Character actor Lane died yesterday at age 102. If you think you don't know who he is. . .still, you do. His name is perhaps listed in more film cast lists than any other actor in the history of the cinema. But not only did I know him by sight, I even asked for his autograph one time by name, i.e. "S'cuse me, Mister Lane." A friend of mine (let's call him Beryl) was a DFC ("dumb effen cutter" B's phrase) on "The Lucy Show" on which Lane was a regular, and even B. didn't know Lane by name when I phoned up yesterday to tell him the sad but inevitable news. "Charles, who?" I explained. "Oh! That guy!"
He began his career as a stage actor, appearing in stock in the teens with the likes of John Barrymore. I've always found it fascinating that Lane figured out that he needed a nose job to make it in the movies. During his very first appearances on screen, he has a different and more prominent schnoz and looks quite differently. Maybe too mean. But with his somewhat slimmed-down new nose he came off just "crotchety," "bad-tempered," "miserly," "abrasive," "unscrupulous," "greedy." and "hatchet-faced" (adjectives used to describe him in his allmovieguide entry) enough.
Lane probably made out like a bandit during the halcyon days of character actors in movies and on TV. Sometimes worked as many as three jobs a day.
Apparently compus mentis right up till the very end, Lane even did some voiceover animation work a couple of years back. A fitting end for one of the founders of the Screen Actors Guild.