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Arthur Lake (actor)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Arthur Lake
Lake in 1920s
Arthur Silverlake Jr.

(1905-04-17)April 17, 1905
DiedJanuary 9, 1987(1987-01-09) (aged 81)
Resting placeHollywood Forever Cemetery
Occupation(s)Actor, Singer
Years active1917–1957
(m. 1937)

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.

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Early life and career

Lake was born in 1905 when his father Arthur Silverlake and uncle were touring with a circus in an aerial act known as "The Flying Silverlakes".[1] 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; his sister Florence and he became part of the act in 1910.[1] Their mother took 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 Lake to a contract where, as an adolescent, he played character parts in Westerns. At age 19 he began starring in a long series of comedy shorts for Universal, which ran through 1930. He signed with RKO Radio Pictures shortly after it formed in 1928. There he made Dance Hall (1929), and Cheer Up and Smile (1930).[1]

Moviegoers first heard Lake speak when he appeared as Harold Astor, the lead of the 1929 musical comedy On with the Show!, which is notable as the first all-talking feature film using the Vitaphone process, and as Warner Bros' first all-color film shot in two-color Technicolor.

In the early sound film era, Lake typically played light romantic roles, often with a comic "Mama's Boy" tone to them, such as 1931's Indiscreet, starring Gloria Swanson. He also had a substantial part as the bellhop in the 1937 film Topper.

As Dagwood in Blondie

Arthur Lake is best known for portraying Dagwood Bumstead, the husband of the title character of the Blondie comic strip, in 28[1] Blondie features produced by Columbia Pictures between 1938 and 1950, co-starring Penny Singleton as Blondie and Larry Simms as Baby Dumpling. Lake also played Dagwood on the radio series, which ran concurrently with the film series from 1938 to 1950,[1] earning Lake 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 became Dagwood Bumstead.

Far from being upset about being typecast, Lake continued to embrace the role. He played Dagwood in a short-lived 1957 Blondie TV series, and from 1960 on, he often gave speeches to Rotary clubs and other civic organizations, eagerly posing for pictures with a Dagwood sandwich.

Other screen work

In 1943 Columbia discontinued the Blondie series and dismissed Penny Singleton but retained Arthur Lake -- leading men were hard to find during wartime. Lake starred in comedy features for Columbia, Republic Pictures, and United Artists during this hiatus. He also lent his voice to a series of military cartoons produced by Warner Bros. for the U. S. Navy in 1945; Lake played "Mr. Hook," a hapless sailor learning the value of war bonds.

Popular demand caused Columbia to reinstate the Blondie pictures in 1945, reuniting Lake with Singleton until the series finally ended in 1950.

Arthur Lake dabbled in film production in 1948, in partnership with independent filmmaker Irving Allen, who had won the Academy Award for his short subject Climbing the Matterhorn, released by Monogram Pictures. Lake and Allen collaborated on a feature-length undersea adventure, 16 Fathoms Deep, starring Lloyd Bridges and Lon Chaney, Jr., and featuring Arthur Lake in a comedy-relief role. Monogram released the film and billed Lake as the star in its advertising. The ambitious "Arthur Lake Production," filmed on location in Tarpon Springs, Florida, was photographed in color and received good reviews and reception,[2][3] but it was Lake's only venture behind the cameras.


