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Chunky Boston-born actor Roland Winters was 19 when he played his first character role in the New York theatrical production The Firebrand. In the 1930s, he entered radio, serving as an announcer and foil for such performers as Kate Smith and Kay Kyser. In 1947, Winters became the fifth actor to essay the role of aphorism-spouting Oriental detective Charlie Chan. While Winters' six low-budget Chan entries are generally disliked by movie buffs, it can now be seen that the genially hammy actor brought a much needed breath of fresh air to the flagging film series with his self-mocking, semi-satirical interpretation of Charlie. A good friend of actor James Cagney, Winters showed up in several Cagney vehicles of the 1950s, notably A Lion Is in the Streets (1953) and Never Steal Anything Small (1959). Roland Winters continued to flourish in colorful supporting roles into the 1960s, and was also seen as a regular on the TV sitcoms Meet Millie (1952), The New Phil Silvers Show (1963), and The Smothers Brothers Show (1965).

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