Richard Arlen (Richard Arlen)

Richard Arlen

Actor.  Born Cornelius Richard Van Mattimore, in Charlottesville, Virginia, he served as a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War I. While working as a motorcycle messenger for a film laboratory, he was injured in an accident at Paramount Studios in the early 1920s.  When he later went to the studio to thank them for their prompt medical care, studio officials him offered him a chance in pictures. It is believed they were impressed with his good looks. Arlen started his career in 1925 as an extra in silent pictures. He was best known for his role as a pilot in the Academy Award –winning “Wings” (1927), which was the first to win the Academy Award for best picture. Movies that followed were “Manhattan Cocktail”, “Beggars of Life”, and “Ladies of the Mob” in 1928.  He was able to make the transition to “talkies” and four of the movies he appeared in in 1929 were “Dangerous Curves”, “Thunderbolt”, “The Four Feathers” and “The Virginian”,  the latter starring a young Gary Cooper. He was in 31 movies during the 1920 to 1929 years. “Paramount on Parade” was released in 1930, and “The Secret Call” was made in 1931. He appeared in at about 52 movies during the 1930’s. In the 1940’s, when roles were harder to come by, he appeared in 38 movies, including “When My Baby Smiles at Me” in 1948. He wisely invested his savings in numerous successful businesses. He took time out from his Hollywood career to teach as a United States Army Air Forces flight instructor during World War II. He was also part-owner of a civilian flying service, and worked as an air safety expert for the government during World War II. He was still acting in television and in commercials into the 1960’s, appearing in only 10 movies. He also appeared in an episode of the television sitcom, “Petticoat Junction” entitled “Wings” in 1968. His last movies were “The Road to Nashville” and Fort Utah”, both in 1967, and “The Sky’s the Limit” in 1975. Other movies released the year of his death and after his death were “Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood” (1976) and “A Whale of a Tale” (1977). He appeared as “John Minor” in a 1959 episode and again as “Sheriff Dan Rainey” in a 1961 episode of “Bat Masterson”. He was also “Dr. Harrison” on an episode of “Perry Mason” in 1961. He was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He appeared in about 200 movies and television episodes before his death from emphysema in North Hollywood, California. (bio by: H M G)  Family links:  Spouses:  Jobyna Ralston (1900 – 1967)*  Margaret Kinsella Arlen (1907 – 1987)* *Calculated relationshipCause of death: Emphysema


  • September, 01, 1898
  • USA


  • March, 03, 1976
  • USA

Cause of Death

  • Emphysema


  • Holy Cross Cemetery
  • California
  • USA

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