Veronica Lake Biography

Veronica Lake was an American film, stage, and television actress. Check out this biography to know about her childhood, family, personal life, achievements, etc.

Veronica Lake
Quick Facts

Birthday: November 12, 1922

Nationality: American

Famous: Actresses American Women

Died At Age: 50

Sun Sign: Scorpio

Also Known As: Constance Frances Marie Ockelman

Born in: Brooklyn

Famous as: Actress

Height: 4'11" (150 cm), 4'11" Females

Family:

Spouse/Ex-: 1940–1943 - John S. Detlie, 1944–1952 - André De Toth, 1955–1959 - Joseph A. McCarthy, 1972–1973 - Robert Carleton-Munro

father: Harry Eugene Ockelman

mother: Constance Frances Charlotta

children: Andre Michael De Toth III, Diana De Toth, Elaine Detlie, William Detlie

Died on: July 7, 1973

City: New York City

U.S. State: New Yorkers

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Born Constance Frances Marie Ockelman, Veronica Lake was an American film, stage and TV actor best known for her trademark ‘peek-a-boo’ hairstyle. She is remembered for her performance in the comedy film ‘Sullivan’s Travels’ and glamorous roles in film noirs of 1940s. Born in New York, her family later moved to different places and she took acting lessons at ‘Bliss-Hayden School of Acting,’ California. Starting her career with minor roles, she soon scaled great heights with her looks and performances. Lake was signed by ‘Paramount’ and starred in several of their hit movies including ‘The Blue Dahlia,’ ‘The Hour before the Dawn,’ among others. Although Lake didn’t have a large body of work, her starrers such as the film noirs ‘This Gun for Hire,’ ‘The Glass Key,’ and comedies such as ‘Sullivan’s Travels’ and ‘I Married a Witch,’ earned her legendary status. Her mental ailment and alcoholism adversely affected the work and her career declined rapidly. During 1960s, she appeared on TV and two movies, but that couldn’t help her career. She was married and divorced four times. Lake died a lonely death at the age of 50.

