Born Charles Rupert in New York on October 2, 1917, Charles Drake became a dependable character actor in many films from the 1940s through the 1970s. While Drake was not a theatre major in college, soon after graduation he began his film career in 1939 doing bit parts at RKO after winning an RKO-sponsored talent search. When Drake signed with Warner Bros. in 1941, his career gained little momentum, but he worked steadily through the beginning of World War II. Military service interrupted his career, and soon after Drake returned to Hollywood in 1945, his contract with Warner lapsed. Ironically, when Drake started freelancing at various studios, his career met with more success and better film roles in such films as the Marx Brothers' favorite A Night in Casablanca (1946) and the Lex Barker jungle adventure Tarzan's Magic Fountain (1949; with Brenda Joyce, Albert Dekker, and Evelyn Ankers). Upon signing with Universal International in the late 1940s, Drake's career took off, mostly in B movies. Nonetheless, Drake proved to be a versatile actor, starring in film noir (I Was A Shoplifter, 1950); comedies (Bonzo Goes to College, 1952); science fiction and horror (It Came From Outer Space, 1953); and dramas (Female on the Beach, 1955). In the mid 1950s, Drake began appearing on then-popular television dramatic anthology series, including Climax!, Robert Montgomery Presents, and Playhouse 90.

the films of charles drake

Winchester '73 (1950)

Charles Drake and Shelley Winters

With Shelley Winters in the Universal-International western Winchester '73

You Never Can Tell (1951)

Charles Drake

From the Universal-International comedy You Never Can Tell

Bonzo Goes to College (1952)

Charles Drake

From the Universal-International comedy Bonzo Goes to College, the sequel to Bedtime for Bonzo

Red Ball Express (1952)

Charles Drake

From Red Ball Express

It Came from Outer Space (1953)

Charles Drake and Richard CarlsonCharles Drake and Richard CarlsonCharles Drake, Barbara Rush, and Richard CarlsonCharles Drake, Kathleen Hughes, Barbara Rush, and Richard CarlsonCharles Drake

Images from Universal-International's cult science fiction favorite It Came from Outer Space. LEFT and CENTER A: With Richard Carlson. CENTER B: With Barbara Rush and Richard Carlson. CENTER C: With Barbara Rush, Richard Carlson, and Kathleen Hughes. RIGHT: Drake as Sheriff Matt Warren

Four Guns to the Border (1954)

Charles Drake and Rory Calhoun

Drake gets socked by Rory Calhoun in the Universal-International western Four Gusn to the Border

Tobor the Great (1954)

Charles Drake

From Republic's science fiction effort Tobor the Great

To Hell and Back (1955)

Charles Drake

From the Universal-International's film of Audie Murphy's autobiography To Hell and Back

The Price of Fear (1956)

Charles Drake

From the Merle Oberon film noir thriller The Price of Fear

Walk the Proud Land (1956)

Charles Drake, Anne Bancroft, and Audie MurphyAudie Murphy, Charles Drake, and Pat Crowley

From the Universal-International western Walk the Proud Land. LEFT: With Anne Bancroft and Audie Murphy. RIGHT: With Audie Murphy and Pat Crowley

Step Down to Terror (1958)

Colleen Miller and Charles Drake

With Colleen Miller in the Universal-International thriller Step Down to Terror

later years

Into the 1960s, his film career slacked off, but his television career went well, with many guest-star roles on such series as Wagon Train, F Troop, Mannix, and Star Trek. He still found work in Valley of the Dolls (1967; with Susan Hayward and Patty Duke) and The Swimmer (1968; with Bust Lancaster). His final theatrically released film was Russ Meyer's lone foray into A pictures, The Seven Minutes (1971; with Philip Carey and Yvonne DeCarlo). In the early 1970s, Drake acted in a string of made-for-television movies with exemplary cast lists, such as Scream, Pretty Peggy (1973; with Ted Bessel and Bette Davis), The Lives of Jenny Dolan (1975; with Shirley Jones and Stephen Boyd), and Cop on the Beat (1975; with Lloyd Bridges and Dane Clark). Drake retired from acting in 1976 and passed away on September 10, 1994, at age 76. He was survived by two daughters and a grandson.

