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Lola Lane

The Lane Sisters were four siblings who achieved success during the 1930s as a singing act, with their popularity leading to a series of successful films.

The sisters were Lola (May 21, 1906 - June 22, 1981), Leota (? - 1913 - July 25,1963), Rosemary (April 4, 1914 - November 25, -1974) and Priscilla (June 12, 1915 - April 4, 1995).

Lola was born in Macy, Indiana and Leota, Rosemary and Priscilla were born in Indianola, Iowa. They changed their names from Mullican when they began their careers.

Lola began her career as an actress in 1929 and made several films during the early 1930s. By 1932 she had joined her three younger sisters to form a singing act. First performing as a quartet with a dance band in 1932, the sisters toured the United States, and gradually their popularity grew.

In 1937 Priscilla was signed to a contract with Warner Brothers Studios. She and Rosemary made their film debuts together in Varsity Show in (1937). In the same year Lola played a strong supporting role in the Bette Davis crime melodrama Marked Woman, as the type of hardboiled character that exemplified many of her later roles with Warner Brothers. The following year Davis was offered a role in the film version of Fannie Hurst's novel Sister Act and when she turned down the part, Lola suggested to Jack Warner that the Lane Sisters would be suitable. Each was tested for the roles of the four sisters, with only Leota being rejected as unsuitable. The film was released in 1938 as Four Daughters with the fourth sister played by Gail Patrick. The three Lane Sisters were promoted as The Picture of American Girlhood and the film was a great success, leading to more joint film appearances by the three sisters in sequels. Daughter's Courageous, and Four Wives, ( both 1939), and Four Mothers (1941) were popular successes.

By this time Priscilla was being recognised for her individual potential. While the sisters were all regarded as beautiful, Priscilla conveyed the softest and most wholesome quality, and was also seen as having the most natural talent. For that reason she was able to emerge as a personality in her own right. She was considered for the role of Melanie in Gone With The Wind, and while she had not won that role, she had impressed several producers. She was cast in such successes as Alfred Hitchcock's Saboteur (1942) and Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), but while her career was building, Rosemary and Lola were finding the quality and frequency of their roles steadily decreasing. Leota's attempt at a film career had failed completely. Despite Priscilla's initial success, by the end of the decade each of the sisters had retired from films.

Lola married five times, and was married for two years to the actor Lew Ayres. She died of arterial disease in Santa Barbara, California.

Rosemary died from diabetes and pulmonary obstruction in Woodland Hills, California.

Priscilla never acted after her retirement but made a comeback as a hostess for a Boston talk show some years later. She died from lung cancer in Andover, Massachusetts.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2004.

Lola Lane Facts

Birth NameDorothy Mullican
BirthdayMay 21, 1906
BirthplaceMarcy, Indiana, USA
Date of deathJune 22, 1981 (age 75)

Selected Filmography

An American Girl Story
The Woman Condemned
The Hildegarde Withers Mysteries Movies Collection
The Klansman
Lost Canyon
The Way West
Marked Woman
Four Daughters Movie Series Collection
Torchy Blane Complete Movie Collection: Archive Collection
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