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Veronica Lake
Childhood & Early Life
  • Lake was born on November 14, 1922 in Brooklyn, New York City and was of mixed German-Irish descent. Her father Harry Eugene Ockelman worked on a ship for an oil company and died in an industrial explosion in Philadelphia in 1932. Next year, her Irish mother Constance Frances Charlotta (née Trimble) married a newspaper employee, Anthony Keane.
  • They lived at Saranac Lake, New York and she attended ‘St. Bernard’s School.’ Later Lake studied at the all-girls catholic boarding school, ‘Villa Maria’ in Montreal, Canada, but was expelled from the school. Her mother reported that she had a troubled childhood and suffered from schizophrenia during young age.
  • Her family later shifted from to Miami, Florida, where she studied at the ‘Miami High School.’ In 1938, the Keane family shifted to Beverly Hills, California and she joined the ‘Bliss-Hayden School of Acting.’
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Top
Career
  • Lake began her career in January 1939 with the play, ‘Thought for Food.’ Using the name ‘Constance Keane,’ she appeared in minor roles in some movies including, ‘Sorority House’ (1939), ‘All women Have Secrets,’ ‘Young As You Feel,’ ‘Forty Little Mothers,’ and ‘Dancing Coed.’
  • In 1941, Lake signed a contract with ‘Paramount,’ and producer Arthur Hornblow Jr. selected her for the role of a nightclub singer in the military movie, ‘I Wanted Wings’ (1941). Because of her cool blue, lake-like eyes, he named her ‘Veronica Lake.’ During the filming of a song, her hair fell over her one eye, purely by accident, and gave her the famous, trademark ‘peek-a-boo’ look. The film was very successful, making her a popular star.
  • In her first starring role, Lake played a struggling actress in Peter Sturges’s 1941 comedy ‘Sullivan’s Travels.’ In 1942, she featured as ‘Ellen Graham’ opposite Alan Ladd and Robert Preston in the Paramount thriller, ‘This Gun for Hire.’ Her pairing with Allan Ladd proved popular and was repeated in more (total 7) films. In Paramount’s all-star film ‘Star Spangled Rhythm’ (1942), they both played cameo roles.
  • For the comedy movie, ‘I Married A Witch,’ her first leading man, Joel McCrea, refused to pair with her. Finally she starred with Fredric March and the movie became successful. Another 1942 release, ‘The Glass Key,’ opposite Alan Ladd, too, was a hit.
  • In 1943, Lake played ‘Lt. Olivia D’Arcy,’ in ‘So Proudly We Hail’ and earned accolades for her performance. She appeared as a Nazi spy, ‘Dora Bruckman’ in 1944’s ‘The Hour Before the Dawn,’ which received mixed reports. Allegedly she was a complex and difficult person to work with, thus a number of people refused to work with her. During this time, her alcohol dependence increased while work offers dwindled. Also, she went through a divorce and lost her child due to an accident.
  • In 1945, Lake starred with Eddie Bracken and Sonny Tufts in the musical ‘Bring on the Girls.’ But the movie wasn’t a financial success. She got a third lead in 1945’s ‘Out of This World,’ and though she was given top billing in ‘Miss Susie Slagle’s’ (1945), her role was rather insignificant.
  • In the 1945 comedy ‘Hold That Blonde,’ she worked again with Eddie Bracken and paired with Alan Ladd in 1946 film noir ‘The Blue Dahlia,’ which became a hit. In 1947, she worked in a film outside ‘Paramount,’ a Western ‘Ramrod,’ directed by her then husband Andre DeToth. Joel McCrea agreed to star opposite her and the film was a success.
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  • Lake appeared in a few more movies at ‘Paramount’ such as, ‘Variety Girl’ (1947), ‘Saigon’ (1948), ‘Isn’t it Romantic’ and ‘The Sainted Sisters’ both in 1948. But these movies weren’t successful and her contract with ‘Paramount’ was not renewed.
  • Later, there weren’t many work offers. She appeared in a supporting role in DeToth directed ‘Slattery’s Hurricane’ (1949), and an independent production, ‘Stronghold’ (1951). Lake and DeToth declared bankruptcy in 1951 and IRS seized their property. She left DeToth and alone flew their plane to New York.
  • She worked on New York stage. During later years, Lake was often arrested for public drunkenness and her paranoia also increased. In 1962, a reporter spotted her, working as a waitress in a Manhattan bar. This generated speculations that she was destitute, but Lake strongly refuted the claim and returned the money sent by fans. This brought her back in news and she appeared as a TV hostess in Baltimore and worked in an off-Broadway musical ‘Best Foot Forward’ (1963). Her role in ‘Footsteps in the Snow’ (1966) couldn’t help her career.
