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Veronica Lake: Life and Death of 'Sullivan's Travels' and 'I Married a Witch' Star

Olowokandi Fiyin
Jun 16, 2020
04:30 A.M.

Veronica Lake was a well-loved actress whose life ended at the age of 50 - here is all you need to know about her.

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Born as Constance Frances Marie Ockleman, Veronica Lake was a well-known film, stage, and television actor, born in 1922.

Veronica Lake at London Airport on January 21, 1969 | Photo: Getty Images

Veronica Lake at London Airport on January 21, 1969 | Photo: Getty Images

According to her IMDB page, the actress began her Hollywood career when she appeared in the 1939 RKO film, “Sorority House.” Veronica followed that project up with “All Women Have Secrets,” “Dancing Co-Ed, “Young as You Feel,” and “Forty Little Mothers.”

Years after her death, Veronica still gets praised for her appearance in “Sullivan’s Travels,” a 1941 movie that many consider the “finest film” from director Preston Sturges.

A portrait of the Glamorous actress Veronica Lake on January 01, 1945 | Photo: Getty Images

A portrait of the Glamorous actress Veronica Lake on January 01, 1945 | Photo: Getty Images

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Although she was working under her original name of Constance Keane, she was asked to change it when she landed a speaking role in 1941's “I Wanted Wings.”

With the change of name and appearance in the 1941 film came some success and recognition that led to more appearances in movies like “So Proudly We Hail!,” “Hold That Blonde!,” “Out of This World,” and “The Hour Before the Dawn.”

Between 1952 and 1966, Veronica made television appearances and even tried her hand on the stage, but none of her attempts worked in her favor.

Portrait of American Actress Veronica Lake on January 01, 1945 | Photo: Getty Images

Portrait of American Actress Veronica Lake on January 01, 1945 | Photo: Getty Images

It was during this down period that the actress turned to alcohol and began living in an old hotel while working as a bartender.

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Although she returned to the big screen in 1966 and the silver screen in 1970, her career soon ended as she died of hepatitis in 1973.

While many people assumed that the ill-luck she suffered during her film career drove her to the bottle, Closer Weekly reported that it wasn’t the case.

Actress Veronica Lake in a scene from the movie "Ramrod" on January 01, 1947 | Photo: Getty Images

Actress Veronica Lake in a scene from the movie "Ramrod" on January 01, 1947 | Photo: Getty Images

The news outlet narrated that in the recently republished book, “Veronica: The Autobiography of Veronica Lake,” it was revealed that Veronica decided to leave Hollywood in search of a simpler life. The actress reportedly stated in the book that:

“I had to get out. I was never psychologically meant to be a picture star.”

Film star Veronica Lake photographed on January 01, 1966 | Photo: Getty Images

Film star Veronica Lake photographed on January 01, 1966 | Photo: Getty Images

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Fox News added that Veronica had reportedly turned to alcohol to relieve herself from the symptoms of schizophrenia - a mental disorder that she was diagnosed with when she was still a child.

Years after her death, Veronica still gets praised for her appearance in “Sullivan’s Travels,” a 1941 movie that many consider the “finest film” from director Preston Sturges.

Veronica Lake wearing a plaid shirt and holding a rope for a portrait on January 01, 1945 | Photo: Getty Images

Veronica Lake wearing a plaid shirt and holding a rope for a portrait on January 01, 1945 | Photo: Getty Images

According to Britannica, the movie’s plot focused on John Lloyd Sullivan (played by Joel McCrea), a spoiled Hollywood director who decides to make a film about the oppressed in society.

Joel was joined on his journey by six-month pregnant Veronica, who played the role of a struggling actress.

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