Richard Arlen

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Richard Arlen
Richard Arlen - still.jpg
Arlen in 1932
Sylvanus Richard Mattimore

(1899-09-01)September 1, 1899
DiedMarch 28, 1976(1976-03-28) (aged 76)
Resting placeHoly Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California
Alma materUniversity of Pennsylvania
Years active1921–1976
Ruth Austin
(m. 1920; div. 1923)

(m. 1927; div. 1946)

Margaret Kinsella
(m. 1946)
Military career
Allegiance United Kingdom
 United States
Service/branchFlag of the British Army.svg British Army
US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg United States Army Air Forces
UnitRoyal Flying Corps
Battles/warsWorld War I
World War II

Richard Arlen (born Sylvanus Richard Mattimore, September 1, 1899[2] – March 28, 1976) was an American actor of film and television.


Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Arlen attended the University of Pennsylvania.[citation needed] He served in Canada as a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps during World War I.[3] After the war, he went to the oilfields of Texas and Oklahoma and found work as a tool boy. He was thereafter a messenger and sporting editor of a newspaper before going to Los Angeles to act in films, but no producer wanted him. He was a delivery boy for a film laboratory when the motorcycle which he was riding landed him a broken leg outside the Paramount Pictures lot.[citation needed] A sympathetic film director gave him his start as an extra. He appeared at first in silent films before making the transition to talkies. His first important film role was in Vengeance of the Deep (1923).[citation needed]

He took time out from his Hollywood career to teach as a United States Army Air Forces flight instructor in World War II.[4]

Arlen is best known for his role as a pilot in the Academy Award-winning Wings (1927) with Clara Bow, Charles 'Buddy' Rogers, Gary Cooper, El Brendel, and his second wife, Jobyna Ralston, whom he married in 1927. Arlen later appeared in the science fiction horror Island of Lost Souls (1932) with Charles Laughton, adapted from the H.G. Wells novel The Island of Dr. Moreau. He was among the more famous residents of the celebrity enclave, Toluca Lake, California.[5] He married New York socialite, Margaret Kinsella, in 1946.[6]

In 1939, Universal teamed him with Andy Devine for a series of 14 B-pictures, mostly action-comedies with heavy reliance on stock footage from larger-scale films. They are informally known as the "Aces of Action" series, which is how the stars were billed in the trailers. When Arlen left the studio in 1941, the series continued with Devine teamed with a variety of other actors.

In the 1950s and early 1960s, Arlen was active in television, having guest starred in several anthology series, including Playhouse 90, The Loretta Young Show, The 20th Century Fox Hour, and in three episodes of the series about clergymen, Crossroads.

In 1960, Arlen was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame with a motion pictures star at 6755 Hollywood Boulevard for his contributions to the film industry.[7]

In 1968, he appeared on Petticoat Junction playing himself. The episode was called "Wings" and it was in direct reference to the 1927 silent movie Wings.

Arlen appeared in westerns, such as Lawman, Branded, Bat Masterson, Wanted: Dead or Alive, Wagon Train, and Yancy Derringer, and in such drama/adventure programs as Ripcord, Whirlybirds, Perry Mason, The New Breed, Coronado 9, and Michael Shayne.

Political views[edit]

Arlen supported Barry Goldwater in the 1964 United States presidential election.[8]


On March 28, 1976, Arlen died in North Hollywood, California.[3] He was interred at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.[citation needed]


