It’s Saturday night.
And on Saturday nights, here at Casa de Cineaste, Saturday nights are Film Noir nights. So what better way to get things going than with a quick look at one of the icons of the genre?
According to her biography on IMDB, Lake was born Constance Frances Marie Ockelman in 1913 in Brooklyn, N.Y.
She made her film debut in 1939 in RKO’s “Sorority House,” playing a co-ed. That was followed by roles in two other films “Women Have Secrets,” and “Dancing Co-Ed,” both released in 1939. In both films she appeared under her given name, Constance Keane. Small appearances in two more films in 1940 followed.
In 1941, cast in “I Wanted Wings,” she shed her birth name, taking on the name that would grant her legacy, Veronica Lake.
The movie was a hit and her studio, Paramount, put her in “Hold Back the Dawn,” and “Sullivan’s Travels,” both released in 1941. In 1942, she was cast opposite Alan Ladd in one of her best-known movies “This Gun for Hire.”
By 1943, she was earning top billing, and starred in just one film that year, “So Proudly We Hail,” with Claudette Colbert. She was not so lucky in 1944. Her only movie that year “The Hour Before Dawn,” was neither a popular nor a critical success, Lake’s IMDB biography indicates.
A trio of films in 1945 were also not well-received. But Lake found success in 1946 with “The Blue Dahlia.” Paramount let Lake go in 1948 and she moved to 20th Century Fox in 1949, starring in “Slattery’s Hurricane.” It would be her last film appearance until 1952 with “Stronghold,” her IMDB bio indicates.
From 1952 to 1966, Lake worked primarily in television and made the odd stage appearance. She also spent time working as a bartender. She returned to film in 1966 with “Footsteps in the Snow.”
Lake’s final screen appearance came in 1970 with “Flesh Feast.” She died in 1973 in Burlington, VT., aged 50, from hepatitis.