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Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (18) | Personal Quotes (3)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 12 November 1903Sedalia, Missouri, USA
Date of Death 23 January 1978Los Angeles, California, USA  (aortic aneurysm)
Birth NameLewis Delaney Offield
Height 5' 11" (1.8 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Jack Oakie was born on November 12, 1903 in Sedalia, Missouri, USA as Lewis Delaney Offield. He was an actor, known for The Great Dictator (1940), Lover Come Back (1961) and It Happened Tomorrow (1944). He was married to Victoria Horne and Venita Varden. He died on January 23, 1978 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

Spouse (2)

Victoria Horne (1950 - 23 January 1978) (his death)
Venita Varden (1936 - 16 February 1945) (divorced)

Trivia (18)

Son of actress Evelyn Oakie.
Interred at Forest Lawn, Glendale, CA., in the Whispering Pines section at the top of the hill.
Oakie fought with cameramen for years about screen makeup -- he never wore any and refused to wear makeup under any circumstances.
Once teamed with fellow vaudevillian Richard 'Skeets' Gallagher in the hopes of being another Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, but it didn't pan out. They did perform in six films together.
Dubbed "The World's Oldest Freshman" because he was rather long in the tooth (30 something) for the collegiates he was asked to play, including roles in College Humor (1933), College Rhythm (1934), and Collegiate (1936). In the movie Rise and Shine (1941), the 38-year-old was asked to play an 18-year-old senior.
Working as a Wall Street clerk, he narrowly escaped death in 1920 after the Treasury Building was bombed by terrorists.
In 1981, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences established the Jack Oakie Lecture on Comedy in Film, as an annual event.
Divorced from actress Venita Varden in 1945, she was among the many who perished in a June 17, 1948 plane crash on the Aristes mountain near Wilburton, Pennsylvania, that killed 43 passengers in all. Also included were night club owner Earl Carroll, famous for his Vanities Showgirls, and his leading lady, showgirl Beryl Wallace.
Son-in-law of James W. Horne.
Stepson-in-law of Cleo Ridgely.
Stepbrother-in-law of June Horne and James Horne Jr..
For many years, he lived on a ranch in the San Fernando Valley with his wife, the actress Victoria Horne.
Worked at Paramount, 1928-36; RKO 1936-38; 20th Century Fox, 1940-43; and Universal 1944-45. At the peak of his popularity, in the 1940's, he earned up to $7,500 a week.
His stage name was taken from his mother's maiden name, Evelyn Oakie.
His first job was as a telephone clerk for a brokerage firm. The clerks let off steam by pelting each other with cream filled pies. Someone recognised his comic potential and asked him to appear in an annual show of the Cardiac Society for Wall Street executives. The director of the show, May Leslie, eventually persuaded Oakie to quit his job and become an actor. He was first on stage proper, in the chorus of George M. Cohan's 'Little Nellie Kelly' in 1922. He then formed a popular vaudeville double act with Lulu McConnell. From there on,the rest is history.
His mother worked as a teacher in New York at the time Oakie studied business at De La Salle School.
His boisterous "Benzino Napaloni" in Charlie Chaplin's satire The Great Dictator (1940) is based on Italy's Benito Mussolini.
On October 19, 1959, was a pallbearer at Errol Flynn's funeral along with Raoul Walsh, Mickey Rooney, 'Guinn "Big Boy' Williams', Mike Romanoff and Otto Reichow at the Church of the Recessional at Forest Lawn, Glendale, CA.

Personal Quotes (3)

The pictures I made were called the bread and butter pictures of the studio. They cost nothing and made millions, and supported the prestige productions that cost millions and made nothing.
I've appeared in hundred of movies, but the only one people remember me for is "Napaloni" in The Great Dictator (1940).
[Observation, late in his career] I looked like a walking blimp. I was even too fat for the big screens.

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