Paul Drake (character)

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William Hopper as Paul Drake in the CBS-TV series Perry Mason, with guest star Bette Davis (1963)

Paul Drake is a fictional private detective in the Perry Mason series of murder mystery novels by Erle Stanley Gardner. Drake is described as tall and slouching, frequently wearing an expression of droll humor. He is friend and right-hand man to Mason, a highly successful criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles.


Allen Jenkins played a variation on the Paul Drake character, referred to as Spudsy Drake, in two 1935 films based on Gardner novels, The Case of the Curious Bride and The Case of the Lucky Legs.

Eddie Acuff took over the Spudsy role in the 1936 film The Case of the Velvet Claws.


In 1957, the CBS television network launched a Perry Mason series based on Gardner's characters. William Hopper auditioned for both the Mason and Drake roles, and was chosen as Drake.

In the short-lived 1973–74 revival, The New Perry Mason, Paul Drake was played by Albert Stratton.

In the highly successful series of Perry Mason television films that began in 1985, the Paul Drake character was part of the back story: his son Paul Jr. served as Mason's private investigator in the early films. The son was played by William Katt (the real-life son of Barbara Hale, who played Della Street both in the original TV series and the TV movies).