Robert Paige (December 2, 1911 – December 21, 1987) was an actor and a TV newscaster and political correspondent and Universal Pictures leading man who made 65 films in his lifetime: he was the only actor ever allowed to sing on film with Deanna Durbin (in 1944's Can't Help Singing). He was a graduate of West Point and was related to Admiral David Beatty, hero of the World War I Battle of Jutland.
Life and career
Born as John Arthur Paige in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1911, he began his screen career in 1934. His handsome features and assured speaking voice earned him prominent roles in motion pictures, such as Cain and Mabel with Clark Gable and Marion Davies. In 1936, to avoid confusion with another rising leading man, John Payne, Paige briefly adopted the screen name David Carlyle. He worked primarily for Warner Brothers and Republic Pictures during this period.
In 1938 he signed a contract with Columbia Pictures, which changed his screen name to Robert Paige. Columbia cast him in "B" features and starred him in one serial, Flying G-Men. When the Columbia contract lapsed, he moved to Paramount Pictures, appeared in the 1941 horror film The Monster and the Girl, and then finally found a home in 1941 at Universal Pictures. Robert Paige quickly became one of Universal's reliable stars, playing romantic leads in many of their comedies and musicals, including those of Abbott and Costello, Olsen and Johnson, Gloria Jean, and Hugh Herbert, as well as numerous B-musicals, often paired with the vivacious Grace McDonald. Ironically, he may be best-remembered today for his heroic leading role in the classic 1943 horror film Son of Dracula. Paige left Universal after a corporate shakeup in 1946.
He became an independent film producer in 1947 and entered the new field of television. He was the last permanent host of NBC's variety series The Colgate Comedy Hour, and won an Emmy in 1955 for "Best Male Personality" (a category which no longer exists). In the 1960s, he became a TV newscaster in Los Angeles at KABC-TV, Channel 7.
Paige continued to work in occasional films through 1963; his last two films were The Marriage-Go-Round (1961) and Bye Bye Birdie (1963). From 1966 to 1970 Paige was a newscaster and political correspondent for ABC News in Los Angeles. He left the news desk to become Deputy Supervisor of Los Angeles under Baxter Ward, and then moved into the public relations field. He retired in the late 1970s.
Robert Paige died from a sudden aortic aneurysm in 1987. He was 76 years old.
- Maxine Hoppe (1985-1987; his death)
- Joanne Ludden (1962-1977; divorce); 1 child
- Betty Henning (1940-1960; divorce)
His only child, born when he was in his late 50's, is daughter Colleen Paige, a pet and home lifestyle expert, author, designer and the founder of National Dog Day, and many more philanthropic holidays. She currently resides in Los Angeles, California with her family and a menagerie of pets.