First named Constance Frances Marie Ockelman, Veronica Lake was born in Brooklyn, New York on November 14, 1922. Like Betty Grable, Lake had a mother who pushed her into show business at an early age.
After Lake completed high school, her mother and stepfather moved to Beverly Hills to enroll her into the Bliss Hayden School of Acting. She showed remarkable talents as an actress — and she also fit the physical mold of a starlet.
It didn't take long for Lake to start getting movie roles in the early 1940s. At first, she was still going by her birth name, but then film producer Arthur Hornblow decided to change it. So he simply told her what her new name would be.
"Veronica was for my classic features and Lake was for the coolness people felt looking into my eyes," she remembered.
At just 4'11", Lake wasn't tall enough to be a model in the traditional sense. However, the GIs didn't complain about her height during World War II, as she was one of the most famous pinup models of the era.
Lake embarked on a nationwide tour to sell war bonds and even changed her trademark "peekaboo" hairstyle to help the war effort. By shortening her long hair, she inspired other women follow suit, which prevented them from getting their hair caught in the machines as they worked at the factories.
Unfortunately, some say that the hairstyle change also led to the decline of Lake's career. However, others claim that it was her personality that made her hard to work with. Her mother claimed that Lake had been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, but it's unknown whether she was telling the truth.
Either way, Lake's time as Hollywood royalty was over by the end of the 1940s. Yet she continued to work sporadically in the 1950s and 1960s. In between acting gigs, she'd sometimes be spotted taking on other jobs, like working as a hotel barmaid.
Sadly, as her star began to dim, alcohol abuse got the best of her. She died of renal failure and a hepatitis infection at age 50 in 1973. In one last sad twist, Lake's ashes reportedly sat anonymously at a funeral home for nearly three years.