Image of Charles Lane

Charles Lane

He was born Charles Gerstle Levison on January 26, 1905 in San Francisco and was actually one of the last survivors of that city's famous 1906 earthquake. He started out his working-class existence selling insurance but that soon changed. After dabbling here and there in various theatre shows, he was prodded by a friend, director Irving Pichel, to consider acting as a profession. In 1928 he joined the Pasadena Playhouse company, which, at the time, had built up a solid reputation for training stage actors for the cinema. While there he performed in scores of classical and contemporary plays. He made his film debut anonymously as a hotel clerk in Smart Money (1931) starring Edward G. Robinsonand James Cagney and was one of the first to join the Screen Actor's Guild. He typically performed many of his early atmospheric roles without screen credit and at a cost of $35 per day, but he always managed to seize the moment with whatever brief bit he happened to be in. People always remembered that face and raspy drone of a voice. He appeared in so many pictures (in 1933 alone he made 23 films!), that he would occasionally go out and treat himself to a movie only to find himself on screen, forgetting completely that he had done a role in the film. By 1947 the popular character actor was making $750 a week. Among his scores of cookie-cutter crank roles, Lane was in top form as the stage manager in Twentieth Century (1934); the Internal Revenue Service agent in You Can't Take It With You (1938); the newsman in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939); the rent collector in It's a Wonderful Life (1946); the recurring role of Doc Jed Prouty, in the "Ellery Queen" film series of the 1940s, and as the draft board driver in No Time for Sergeants (1958). A minor mainstay for Frank Capra, the famed director utilized the actor's services for nine of his finest films, including a few of the aforementioned plus Mr. Deeds Goes to Town(1936), Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) and State of the Union (1948). Lane's career was interrupted for a time serving in the Coast Guard during WWII. In post-war years, he found TV quite welcoming, settling there as well for well over four decades. Practically every week during the 1950s and 1960s, one could find him displaying somewhere his patented "slow burn" on a popular sitcom - Topper (1953), The Real McCoys (1957), The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (1959), Mister Ed (1958), Bewitched(1964), Get Smart (1965), Gomer Pyle: USMC (1964), The Munsters (1964), Green Acres(1965), The Flying Nun (1967) and Maude (1972). He hassled the best sitcom stars of the day, notably Lucille Ball (an old friend from the RKO days with whom he worked multiple times), Andy Griffith and Danny Thomas. Recurring roles on Dennis the Menace (1959), The Beverly Hillbillies (1962) and Soap (1977) made him just as familiar to young and old alike. Tops on the list had to be his crusty railroad exec Homer Bedloe who periodically caused bucolic bedlam with his nefarious schemes to shut down the Hooterville Cannonball on Petticoat Junction (1963). He could also play it straightforward and serious as demonstrated by his work in The Twilight Zone (1959), Perry Mason (1957), Little House on the Prairie (1974) and L.A. Law (1986).

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Jan 26, 1905 In San Francisco, California, United States
