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Richard Arlen Passes Away

Today in Masonic History Richard Arlen passes away in 1976.

Richard Arlen was an American actor.

Arlen was born Sylvanus Richard Van Mattimore on September 1st, 1899 in St. Paul, Minnesota. He attended the University of Pennsylvania. During World War I he served with the Canadian armed forces as a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps.

When Arlen returned from World War I his first job was with the St. Paul's Athletic Club. Shortly after he headed to the Texas and Oklahoma oilfields where he worked as a tool boy. He also worked as a messenger and sports editor for a newspaper.

Eventually Arlen headed to Los Angeles hoping to get into the movies. No producer was interested in him so he took a job as a delivery boy for a film laboratory. One day on a delivery he had an accident on his motorcycle in front of the Paramount Pictures lot. A sympathetic director gave him a part as an extra in a silent movie. His first important role was in the film Vengeance of the Deep in 1923. The film has since been lost.

In 1927 Arlen received his best known role as David Armstrong in the silent movie Wings. The film was set in World War I and involves a love triangle between two friends from the same town who are in love with the same woman. Both enlist in World War I and end up training together.

During World War II, Arlen left Hollywood for a brief time to work as an Army Air Forces flight instructor.

In the 1950's and through the 1960's Arlen became active in television roles. Mostly these were guest appearances. Mostly the shows were westerns or dramas. This included shows like Wanted: Dead or Alive and the show Perry Mason a courtroom drama.

Arlen overall appeared in almost 140 films, both silent and talkies.

Arlen passed away on March 28th, 1976 from emphysema.

Arlen was a member of Utopia Lodge No. 537 in California.