Born Cornelius Richard Van Mattimore in Charlottesville, Virginia, he served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War I. At war's end, he went to Los Angeles where he found work as an unskilled laborer. By a stroke of pure luck, he was given an opportunity to act, appearing at first in silent films before making the transition to talkies.
Arlen is best known for his role as a pilot in the 1927 Academy Award-
Arlen appeared in more than 140 films.
For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Richard Arlen has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6753 Hollywood Blvd.