Name at birth: Dahlia Messick
Dale Messick created the long-running comic strip Brenda Starr. Dale Messick was already a successful commercial artist when she sent the Chicago Tribune her idea for a strip about a crusading newspaper reporter, changing her own name from Dahlia to Dale to avoid prejudice against female artists. The trick worked, and Brenda Starr debuted on 30 June 1940. Brenda Starr was a red-headed, aggressive, crusading reporter who always ended up in the middle of the story. Dale Messick worked on the strip for 43 years before retiring. Brenda Starr was then carried on by other writers and artists, including Tribune columnist Mary Schmich. After 70 years on the funny pages, the strip was retired for good by its syndicate, Tribune Media Services, in 2011.
According to Dale Messick, Starr was inspired by red-haired actress Rita Hayworth.