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the movie Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 1920-03-18
Latest Project:
Series TV Land Awards: A Celebration of Classic TV 2003-03-12
Known For
Poster of The Cara Williams Show
Poster of On Trial
Poster of Willy
Poster of Dear Phoebe
Series TV Land Awards: A Celebration of Classic TV Unknown 2003-03-12
Movie The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes 1995-01-18
Movie Acting on Impulse Bellhop 1993-07-10
Movie Posse Weezie 1993-05-14
Movie True Identity Duane 1991-07-23
Series Shannon's Deal Unknown 1990-04-13
Movie Sidewalk Stories Artist 1989-09-15
Series L.A. Law Unknown 1986-09-15
Movie Murphy's Romance Amos Abbott 1985-12-25
Series Comedy Factory Unknown 1985-06-28
Series Otherworld Unknown 1985-01-26
Series Hunter Unknown 1984-09-18
Movie Strange Invaders Prof. Hollister 1983-09-16
Series The Winds of War Adm. William Standley 1983-02-06
Series St. Elsewhere Unknown 1982-10-26
Movie Strange Behavior Donovan 1981-10-16
Movie The Little Dragons J.J. 1980-07-18
Series Mork & Mindy Unknown 1978-09-14
Movie Movie Movie Judge 1978-11-01
Series Lou Grant Unknown 1977-09-20
Series Soap Unknown 1977-09-13
Series ABC Weekend Special Unknown 1977-09-10
Series Sybil Dr. Quinoness 1976-11-14
Series One Day at a Time Unknown 1975-12-16
Series The Family Holvak Unknown 1975-09-07
Series Karen 1975-01-30
Series Chico and the Man Unknown 1974-09-13
Series Little House on the Prairie Unknown 1974-09-11
Series Rhoda Unknown 1974-09-09
Series Adam's Rib Unknown 1973-09-14
Series The Sandy Duncan Show Unknown 1972-09-17
Series Maude Unknown 1972-09-12
Series Temperatures Rising Unknown 1972-09-12
Series The Rookies Unknown 1972-09-11
Series Nanny and the Professor Unknown 1970-01-21
Series The Odd Couple Unknown 1970-09-24
Series The Debbie Reynolds Show Unknown 1969-09-16
Series Judd for the Defense Unknown 1967-09-08
Series The Flying Nun Unknown 1967-09-07
Series He & She Unknown 1967-09-06
Movie The Gnome-Mobile Dr. Scoggins 1967-07-17
Series Love on a Rooftop Unknown 1966-09-06
Series The Pruitts of Southampton Unknown 1966-09-06
Movie The Ugly Dachshund Judge 1966-02-16
Movie The Ghost & Mr. Chicken Whitlow 1966-01-20
Series F Troop Unknown 1965-09-14
Series Please Don't Eat the Daisies Unknown 1965-09-14
Movie Billie Coach Jones 1965-12-13
Series Green Acres Unknown 1965-09-15
Series The Wild Wild West Unknown 1965-09-17
Series Get Smart Unknown 1965-09-18
Movie The Carpetbaggers Denby 1964-04-08
Series The Bing Crosby Show Unknown 1964-09-14
Movie Good Neighbor Sam Jack Bailey 1964-07-22
Movie Looking For Love Screen test director 1964-08-05
Series The Munsters Unknown 1964-09-24
Series Wendy and Me Unknown 1964-09-14
Series Bewitched Unknown 1964-09-17
Series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Unknown 1964-09-22
Series The Cara Williams Show Unknown 1964-09-23
Series Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. Unknown 1964-09-25
Movie It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World Airport Manager 1963-11-07
Series Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre Unknown 1963-10-04
Series Petticoat Junction Unknown 1963-09-24
Series The Bill Dana Show Unknown 1963-09-22
Series Burke's Law Unknown 1963-09-20
Series The Farmer's Daughter Unknown 1963-09-20
Movie Papa's Delicate Condition Mr. Cosgrove 1963-03-06
Movie The Music Man Constable 1962-06-19
Series The Lucy Show Unknown 1962-10-01
Series Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Unknown 1962-09-29
Series The Beverly Hillbillies Unknown 1962-09-26
