Monday, November 14, 2011

Veronica Lake and Dick Powell

Who was born on this date:

Actress Veronica Lake was born on November 14, 1922 in Brooklyn, New York. In 1938 Lake moved with her mother and stepfather to Beverly Hills, where her mother enrolled her in the Bliss-Hayden School of Acting. Her first appearance on screen was for RKO, playing a small role among several coeds in the 1939 film, Sorority House. Similar roles followed, including All Women Have Secrets and Dancing Co-Ed. During the making of Sorority House director John Farrow first noticed how her hair always covered her right eye, creating an air of mystery about her and enhancing her natural beauty.

Her breakthrough film was I Wanted Wings (1941) and Sullivan’s Travel’s (1941), in which she received both popular and critical acclaim. For a short time during the early 1940s Lake was considered one of the most reliable box office draws in Hollywood. She became known for onscreen pairings with actor Alan Ladd. Although popular with the public, Lake had a complex personality and acquired a reputation for being difficult to work with.  She began drinking heavily during this period and people began refusing to work with her. Paramount cast Lake in a string of mostly forgotten films. A notable exception was The Blue Dahlia (1946). After breaking her ankle in 1959, Lake was unable to continue working as an actress and drifted between cheap hotels in New York City. Her physical and mental health declined steadily. By the late 1960s Lake was apparently immobilized by paranoia. Lake died on July 7, 1973 of hepatitis and acute renal failure (complications of her alcoholism) in Vermont. Her ashes were scattered off the coast of the Virgin Islands as she had requested. A memorial service was held in Manhattan, but only her son and handful of strangers attended. In 2004 some of Lake's ashes were reportedly found in a New York antique store.

Actor Dick Powell was born on November 14, 1904 in Mountain View, Arkansas. He made his film debut as a singing bandleader in Blessed Event (1932). He went on to star in movie musicals such as 42nd Street, Footlight Parade, and On the Avenue. In 1944, Powell's career changed forever when he was cast in Murder, My Sweet. The film was a big hit, and Powell had successfully reinvented himself as a dramatic actor. He was married several times most notably to actresses Joan Blondell (1936-1944) and June Allyson (1945 until his death). Powell guest-starred in numerous television programs in the 1950s and 1960s and directed such films as The Enemy Below (1957) and The Conqueror (1956), starring John Wayne. The exterior scenes were filmed in Utah, downwind of U.S. above-ground atomic tests. The cast and crew totaled 220, and of that number, 91 had developed some form of cancer by 1981 and 46 had died of cancer by then, including Wayne. Powell died from lymphoma on January 2, 1963 and his body was cremated and interred at Forest Lawn Glendale.

No comments:

Post a Comment