Jack Oakie

Jack Oakie

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Jack Oakie

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Jack Oakie (November 12, 1903 – January 23, 1978) was an American actor, starring mostly in films, but also working on stage, radio and television.

Early life

Oakie was born as Lewis Delaney Offield in Sedalia, Missouri. He grew up in Muskogee, Oklahoma, the source of his "Oakie" nickname. His adopted first name, Jack, was the name of the first character he played on stage.

Early career

Oakie worked as a runner on Wall Street, New York, and narrowly escaped being killed in the Wall Street bombing of 16 September 1920. While in New York, he also started appearing in amateur theatre as a mimic and a comedian, finally making his professional debut on Broadway in 1923 as a chorus boy in a production of Little Nellie Kelly by George M. Cohan.

Oakie worked in various musicals and comedies on Broadway from 1923 to 1927, when he moved to Hollywood to work in movies at the end of the silent film era. Oakie appeared in five silent films during 1927 and 1928. As the age of the "talkies" began, he signed with Paramount Pictures, making his first talking film, The Dummy, in 1929.

Film career

When his contract with Paramount ended in 1934, Oakie decided to freelance. He was remarkably successful, appearing in 87 films, most made in the 1930s and 1940s. In the film Too Much Harmony (1933), the part of Oakie's on-screen mother was played by his real mother Mary Evelyn Offield. During the 1930s he was known as "The World's Oldest Freshman", as a...
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