Art Baker (actor)

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Art Baker
Art Baker hosting 'You Asked For It' (1951).png
Art Baker hosting 'You Asked For It' in 1951
Born Arthur Shank
(1898-01-07)January 7, 1898
New York City, New York, USA
Died August 26, 1966(1966-08-26) (aged 68)
Los Angeles, California, USA
Resting place Forest Lawn Memorial Park
Occupation Film, television and radio actor
Years active 1937–66

Art Baker (born Arthur Shank; January 7, 1898[1] – August 26, 1966) was an American film, television and radio actor of the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.

Early years[edit]

Baker was born January 7, 1898, in New York City.[1] He initially planned to be a singer, and during World War I he was a song leader while serving in the United States Army. His post-war occupations included touring with traveling evangelists and operating an appliance store in California.[2]


Baker's radio career began because he was employed at Forest Lawn Memorial Park. When it began a radio program, Tapestries of Life, Baker was chosen to be the narrator. He went on to work on as many as 22 shows per week.[2]

On September 8, 1938, Baker began "Art Baker's Notebook" on Los Angeles' KFI radio station, which lasted for two decades. The program was syndicated to other stations via electrical transcription.[3]


Baker appeared in more than 40 films. His tall, slim frame, snow white hair, smooth slightly nasal voice and genial nature made him a natural choice to play business executives, doctors, and senators in film.


Baker is best known for his work on a television series he created, titled You Asked For It (for which he became affectionately dubbed, the "genie with the light, white hair") between December 1950 and January 1958. It was originally named The Art Baker Show, but the title was changed in April, 1951. During the last 20 months of the show, Baker was replaced by Jack Smith.

Another Baker TV program, End of the Rainbow, debuted January 11, 1958. The program helped unsuspecting people "who are in need of a push to make a success of their dreams, such as a chance to regain a sound footing in business..."[4]

Hollywood Walk of Fame[edit]

Baker has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work in radio. The star, at 6509 Hollywood Boulevard, was dedicated February 8, 1960.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Baker had four children, Virginia, who died of TB, Arthur (Bart), Robert and Dorothy, all by his first wife. The family lived in Iowa.


Baker died of a heart attack at a bank in Los Angeles August 26, 1966.[6] He was survived by his wife, a daughter, and two stepsons.[7]

Partial filmography[edit]


  1. ^ a b DeLong, Thomas A. (1996). Radio Stars: An Illustrated Biographical Dictionary of 953 Performers, 1920 through 1960. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-2834-2. P. 19.
  2. ^ a b "KRNR Dial-Log". Oregon, Roseburg. The News-Review. July 14, 1949. p. 5. Retrieved November 6, 2015 – via  open access publication - free to read
  3. ^ Dunning, John. (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3. P. 42.
  4. ^ Wade, Tom (January 11, 1958). "Popular Art Baker Emcees New Series". Pasadena Independent. p. 12. Retrieved September 3, 2015 – via  open access publication - free to read
  5. ^ "Art Baker". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  6. ^ "Actor Art Baker Collapses, Dies". Independent. August 27, 1966. p. 8. Retrieved September 3, 2015 – via  open access publication - free to read
  7. ^ "Actor Art Baker Dies". The Kansas City Times. August 27, 1966. p. 21. Retrieved September 3, 2015 – via  open access publication - free to read

External links[edit]