Real name: Robert Clinton Oakes
1899 - 1972
Middle name is often noted as "Chandler"
Recent info confirms his middle name was "Clinton"
(Courtesy of Jack Jones)
Chandler, circa 1928
(From Old Corral image collection)
While under contract to Paramount in the late 1920s, the tall, lanky Chandler was competing for stardom with Gary Cooper. Above - the "It" girl, Clara Bow is being romanced by Lane Chandler in RED HAIR (Paramount, 1928). Bow married Rex Bell, cowboy star of the 1920s - 1930s, who later became Lt. Governor of Nevada.
(From Old Corral image collection)
Above - Lane Chandler, 1950s
|Special thanks to guest commentator Bill Russell for authoring the biography on Lane Chandler.|
(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Above - Sherry Tansey is about to take a board to Chandler who is poundin' away on an unidentified player in a lobby card from the lost/missing RIDERS OF THE RIO (Round-Up Pictures, 1931).
(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Above - Richard 'Dick' Cramer has his grip on Gertrude Messinger while Chandler looks on in this title card from LAWLESS VALLEY (Willis Kent, 1932). A few years after the Chandler oaters, Willis Kent signed Northwestern University fullback Lafayette H. 'Reb' Russell to a contract for a series of western flicks.
After that Chandler began his long career in countless support roles. Among his best was a third-lead entry in the John Wayne starrer, WINDS OF THE WASTELAND, a Republic picture which this author feels is one of the best B-Westerns made. Chandler turns in a solid performance. He had appeared with Wayne in 1933 in the Monogram/Lone Star production, SAGEBRUSH TRAIL. That same year, Chandler had contributed solid performances in two Jack Hoxie Majestic Pictures (TROUBLE BUSTERS and VIA PONY EXPRESS) and supported Tom Tyler in Monarch's WAR OF THE RANGE.
Serials also played an important part in Chandler's career, although he starred in only one, the 1930 LIGHTNING EXPRESS, a sound remake of the Wallace MacDonald 1927 cliffhanger, WHISPERING SMITH RIDES. He could be seen in numerous other serials during the 30's but the most notable and best remembered was his role as 'Dick Forrest' in Republic's all-time classic serial, THE LONE RANGER. That same year Chandler had a featured role as 'Davy Crockett' in Sunset Productions' HEROES OF THE ALAMO.
But by now it was all support work for Chandler, who was developing into one of the most effective support actors in Hollywood, portraying all sorts of different characters, good and bad. Sometimes he was credited and sometimes he wasn't but in each his strong, forceful portrayal came through. He was a favorite of Cecil B. deMille and the noted director used him in many of his films. Chandler is reported to have once stated in an interview that while the parts were small, his favorite roles were those he played in deMille pictures.
With television looming on the horizon, Chandler, who had survived the transition from silent to sound, now made his move into television. In 1949 he made his first appearance in a TV Western when he appeared in an early episode of THE LONE RANGER. He would appear in numerous TV Westerns throughout the 50's and 60's.
His last big-screen appearance occurred in 1971 with release of Universal's ONE MORE TRAIN TO ROB, starring George Peppard. Before that he had appeared in Alex Gordon's nostalgic REQUIEM FOR A GUNFIGHTER ('65) which starred Rod Cameron but included a bevy of former genre stars.
Off screen, Chandler was considered an 'astute businessman', having an interest in a metal parts manufacturing company and a ranch in the 29 Palms area of California, which he reportedly sub-divided.
On September 14, 1972, Lane Chandler died in Los Angeles at the age of 73.
The variety of roles and number of pictures Chandler played in is staggering (in the neighborhood of 300 or more if you include the unbilled ones). One can only wonder why Chandler, who really had all the assets of a leading cowboy star, including superb acting capabilities, didn't get more starring work, especially when you consider his fine work with Hoxie, Wayne, Tyler and others. Western producer Alex Gordon has said that Chandler lost out to Tom Tyler for a series that Reliable made between 1934-36, a loss that might have enabled him to continue as a Western hero for a few more years.
The Motion Picture Herald and BoxOffice trade magazine polls were conducted from about the mid 1930s through the mid 1950s. With a few exceptions, the annual results would list the 'Top Ten' (or 'Top Five') cowboy film stars. In most cases, the winners were what you would expect --- Autry, Rogers, Holt, Starrett, Hoppy, etc. These polls did not begin until 1936, which was past Lane Chandler's period as a western film hero.
Les Adams has Chandler identified in over 300 sound era films, and this includes 130 westerns and 35 serials.
Starring roles --- westerns and serials
Sound films only
Special thanks to Les Adams for providing this filmography
|1/28/30||FIREBRAND JORDAN||Big 4||Alvin J. Neitz (Alan James)||Aline Goodwin||Firebrand Jordan|
|12/1/30||RIDERS OF THE RIO||Round-Up||Robert Emmett Tansey||Karla Cowan||Unknown|
|4/30/30||THE LIGHTNING EXPRESS (Serial)||Universal Pictures||Henry MacRae||Louise Lorraine||Jack Venable|
|10/11/31||HURRICANE HORSEMAN||Kent Prod||Armand Schaefer||Marie Quillan||Gun Smith|
|12/15/31||CHEYENNE CYCLONE||Kent Prod||Armand Schaefer||Marie Quillan||Bob Carlton|
|2/11/32||BATTLING BUCKAROO||Kent Prod.||Armand Schaefer||Doris Hill||Jack Winslow|
|4/1/32||TEXAS TORNADO||Kent Prod||Oliver Drake||Doris Hill||Tex Robbins|
|5/1/32||LAWLESS VALLEY||Kent Prod||J. P. McGowan||Gertrude Messinger||Bob Rand|
|7/1/32||RECKLESS RIDER, THE||Kent Prod||Armand Schaefer||Phyllis Barrington||Tex Wilkins|
|9/1/32||GUNS FOR HIRE||Kent Prod||Lewis Collins||Sally Darling (Djarling)||Ken Wayne/Flip LaRue|
|12/30/32||WYOMING WHIRLWIND, THE||Kent Prod||Armand Schaefer||Adele Tracy||Keene (The Wolf) Wallace|
|2/1/35||LONE BANDIT, THE||Empire||J. P. McGowan||Doris Brook||Lane Cartwright|
|3/15/35||OUTLAW TAMER , THE||Empire||J. P. McGowan||Janet Morgan (Blanche MeHaffey)||Tex Broderick|
|8/6/37||HEROES OF THE ALAMO||Sunset Prod.||Harry Fraser||n/a||Davy Crockett|