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The Lives of Jenny Dolan (1975) with Shirley Jones, Stephen Boyd, Farley Granger, Dana Wynter, and Pernell Roberts
Cop on the Beat (1975) with Lloyd Bridges, Don Stroud, Jim Backus, Janis Paige, and Della Reese
Scream, Pretty Peggy (1973) with Ted Bessell and Bette Davis
Partners in Crime (1973) with Robert Cummings and Lee Grant
The Screaming Woman (1972) with Olivia de Havilland, Joseph Cotten, and Ed Nelson
The Seven Minutes (1971) with Yvonne De Carlo, Philip Carey, Edy Williams, Lyle Bettger, and John Carradine; directed by Russ Meyer
Hail, Hero! (1969) with Michael Douglas and Peter Strauss
The Arrangement (1969) with Kirk Douglas, Faye Dunaway, Richard Boone, and Deborah Kerr
The Smugglers (1968) with Shirley Booth, Carol Lynley, and Michael J. Pollard
The Money Jungle (1968) with John Ericson, Leslie Parrish, and Don Rickles
The Counterfeit Killer (1968) with Jack Lord, Shirley Knight, Jack Weston, Mercedes McCambridge, and Robert Pine
The Swimmer (1968) with Burt Lancaster
Valley of the Dolls (1967) with Susan Hayward, Patty Duke, Sharon Tate, Barbara Parkins, Martin Milner, and Paul Burke
The Third Day (1965) with George Peppard, Elizabeth Ashley, and Roddy McDowall
Dear Heart (1964) with Glenn Ford, Barbara Nichols, and Geraldine Page
The Lively Set (1964) with Pamela Tiffin, James Darren, and Doug McClure
Showdown (1963) with Audie Murphy and Kathleen Crowley
Back Street (1961) with Susan Hayward, Vera Miles, John Gavin, and Virginia Grey
Tammy Tell Me True (1961) with Sandra Dee, John Gavin, and Virginia Grey
No Name on the Bullet (1959) with Audie Murphy, Virginia Grey, and Joan Evans
Step Down to Terror (1958) with Colleen Miller and Rod Taylor
Until They Sail (1957) with Jean Simmons, Joan Fontaine, Paul Newman, Piper Laurie, and Sandra Dee
Jeanne Eagels (1957) with Jeff Chandler, Kim Novak, Agnes Moorehead, and Virginia Grey
The Price of Fear (1956) with Lex Barker, Merle Oberon, Gia Scala, and Warren Stevens
Walk the Proud Land (1956) with Audie Murphy and Anne Bancroft
All That Heaven Allows (1955) with Rock Hudson, Jane Wyman, Gloria Talbott, William Reynolds, and Virginia Grey
Female on the Beach (1955) with Joan Crawford, Jeff Chandler, and Jan Sterling
To Hell and Back (1955) with Audie Murphy, Marshall Thompson, Brett Halsey, and Jack Kelly
Four Guns to the Border (1954) with Rory Calhoun, George Nader, and Colleen Miller
Tobor the Great (1954) with Karin Booth and Billy Chapin
War Arrow (1953) with Jeff Chandler, Maureen O'Hara, and Suzan Ball
The Glenn Miller Story (1953) with James Stewart and June Allyson
It Came from Outer Space (1953) with Richard Carlson, Barbara Rush, Russell Johnson, and Kathleen Hughes
Lone Hand (1953) with Joel McCrea, Barbara Hale, and Alex Nicol
Gunsmoke (1953) with Audie Murphy, Susan Cabot, Jack Kelly, and William Reynolds
Bonzo Goes to College (1952) with Maureen O'Sullivan, Irene Ryan, and Gigi Perreau
Red Ball Express (1952) with Jeff Chandler, Hugh O'Brian, and Alex Nicol
The Treasure of Lost Canyon (1952) with William Powell, Julie Adams, and Rosemary DeCamp
Little Egypt (1951) with Rhonda Fleming and Mark Stevens
You Never Can Tell (1951) with Dick Powell, Joyce Holden, and Peggy Dow
Air Cadet (1951) with Gail Russell, Stephen McNally, Alex Nicol, Rock Hudson, Peggie Castle, and James Best
Harvey (1950) with James Stewart and Peggy Dow
Winchester '73 (1950) with James Stewart, Shelley Winters, Rock Hudson, and Stephen McNally
Peggy (1950) with Charlotte Greenwood, Charles Coburn, and Rock Hudson
I Was a Shoplifter (1950) with Scott Brady, Andrea King, Mona Freeman, and Rock Hudson
Comanche Territory (1950) with Maureen O'Hara, Macdonald Carey, and Glenn Strange
Tarzan's Magic Fountain (1949) with Lex Barker, Evelyn Ankers, Brenda Joyce, and Albert Dekker
The Tender Years (1947) with Joe E. Brown
The Pretender (1947) with Albert Dekker and Linda Stirling
Winter Wonderland (1947) with Lynne Roberts and Elinor Donahue
Whistle Stop (1946) with George Raft, Ava Gardner, and Tom Conway
A Night in Casablanca (1946) with the Marx Brothers
You Came Along (1945) with Lizabeth Scott, Robert Cummings, and Don DeFore
Conflict (1945) with Humphrey Bogart, Sydney Greenstreet, and Alexis Smith
Air Force (1943) with John Garfield, Gig Young, and Arthur Kennedy
Busses Roar (1942) with Julie Bishop
The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942) with Bette Davis and Ann Sheridan
Nine Lives Are Not Enough (1941) with Ronald Reagan and Faye Emerson
Career (1939) with Anne Shirley, Leon Errol, and John Archer

Rendezvous, 1957-1958 CBS TV series. Drake portrayed John Burden
Robert Montgomery Presents, 1950-1957 NBC TV series. Drake appeared during the 1955-56 season

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Watch Charles Drake's 1954 sci-fi flick Tobor the Great
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