Birth: October 3, 1880 (Nyby, Sweden)
Death: August 5, 1938 (Stockholm, Sweden)

Warner Oland, a native of Nyby, Sweden, was born Johan Verner lund and emigrated to the United States with his parents in 1892.

His first acting experience was in the theater, where he also was proficient in set design. He was the first to play the Chinese detective. He was Charlie Chan in sixteen of the films.

Oland became the standard Chan. He had frequently played Oriental characters, and played Chan without make-up, adding only a goatee.

Oland brought brains, manners and charm to the role of Charlie Chan. He learned Chinese for the role, and went to China to learn more about the culture.

With his brother, Carl Oland

Jack & Edith Oland with their guide in China

Truly a remarkable man, Warner Oland (known as "Jack" to his friends) spoke several languages, and was a scholar of philosophy, classical music and art, and a translator of the works of Strindberg. In 1908. he married a wealthy Bostonian, the artist Edith Gardener Shearn.

Although the Olands didn't have any children themselves, Warner certainly seems to have enjoyed their company. Visitors' children could expect to hunt sea shells with him on the beach and be treated to little performances of the "Princess Ming Lo Fu" song that he sang as Chan in "Charlie Chan in Shanghai."

As for family, the Olands counted as their "children" the herd of German Schnauzers led by Shaggety Ann ("Shags") and her four offspring: Countess Julie, Mr. Chan, Princess Ming Lo Fu and Till Eulenspeigel! It seems he took #1 dog, Shags, on the set with him for companionship.

The Oland's home was a historic farmhouse in the Southville section of Southborough, Massachusetts. Upon Oland's death, he was buried in the town cemetery. The marker for his grave was originally the doorstep to the Oland's Smoke Tree Farm.


Oland left the set of Charlie Chan at Ringside (a film which was never completed), sailing to Europe. He died of bronchial pneumonia Stockholm, Sweden on August 6, 1938.

His fondness for children is shown in his provision in his will for his nieces and nephews. Edith, the tough little old Bostonian (born May 12, 1870) died in Hollywood, California on May 14, 1968, just two days past her 98th birthday. She has never remarried after the death of her husband three decades earlier.