Charles Drake

Active - 1938 - 1973  |   Born - Oct 2, 1914   |   Died - Sep 10, 1994   |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Romance, Western

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Upon graduating from Nichols College, Charles Ruppert entered the professional world as a salesman. When he decided to switch to acting, Ruppert changed his name to Drake. In films from 1939, Drake was signed to a Warner Bros. contract and appeared in such films as The Man Who Came to Dinner (1941), The Maltese Falcon (1941), Now, Voyager (1942), Dive Bomber (1942), Air Force (1943), and Mr. Skeffington (1944). Freelancing in the mid-'40s, he played the romantic lead in the Marx Brothers flick A Night in Casablanca (1946). Once he moved to Universal in 1949, Drake proved that the fault lay not in himself but in the roles he'd previously been assigned to play. He was quite personable as Dr. Sanderson in Harvey (1950) and thoroughly despicable as the cowardly paramour of dance-hall girl Shelley Winters in Winchester '73 (1950). One of his most unusual performances was as the ostensible hero of You Never Can Tell (1951), who after spending two reels convincing the viewer that he's a prince of a fellow, turns out to be the villain of the piece. Drake did some of his best work at Universal as a supporting player in the vehicles of his offscreen pal Audie Murphy. In 1955, Drake turned to television as one of the stock-company players on Robert Montgomery Presents; three years later, he was star/host of the British TV espionage weekly Rendezvous. Charles Drake prospered as a character actor well into the early 1970s.

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