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November 7, 2021

Stunning Vintage Portraits of Veronica Lake the Peak-a-Boo Girl in the 1940s

Veronica Lake (born Constance Frances Marie Ockelman) developed her signature look during the filming of I Wanted Wings (1940) when her blonde hair accidentally fell over her right eye during a take and created a “peek-a-boo” effect. The film was a big hit and the hairstyle became Lake's trademark and was widely copied by women.

In 1941, Lake was cast in Sullivan's Travels. After sharing scenes with Alan Ladd in This Gun For Hire (1942), Lake and Ladd became so popular together that they would be reteamed in lead roles for three more films: Star Spangled Rhythm (1942), The Glass Key (1942) and The Blue Dahlia (1946). Lake appeared opposite Fredric March in I Married a Witch, another succesful film in 1942. The next year she received acclaim for her part as a suicidal nurse in So Proudly We Hail!. At the peak of her career, she earned $4,500 a week.

During World War II, Lake changed her trademark peek-a-boo hairstyle at the urging of the government to encourage women working in war industry factories to adopt more practical, safer hairstyles.Although the change helped to decrease accidents involving women getting their hair caught in machinery, doing so may have damaged Lake's career. She appeared in a series of unsuccessful movies, both critically and financially, such as The Hour Before the Dawn (1944), Bring On the Girls (1945), Out of This World (1945) and Hold That Blonde (1945). Since So Proudly We Hail (1943) only The Blue Dahlia (1946) had been a hit. 

In 1948 Paramount decided not to renew Lake's contract after three unsuccessful movies within the same year: Saigon, Isn’t It Romantic and The Sainted Sisters.

Take a look back at the actress in the 1940s through these 33 stunning vintage portraits:


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