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Charles Laughton

Charles Laughton

Known For: Acting · Birthday: 1899-07-01 · Deathday: 1962-12-15 (63 years old) · Gender: Male · Place of Birth: Scarborough, North Riding of Yorkshire, England, UK

59 Movies · 8 TV shows

Also Known As: Чарльз Лотон

Biography

Charles Laughton (1 July 1899 – 15 December 1962) was an English stage and film actor. Laughton was trained in London at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and first appeared professionally on the stage in 1926. In 1927, he was cast in a play with his future wife Elsa Lanchester, with whom he lived and worked until his death. He played a wide range of classical and modern parts, making an impact in Shakespeare at the Old Vic. His film career took him to Broadway and then Hollywood, but he also collaborated with Alexander Korda on notable British films of the era, including The Private Life of Henry VIII, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of the title character. He portrayed everything from monsters and misfits to kings. Among Laughton's biggest film hits were The Barretts of Wimpole Street, Mutiny on the Bounty, Ruggles of Red Gap, Jamaica Inn, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Big Clock, and Witness for the Prosecution. Daniel Day-Lewis cited Laughton as one of his inspirations, saying: "He was probably the greatest film actor who came from that period of time. He had something quite remarkable. His generosity as an actor; he fed himself into that work. As an actor, you cannot take your eyes off him."In his later career, he took up stage directing, notably in The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, and George Bernard Shaw's Don Juan in Hell, in which he also starred. He directed one film, the thriller The Night of the Hunter, which after an initially disappointing reception is acclaimed today as a film classic.

Career

Laughton was born in Scarborough, North Riding of Yorkshire, the son of Robert Laughton (1869–1924) and Eliza (née Conlon; 1869–1953), Yorkshire hotel keepers. A blue plaque marks his birthplace. His mother was a devout Roman Catholic of Irish descent, and she sent him to briefly attend a local boys' school, Scarborough College, before sending him to Stonyhurst College, the pre-eminent English Jesuit school. Laughton served in World War I, during which he was gassed, serving first with the 2/1st Battalion of the Huntingdonshire Cyclist Battalion, and then with the 7th Battalion of the Northamptonshire Regiment. He started work in the family hotel, though also participating in amateur theatricals in Scarborough. He was allowed by his family to become a drama student at RADA in 1925, where actor Claude Rains was one of his teachers. Laughton made his first professional appearance on 28 April 1926 at the Barnes Theatre, as Osip in the comedy The Government Inspector, which he also appeared in at London's Gaiety Theatre in May. He impressed audiences with his talent and had classical roles in two Chekov plays, The Cherry Orchard and The Three Sisters. Laughton played the lead role as Harry Hegan in the world premiere of Seán O'Casey's The Silver Tassie in 1928 in London. He played the title roles in Arnold Bennett's Mr Prohack (Elsa Lanchester was also in the cast) and as Samuel Pickwick in Mr Pickwick at the Theatre Royal (1928–29) in London.He played Tony Perelli in Edgar Wallace's On the Spot and William Marble in Payment Deferred. He took the last role across the Atlantic and made his United States debut on 24 September 1931, at the Lyceum Theatre. He returned to London for the 1933–34 Old Vic season and was engaged in four Shakespeare roles (as Macbeth, Henry VIII, Angelo in Measure for Measure and Prospero in The Tempest) and also as Lopakhin in The Cherry Orchard, Canon Chasuble in The Importance of Being Earnest, and Tattle in Love for Love. In 1936, he went to Paris and on 9 May appeared at the Comédie-Française as Sganarelle in the second act of Molière's Le Médecin malgré lui, the first English actor to appear at that theatre, where he acted the part in French and received an ovation.Laughton commenced his film career in Britain while still acting on the London stage. He also took small roles in three short silent comedies starring his wife Elsa Lanchester, Daydreams, Blue Bottles and The Tonic (all 1928) which had been specially written for her by H.G. Wells and were directed by Ivor Montagu. He made a brief appearance as a disgruntled diner in another silent film Piccadilly with Anna May Wong in 1929. He appeared with Lanchester again in a "film revue", featuring assorted British variety acts, called Comets (1930) in which they sang a duet, "The Ballad of Frankie and Johnnie". He made two other early British talkies: Wolves with Dorothy Gish (1930) from a play set in a whaling camp in the frozen north, and Down River (1931), in which he played a drug-smuggling ship's captain. His New York stage debut in 1931 immediately led to film offers and Laughton's first Hollywood film, The Old Dark House (1932) with Boris Karloff, in which he played a bluff Yorkshire businessman marooned during a storm with other travelers in a creepy remote Welsh manor. He then played a demented submarine commander in Devil and the Deep with Tallulah Bankhead, Gary Cooper and Cary Grant, and followed this with his best-remembered film role of that year as Nero in Cecil B. DeMille's The Sign of the Cross. Laughton turned out other memorable performances during that first Hollywood trip, repeating his stage role as a murderer in Payment Deferred, playing H.G. Wells' mad vivisectionist Dr. Moreau in Island of Lost Souls, and the meek raspberry-blowing clerk in the brief segment of If I Had A Million, directed by Ernst Lubitsch. He appeared in six Hollywood films in 1932. His association with director Alexander Korda began in 1933 with the hugely successful The Private Life of Henry VIII (loosely based on the life of King Henry VIII), for which Laughton won the Academy Award for Best Actor. He also continued to act occasionally on stage, including a US production of The Life of Galileo by (and with) Bertolt Brecht.

