Name: Dale Horvath
Other Names: Dale
First Appearance: The Walking Dead #3 (Dec. 2003): "Days Gone Bye, Part 3"
Number of Appearances: 67
Comic Book Appearances: 48
TV, Film Appearances: 19
Teams/Affiliations: Rick's zombie apocalypse survivor group
Enemy of: zombies
Family/Relative: Erma Horvath (wife)
Note: was a retired car salesman before zombie apocalypse
Dale is the owner of the RV that Rick's survivor group was camped around on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia. Before the zombie apocalypse, Dale traveled around the American Southeast in the RV with his beloved wife. She was killed in the zombie apocalypse.
Dale's wife was first mentioned in The Walking Dead #5, when he was talking to Rick Grimes and Shane Walsh about his living arrangement with sisters Amy and Andrea. Dale told Rick and Shane: "C'mon, guys . . . I'm not doing anything with those girls. To be honest, I'm an old man . . . My plumbing ain't what it used to be. It's just-- after losing my wife not two months ago. . . It's nice having them around. They keep the place clean. . . Remind me of what it was like with her around."
Later, the whole group of survivors is sitting around the campfire and Rick asks them to tell about what they did before the zombie apocalypse. He started with Dale, asking him if he just traveled.
Dale said: "Pretty much. I was a salesman for over almost forty years. I spent most of my life behind a desk on the phone. The week after I retired the wife and bought that camper and set out to see America. We'd been on the road the better part of two years when everything started happening. We were at a campsite about eighty miles south of here, coming back from Florida . . . The news hit us a little late . . . We didn't even know what was going on. My wife . . . never left that campsite.
Dale continued his account: "After I buried her . . . I set out for Atlanta. I had some cousins there and the radio said it was the safest place nearby. Of course . . . When I got there it had already been blocked off and the army was still trying to fight back the hordes inside. I ended up out here. On the way to Atlanta, I found Amy and Andrea broke down... out of gas... gave them a ride."
BELOW: Dale talks to Rick and Shane about his living situation with Amy and Andrea, pointing out that he's not doing anything with them, despite Donna's suspicions and religious objections: Whatever Donna might suspect is happening in Dale's RV, it seems unlikely at this point that her suspicions are correct. Dale, whose wife died about 6 to 7 weeks previous, is indeed living with two young women (Amy, who is 19, and Andrea who is 26). But he tells Rick and Shane that they're "not doing anything" (meaning that they are not doing any sexual, i.e., fornication, which is Donna's apparent concern).
Rick: Lori tells me Donna just won't shut up about you and the girls living together in that camper. She started right after we got back from target practice a couple days ago and hasn't let up since. Pretty much the only thing she's talked to me about since I let Carl start practicing with us.
Dale: Donna ain't shown a lick of gratitude for my saving her life. I don't see how Allen puts up with her.
Shane: Those poor boys... Think about how she's going to be raising them twins.
Rick: Y'know, I figure you've earned the right to have two pretty young women keep you company. Without all your camping gear, we'd be screwed.
Dale: C'mon guys... I'm not doing anything with those girls. To be honest, I'm an old man... My plumbing ain't what it used to be. It's just-- after losing my wife not two months ago... It's nice having them around. They keep the place clean... Remind me of what it was like with her around.
Rick: You don't have to explain yourselves to us... It's your business. Donna's just an old housewife who doesn't have soap operas to keep her small mind occupied. Don't let her get to you.
Source: The Walking Dead #5 (Feb. 2004): "Days Gone Bye, Part 5", pg. 8, panels 1-5. Written by Robert Kirkman. Art by Tony Moore. See also: sexual morality; judging others; Rick Grimes; Dale Horvath; Amy; Andrea; Shane Walsh; Donna
BELOW: Donna doesn't approve of Dale's relationship with Andrea (apparently on religious grounds), but she is happy to see them find some happiness together. A few weeks ago, Donna said it was "unChristian" the way Dale "carried on" with Amy and Andrea. She complained to the other women in the group about Dale's living situation with two young women who is wasn't married to. A few weeks later after hard living in a zombie apocalypse, Donna appears to have softened her stance, although she still has reservations, apparently on religious grounds. Donna and the group of survivors find a nice subdivision called Wilshire Estates and they decide to stay the night in one of the abandoned homes. While delivering extra blankets to people, Donna catches Dale and Andrea alone together in a room, almost entirely undressed, clearly being romantically intimate with each other. Rather than protesting as one might have expected her to do based on her previous behavior, Donna smiles and tells her husband that it is nice to see people happy together, although she still doesn't approve of them.