Year Title Role Notes
1921 Ladies Must Live Minor Role Uncredited
1922 The Green Temptation Uncredited
The Ghost Breaker One of the 'Ghosts' Uncredited
1923 Quicksands Uncredited
Vengeance of the Deep Jean
Hollywood Himself
1924 The Fighting Coward Minor Role Uncredited
1925 Sally Minor Role Uncredited
In the Name of Love Dumas Dufrayne
The Coast of Folly Bather Scenes deleted
1926 The Enchanted Hill Link Halliwell
Behind the Front Percy Brown
Padlocked 'Tubby' Clark
You'd Be Surprised Photographer Uncredited
Old Ironsides Seaman Uncredited
1927 Wings David Armstrong
Rolled Stockings Ralph Treadway
The Blood Ship John Shreve
Sally in Our Alley Jimmie Adams
Figures Don't Lie Bob Blewe
She's a Sheik Capt. Colton
1928 Under the Tonto Rim Edd Denmeade
Feel My Pulse Her Problem
Ladies of the Mob Red
Beggars of Life The Boy (Jim)
Manhattan Cocktail Fred Tilden
1929 The Man I Love Dum-Dum Brooks
The Four Feathers Lt. Harry Faversham
Thunderbolt Bob Moran
Dangerous Curves Larry Lee
The Virginian Steve
1930 Burning Up Lou Larrigan
The Border Legion Heyst
Dangerous Paradise Dick Bailey
The Light of Western Stars Jim Cleve
Paramount on Parade Hunter Episode: 'Dream Girl'
The Sea God Phillip 'Pink' Barker
The Santa Fe Trail Stan Hollister
Only Saps Work Lawrence Payne
1931 The Conquering Horde Dan McMasters
Gun Smoke Brad Farley
The Lawyer's Secret Joe Hart
The Secret Call Tom Blake
Caught Lt. Tom Colton
Touchdown Dan Curtis
1932 Wayward David Frost
Sky Bride Bert 'Speed' Condon
Guilty as Hell Frank C. Marsh
Tiger Shark Pipes Boley
The All American Gary King
Island of Lost Souls Edward Parker
1933 Song of the Eagle Bill Hoffman
College Humor Mondrake
Three-Cornered Moon Dr. Alan Stevens
Golden Harvest Walt Martin
Hell and High Water Capt. J.J. Jericho
Alice in Wonderland Cheshire Cat
1934 Come On Marines! Lucky Davis
She Made Her Bed Wild Bill Smith
Ready for Love Julian Barrow
Helldorado Art Ryan
1935 Let 'Em Have It Mal Stevens
The Calling of Dan Matthews Dan Matthews
1936 Three Live Ghosts William 'Bill' Jones, an alias of William Foster
The Mine with the Iron Door Bob Harvey
1937 Secret Valley Lee Rogers
The Great Barrier Hickey
Artists and Models Alan Townsend
Murder in Greenwich Village Steve Havens Jackson Jr.
1938 No Time to Marry
Call of the Yukon Gaston Rogers
Straight, Place and Show Denny Paine
1939 Missing Daughters Wally King
Mutiny on the Blackhawk Capt. Robert Lawrence
Tropic Fury Dan Burton
Legion of Lost Flyers Gene 'Loop' Gillan
Man from Montreal Clark Manning
1950 Danger on Wheels Larry Taylor
Hot Steel Frank Stewart
The Leather Pushers Dick 'Kid' Roberts
The Devil's Pipeline Dick Talbot
Black Diamonds Walter Norton
1941 Lucky Devils Dick McManus
Mutiny in the Arctic Dick Barclay
Men of the Timberland Dick O'Hara
Power Dive Brad Farrell
Forced Landing Dan Kendall
Raiders of the Desert Dick Manning
A Dangerous Game Dick Williams
Flying Blind Jim Clark
1942 Torpedo Boat Skinner Barnes
Wildcat Johnny Maverick
Wrecking Crew Matt Carney
1943 Submarine Alert Lewis J. 'Lee' Deerhold
Aerial Gunner Sgt / Lt. Jonathan 'Jon' Davis
Alaska Highway Woody Ormsby
Minesweeper Richard Houston – posing as Jim 'Tennessee' Smith
1944 Timber Queen Russell Evans
The Lady and the Monster Dr. Patrick Cory
That's My Baby! Tim Jones
Storm Over Lisbon John Craig
The Big Bonanza Captain Jed Kilton
1945 Identity Unknown Johnny March
The Phantom Speaks Matt Fraser
1946 Accomplice Simon Lash
1947 Buffalo Bill Rides Again Buffalo Bill
1948 Speed to Spare Cliff Jordan
The Return of Wildfire Dobe Williams
When My Baby Smiles at Me Harvey Howell
1949 Grand Canyon Mike Adams
1950 Kansas Raiders Union Captain
1951 Silver City Charles Storrs
1952 Flaming Feather Showdown Calhoun
Hurricane Smith Brundage
The Blazing Forest Joe Morgan
1953 Sabre Jet Gen. Robert E. 'Bob' Hale
1954 Devil's Harbor John 'Captain' Martin
1955 Stolen Time Tony Pelassier
1956 Hidden Guns Sheriff Ward Young
The Mountain C.W. Rivial
1958 Cavalry Command Sgt. Jim Heisler
1959 Warlock Bacon
1960 Raymie Garber
1961 The Last Time I Saw Archie Col. Edwin Martin
1963 The Young and The Brave Col. Ralph Holbein
The Crawling Hand Lee Barrenger
Law of the Lawless Ben the Bartender
1964 The Best Man Sen. Oscar Anderson
The Shepherd of the Hills Old Matt
Young Fury Sheriff Jenkins
Sex and the College Girl Charles Devon
1965 The Human Duplicators Lt. Shaw – National Intelligence
Black Spurs Pete Muchin
Town Tamer Doctor Kent
The Bounty Killer Matthew Ridgeway
Apache Uprising Captain Gannon
1966 Johnny Reno Ned Duggan
To the Shores of Hell Brig. Gen. F.W. Ramsgate
Waco Sheriff Billy Kelly
1967 Red Tomahawk Deadwood Telegrapher
Hostile Guns Sheriff Travis
Fort Utah Sam Tyler
The Road to Nashville Studio Boss
1968 Buckskin Townsman
Anzio Capt. Gannon Uncredited
Rogues' Gallery Man in Club
1975 The Sky's the Limit Grimes
1976 Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood Silent Film Star 2
1977 A Whale of a Tale Mr. Monahan Final film role

