Patricia Van Cleeve Lake was born sometime between 1919 and 1923 just outside Paris, France. Publicly and privately, Lake, was never fully aware of her actual birthdate; although, many historians estimate the earlier years 1919 or 1920 to be the closest approximation. According to the public, Lake was the legitimate daughter of George and Rose Van Cleeve – the latter a sister of Marion Davies. In 1924 during a dispute between her parents, Lake was allegedly kidnapped by George Van Cleeve who was on the run with his daughter for five years. They were finally discovered after Hearst’s detectives located the pair and brought the child back to her mother, Rose. A bitter custody battle insured between the couple with George Van Cleeve gaining custody after proving Rose Van Cleeve was an alcoholic.
In 1937, Lake married actor Arthur Lake – most notable for his performance in the Blondie television, radio and movie series – who she had met at Marion Davies’ beach house. It was later reported that the scandalous affair between Lake and Flynn persisted during the engagement and early into the marriage. Apparently, Hearst lectured Lake on her illicit affair stating that, "You have got to stop this. You are a married woman." She, according to reports replied, “What about you?" referencing his affair with Davies. Nevertheless, the couple remained married until his death in January 1987 and had two children, Arthur Lake Jr and Marion Rose Lake. A few years after their wedding, Lake’s acting career began to take off.
|Patricia Van Cleve and Arthur Lake's wedding|
She was named as one of the MPPA ‘Baby Stars’ of 1940, a replacement of the earlier program WAMPAS Baby Stars. She completed mostly stage work from the 1930’s to the mid-1940’s and later took over from Penny Singleton as the voice of Blondie Bumstead in the radio series Blondie, opposite her husband. Lake also worked alongside her husband in a television comedy, Meet the Family released in 1954.
In 1961, the death of Marion Davies caused Lake a great amount of pain. She had lived with Davies – and occasionally her lover Hearst – for much of her life and grieved her death. In her will Davies bequest her “niece” a large inheritance of half of her 20 million dollar fortune. It would be sign of what was to come in the public life of Patricia Van Cleeve Lake with the connection between her and Davies revealed over 30-years later. Lake died October 3, 1993. On her death bead, according to her son, Arthur Lake Jr., she spilled her long kept secret: that she was in fact the illegitimate daughter of Marion Davies and William Randolf Heart and the fact was concealed to save both parties reputation. Coming soon Part 2!! In which I discuss all the theories of Patricia Van Cleve Lake’s paternity, all the Hollywood gossip and the truth.
|Hearst and Davies|