Friday, January 26, 2007

It's Charles Lane Day

A budding tradition in the entertainment blogosphere is celebrating the birthday of actor Charles Lane. He's 102 today.

Brent McKee has a good piece on Hollywood's "oldest living actor."

There have been some discussions on message boards dealing with the question of whether Mr. Lane ever played a nice guy. In his twenties, he was already playing crusty, testy people like Max Jacobs (originally Max Mandelbaum) in Howard Hawks' Twentieth Century.

Have you ever seen Charles Lane playing a good guy? It must have happened somewhere.


Anonymous said...

Hi, Jaime,
I had a chance to meet Charles Lane whe he appeared as a guest on "Late Night with David Letterman" where I used to work. At that time, he had just appeared on "Lou Grant" as a nice guy (he had made an earlier appearance in a more traditional Lane role). I mentioned to him how much I enjoyed seeing him that way, and he said he loved doing it. It also seemed that he just loved everything he ever did. A sweet, gracious man. I consider myself lucky to have met him.
Steve Winer

Ivan G Shreve Jr said...

I watched a Gomer Pyle-USMC episode off the first season box set this weekend entitled "Pay Day" (written by Garry Marshall and Jerry Belson) in which Gomer, bawled out by Carter for goldbricking, attempts to give back some of his pay to the government. Lane plays the Pentagon official who wonders why, and though you could argue that the nature of his job (working for the Pentagon) dictates villainy he really doesn't play a bad guy...just a cantankerous one. Perhaps a better question to ask would be if Lane ever appeared in a role that didn't require him to be crotchety.

Anonymous said...

I recall on that early 1980's "Late Night with David Letterman" program Charles Lane explained how he used to give pep talks to Clark Gable because Gable, of all people, lacked confidence in himself as an actor. BTW, Homer Bedloe from "Petticoat Junction" and Jeffrey Katzenberg are the same person. Ever seen them together?

Anonymous said...

It's only a cameo, but he had a funny and touching scene in "Murphy's Romance." Also, he wasn't a bad guy in "It's a Wonderful Life"--he just worked for one.