superspy Derek Flint attempts to stop them.

Also in 1967, Hale showed up as the moll Polly, who helps the evil Mad Hatter in his effort to steal Batman’s cowl for his collection, in the season-two two-parter “The Contaminated Cowl” and “The Mad Hatter Runs Afoul” on ABC’s Batman.

Hale was born in Salt Lake City on Dec. 27, 1938, and raised in Darien, Connecticut. Her father, Stanton G. Hale, was a major corporate leader of Mormon heritage, and great-grandfather Solomon Hale owned a ranch with Brigham Young.

She attended the University of Utah, where she majored in ballet, and then Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Hale modeled for the Conover Agency and the Huntington Hartford Agency and studied at the Neighborhood Playhouse, where she learned from Sydney Pollack and Martha Graham alongside such fellow students as Coleman, James Caan, Jerry Weintraub, Jessica Walter, Christopher Lloyd and Brenda Vaccaro.

In the early ’60s, Hale was spotted by Sandra Dee’s agent Len Luskin walking down Fifth Avenue in New York, and that led her to sign a seven-figure contract at 20th Century-Fox. She made her film debut in the 1963 horror film Violent Midnight.

In 1984, then known as Jean Hale Coleman, she started the production company Coleman-Tanasescu Entertainment with Gino Tanasescu before branching out on her own in 2000. That year, she acquired film rights to the 1999 book Two Toes — The Coyote Legend of Green River, written by her uncle Preston Q. Hale and based on his experience as a young trapper during the Depression in Utah.

At the time of her death, Hale was working on a script called “Being Jeannie” based on the true story of a woman who impersonated her in the 1960s, married 10 men across Texas and Oklahoma and stole their money.

Survivors include her three children with Coleman, Kelly, Randy and Quincy.

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