Place of Death
Cause of Death
Brown - Dark
Profile Bio Text
While Charley Chase is far from being as famous as "The Big Three" (`Charlie Chaplin (I)`, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd) today, he`s highly respected as one of the "greats" by fans of silent comedy.
Chase was born in Maryland, in 1893. After a brief career in vaudeville, he entered Al Christie`s movie studio as a comedian in 1913 before settling down at Keystone Films the following year. Chase`s career in films did not start off with remarkable success. He played bit parts in a large number of short comedies, appearing with Charlie Chaplin and Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, among others, before he finally got his chance at Hal Roach Studios as a director, before Roach realized what a gifted performer he had hired. "I can play anything!" Chase told Roach, and eventually his claim was confirmed. Although Mack Sennett`s Keystone studio has earned legendary status as the ultimate factory of comic invention, it can hardly be denied that Roach developed a more refined style of comedy which obviously fitted Chase better (indeed, Sennett`s unsophisticated product increasingly lost favor with the movie-going public by the early 1920s, while Roach`s studio flourished). During five years, 1924-29, he starred in nearly a hundred two-reelers, most of which were directed by Leo McCarey.
Chase usually portrayed an apparently gentle and charming man who in reality, it eventually turned out, was quite a loser after all. His character was largely inspired by Lloyd Hamilton, another neglected comedian whom Chase had directed in several two-reelers. Among Charley`s most memorable shorts are Innocent Husbands, Mighty Like a Moose, and Movie Night.
From the beginning, Charley Chase was a "critics` darling," but none of his movies were remarkably successful at the box office. There is no official "explanation" to this, but one reason may be that Chase, in contrast to the more popular clowns, never starred in any feature during the silent period. On a personal level, Chase was severely hobbled by alcoholism, which is unapparent in his films.
Chase made several promising appearances after the talkies arrived, in 1929-30, especially in Laurel and Hardy`s highly acclaimed feature Sons of the Desert (1933). Despite this, he was never offered any further appearances in features. But he continued to perform in shorts and did also direct some of the Three Stooges` early movies. He died in 1940, not yet 47 years of age, of a heart attack. It is reasonable to believe that his early death was to a large extent caused by his addiction to alcohol, a problem which had troubled his family for several years. His brother James, also an actor, had died the year before. The two brothers had been close throughout their lives, although their personal problems frequently affected each other (or perhaps that was the reason for their being so close.)
Chase was married to Bebe Eltinge from 1914, a marriage that lasted until his death and produced two daughters, Polly and June.
Chase`s silent work was celebrated on DVD in two volumes from Kino Video. At long last his comic genius is being recognized.
www.imdb.com/name/nm0153713/, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charley_Chase, www.charley-chase.com/
Full Name at Birth
Charles Joseph Parrott
Actor/Actress, Director, Producer
Has Detailed Data (New)
Charley Chase (October 20, 1893 – June 20, 1940) was an American comedian, actor, screenwriter and film director, best known for his work in Hal Roach short film comedies. He was the older brother of comedian/director James Parrott.
Comedian, director, screenwriter, songwriter
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