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Famous Like Me > Actor > L > Charles Laughton

Profile of Charles Laughton on Famous Like Me

Name: Charles Laughton  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 1st July 1899
Place of Birth: Scarborough, Yorkshire, England, UK
Profession: Actor
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
Charles Laughton as photographed in 1940 by Carl Van Vechten

Charles Laughton (July 1, 1899 - December 15, 1962) was a British-born American stage and film actor of partial Irish Catholic extraction.

Born in 1899 in Scarborough, Yorkshire, Laughton attended the famed Jesuit school, Stonyhurst College, in Lancashire, England, and later he served during World War I and was gassed, which may have had something to do with his untimely death later in life from cancer at the age of only 62.

At first he went into the family business, not making his first stage appearance until 1926. Despite not having the looks for a romantic lead, he impressed audiences with his talent and played many classical roles before making his film debut in 1932. His association with the director Alexander Korda began with The Private Life of Henry VIII (loosely based on the life of King Henry VIII of England), for which Laughton won an Academy Award.

Later films included The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934), Mutiny on the Bounty (1935), and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939). In 1937 he was to have starred in an ill-fated film version of the classic novel, I, Claudius, by Robert Graves, which was abandoned only part-way into filming due to the injuries suffered by co-star Merle Oberon in a car crash. He also received an Academy Award nomination for his role in Witness for the Prosecution (1957). His final film was Advise and Consent (1962), for which he received favorable comments for his performance as a Southern U.S. Senator (for which accent he studied recordings of the late Mississippi Senator John Stennis), but Laughton was dying from cancer.

Despite his homosexuality, he had a long and resilient marriage to actress Elsa Lanchester, possibly because she had her own such inclinations, according to contemporary gossip. However, the marriage was never consumated. Lanchester appeared opposite him in several films, including Rembrandt (1936). In 1950, the couple became American citizens.

Laughton had one stint as a director, and the result was the legendary The Night of the Hunter (1955), starring Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters and Lillian Gish. This movie is often cited among critics as one of the best movies of the 1950s; unfortunately it was a box-office flop. Laughton never had another chance to direct his own movies.

He is interred in the Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Charles Laughton