Lauck as Lum in The Bashful Bachelor (1942)
February 9, 1902|
|Died||February 21, 1980
Seal Beach, California, U.S.
Chester "Chet" Lauck (February 9, 1902 – February 21, 1980) was a comic actor who played the character of Lum Edwards on the classic American radio comedy Lum and Abner.
Early life and career
Chester Lauck was raised in Mena, Arkansas and graduated from Mena High School in 1920. In Mena, Chet met his future comedy partner Norris Goff. Though both began as blackface comics, they soon found success on local station KTHS with a recurring hillbilly skit, leading to a network series, recorded in Chicago, Illinois, in 1931.
In addition to starring as storekeeper Lum (full name Columbus Edwards, with surname usually pronounced "Eddards"), Lauck also played several other recurring characters, including Cedric Weehunt, Grandpappy Spears, and Snake Hogan. He reprised his radio role, opposite Goff, in seven motion pictures between 1940 and 1956. Lauck adopted grey hair and a moustache on-camera, to better match the picture most audiences would have of his radio character.
In his later years, Lauck recorded new introductions for commercial cassette releases of the series and for syndication. For a brief time during the 1950s he bought and upgraded a ranch fifteen miles west of Las Vegas, later bought by Howard Hughes. It was turned into Spring Mountain Ranch State Park.
On August 27, 1957, he appeared as a guest challenger on To Tell the Truth.