  • Her autobiography, ‘Veronica: The Autobiography of Veronica Lake,’ written with Donald Bain, was published in UK (1969) and US (1970). For a while, she moved to UK and worked on the stage and earned acclaim for her performance in revival of ‘A Street-car Named Desire.’ With the money received from her book, she co-produced a horror film ‘Flesh Feast’ (1970), which wasn’t successful. In 1971, she returned to the US.
Top
Family & Personal Life
  • In 1940, Lake married art director John Detlie and they had a daughter, Elaine (b. 1941), and a son, Anthony (b. 1943) who was born prematurely due to her accident of sets, and died within 8 days. The couple divorced in December, 1943.
  • She married director Andre DeToth in 1944 and the couple had a son, Michael and a daughter, Diana (b. 1948). Around this time, Lake’s mother sued her for support payments. She and DeToth divorced in 1952.
  • Lake and songwriter Joseph Allan MaCarthy got married in 1955, but later divorced in 1959. During her brief stay in the UK, she got married to British fisheries businessman, Robert Carlton-Munro in 1972, and soon the two separated. Their divorce was in process at the time of Lake’s death.
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  • After her return to the US, she visited a doctor for stomach pains and was diagnosed with cirrhosis of liver, a consequence of her alcoholism. On July 7, 1973, Lake died of acute cirrhosis and acute kidney damage at University of Vermont Medical Center, Burlington. Her son Michael claimed and cremated her body. Her ashes were scattered around Virgin Islands, as per her wish. However, a portion of her ashes was reportedly found in a New York shop, in 2004.
  • She has a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6918 Hollywood Boulevard.
Top
Trivia
  • While in Florida, she participated in beauty pageants and got a name for herself during teen years.
  • During World War II, she was one of the popular pin-up girls for the soldiers. She helped raised money for ‘War Bonds’ by travelling across the nation. Reportedly, during this war-period, the government requested her to change her hairstyle, so that the women working in the war industry factories would stop imitating her cascading hair and adopt a safer hairstyle.
  • Though earlier she has sung in ‘This Gun For Hire,’ and ‘Star Spangled Rhythm,’ ‘Bring on the Girls’ was her first proper musical.
Top
Trivia
  • While in Florida, she participated in beauty pageants and got a name for herself during teen years.
  • During World War II, she was one of the popular pin-up girls for the soldiers. She helped raised money for ‘War Bonds’ by travelling across the nation. Reportedly, during this war-period, the government requested her to change her hairstyle, so that the women working in the war industry factories would stop imitating her cascading hair and adopt a safer hairstyle.
    Continue Reading Below
  • Though earlier she has sung in ‘This Gun For Hire,’ and ‘Star Spangled Rhythm,’ ‘Bring on the Girls’ was her first proper musical.
Top
Family & Personal Life
  • In 1940, Lake married art director John Detlie and they had a daughter, Elaine (b. 1941), and a son, Anthony (b. 1943) who was born prematurely due to her accident of sets, and died within 8 days. The couple divorced in December, 1943.
  • She married director Andre DeToth in 1944 and the couple had a son, Michael and a daughter, Diana (b. 1948). Around this time, Lake’s mother sued her for support payments. She and DeToth divorced in 1952.
  • Lake and songwriter Joseph Allan MaCarthy got married in 1955, but later divorced in 1959. During her brief stay in the UK, she got married to British fisheries businessman, Robert Carlton-Munro in 1972, and soon the two separated. Their divorce was in process at the time of Lake’s death.
  • After her return to the US, she visited a doctor for stomach pains and was diagnosed with cirrhosis of liver, a consequence of her alcoholism. On July 7, 1973, Lake died of acute cirrhosis and acute kidney damage at University of Vermont Medical Center, Burlington. Her son Michael claimed and cremated her body. Her ashes were scattered around Virgin Islands, as per her wish. However, a portion of her ashes was reportedly found in a New York shop, in 2004.
  • She has a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6918 Hollywood Boulevard.
Top
Career
  • Lake began her career in January 1939 with the play, ‘Thought for Food.’ Using the name ‘Constance Keane,’ she appeared in minor roles in some movies including, ‘Sorority House’ (1939), ‘All women Have Secrets,’ ‘Young As You Feel,’ ‘Forty Little Mothers,’ and ‘Dancing Coed.’
    Continue Reading Below
  • In 1941, Lake signed a contract with ‘Paramount,’ and producer Arthur Hornblow Jr. selected her for the role of a nightclub singer in the military movie, ‘I Wanted Wings’ (1941). Because of her cool blue, lake-like eyes, he named her ‘Veronica Lake.’ During the filming of a song, her hair fell over her one eye, purely by accident, and gave her the famous, trademark ‘peek-a-boo’ look. The film was very successful, making her a popular star.
