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Charles Lane, who died on 9 July 2007 aged 102, was a character actor who made his final film appearance in 2006 after a cinematic career lasting three quarters of a century.He began his acting career in 1931 and becamea popular face in US film. Genuinely admired throughout theindustry hefound himself continually cast in films by Oscar winning director Frank Capra.His first significant role came in 1933 when he played a cashier in the gangster film ‘Blondie Johnson’. Over the next 75 years he was rarely off-screen appearing in a number of diverse Hollywood productions as well as several TV shows.Acting was his essentially his life after originally taking an interest in the form as young man in California. Starting out in theatre he eventually progressed to film which was where he would become best known.Born Charles Gerstile Levison on 26 January 1905 in San Francisco,he began his working lifeas an insurance salesman.He first took an interest in acting during the 1920s as a hobby, and was often seen on stage in theatre productions at the Pasadena Playhouse in California.When film production giant Warner Bros. attended one his shows scouting for talent they approached Lane, who readily accepted an uncredited role in ‘Smart Money’ starring James Cagney.The film was released in 1931 and marked the start of Mr Lane’s long association with film. His first ten years in film was, however, heavily focused on uncredited roles as he slowly began building up a reputation as a character actor.In 1933, Mr Lane became one the first actors to join the Screen Actors Guild an organisation formed to support actors who did not have a contract with a major film studio.After playing a cashier in ‘Blondie Johnson’, Mr Lane struck up a lasting friendship with Frank Capra who first cast him in the 1934 comedy ‘Broadway Bill’. He would also star in ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ and the Oscar-nominated ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, both directed by Capra.Charles Lane had made almost 200 film appearances by the start of the 1950s although there was no sign of him slowing down. It was a decade in which Mr Lane shone just as much on television as he did on film.He appeared in several episodes of the popular US family comedy, ‘I Love Lucy’ between 1953 and 1954 and later ‘Bewitched’, and ‘Soap’ two household American shows in the 1970s.His wife, Ruth, whom he had known for 70 years passed away in 2002, although Mr Lane refused to give up acting as a result.A last TV appearance came in 1995, when aged 90, he played Regent Yarborough in the Disney Channel made-for-TV film ‘The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes’.At a TV award ceremony in 2005, the audience, aware that it was Mr Lane’s 100th birthday year, sang a rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ for the now wheelchair bound actor.Aged 101, Mr Lane provided the narrative voice for an 8 minute short ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’. It was to be his final film appearance before he passed away in Santa Monica, California.
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Viewed by: 2537 visitors. Uploaded: 11 years ago
Published in: Online.
Published from: July 09, 2007.
Region: National
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