Veronica Lake began her life in Broolyn, N.Y., as Constance Frances Marie Ockleman. Her father Harry, was a ship's master for an oil company and died in a ship explosion in 1932.
A year later, her mother, Constance married Anthony Keane, an artist for the New York Herald, and moved to Montreal, Canada where "Veronica" attended Villa Maria, a Roman Catholic boarding school until being expelled in 1937 for bad behavior.
The family moved to Miami, Florida in 1937, where "Veronica" entered the "Miss Miami" sponsered by her high school and won third place.
As a finalist, she was competed for the "Miss Florida" title and won, but had her titled revoked when it was discovered she was too young to participate in the contest. Vaudeville star Harry Richman had been one of the judges and suggested to "Veronica" and her mother that she should consider going to Hollywood.
In 1938, the family moved to Hollywood, and "Veronica"
enrolled in the Bliss Hayden School of acting in Beverly Hills, CA, and started performing as an extra on movie sets around town using the name Connie Keane. Her first screen test was unsuccessful.
To become more marketable, and to have more independence, "Veronica" and her mother decided to raise her age by three years, and to indicate that she had graduated high school before coming to Hollywood (which is why some bios refer to her birth-year as 1919).
Her first movie was as one of the many coeds in the RKO film, SORORITY HOUSE in 1939. Two other small parts followed: ALL WOMEN HAVE SECRETS and DANCING CO-ED, both in 1939.
In 1940 she met and married MGM art director John Detlie.
It was in MGM's Forty Little Mothers(1940), that the "peek a boo" look accidentally occured during filming, and was promoted as a hair style.
It was during this time she was given the name by a studio head of Veronica Lake.
(Veronica, because of her classic features, and Lake because of her blue eyes)
Signed by Paramount in 1941, Lake was often teamed with actor Alan Ladd
thereby launching one of Paramount's most successful screen duos.
During the mid-forties, upon hearing that working woman occassionally
got their "Peek a boo" bangs caught in sewing machines, her publicist came up with a promotional ploy that the government had requested Veronica to change her hair style, which she did pulling it back in braids for several mid-forties movies.
Her next husband was director Andre De Toth. Lake flourished professionally until 1948, after she was dropped by Paramount, she was sued for support payments by her mother, who after the death of her husband in 1946 had no means of support and was livig off friends. As she later revealed to a writer,
loans were made to "Veronica" to inially help her in the beginning
or her carrer pursuits, with the agreement that she would pay them back in installments as she became successful, however the payments stopped coming.
Her final movie of the 40s was the
20th Century-Fox film Slattery's Hurricane(1949).
She left Hollywood bitter for NEW YORK in the
early 1950s, making a living with stage appearances. and by 1959 she was working as a Manhattan barmaid.
The Washington Post caught up with her and did a "whatever happenned to..." story in the early-sixites. Fans from many countries sent checks to her, which sshe returned due to pride.
Lake staged a comeback as a Baltimore TV host in the early 1960s. and had her autobiography written in 1969. After seeking stage work in England, Lake returned to the U.S. in 1971; two years later, after more personal problems and failed comeback attempts, she died of hepatitis while visiting friends in Burlington, Vermont.
Lakeīs son, Mike, flew in from Hawaii to arrange his motherīs funeral.
Only 30 mourners went to her funeral.
She was cremated, and scattered at sea.