Arthur Silverlake Jr.
April 17, 1905
Corbin, Kentucky, U.S.
|Died||January 9, 1987 (aged 81)|
Indian Wells, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Hollywood Forever Cemetery|
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.
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". 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. 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. Shortly after the formation of RKO Pictures in 1928 he signed with that studio. There he made Dance Hall (1929) and Cheer Up and Smile (1930).
Moviegoers first heard Lake speak when he appeared as Harold Astor, the lead of the 1929 musical comedy production On with the Show!. The picture is 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-- such as 1931's Indiscreet, which stars Gloria Swanson. He also had a substantial part as the bellhop in the 1937 film Topper.
Arthur Lake is best known for portraying Dagwood Bumstead, the husband of the title character of the Blondie comic strip, in 28 Blondie films produced by Columbia Pictures between 1938 and 1950. He was also the voice of Dagwood on the radio series which ran from 1938 to 1950, earning a star for him 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 often gave speeches to Rotary clubs and other civic organizations, eagerly posing for pictures with a Dagwood sandwich.
|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||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||Dance Hall||Tommy Flynn|
|1930||Cheer Up and Smile||Eddie Fripp|
|1930||She's My Weakness||Tommy Mills|
|1933||Midshipman Jack||Allen Williams|
|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|
|1938||Everybody's Doing It||Waldo|
|1938||Double Danger||Roy West|
|1938||There Goes My Heart||Flash Fisher|
|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|
|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||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 in the Dough|
|1948||Sixteen Fathoms Deep||Pete|
|1948||Blondie's Secret||Dagwood Bumstead|
|1949||Blondie's Big Deal|
|1949||Blondie Hits the Jackpot|
|1950||Beware of Blondie|
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.
The parentage of Patricia Van Cleeve is unclear, but at the time of her death, she is reported to have claimed to be the daughter of Davies and Hearst.
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.