  • In her first starring role, Lake played a struggling actress in Peter Sturges’s 1941 comedy ‘Sullivan’s Travels.’ In 1942, she featured as ‘Ellen Graham’ opposite Alan Ladd and Robert Preston in the Paramount thriller, ‘This Gun for Hire.’ Her pairing with Allan Ladd proved popular and was repeated in more (total 7) films. In Paramount’s all-star film ‘Star Spangled Rhythm’ (1942), they both played cameo roles.
  • For the comedy movie, ‘I Married A Witch,’ her first leading man, Joel McCrea, refused to pair with her. Finally she starred with Fredric March and the movie became successful. Another 1942 release, ‘The Glass Key,’ opposite Alan Ladd, too, was a hit.
  • In 1943, Lake played ‘Lt. Olivia D’Arcy,’ in ‘So Proudly We Hail’ and earned accolades for her performance. She appeared as a Nazi spy, ‘Dora Bruckman’ in 1944’s ‘The Hour Before the Dawn,’ which received mixed reports. Allegedly she was a complex and difficult person to work with, thus a number of people refused to work with her. During this time, her alcohol dependence increased while work offers dwindled. Also, she went through a divorce and lost her child due to an accident.
  • In 1945, Lake starred with Eddie Bracken and Sonny Tufts in the musical ‘Bring on the Girls.’ But the movie wasn’t a financial success. She got a third lead in 1945’s ‘Out of This World,’ and though she was given top billing in ‘Miss Susie Slagle’s’ (1945), her role was rather insignificant.
  • In the 1945 comedy ‘Hold That Blonde,’ she worked again with Eddie Bracken and paired with Alan Ladd in 1946 film noir ‘The Blue Dahlia,’ which became a hit. In 1947, she worked in a film outside ‘Paramount,’ a Western ‘Ramrod,’ directed by her then husband Andre DeToth. Joel McCrea agreed to star opposite her and the film was a success.
  • Lake appeared in a few more movies at ‘Paramount’ such as, ‘Variety Girl’ (1947), ‘Saigon’ (1948), ‘Isn’t it Romantic’ and ‘The Sainted Sisters’ both in 1948. But these movies weren’t successful and her contract with ‘Paramount’ was not renewed.
  • Later, there weren’t many work offers. She appeared in a supporting role in DeToth directed ‘Slattery’s Hurricane’ (1949), and an independent production, ‘Stronghold’ (1951). Lake and DeToth declared bankruptcy in 1951 and IRS seized their property. She left DeToth and alone flew their plane to New York.
  • She worked on New York stage. During later years, Lake was often arrested for public drunkenness and her paranoia also increased. In 1962, a reporter spotted her, working as a waitress in a Manhattan bar. This generated speculations that she was destitute, but Lake strongly refuted the claim and returned the money sent by fans. This brought her back in news and she appeared as a TV hostess in Baltimore and worked in an off-Broadway musical ‘Best Foot Forward’ (1963). Her role in ‘Footsteps in the Snow’ (1966) couldn’t help her career.
  • Her autobiography, ‘Veronica: The Autobiography of Veronica Lake,’ written with Donald Bain, was published in UK (1969) and US (1970). For a while, she moved to UK and worked on the stage and earned acclaim for her performance in revival of ‘A Street-car Named Desire.’ With the money received from her book, she co-produced a horror film ‘Flesh Feast’ (1970), which wasn’t successful. In 1971, she returned to the US.
Top
Childhood & Early Life
  • Lake was born on November 14, 1922 in Brooklyn, New York City and was of mixed German-Irish descent. Her father Harry Eugene Ockelman worked on a ship for an oil company and died in an industrial explosion in Philadelphia in 1932. Next year, her Irish mother Constance Frances Charlotta (née Trimble) married a newspaper employee, Anthony Keane.
  • They lived at Saranac Lake, New York and she attended ‘St. Bernard’s School.’ Later Lake studied at the all-girls catholic boarding school, ‘Villa Maria’ in Montreal, Canada, but was expelled from the school. Her mother reported that she had a troubled childhood and suffered from schizophrenia during young age.
  • Her family later shifted from to Miami, Florida, where she studied at the ‘Miami High School.’ In 1938, the Keane family shifted to Beverly Hills, California and she joined the ‘Bliss-Hayden School of Acting.’
Top

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How To Cite

Article Title
- Veronica Lake Biography
Author
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
Website
- TheFamousPeople.com
URL
https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/veronica-lake-39034.php
Last Updated
- January 29, 2019

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