Richard Arlen

D.O.B: Sep 01, 1899 |  St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

32Credit Score

During World War I, Richard Arlen served in the Royal Canadian Flying Corps as a pilot, but he never saw combat. After the war he drifted round and eventually wound up in Los Angeles, where he got a job as a motorcycle messenger at a film laboratory.

Biography

During World War I, Richard Arlen served in the Royal Canadian Flying Corps as a pilot, but he never saw combat. After the war he drifted round and eventually wound up in Los Angeles, where he got a job as a motorcycle messenger at a film laboratory. When he crashed into the gates of Paramount Pictures and suffered a broken leg, the studio provided prompt medical attention. Impressed by his good looks, executives also gave him a contract after he had recovered. Starting as an extra in 1925, Arlen soon rose to credited roles, but the quality of his work left much to be desired. However, this was the silent era, which was more about looks than substance, and he continued on. His big break came when William A. Wellman cast him as a pilot in the silent film Wings (1927) with Charles Buddy Rogers and Clara Bow. The story of fighter aces would win the Oscar for Best Picture and Arlen would continue to play the tough, cynical hero throughout his career. Arlen appeared in three more pictures directed by Wellman, Beggars of Life (1928), Ladies of the Mob (1928) and The Man I Love (1929). In Wings he had a scene with a young actor named Gary Cooper. In 1929, he again worked with Cooper in the western The Virginian (1929), only this time Cooper was the star and Arlen was the supporting actor.