|Born||Patricia Van Cleve
June 8, 1919
near Paris, France
|Died||October 3, 1993
Rancho Mirage, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Douras mausoleum
Hollywood Forever Cemetery
|Other names||Patricia Van Cleve Lake
Patricia Van Cleeve Lake
|Children||Arthur Lake Jr. (b. 1943)
Marion Lake (b. 1944)
- Rosemary Douras
- George Van Cleeve
- Marion Davies
- William Randolph Hearst
|Awards||MPAA "Baby Star", 1940|
Patricia Van Cleeve Lake (between 1919 and 1923 – October 3, 1993), known as Patricia Lake, was an American socialite, actress, and radio comedian. She was long suspected of being the illegitimate daughter of actress Marion Davies and publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst, which she herself admitted shortly before she died.
She was born in a hospital outside Paris, France. Her date of birth is not known; according to her Los Angeles Times obituary, "The year was sometime between 1920 and 1923; Lake never knew exactly." The Social Security Death Index, states she was born June 8, 1919.
In the 1920s, there was speculation that Lake was the child of Hearst and Davies, who carried on a public affair despite Hearst's being married since 1903 to Millicent Willson. Many reference books state that Lake's parents were Marion Davies' sister Rose and her first husband, George Van Cleeve. The Lake family asserted that the newborn was given to Davies' sister, whose own child had died in infancy, and that the dead child's birth certificate was altered to support the deception. It was reported by CBS News that Hearst is alleged to have acknowledged to Lake on her wedding day that he was her father.
According to the Magazine Americana, published by The Institute for the Study of American Popular Culture, George Van Cleve kidnapped Patricia in 1924 and went into hiding. Hearst's detectives located the pair after five years and the child was returned to Rose's custody, only to be returned to Van Cleve's custody after a court decision.
Patricia attended Lawlor Professional School in Hollywood, The Lake family asserts further that when Patricia lived with the Van Cleves, Hearst paid the bills and also sent her to schools in New York and Boston.
It was reported that Hearst and Davies took her on trips to Europe and spent time with her. Lake spent considerable time at Hearst's San Simeon estate, is included in most home movies of Hearst and Davies, and accompanied them on many trips. Introduced as Marion Davies' niece, Lake socialized with such notables as Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, Charlie Chaplin and Gloria Swanson. Lake lived with Marion Davies for the major portion of her life and Hearst financially supported Lake all of her life. After Lake's marriage, Davies continued to support both Patricia and her husband Arthur. When Davies died in 1961, half of her 20 million dollar estate was left to Lake as an inheritance.
Her features, "suspiciously similar" to those of Hearst, did not go unnoticed, but Lake never made any public comment on the subject, even after the deaths of Hearst and Davies. Reportedly, just before Patricia Lake's death in 1993, she told her family her beliefs about the identities of her biological parents.
Patricia first met actor Arthur Lake when he was visiting at Marion Davies' beach house. She and Arthur were married in 1937 at Hearst's San Simeon estate, with both Hearst and Davies jointly giving her away at the marriage ceremony. This would have made her 14 years old at the time of her marriage if 1923 was the true year of her birth. Patricia and Arthur remained married for nearly 50 years until his death in January 1987. They had two children: Arthur Patrick Lake (Arthur Lake Jr.) (born March 1, 1943), and Marion Rose Lake (born October 6, 1944).
Lake performed in theater during the late 1930s through the mid-1940s. When, after 7 years, Penny Singleton left the radio sitcom Blondie in the mid-1940s, Lake replaced her as the voice of Blondie Bumstead for the remaining five years of the show, opposite her real-life husband Arthur Lake, who played Blondie's spouse, Dagwood. In 1954, Lake also co-starred with her husband in an early television sitcom he created called Meet the Family.
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