Well, one of the great character actors of all time, Mr. Charles Lane, turned 102 years old yesterday (Jan 26). No news yet on how Mr. Lane spent his birthday, but work continues on a documentary that is being done that was started shortly before he turned 100 in January of 2005. One might also note that Mr. Lane was born in San Francisco, and that he is also one of the few living survivors of the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906.
In an active film career that spanned 1932-1995, Mr. Lane stepped before a camera for more than 600 different productions, but is probably best known for some of his television roles. He was Homer Bedloe on the CBS-TV series Petticoat Junction during the 1960s. He was Lucy's boss Mr. Barnsdahl on the first season of her second series, The Lucy Show, from 1962-63. There aren't too many actors that can say they appeared on top rated series in the 1950s like I Love Lucy and Perry Mason, as well as top rated series in the 1970s and 80s like Soap, L.A. Law, Hunter, and others.
Mr. Lane is fond of his association with famed film director Frank Capra, having appeared in several of his films such as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Mr. Dees Goes to Town, State of the Union, and It's a Wonderful Life. But he also appeared in films with the Marx Brothers, Abbott & Costello, Bob Hope, Jack Benny and Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy and he was in It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. He was in Blondie, Tarzan, and Ellery Queen movies. He had parts in classics like 42nd Street, In Old Chicago, Mighty Joe Young. He worked for the folks at Disney several times in such productions as The Gnome Mobile, The Ugly Dachshund, My Dog the Thief, and The Aristocats. The list goes on and on and on and on...
So, a happy, happy birthday to Charles Lane. More than 75 years in show business, and still everybody's favorite "mean, old, grouchy skinflint".
(photo at left was taken for his 100th birthday two years ago)