Series The New Bob Cummings Show Unknown 1961-10-05
Series The Wonderful World of Disney Unknown 1961-09-24
Series Mister Ed Unknown 1961-01-05
Series Surfside 6 Unknown 1960-10-06
Series The Andy Griffith Show Unknown 1960-10-03
Series Guestward, Ho! Unknown 1960-09-29
Series Pete and Gladys Unknown 1960-09-18
Series The Tab Hunter Show Unknown 1960-09-18
Series The Comedy Spot Unknown 1960-06-28
Movie But Not for Me Al Atwood 1959-08-19
Movie The Mating Game Inspector general Bigelow 1959-04-29
Movie The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock Standard Bates 1959-08-06
Series The DuPont Show with June Allyson Unknown 1959-09-21
Series The Twilight Zone Mr. Peckinpaugh 1959-10-02
Series Dennis, The Menace Unknown 1959-10-04
Series The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis Unknown 1959-09-29
Series Lawman Unknown 1958-10-05
Series The Donna Reed Show Unknown 1958-09-24
Movie Teacher's Pet Roy 1958-04-01
Series The Ann Sothern Show Unknown 1958-10-06
Series Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse Unknown 1958-10-06
Series 77 Sunset Strip Unknown 1958-10-10
Series The Lucy–Desi Comedy Hour Unknown 1957-11-06
Series The Real McCoys Unknown 1957-10-03
Series Maverick Unknown 1957-09-22
Series Perry Mason Unknown 1957-09-21
Series The Thin Man Unknown 1957-09-20
Series Bachelor Father Unknown 1957-09-15
Series Richard Diamond, Private Detective Unknown 1957-07-01
Movie God Is My Partner Judge Warner 1957-07-01
Series Whirlybirds Unknown 1957-02-04
Series On Trial Unknown 1956-09-14
Movie Tom and Jerry Joseph P. Garrity 1955-11-30
Series The Millionaire Unknown 1955-01-19
Series The People's Choice Unknown 1955-10-06
Series Star Stage Unknown 1955-09-09
Series Screen Director's Playhouse Unknown 1955-10-05
Series Willy Unknown 1954-09-18
Series Dear Phoebe Mr. Fosdick 1954-09-10
Series Topper Unknown 1953-10-09
Movie Remains to Be Seen Delapp (examiner) 1953-05-15
Movie The Juggler Rosenberg 1953-05-11
Movie The Affairs of Dobie Gillis Prof. Obispo 1953-08-14
Movie The Sniper Loud Drunk at Paper Doll Club 1952-05-09
Series Today Unknown 1952-01-14
Movie Here Comes the Groom Ralph Burchard 1951-09-20
Series I Love Lucy Unknown 1951-06-15
Movie I Can Get it For You Wholesale Herman Pulvermacher (uncredited) 1951-04-05
Movie The Yellow Cab Man L.A. Casualty Co. Executive (uncredited) 1950-04-07
Movie The Second Face Mr. Westcott 1950-12-01
Movie Riding High Erickson 1950-04-12
Movie The House Across the Street Apartment Manager 1949-09-10
Movie Mighty Joe Young Producer (uncredited) 1949-07-27
Movie You're My Everything Mr. Eddie Pflum (uncredited) 1949-06-29
Movie Apartment for Peggy Prof. Collins (uncredited) 1948-09-30
Movie Out of the Storm Mr. Evans 1948-09-11
Movie State of the Union Blink Moran 1948-04-30
Movie Smart Woman Reporter 1948-04-30
Movie Call Northside 777 Prosecuting Attorney (uncredited) 1948-02-13
Movie Intrigue Hotel Desk Clerk 1947-12-06
Movie Roses Are Red Lipton 1947-11-10
Movie Bury Me Dead Brighton 1947-10-18
Movie Living in a Big Way Hawkins (uncredited) 1947-06-10
Movie It Happened on Fifth Avenue Landlord (uncredited) 1947-04-19
Movie A Close Call for Boston Blackie Hack Hagen (uncredited) 1946-01-24
Movie Mysterious Intruder Detective Burns 1946-04-11
Movie Just Before Dawn Dr. Steiner (uncredited) 1946-03-07
Movie It's a Wonderful Life Real Estate Salesman 1946-12-20
Movie Arsenic and Old Lace Reporter at Marriage License Office 1944-09-23
Movie Obliging Young Lady Private Detective Smith 1942-04-01