Personal Life

In 1927, Laughton began a relationship with Elsa Lanchester, at the time a castmate in a stage play. The two were married in 1929, became US citizens in 1950, and remained together until Laughton's death. Over the years, they appeared together in several films, including Rembrandt (1936), Tales of Manhattan (1942) and The Big Clock (1948). Lanchester portrayed Anne of Cleves, Henry VIII's fourth wife, opposite Laughton in The Private Life of Henry VIII. They both received Academy Award nominations for their performances in Witness for the Prosecution (1957)—Laughton for Best Actor, and Lanchester for Best Supporting Actress—but neither won. Laughton's bisexuality was corroborated by several of his contemporaries and is generally accepted by Hollywood historians. Actress Maureen O'Hara, a friend and co-star of Laughton, disputed the contention that his sexuality was the reason Laughton and Lanchester did not have children, claiming Laughton told her he had wanted children but that it had not been possible because of a botched abortion that Lanchester had early in her career of performing burlesque. In her autobiography, Lanchester acknowledged two abortions in her youth – one of the pregnancies purportedly by Laughton – but did not mention infertility. According to her biographer, Charles Higham, the reason she did not have children was that she did not want any.Laughton owned an estate on the bluffs above Pacific Coast Highway at 14954 Corona Del Mar in Pacific Palisades. The property suffered a landslide in 1944, alluded to by Bertolt Brecht in his poem "Garden in Progress".Laughton was a Democrat and supported the campaign of Adlai Stevenson during the 1952 presidential election.