Year Title Role Notes
1917 Jack and the Beanstalk
1922 The Bride's Play Boy Throwing Roses
1925 California Straight Ahead Camper Uncredited
1925 Sporting Life Peggy's Admirer in Audience
1926 Skinner's Dress Suit Tommy
1927 Cradle Snatchers Oscar
1927 The Irresistible Lover Jack Kennedy
1928 The Count of Ten Betty's Brother
1928 Stop That Man! Tommy O'Brien
1928 Harold Teen Harold Teen
1928 Lilac Time The Unlucky One
1928 The Air Circus Speed Doolittle
1929 On with the Show! Harold Astor
1929 Tanned Legs Bill
1929 Dance Hall Tommy Flynn
1929 Night Owls Arthur
1930 Cheer Up and Smile Eddie Fripp
1930 She's My Weakness Tommy Mills
1931 Indiscreet Buster Collins
1933 Midshipman Jack Allen Williams
1934 The Winnah! Arthur Short
1934 Girl o' My Dreams Bobby Barnes
1934 The Silver Streak Crawford
1935 Women Must Dress Janet's Friend
1935 Orchids to You Joe
1936 New Shoes Boy Short, Uncredited
1936 I Cover Chinatown Insurance Salesman
1937 23 1/2 Hours Leave Sgt. Turner
1937 Topper Elevator boy / bell hop
1937 Annapolis Salute Tex Clemens
1937 Exiled to Shanghai Bud
1937 True Confession Attendant Uncredited
1938 Everybody's Doing It Waldo
1938 Double Danger Roy West
1938 There Goes My Heart Flash Fisher
1938 Blondie Dagwood Bumstead
1939 Blondie Meets the Boss
1939 Blondie Takes a Vacation
1939 Blondie Brings Up Baby
1940 Blondie on a Budget
1940 Blondie Has Servant Trouble
1940 Blondie Plays Cupid
1941 Blondie Goes Latin
1941 Blondie in Society
1942 Blondie Goes to College
1942 Blondie's Blessed Event
1942 Blondie for Victory
1942 Daring Young Man
1943 It's a Great Life
1943 Footlight Glamour
1944 The Ghost That Walks Alone Eddie Grant
1944 Sailor's Holiday 'Marblehead' Tomkins
1944 Three Is a Family Archie Whittaker
1945 The Big Show-Off Sanford 'Sandy' Elliott
1945 The Return of Mr. Hook Mr. Hook uncredited
1945 Tokyo Woes
1945 The Good Egg
1945 Leave It to Blondie Dagwood Bumstead
1945 Life with Blondie
1946 Blondie's Lucky Day
1946 Blondie Knows Best
1947 Blondie's Big Moment
1947 Blondie's Holiday
1947 Blondie in the Dough
1947 Blondie's Anniversary
1948 Blondie's Reward
1948 Sixteen Fathoms Deep Pete
1948 Blondie's Secret Dagwood Bumstead
1949 Blondie's Big Deal
1949 Blondie Hits the Jackpot
1950 Blondie's Hero
1950 Beware of Blondie

Personal life

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 her niece, Patricia Van Cleeve. Lake and Van Cleeve married at San Simeon in 1937.[4]

The now Patricia Lake's parentage was the subject of much gossip and speculation. However, at the time of her death, Patricia Lake reportedly admitted to being the daughter of Davies and Hearst.[5][6][7][8]

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.[9] No charges were filed and Lake was one of many persons of interest 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.[10] Lake's widow Patricia was interred there upon her death in 1993.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d e Lamparski, Richard (1982). Whatever Became Of ...? Eighth Series. New York: Crown Publishers. pp. 166–67. ISBN 0-517-54855-0.
  2. ^ Showmen's Trade Review, June 12, 1948, p. 25.
  3. ^ Motion Picture Herald, June 12, 1948, p. 4197.
  4. ^ Parsons, Louella (26 December 1937). "Increase In Music Also Feature Of the Year in Motion Picture World". Milwaulkee Sentinel. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  5. ^ 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 Van Cleeve and him, providing a method of inheritance without acknowledging her parentage. Golden, Eve (2001). Golden images (illustrated ed.). McFarland. p. 26. ISBN 9780786408344. Retrieved August 2, 2009.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ Bowen, Jerry (August 25, 2002) [originally aired May 6, 2001]. "Return To Xanadu". CBS News. Retrieved 2009-08-03.
  8. ^ "PATRICIA LAKE, LINKED TO DAVIES AND HEARST". San Jose Mercury News. October 16, 1993. Retrieved 2009-08-03.
  9. ^ Donald H. Wolfe (2005). The Black Dahlia Files: The Mob, the Mogul, and the Murder that transfixed Los Angeles. ReganBooks. p. 155.
  10. ^ Douras Mausoleum
  11. ^ 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.

External links

This page was last edited on 6 April 2023, at 15:00
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