Movie Sealed Lips Attorney Emanuel 'Manny' T. Dixon 1942-01-02
Movie A Gentleman at Heart Holloway 1942-01-16
Movie A Close Call for Ellery Queen Coroner 1942-01-27
Movie Ride 'Em Cowboy Martin Manning (uncredited) 1942-02-13
Movie Born to Sing Johnny 1942-02-18
Movie What's Cookin'? K.D. Reynolds 1942-02-20
Movie The Great Man's Lady Pierce (uncredited) 1942-04-15
Movie About Face Rental Car Manager 1942-04-16
Movie Home in Wyomin' Newspaper Editor 1942-04-29
Movie Tarzan's New York Adventure Gould Beaton, Sargent's Lawyer 1942-05-01
Movie Broadway Hungry Harry 1942-05-08
Movie Sunday Punch Ringside spectator at Ole's first fight (uncredited) 1942-05-08
Movie Thru Different Eyes Mott 1942-06-19
Movie Lady in a Jam Government Man 1942-06-19
Movie The Big Store Finance Company Man (uncredited) 1941-06-21
Movie Back Street Reporter for Associated News 1941-02-07
Movie Ellery Queen's Penthouse Mystery Doc Prouty 1941-03-24
Movie Repent at Leisure Clarence Morgan 1941-04-04
Movie Barnacle Bill Auctioneer 1941-04-07
Movie Sis Hopkins Mayor's aide 1941-04-12
Movie Birth of the Blues Wilbur - Theater Manager (uncredited) 1941-11-07
Movie Ellery Queen and the Perfect Crime Dr. Prouty (coroner) 1941-08-14
Movie Buy Me That Town J. Montague Gainsborough 1941-10-02
Movie Three Girls About Town Mortician 1941-10-23
Movie New York Town Census Taker 1941-10-31
Movie I Wake Up Screaming Keating- Florist 1941-10-31
Movie Ball of Fire Larsen 1941-12-02
Movie Buck Benny Rides Again Charlie Graham 1940-05-31
Movie Primrose Path Mr. 'Smitty' Smith / Hawkins (uncredited) 1940-03-22
Movie It's a Date Mr. Horner (uncredited) 1940-03-22
Movie Johnny Apollo Assistant D.A. 1940-04-19
Movie The Doctor Takes a Wife Reporter 1940-04-25
Movie Edison, the Man Second Lecturer 1940-05-10
Movie The Crooked Road Phil Wesner, Defense Attorney 1940-05-10
Movie You Can't Fool Your Wife Salesman 1940-05-21
Movie Blondie Plays Cupid Train Conductor 1940-10-31
Movie We Who Are Young Perkins 1940-07-18
Movie Dancing on a Dime Freeman Taylor 1940-11-01
Movie Rhythm on the River Bernard Schwartz 1940-08-28
Movie Ellery Queen, Master Detective Dr. Prouty 1940-11-30
Movie The Texas Rangers Ride Again Train Passenger 1940-12-13
Movie The Invisible Woman Growley 1940-12-27
Movie City for Conquest Al - Dance Team Manager (uncredited) 1940-09-21
Movie The Leather Pushers Henry 'Mitch' Mitchell 1940-09-13
Movie The Great Profile Director 1940-08-30
Movie They All Come Out Psychiatrist 1939-08-04
Movie Boy Slaves Albee 1939-02-02
Movie Inside Story District Attorney 1939-03-10
Movie Let Us Live Auto Salesman 1939-03-29
Movie Rose of Washington Square Sam Kress 1939-05-05
Movie Lucky Night Carpenter 1939-05-05
Movie Second Fiddle Studio Chief 1939-06-30
Movie News Is Made at Night District Attorney Rufe Reynolds 1939-07-20
Movie 5th Ave Girl Union Representative 1939-09-22
Movie Miracles For Sale Fleetwood Apartments Desk Clerk 1939-08-14
Movie Golden Boy Reporter Drake 1939-09-05
Movie Honeymoon in Bali Photographer 1939-09-29
Movie Television Spy Mr. Adler 1939-10-19
Movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Nosey Newsman 1939-10-19
Movie Beware Spooks! Moore 1939-10-24
Movie The Cat and the Canary Reporter 1939-11-10
Movie Charlie McCarthy, Detective Charlie's Doctor 1939-12-22
Movie In Old Chicago Booking Agent (scenes deleted) 1938-04-15
Movie Cocoanut Grove Weaver 1938-05-20
Movie Professor Beware Joe - Photographer 1938-07-29
Movie The Rage of Paris Department Head (uncredited) 1938-06-09
Movie Always in Trouble Donald Gower 1938-10-28
Movie You Can't Take It with You Henderson 1938-08-23
Movie Blondie Furniture Salesman 1938-11-30
Movie Kentucky Auctioneer 1938-12-30
Movie Three Loves Has Nancy Cleaning Store Manager (uncredited) 1938-09-02
Movie Nothing Sacred Rubenstein (uncredited) 1937-11-25
Movie Ali Baba Goes To Town Doctor 1937-10-29
Movie Danger - Love at Work Gilroy, an attorney 1937-09-30
Movie Trapped by G-Men Fingers 1937-09-09
Movie One Mile From Heaven Webb 1937-08-18
Movie Born Reckless Barnes's lawyer 1937-07-09
Movie Big Business Webster - Bank Representative 1937-06-18
Movie Venus Makes Trouble District Attorney 1937-05-14
Movie Internes Can't Take Money Grote 1937-04-16
Movie We're on the Jury Horace Smith 1937-02-12
Movie The Milky Way Willard 1936-02-07
Movie The Adventures of Frank Merriwell Man in Front Row (archive footage) 1936-01-13
Movie Mr. Deeds Goes to Town Hallor (uncredited) 1936-04-12
Movie Lady Luck Feinberg 1936-09-13
Movie 36 Hours to Kill Lawyer Rickert 1936-07-24
Movie Two for Tonight Writer 1935-09-27
Movie Here Comes the Band Mr. Scurry 1935-08-30
Movie Woman Wanted Defense Attorney Herman 1935-08-02
Movie Ginger Judge 1935-07-04
Movie The Florentine Dagger Man in Front Row (archive footage) 1935-03-30
Movie One More Spring Representative 1935-02-15
Movie Twentieth Century Max Jacobs 1934-05-11
Movie The Show-Off Mr. Weitzenkorn 1934-03-09
Movie Looking for Trouble Switchboard Operator 1934-03-28
Movie A Wicked Woman Defense Attorney Beardsley (uncredited) 1934-12-07
Movie Twenty Million Sweethearts Reporter (uncredited) 1934-05-26
Movie Broadway Bill Morgan's Henchman (uncredited) 1934-11-30
Movie The Bands Plays On Shyster Lawyer 1934-12-21
Movie Employees' Entrance Shoe Salesman (uncredited) 1933-02-11
Movie Gold Diggers of 1933 Society Reporter (uncredited) 1933-05-27
Movie Blondie Johnson Cashier (uncredited) 1933-02-25
Movie 42nd Street Playwright of "Pretty Lady" 1933-03-11
Movie Central Airport Amarillo Radio Operator (uncredited) 1933-04-15
Movie Broadway Thru a Keyhole Columnist #2 1933-11-02
Movie Private Detective 62 Process Server (uncredited) 1933-06-10
Movie She Had to Say Yes Mr. Bernstein (uncredited) 1933-07-15
Movie My Woman Conn 1933-10-04
Movie The Bowery Doctor (uncredited) 1933-10-07
Movie Mr. Skitch Hotel Clerk 1933-12-22
Movie Blessed Event Kane 1932-09-10
Movie The Mouthpiece Hotel Desk Clerk 1932-05-07
Movie Union Depot Luggage Checkroom Clerk (uncredited) 1932-01-30
Movie Manhattan Parade Desk clerk 1931-12-24
Movie Blonde Crazy Hotel Desk Clerk (uncredited) 1931-12-03
Movie The Road to Singapore Desk Clerk at Club 1931-10-10
Movie Smart Money Hotel Desk Clerk 1931-07-11
Movie The Canary Murder Case Charles Spottswoode 1929-02-16
Movie Saturday's Children Mr. Henry Halevy 1929-03-10
Movie Broadway Scandals Manager 1929-11-10
Movie Sadie Thompson Dr. Angus McPhail 1928-01-07
Movie Barbed Wire Colonel Duval 1927-09-09
Movie Service for Ladies Elizabeth's father 1927-08-06
Movie Married Alive Mr. Fountain 1927-07-17
Movie The Winning of Barbara Worth Jefferson Worth 1926-10-14
Movie Stella Dallas Stephen Dallas, Sr. 1925-11-16
Movie The Dark Angel Sir Hubert Vane 1925-09-27
Movie Romola Baldassar Calvo 1924-12-06
Movie The White Sister Prince Chiaromonte 1923-09-05
Movie Broadway Rose Peter Thompson 1922-09-22
Movie The Restless Sex John Cleland 1920-11-12
Movie The Branded Woman Herbert Averill 1920-09-05
Movie Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Dr. Richard Lanyon 1920-03-18