Florence Lake (born Florence Silverlake, January 1, 1904 – April 11, 1980) was an American actress best known as the leading lady in most of the Edgar Kennedy comedy shorts.
In the early 1900s, her father and uncle toured with a circus in an aerial act known as "The Flying Silverlakes". Her mother, Edith Goodwin, was an actress. Her parents later appeared in vaudeville in a skit "Family Affair", traveling throughout the South and Southwest United States. Florence and her younger brother Arthur Silverlake, Jr. became part of the act in 1910. Their mother brought the children to Hollywood to get into the burgeoning film industry. Arthur changed his professional name to Arthur Lake and later achieved great success as "Dagwood Bumstead" in the Blondie movie series.
Comic acting persona
Florence was petite, with a high-pitched speaking voice. She perfected a comical singsong delivery that established her in "dumb" roles. She personified flightiness in the Kennedy shorts, as the scatterbrained Mrs. Kennedy. After the series ended upon Kennedy's death in 1948, she continued to play character roles in films and television. Her best known TV role was Jenny, the Claverton telephone operator in Lassie. Lake played the role for the entire ten year "farm seasons" of the show (1954–1964), thus becoming the Lassie player with the longest tour of duty on the series. In her later years, Lake appeared as Elvira Norton on an episode of Dragnet entitled "Frauds". She also played a blind date for the character Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show episode, "Lou's First Date". Her last roles were in the TV series Emergency! and Baretta in 1976.
She also appeared in the first color episode of the TV series Superman in 1957 as a cave woman.