Back in the 1930s, a fan magazine attempted to describe the wide-ranging appeal of Richard Arlen: “Women turn to gaze at him, attracted by the abundant hair that waves back from a good forehead, the fine figure, the mannish attractiveness. Men like him for the square look in his eyes and the sense of fresh air about him. It may be that he carries with him a part of the skies in which he’s spent so much of his life, for he was a flyer long before he was an actor.” In a career that lasted more than fifty years, Arlen seemed to do it all—romance, action, crime, war, westerns, comedy, drama—any demographic could relate to Richard Arlen. He changed with the times, his adaptability prolonging his career and his likable durability has kept him fondly remembered today.
This man’s man was born with the unlikely name of Sylvanus Richard Van Mattimore, in St. Paul, Minnesota, on September 1, 1898, the youngest of five children to Mary and James Van Mattimore. (Arlen’s birthplace has been… read more