Donna: [opening the door to a darkened room] Dale? Andrea? Guys, I found-- [sees Dale being intimate with Andrea]
Donna: [talking to her husband after returning to her own family's room] Andrea's fine. Huh? What? I went in there to give them a blanket and I saw them... Almost all of them... together. So we're getting their extra blanket. I didn't want to interrupt.
Allen: Really? Wow. Lucky for us, then, huh?
Donna: I figured they didn't need it... They're keeping each other plenty warm.Y'know... I still don't approve of those two, but Andrea's a grown woman and she can make her own decisions. It's just nice to see people happy with all that's going on. I'm happy for them.
Allen: The ice queen melteth.
Donna: Oh, hush.
Source: The Walking Dead #8 (May 2004): "Miles Behind Us, Part 2", pg. 19-21. Written by Robert Kirkman. Art by Charlie Adlard. See also: sexual morality; Christian (denomination unknown); Dale Horvath; Andrea; Donna
BELOW: Dale warns Rick that Shane has "had his eye on" Rick's wife: Soon after Rick Grimes arrives at the camp on the outskirts of Atlanta where he finds his wife Lori, son Carl, and friend Shane Walsh, Dale (one of new people he meets in camp) gives him a warning. Dale believes that Shane has "had his eye on" Rick's wife Lori. At this point, he dismisses Dale's concerns because he trusts his friend. After leaving Dale, Rick says to himself that Dale is a "crazy old man." Rick later find out how right Dale was about this. Later, Shane's covetousness even drives him to plan to murder his friend Rick.
Dale: So you're Lori's husband, huh?
Dale: I don't want to stir nothing up... And you gotta understand this has nothing to do with your wife. She did nothing but talk about you while you were gone... She worried about you. She felt bad about leaving you. But that Shane... He's a good man... He helps out a lot around here... He took care of your wife... But he's not glad you're back. He's had his eye on Lori for as long as I've known them.
Rick: I appreciate the advice, but Shane's my friend. He was just keeping her safe. I don't have anything to worry about.
Dale: I wouldn't trust him around my wife...
Rick: I'll keep that in mind.
Source: The Walking Dead #3 (Dec. 2003): "Days Gone Bye, Part 3", pg. 8, panels 4-6. Written by Robert Kirkman. Art by Tony Moore. See also: thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife; Rick Grimes; Lori Grimes; Dale Horvath; Shane Walsh
BELOW: Rick thanks God the snow is letting up and Dale says it is about time God gave them a break: When Rick says "Thank God the snow let up," he may or may not just be using the phrase "thank God" as an expression of speech. But Dale decides to interpret the expression somewhat literally, and refers to God pointedly, saying that God has got to stop giving them such a hard time. At various times, Dale is something of the "moral center" of this group of survivors. His statement here may be light banter, but it also may stem from a genuine belief that God is in control and that God was in some way responsible for the zombie apocalypse as well as the weather.
Dale: It's a bumpy ride, but we'll be fine as long as I take it slow. We should be on the road in no time.
Rick: Thank God the snow let up, eh?
Dale: He's gotta stop sh--ting on us sometime, y'know?
Source: The Walking Dead #7 (Apr. 2004): "Miles Behind Us, Part 1", pg. 10, panels 2-4. Written by Robert Kirkman. Art by Charlie Adlard. See also: God; gratitude to God; Rick Grimes; Dale Horvath
BELOW: Rick decides that his group of survivors should not observe Christmas this year:
Dale: Oh, and one more thing... Andrea's been keeping track of days since this whole thing went down. Unless she's messed up along the way-- tomorrow is Christmas.
Rick: Don't tell anyone! Do you hear me? I don't want anyone to know. I don't want to have to explain to my son that on top of all this other sh--... Santa can't find him. Let's just skip Christmas this year, okay? I don't want to upset the kids.
Dale: Okay... Understood.
Source: The Walking Dead #7 (Apr. 2004): "Miles Behind Us, Part 1", pg. 7, panels 6-7. Written by Robert Kirkman. Art by Charlie Adlard. See also: Christmas; Rick Grimes; Dale Horvath; Andrea
Suggested links for further research about this character and the character's religious affiliation: