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Biography

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Overview (3)

Date of Birth 6 August 1915Oakland, California, USA
Date of Death 6 October 2009Las Vegas, Nevada, USA  (natural causes)
Birth NameAdele Pearce

Mini Bio (1)

The heroine of a host of westerns, crimes and serial adventures during the 1940s, this attractive, full-faced "B" movie item was born Adele Pearce on August 6, 1915 (several movie resources list 1918). Born in Oakland, California, Pamela Blake won a beauty contest at age 17 and decided to try her luck in Hollywood soon after. The lovely brunette began with an unbilled part in Eight Girls in a Boat (1934) but then took some time off and returned to her hometown of Oakland to study acting. She eventually relocated back to the Los Angeles area and continued to apprentice in a succession of uncredited bit roles until earning her first lead opposite cowboy star Tex Ritter in The Utah Trail (1938).

Billed as Adele Pearce, this breakthrough sparked a series of featured and co-starring roles. RKO director John Farrow guided her briefly in such programmers as Sorority House (1939) and Full Confession (1939), the latter starring Victor McLaglen and Barry Fitzgerald. The petite actress then appeared opposite a towering young John Wayne in Wyoming Outlaw (1939). This film, along with Full Confession (1939), also featured actor/stuntman 'Malcolm "Bud' McTaggart', who would become Pamela's first husband. The couple went on to appear as husband and wife in the exploitive and unsubtle programmer No Greater Sin (1941), which posed the dangers of venereal disease and the importance of hygiene. Their career struggles eventually damaged the marriage and the couple divorced within a few years. McTaggart tragically drowned in a Beverly Hills swimming pool in 1949 at the age of 39.

Following a small role in the Alfred Hitchcock hit comedy romance Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941) with Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery, Pamela's best opportunity came at Paramount with the secondary femme role as a cleaning lady Annie in the film noir classic This Gun for Hire (1942) wherein she shares a notable face-slapping, dress-ripping scene with Alan Ladd's lethal hit man Philip Raven. At this point the actress's marquee name had been changed from Adele Pearce to Pamela Blake.

Pamela was subsequently signed by Metro and featured in the studio's comedy series' entries Maisie Gets Her Man (1942) and Swing Shift Maisie (1943) both starring Ann Sothern as the breezy title character. She was also romanced by co-star James Craig in the standard western The Omaha Trail (1942), and appeared here and there in other MGM pictures such as Slightly Dangerous (1943) starring Lana Turner and Kay Kyser's Swing Fever (1943). The actress failed, however, to rise above the studio's lower tier of stars, and was eventually dropped.

Elsewhere, Pamela was given the top-billed "Poverty Row" lead in the Republic crime mystery Three's a Crowd (1945); played the heroine in the dramatic Why Girls Leave Home (1945); and appeared in Captain Tugboat Annie (1945) with Jane Darwell taking over the vinegary title role. Moreover, she worked with Leo Gorcey and Huntz Hall when they were The East Side Kids in Kid Dynamite (1943), and rejoined them when they became The Bowery Boys in their first venture Live Wires (1946).

The actress received extended visibility co-starring in a number of multi-chaptered cliffhangers, including Chick Carter, Detective (1946), The Sea Hound (1947), The Mysterious Mr. M (1946) and Ghost of Zorro (1949). She finished up the decade co-starring with Tom Neal in two crimes -- The Hat Box Mystery (1947) and The Case of the Baby Sitter (1947) -- and also played opposite Monte Hale in the western Son of God's Country (1948); Robert Lowery in the "B" noir Highway 13 (1948); and Richard Travis in the espionage tale Sky Liner (1949).

Into the next decade Pamela essayed the role of wife Anne Palooka opposite Joe Kirkwood Jr.'s Joe Palooka in Joe Palooka Meets Humphrey (1950) and played one of The Daltons' Women (1950) in the "B" western. She wound up her film career with the "Wild" Bill Elliott western Waco (1952). She broken into TV in the early 1950s and had already graced such westerns as "The Cisco Kid" and "The Range Rider" by the time she decided to retire in 1953.

Pamela and her family moved to Las Vegas and she retired completely from the limelight and never returned. Instead, she went on to raise her two children by second husband, writer/actor/producer Mike Stokey, who created the popular 1960s TV game show "Pantomime Quiz" (aka "Stump the Stars"). That union also ended up in the divorce courts. A third marriage in 1983 to John Canavan, an Air Force master sergeant, lasted until his death. One of her children, Mike Stokey Jr., was a Vietnam War combat veteran and demolition expert who became a technician and military advisor for such war films/epics as Born on the Fourth of July (1989), The Thin Red Line (1998), Alexander (2004) and Tropic Thunder (2008). Pamela passed away peacefully on October 6, 2009, at the ripe old age of 94, at a Las Vegas care facility.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (3)

John Canavan (1983 - 21 April 1996) (his death)
Malcolm 'Bud' McTaggart (? - ?) (divorced)
Mike Stokey (? - ?) (divorced) (2 children)

Trivia (3)

Performed under her real name until 1942.
Reportedly MGM dropped her suddenly when she forgot to tell the studio she was leaving town.
Mother of Mike Stokey.

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