Wheeler Oakman

Active - 1913 - 1953  |   Born - Jan 1, 1890   |   Died - Mar 19, 1949   |   Genres - Western, Drama, Crime, Action, Adventure

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Biography by Hal Erickson

In films from 1912, Wheeler Oakman was one of the silent era's sturdiest leading men. Oakman's co-stars ranged from Mabel Normand (Mickey, 1918) to Jackie Coogan (Peck's Bad Boy, 1921) to his one-time spouse Priscilla Dean. He made an auspicious sound-film debut in the first all-talking feature film, 1928's The Lights of New York; as gangster Hawk Miller, it was Oakman who coined the immortal crime-flick catchphrase "Take him for a ride" (each word carefully articulated into the primitive "mike" hidden in the candlestick telephone on Hawk Miller's desk). In films until his death in 1949, Wheeler Oakman essayed dozens of character roles in the 1930s and 1940s, usually as slightly seedy criminal masterminds; he was prominently featured in several East Side Kids films, as well as such serials as The Lost Jungle (1934), Darkest Africa (1936), Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars (1938), Buck Rogers (1939), Brenda Starr (1945), Jack Armstrong (1947), Brick Bradford (1947), and Superman (1948).

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