Early Life

Laughton was born in Scarborough, North Riding of Yorkshire, the son of Robert Laughton (1869–1924) and Eliza (née Conlon; 1869–1953), Yorkshire hotel keepers. A blue plaque marks his birthplace. His mother was a devout Roman Catholic of Irish descent, and she sent him to briefly attend a local boys' school, Scarborough College, before sending him to Stonyhurst College, the pre-eminent English Jesuit school. Laughton served in World War I, during which he was gassed, serving first with the 2/1st Battalion of the Huntingdonshire Cyclist Battalion, and then with the 7th Battalion of the Northamptonshire Regiment. He started work in the family hotel, though also participating in amateur theatricals in Scarborough. He was allowed by his family to become a drama student at RADA in 1925, where actor Claude Rains was one of his teachers. Laughton made his first professional appearance on 28 April 1926 at the Barnes Theatre, as Osip in the comedy The Government Inspector, which he also appeared in at London's Gaiety Theatre in May. He impressed audiences with his talent and had classical roles in two Chekov plays, The Cherry Orchard and The Three Sisters. Laughton played the lead role as Harry Hegan in the world premiere of Seán O'Casey's The Silver Tassie in 1928 in London. He played the title roles in Arnold Bennett's Mr Prohack (Elsa Lanchester was also in the cast) and as Samuel Pickwick in Mr Pickwick at the Theatre Royal (1928–29) in London.He played Tony Perelli in Edgar Wallace's On the Spot and William Marble in Payment Deferred. He took the last role across the Atlantic and made his United States debut on 24 September 1931, at the Lyceum Theatre. He returned to London for the 1933–34 Old Vic season and was engaged in four Shakespeare roles (as Macbeth, Henry VIII, Angelo in Measure for Measure and Prospero in The Tempest) and also as Lopakhin in The Cherry Orchard, Canon Chasuble in The Importance of Being Earnest, and Tattle in Love for Love. In 1936, he went to Paris and on 9 May appeared at the Comédie-Française as Sganarelle in the second act of Molière's Le Médecin malgré lui, the first English actor to appear at that theatre, where he acted the part in French and received an ovation.Laughton commenced his film career in Britain while still acting on the London stage. He also took small roles in three short silent comedies starring his wife Elsa Lanchester, Daydreams, Blue Bottles and The Tonic (all 1928) which had been specially written for her by H.G. Wells and were directed by Ivor Montagu. He made a brief appearance as a disgruntled diner in another silent film Piccadilly with Anna May Wong in 1929. He appeared with Lanchester again in a "film revue", featuring assorted British variety acts, called Comets (1930) in which they sang a duet, "The Ballad of Frankie and Johnnie". He made two other early British talkies: Wolves with Dorothy Gish (1930) from a play set in a whaling camp in the frozen north, and Down River (1931), in which he played a drug-smuggling ship's captain. His New York stage debut in 1931 immediately led to film offers and Laughton's first Hollywood film, The Old Dark House (1932) with Boris Karloff, in which he played a bluff Yorkshire businessman marooned during a storm with other travelers in a creepy remote Welsh manor. He then played a demented submarine commander in Devil and the Deep with Tallulah Bankhead, Gary Cooper and Cary Grant, and followed this with his best-remembered film role of that year as Nero in Cecil B. DeMille's The Sign of the Cross. Laughton turned out other memorable performances during that first Hollywood trip, repeating his stage role as a murderer in Payment Deferred, playing H.G. Wells' mad vivisectionist Dr. Moreau in Island of Lost Souls, and the meek raspberry-blowing clerk in the brief segment of If I Had A Million, directed by Ernst Lubitsch. He appeared in six Hollywood films in 1932. His association with director Alexander Korda began in 1933 with the hugely successful The Private Life of Henry VIII (loosely based on the life of King Henry VIII), for which Laughton won the Academy Award for Best Actor. He also continued to act occasionally on stage, including a US production of The Life of Galileo by (and with) Bertolt Brecht.

Movies & TV shows

2019.

1 TV show

2009.

1 Movie

1991.

1 Movie

1983.

1 Movie

1982.

1 Movie

1967.

1 Movie

1963.

1 Movie

1962.

1 Movie

1960.

2 Movies

1957.

1 Movie

1956.

2 TV shows

1955.

1 Movie

1954.

1 Movie · 1 TV show

1953.

2 Movies · 1 TV show

1952.

2 Movies

1951.

2 Movies

1950.

2 TV shows

1949.

3 Movies

1948.

4 Movies · 1 TV show

1947.

1 Movie

1946.

1 Movie

1945.

1 Movie

1944.

2 Movies

1943.

3 Movies

1942.

3 Movies

1941.

1 Movie

1940.

2 Movies

1939.

2 Movies

1938.

2 Movies

1936.

1 Movie

1935.

3 Movies

1934.

1 Movie

1933.

3 Movies

1932.

6 Movies

1929.

1 Movie

1928.

1 Movie
Last updated: 
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Charles_Laughton", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.