Dale Messick, born Dalia Messick, studied at the Chicago Art Institute for one summer, and started her career in comics in the mid-1920s, when she tried to sell her first comic strip 'Weegee', about a country girl who goes to the city. She earned a living by working for greeting card companies in Chicago and later New York City.
Messick had a hard time finding a publisher, which she attributed to the fact that she was a woman, so she assumed the more sexually ambiguous name, Dale. She tried many new strips in different genres, coming up with titles such as 'Mimi the Mermaid', 'Peg and Pudy, the Struglettes' and 'Streamline Babies', all of which remained unpublished.
A change of luck came when she created 'Brenda Starr, Reporter' for the Chicago Tribune Syndicate. The Sunday page was launched in 1940, and a daily strip was added in 1945. During the 1950s, at the height of its popularity, the strip appeared in 250 newspapers
To keep up with the production, Messick worked with assistants like John Olson (1950-79), Richard Pietrzyk, Henri Arnold (late 1940s), Frank Roberge (1949-53), Jim Mackey (around 1960), Hi Mankin (mid 1960s), Mike Grell (1972-73) and Jim Petric (1979). She retired in 1980, leaving the strip to writer Linda Sutter and artist Ramona Fradon.
Messick was influenced by the work of the famous female artist, Nell Brinkley. She also drew the newspaper comic version of 'Perry Mason', created by Erle Stanley Gardner, in the early 1950s. She retired to Oakmont, California, and died in April 2005 at the age of 98.