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Drake was born 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, but he was not immediately successful. During World War II, Drake served in the United States Army. Drake returned to Hollywood in 1945 and was cast in Conflict which starred Humphrey Bogart. His contract with Warner Brothers eventually ended. In the 1940s, he did some freelance work, like A Night in Casablanca (1946). In 1949, he moved to Universal Studios. where Drake co-starred with James Stewart and Shelley Winters in Winchester '73 (1950) and again co-starred with Stewart in the film Harvey (also 1950) a screen adaptation of the Broadway play. He co-starred in the Audie Murphy bio pic, To Hell and Back (1955), as Murphy's close friend "Brandon". In 1955, Drake turned to television as one of the stock-company players on Montgomery's Summer Stock, a summer replacement for Robert Montgomery Presents and from 1957 he hosted the syndicated TV espionage weekly Schilling Playhouse (also known as Rendezvous). In 1956 Drake appeared as Tom Sweeny with war hero Audie Murphy and Anne Bancroft in Walk the Proud Land. 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. Drake played the part of Oliver Greer in The Fugitive episode "The One That Got Away" (1967). He guest starred in the fourth season (1968–1969) of NBC's Daniel Boone as Simon Jarvis. In 1969 Drake appeared as Milo Cantrell on the TV series The Virginian in the episode titled "A Woman of Stone." In 1970 he appeared as Randolf in "The Men From Shiloh" (the rebranded name of The Virginian) in the episode titled "Jenny." 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. In an episode of the original Star Trek series ("The Deadly Years", 1967), he guested as Commodore Stocker. He died on September 10, 1994 in East Lyme, Connecticut, at the age of 76.
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