Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Charles Lane - Character Actor Extraorinaire

Just found out that today was the birthday of Charles Lane, and  I thought I ought to give him a shout out.  (I didn't have time to draw a picture so here's a photo - it might replace it with a drawing later....)

If you've watched any television or movies that were made between 1930 and 1990, you've likely seen him.  He's the skinny, cranky, sharp-faced bureaucrat or functionary -- sometimes a reporter or even gangster sidekick, sometimes a judge, doctor or lawyer, but most often an inspector or efficiency expert or tax-man, angrily using his power to control his little corner of the world.

I love Charles Lane.  I put him in The Man Who Did Too Much -- cast him as an International Man Of Action.  (A cranky, schoolmarmish man of action, but a man of action nonetheless.)  He plays "Zero" or Bob Giroux, George's co-worker, and also his perfect foil. (George being, if anything, the opposite of cranky.)

Lane was born in 1905 -- he lived to 102.  He was acting all the way up to 90 years old.  If you take a gander at the listings at IMDb, you can see his first fifty or sixty roles were uncredite:  Process server, Doctor, Society Reporter, Shoe Salesman, Bothersome Agent (sort of like what he played in my book!), Shyster Lawyer, lots of hotel clerks.

In 42nd Street, he even played an author.

And after the uncredited roles? He played over three hundred (THREE HUNDRED) credited ones.

So here's to Charles Lane, the sort of actor who kept Hollywood ticking for nearly a century.

See you in the funny papers.


Bridget McKenna said...

I love this actor! He was one of the most familiar faces on TV when I was growing up. Thanks for providing me with his name, Camille.

The Daring Novelist said...

Bridget: You're Welcome :-)

Elisabeth Grace Foley said...

"Look, Mr. Potter, I'm just your little rent collector..."

It was years before I knew his name, but I always knew his face. :)

The Daring Novelist said...

That's right, he was in It's a Wonderful Life. He was also Maxwell Smart's uncle.