Short subjects[edit]

  • A Trip Through the Paramount Studio (1927) as Himself
  • Hollywood on Parade No. A-6 (1933) as Himself / The Great Arlen (uncredited)
  • Hollywood on Parade No. A-9 (1933) as Himself – Dick Arlen (uncredited)
  • How to Break 90 #4: Downswing (1933) as Himself – Dick Arlen (uncredited)
  • Hollywood on Parade No. B-6 (1934) as Himself
  • Hollywood Hobbies (1935) as Himself
  • Screen Snapshots Series 15, No. 3 (1935) as Himself
  • Swing with Bing (1940) as Himself – Movie Star playing Golf
  • Screen Snapshots: Sports in Hollywood (1940) as Himself, Golf Player
  • Soaring Stars (1942) as Himself (uncredited)
  • Unusual Occupations (1942) as Himself (uncredited)
  • Paramount Victory Short: A Letter from Bataan (1942) as Pvt. John W. Lewis
  • Bat Masterson (1961) as Sheriff Dan Rainey – S3E16 "The Price of Paradise"


  1. ^ "Richard Arlen Dies; Screen Actor was 75". Schenectady Gazette. United Press International. March 29, 1976. p. 17. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  2. ^ Although Arlen's birthplace is often listed as Charlottesville, Virginia, and his birth name as Cornelius Richard Van Mattimore, other non-Hollywood information is different. The "Van" is likely a shorten version of Sylvanus, not an additional name. The June 1, 1900 census data says Arlen's father, James Mattimore lived in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1900 with five children, the youngest of whom is Sylvanus, who was born in Minnesota (city unspecified) in September 1899 and was also listed as 8/12 years of age. Sylvanus was listed in the April 1, 1910 census as being 10 years old. On Arlen's September 12, 1918 draft card, his name given as Van Mattimore, a member of the Royal Flying Corps of the British Army, based in Toronto, his nearest relative is listed as his father James Mattimore. The 1918 draft card's date of birth is given as September 1, 1900, and it would appear that the writer started to put the year of birth as 18 and then wrote over the 8 with a 9, so it appears as 1900. The Social Security Administration notes Richard Arlen was born on September 1, 1899 and died in March 1976. The census of 1930 lists Van Mattimore, Richard age 29. It says that he and both parents were born in Minnesota. According to the 1900 and 1910 census, his father was born in Ireland.
  3. ^ a b Tucker, David C. (August 15, 2019). Pine-Thomas Productions: A History and Filmography. McFarland. pp. 211–213. ISBN 978-1-4766-7743-9. Retrieved May 31, 2021.
  4. ^ TODAY in Masonic History: Richard Arlen Passes Away. Masonry Today. Retrieved March 8, 2020.
  5. ^ History of Toluca Lake Archived July 17, 2011, at the Wayback Machine Toluca Lake Chamber of Commerce, retrieved on September 15, 2010.
  6. ^ "Arlen to Wed Again". The Evening News. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. March 23, 1946. p. 1. Retrieved June 3, 2020. Actor Richard Arlen and New York Socialite Margaret Kinsella will be married when his divorce from Silent Screen Actress Jobyna Ralston becomes final September 4, he said today.
  7. ^ "Hollywood Walk of Fame – Richard Arlen". Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved November 8, 2017.
  8. ^ Critchlow, Donald T. (October 21, 2013). When Hollywood Was Right: How Movie Stars, Studio Moguls, and Big Business Remade American Politics. ISBN 9781107650282.

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