He initially studied to be an opera singer. He also had success as an inventor, creating the folding theater seat and hand fire extinguisher.
He was also a director, with 8 titles under his belt in the 1920s and '30s. Throughout his long and colorful career, he appeared in 235 theatrical films.
He and wife Gretchen Hartman were together for over thirty years. Together they had three children. Hale died in Hollywood, California due to a liver complication and viral infection.
His son Alan Hale Jr. was best known as The Skipper on the sitcom Gilligan's Island.