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Charles Lane
Charles Lane
Credits
Roles Mr. Cushman
Mr. Harmon
Ed Hotchkiss
Harold Jameson
George Meiklejohn
Jesse Mortimer
Mr. Roland
Mr. Shotwell
Biographical Information
Birth Name Charles Gerstle Levison
Birthdate January 26, 1905
Birthplace San Francisco, California, United States
Death Date July 9, 2007 (age 102)
Death Place Santa Monica, California, United States[1]

Charles Lane was a recurring guest star on Bewitched. He played eight characters, usually clients (1965-1972).

Biography[]

Charles Lane was born as Charles Gerstle Levison. He was a prolific character actor whose name was little known, but whose gaunt, bespectacled face, crotchety persona and roles in hundreds of films made him instantly recognizable to generations of movie-goers.

Lane, whose career spanned more than sixty years, appeared in such film classics as "It's a Wonderful Life," "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town" and "Twentieth Century." He also had a recurring role as the scheming railroad man, Homer Bedloe, on the 1960s television sitcom "Petticoat Junction" and appeared often on television's "I Love Lucy."

His crisp, stage-trained voice and no-nonsense appearance made him a natural for playing authority figures. He was a judge in "God is My Partner," a prosecutor in "Call Northside 777," a priest in "Date With an Angel" and a member of Clark Gable's newspaper editorial board in "Teacher's Pet."

Although the roles provided a good living, Lane objected to being typecast.

"You did something that was pretty good and the picture was pretty good. That pedigreed you in that type of part, which I thought was stupid, and unfair, too," he told The Associated Press in a one-hundreth birthday interview in 2005. "It didn't give me a chance, but it made casting easier for the studio."

He turned to the stage for variety, appearing in a wide range of roles in more than one-hundred plays, most of them at the storied Pasadena Playhouse.

Lane was working in the insurance business and dabbling in theater company productions at night when Irving Pichell, a well known actor of the time, advised him to study at Pasadena. He was eventually spotted by a Warner Bros. scout and cast in his first movie, an Edward G. Robinson-James Cagney melodrama, "Smart Money," in 1931. Lane remained at Warner Bros., sometimes working in three or four pictures a day. He would be rushed from one set to another and handed his few lines.

"I was being paid $35 a day," he recalled in 2005. "When the Screen Actors Guild was being organized, I was one of the first to join."

In 1934, Frank Capra, then on his rise to prominence, cast Lane in a horse racing film, "Broadway Bill." Capra liked the actor's work so much he included him in nine more movies, including "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" and "You Can't Take It with You." In Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life," he was a rent collector who shocks his boss, the evil Lionel Barrymore character, by telling him that hero James Stewart's character is a good businessman.

Lane continued to act into his nineties, and when he accepted an award from cable television's TV Land channel in honor of his one-hundredth birthday, he made a point of saying he was still available for work.

A widower with a son and daughter, Lane had no formula for his longevity, although he noted his mother lived to be nearly one-hundred.

Lane died on July 9, 2007 at age 102. He was survived by his son Tom Lane and daughter, sister Alice Dean and granddaughter Lucy Graves.[2]

Bewitched Credits[]

References[]

  1. Charles Lane on the Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on December 12, 2019.
  2. "Character actor Charles Lane dies at 102", obituary. The Hollywood Reporter, July 7, 2007. Retrieved on December 12, 2019.
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