roland winters love

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  • thefreedictionary

    Roland Winters (1904-1989) was an American actor who portrayed Charlie Chan in six films.

    Born Roland Winternitz in Boston, Massachusetts on 22 December 1904, Winters was the son of Felix, a violinist and composer who was teaching at New England Conservatory. In his teens he began appearing in productions from local theater groups around Boston and made his Broadway debut in 1924 in The Firebrand. In 1931 he became the sports announcer for the Braves and Red Sox games on the radio station WNAC. He had a few uncredited film roles in the 1940s (including a brief appearance in Orson Welles' Citizen Kane in 1941), but continued to work in radio until 1947.

    Sidney Toler, who had made twenty-two Charlie Chan films after taking over from Warner Oland, had died early in 1947. Monogram Pictures, which had bought the rights to Chan from 20th Century Fox in 1942, decided on Winters as his replacement in the title role of the series. At the age of 44 he was the youngest actor to tackle the role, and was actually some months younger than Keye Luke, who portrayed his "Number One Son" and assistant. Over a two year period he made six Chan films, starting with The Chinese Ring in 1947 and ending with Charlie Chan and the Sky Dragon (also known as The Sky Dragon) in 1949. In between four appearances as Chan in 1948, he also managed to squeeze in roles in three other films. The Monogram Charlie Chan films are regarded as lower quality than the higher-budget 20th Century Fox pictures in which Oland had starred, but Winter's performances are generally rated more highly than the those of Sidney Toler in the later Monogram films. Plans for further Charlie Chan films to be filmed in Europe were shelved after funding problems; Winters and Keye Luke were informed the series had been cancelled as they were preparing to leave for England to begin shooting Charlie Chan in London.

    After the series finished, Winters continued to work in film and television up until 1982, including roles in Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff, as Elvis' father in Blue Hawaii, and an appearance as the normally elusive McMann of McMann and Tate in Bewitched.

    Winters died as the result of a stroke at the Actor's Fund Nursing Home in Englewood, New Jersey on 22 October 1989.

    February 29, 2008