Arthur Lake (actor)
Arthur Lake (born Arthur Silverlake Jr., April 17, 1905 – January 9, 1987) was an American actor known best for bringing Dagwood Bumstead, the bumbling husband of Blondie, to life in film, radio and television.
Arthur Silverlake Jr.
April 17, 1905
Corbin, Kentucky, U.S.
|Died||January 9, 1987 (aged 81)|
Indian Wells, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Patricia Lake (1937–1987; his death)|
Early life and careerEdit
Lake was born in 1905, when his father and uncle were touring with a circus in an aerial act known as "The Flying Silverlakes". His mother, Edith Goodwin, was an actress. His parents later appeared in vaudeville in a skit "Family Affair", traveling throughout the South and Southwest United States. Arthur first appeared on stage as a baby in Uncle Tom's Cabin and he and his sister, Florence, became part of the act in 1910. Their mother brought the children to Hollywood to get into films, and Arthur made his screen debut in the silent Jack and the Beanstalk (1917). Florence became a successful actress, achieving a degree of fame as one of the screen wives of comedian Edgar Kennedy.
Universal Pictures signed him to a contract, where he acted in westerns as an adolescent character actor. Shortly after the formation of RKO Pictures in 1928, he signed with that studio, where he made Dance Hall (1929) and Cheer Up and Smile (1930).
Moviegoers first heard Lake speak when he appeared as usher Harold Astor in the 1929 production On with the Show!, notable as the first all-talking feature film (using the Vitaphone process) and Warner Bros.' first all-color film (shot in two-strip Technicolor). In the early sound film era, he typically played light romantic roles, usually with a comic "Mama's Boy" tone to them, in films such as Indiscreet (1931), which starred Gloria Swanson. He also had a substantial part as the bellhop in the 1937 film Topper.
As Dagwood in BlondieEdit
Arthur Lake is best known for portraying the Blondie comic strip character of Dagwood Bumstead in twenty-eight Blondie films produced by Columbia Pictures from 1938 to 1950. He was also the voice of Dagwood on the radio series, which ran from 1938 to 1950, earning him a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6646 Hollywood Blvd. Many of the actors on the radio show noted Lake's commitment to the program, stating that on the day of the broadcast, Lake was Dagwood Bumstead.
Far from being upset about being typecast, Lake continued to embrace the role of Dagwood in a short-lived 1957 Blondie TV series, then even into the 1960s and beyond; he would often give speeches to Rotary clubs and other civic organizations, eagerly posing for pictures with a Dagwood sandwich.
Lake became very friendly with newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst and his mistress Marion Davies. He was a frequent guest at the beach house of Davies, where he met Patricia Van Cleeve. They were married at San Simeon in 1937.
In his book about the Black Dahlia murder case, author Donald H. Wolfe asserts that Arthur Lake was questioned by the Los Angeles Police Department as a suspect, having been acquainted with the victim through her volunteer work at the Hollywood Canteen. No charges were filed and Lake was one of many suspects in a case that remains unsolved.
Lake died of a heart attack in Indian Wells, California, on January 9, 1987, and was interred in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, in the Douras family mausoleum, along with actress Marion Davies and her husband, Horace G. Brown. Lake's widow Patricia was interred there upon her death in 1993.
- Lamparski, Richard (1982). Whatever Became Of ...? Eighth Series. New York: Crown Publishers. pp. 166–67. ISBN 0-517-54855-0.
- Parsons, Louella (26 December 1937). "Increase In Music Also Feature Of the Year in Motion Picture World". Milwaulkee Sentinel. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
- Arthur Lake was bequeathed a sizable amount of Marion Davis' estate when she died in 1961. This fueled the rumors of an arranged marriage between he and Patricia Van Cleeve providing a method of inheritance without acknowledging of her parentage. Golden, Eve (2001). Golden images (illustrated ed.). McFarland. p. 26. ISBN 9780786408344. Retrieved August 2, 2009.
- Fiore, Faye (October 31, 1993). "Obituary Revives Rumor of Hearst Daughter - Hollywood: Gossips in the 1920s speculated that William Randolph Hearst and mistress Marion Davies had a child. Patricia Lake, long introduced as Davies' niece, asks on death bed that record be set straight". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-07-31.
- Bowen, Jerry (August 25, 2002) [originally aired May 6, 2001]. "Return To Xanadu". cbsnews.com. CBS News. Retrieved 2009-08-03.
- "PATRICIA LAKE, LINKED TO DAVIES AND HEARST". San Jose Mercury News. October 16, 1993. Retrieved 2009-08-03.
- Donald H. Wolfe (2005). The Black Dahlia Files: The Mob, the Mogul, and the Murder that transfixed Los Angeles. ReganBooks. p. 155.
- Douras Mausoleum
- Vogel, Michelle (2005). Children of Hollywood: accounts of growing up as the sons and daughters of stars (illustrated ed.). McFarland. pp. 208–209. ISBN 9780786420469.