Drake was born as Charles Ruppert in New York City. He graduated from Nichols College and became a salesman. In 1939, he turned to acting and signed a contract with Warner Brothers. He was not immediately successful. During World War II Drake served in the United States Army. Drake returned to Hollywood in 1945, his contract with Warner Brothers ended. In the 1940s, he did some freelance work, like A Night in Casablanca. In 1949, he moved to Universal Studios. In 1950 Drake co-starred with James Stewart and Shelley Winters in Winchester ’73 and again co-starred with Stewart in the film Harvey a screen adaptation of the Broadway play. In 1955, Drake turned to television as one of the stock-company players on Robert Montgomery Presents and three years later he became the host of the British TV espionage weekly Rendezvous. Also that year, he co-starred in the Audie Murphy bio pic, To Hell and Back, as Murphy’s close friend “Brandon”. In 1959, he starred in the Western film, No Name on the Bullet, where he played a doctor dedicated to saving a small town from a dangerous assassin.
On November 14, 1961, Drake played the role of state line boss Allen Winter in the episode “The Accusers” of NBC’s Laramie western series. In the story line, housekeeper Daisy Cooper (Spring Byington) identifies Winter as having left a hotel room right after a saloon girl, Carla Morton, portrayed by Joanne Linville, is murdered there. At first, few believe Daisy because Winter is a respected man in Laramie and the boss of Cooper’s boss, series character Slim Sherman (John Smith). Carla had pressured Winter to leave his wife and marry her. When Daisy searches for further proof of Winter’s guilt, Winter resorts to sabotage of Daisy’s carriage and stakes out the Sherman Ranch, posing as an Indian, while Slim is away on an overnight assignment authorized by Winter. Slim suddenly becomes convinced of Daisy’s story and rides swiftly to her rescue. In 1967, Drake played the part of Oliver Greer in The Fugitive episode “The One That Got Away”. He guest starred in the fourth season (1968–1969) of NBC’s Daniel Boone as Simon Jarvis. He played in eighty-three films between 1939 and 1975, including Scream, Pretty Peggy. More than fifty were dramas, but he also acted in comedies, science fiction, horror, and film noir. Drake is a part of the legacy of Star Trek, having played the role of Commodore Stocker in the original series’ second season episode, “The Deadly Years” (December 8, 1967). He died on September 10, 1994 in East Lyme, Connecticut, at the age of seventy-six.
- October, 02, 1917
- New York, New York
- September, 10, 1994
- East Lyme, Connecticut