Richard Lane

Active - 1937 - 2005  |   Born - May 28, 1899   |   Died - Sep 5, 1982   |   Genres - Comedy, Drama, Musical

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Biography by AllMovie

A repertory actor since childhood, Wisconsin-born Richard Lane was singing and dancing in vaudeville by the time he reached his thirteenth birthday. Lane toured europe with a circus "iron jaw" act, then bluffed his way into a dance band job. After more vaudeville work, Lane began securing "legit" gigs on Broadway. He appeared with Al Jolson in the late-'20s musical Big Boy, and was a headliner with George White's Scandals when he was signed to an RKO movie contract in 1937. While at RKO, Lane developed his standard characterization of a fast-talking sharpster, which secured him a recurring role on Al Pearce's popular radio program. He played a variety of detectives, con artists and travelling salesmen throughout the '40s, most often at 20th Century-Fox, Universal and Columbia. He was featured in several Abbott and Costello and Laurel and Hardy comedies during the decade, and costarred as Inspector Farraday in Columbia's Boston Blackie B-series; he also appeared in 11 Columbia 2-reel comedies, teamed with comic actor Gus Schilling. Though most closely associated with breezy, urban characters, Lane was also effective in slow-and-steady dramatic roles, notably the father in the 1940 sleeper The Biscuit Eater and baseball manager Clay Hopper in 1950's The Jackie Robinson Story. A television pioneer, Lane worked at Los Angeles' KTLA-TV as a newsman, sportscaster and used-car pitchman. For over twenty years, he was the mile-a-minute commentator on KTLA's nationally syndicated wrestling and roller derby matches. Significantly, Richard Lane's last screen appearances were in Raquel Welch's roller-derby epic Kansas City Bomber (1978) and Henry Winkler's pro-wrestling spoof The One and Only (1982).

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