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Charles Laughton

Charles Laughton
Charles Laughton-publicity2.JPG
Promotional portrait of Charles Laughton for The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934)
Born (1899-07-01)1 July 1899
Scarborough, North Riding of Yorkshire, England
Died 15 December 1962(1962-12-15) (aged 63)
Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death Kidney cancer
Occupation Actor, screenwriter, producer, director
Years active 1926–1961
Spouse(s) Elsa Lanchester
(m. 1929; his death 1962)

Charles Laughton (1 July 1899 – 15 December 1962) was an English stage and film character actor, director, producer and screenwriter. 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; they had no children.

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. 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, and The Big Clock. 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.

Laughton has been seen by one actor as one of the greatest performers of his generation. Daniel Day-Lewis cited him 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."



Academy Awards
first appearance, debut on the London stage (aka The Government Inspector)
police drama; he is the first actor to play detective Hercule Poirot
debut on the New York stage
police drama, Laughton is also the director (American version of Alibi)
drama, Laughton is also the director
comedy, Laughton is also the director
classic tragedy
first appearance, debut on the London stage (aka The Government Inspector)
police drama; he is the first actor to play detective Hercule Poirot
debut on the New York stage
police drama, Laughton is also the director (American version of Alibi)
drama, Laughton is also the director
comedy, Laughton is also the director
classic tragedy
police drama, Laughton also acts in the play.
drama, Laughton also acts in the play.
with Judith Anderson
comedy, Laughton also acts in the play
drama, with Henry Fonda, transferred in 1954 to the screen by Edward Dmytryk
police drama, Laughton also acts in the play.
drama, Laughton also acts in the play.
with Judith Anderson
comedy, Laughton also acts in the play
drama, with Henry Fonda, transferred in 1954 to the screen by Edward Dmytryk
  • 1955: 3 for Tonight
musical revue, with Harry Belafonte
musical revue, with Harry Belafonte
  • 1955: 3 for Tonight
  • Brown, William (1970). Charles Laughton A Pictorial Treasury of his Films. New York: Falcon Enterprises. 
  • Callow, Simon (1988). Charles Laughton: A Difficult Actor. New York: Grove Press. ISBN . 
  • Crowe, Cameron (2001). Conversations With Wilder. New York: Knopf. ISBN . 
  • Higham, Charles (1976). Charles Laughton: An Intimate Biography. New York: Doubleday. ISBN . 
  • Jones, Preston Neal (2004). Heaven and Hell to Play With: The Filming of The Night of the Hunter. New York: Limelight Editions. ISBN . 
  • Lanchester, Elsa (1938). Charles Laughton and I. London: Faber and Faber. p. 271. 
  • Lanchester, Elsa (1983). Elsa Lanchester Herself. London: Michael Joseph. ISBN . 
  • Lyon, James K. (1980). Bertolt Brecht in America. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN . 
  • O'Hara, Maureen (2005). 'Tis Herself. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN . 
  • Parker, John (ed), (1947). Who's Who in the Theatre 10th revised edition. London. pp. 892–3. 
  • Singer, Kurt (1954). The Charles Laughton Story. London: John C. Winston Company. 
  • Tell Me a Story (1957) and The Fabulous Country (1962). Two literary anthologies selected by Charles Laughton. They contain pieces which were presented by him in his reading tours across America, with written introductions which give some insight about Laughton's thoughts. This selection presents texts from the Bible, Charles Dickens, Thomas Wolfe, Ray Bradbury, and James Thurber to name just a few.
  • Diverse authors, articles in The Stonyhurst magazine: Charles Laughton at Stonyhurst by David Knight (Volume LIV, No. 501, 2005), Charles Laughton. A Talent in Bloom (1899–1931), by Gloria Porta (Volume LIV, No. 502, 2006)
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Wikipedia

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