Oklahoma City, OK
Place of Death
San Clemente, CA
Claim to Fame
The Wolf Man
Full Name at Birth
Creighton Tull Chaney
Moose (Dog - German Shepard)
Brown - Dark
Lon Ralph (b. 3-Jul-1928 son, Ronald Creighton (b18-Mar-1930)son
Actor/Actress, Music Department
Has Detailed Data (New)
Creighton Tull Chaney (February10, 1906 – July12, 1973), known by his stage name Lon Chaney, Jr., was an American actor known for playing Larry Talbot in the 1941 film The Wolf Man and its various crossovers, as well as portraying other monsters such as The Mummy, Frankenstein's Monster, and Count Alucard (son of Dracula) in numerous horror films produced by Universal Studios. He also portrayed Lennie Small in Of Mice and Men (1939). Originally referenced in films as Creighton Chaney, he was later credited as "Lon Chaney, Jr." in 1935, and after 1941's Man Made Monster, beginning as early as The Wolf Man later that same year, he was almost always billed under his more famous father's name as Lon Chaney. Chaney had English, French and Irish ancestry, and his career in movies and television spanned four decades, from 1931 to 1971.
Profile Bio Text
American character actor whose career was influenced (and often overshadowed) by that of his father, silent film star Lon Chaney. The younger Chaney was born while his parents were on a theatrical tour, and he joined them onstage for the first time at the age of six months. However, as a young man, even during the time of his father's growing fame, Creighton Chaney worked menial jobs to support himself without calling upon his father. He was at various times a plumber, a meatcutter's apprentice, a metal worker, and a farm worker. Always, however, there was the desire to follow in his father's footsteps. He studied makeup at his father's side, learning many of the techniques that had made his father famous. And he took stage roles in stock companies. It was not until after his father's death in 1930 that Chaney went to work in films. His first appearances were under his real name (he had been named for his mother, singer Cleva Creighton). He played number of supporting parts before a producer in 1935 insisted on changing his name to Lon Chaney Jr. as a marketing ploy. Chaney was uncomfortable with the ploy and always hated the "Jr". addendum. But he was also aware that the famous name could help his career, and so he kept it. Most of the parts he played were unmemorable, often bits, until 1939 when he was given the role of the simple-minded Lennie in the film adaptation of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men (1939). Chaney's performance was spectacularly touching; indeed, it became one of the two roles for which he would always be best remembered. The other came within the next year, when Universal, in hopes of reviving their horror film franchise as well as memories of their great silent star, Chaney Sr., cast Chaney as the tortured Lawrence Talbot in The Wolf Man (1941). With this film and the slew of horror films that followed it, Chaney achieved a kind of stardom, though he was never able to achieve his goal of surpassing his father. By the 1950s, he was established as a star in low-budget horror films and as a reliable character actor in more prestigious, big-budget films such as High Noon (1952). Never as versatile as his father, he fell more and more into cheap and mundane productions which traded primarily on his name and those of other fading horror stars. His later years were bedeviled by illness and problems with alcohol. When he died from a variety of causes in 1973, it was as an actor who had spent his life chasing the fame of his father, but who was much beloved by a generation of filmgoers who had never seen his father.
Cause of Death
Wiki Bio Text
You May Think of him as The Great Changeling for His Roles as The Werewolf...But His Dad ...Lon Chaney was the Man of a Thousand Faces.
Biography by Hal Erickson [-]
The son of actors Lon Chaney and Cleva Creighton, Creighton Tull Chaney was raised in an atmosphere of Spartan strictness by his father. He refused to allow Creighton to enter show business, wanting his son to prepare for a more "practical" profession; so young Chaney trained to be plumber, and worked a variety of relatively menial jobs despite his father's fame. After Lon Sr. died in 1930, Creighton entered movies with an RKO contract, but nothing much happened until, by his own recollection, he was "starved" into changing his name to Lon Chaney Jr. He would spend the rest of his life competing with his father's reputation as The Man With a Thousand Faces, hoping against hope to someday top Lon Sr. professionally. Unfortunately, he would have little opportunity to do this in the poverty-row quickie films that were his lot in the '30s, nor was his tenure (1937-1940) as a 20th Century Fox contract player artistically satisfying.
Hoping to convince producers that he was a fine actor in his own right, Chaney appeared as the mentally retarded giant Lennie in a Los Angeles stage production of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. This led to his being cast as Lennie in the 1939 film version -- which turned out to be a mixed blessing. His reviews were excellent, but the character typed him in the eyes of many, forcing him to play variations of it for the next 30 years (which was most amusingly in the 1947 Bob Hope comedy My Favorite Brunette). In 1939, Chaney was signed by Universal Pictures, for which his father had once appeared in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) and The Phantom of the Opera (1925); Universal was launching a new cycle of horror films, and hoped to cash in on the Chaney name. Billing Lon Jr. as "the screen's master character actor," Universal cast him as Dynamo Dan the Electric Man in Man Made Monster (1941), a role originally intended for Boris Karloff. That same year, Chaney starred as the unfortunate lycanthrope Lawrence Talbot in The Wolf Man, the highlight of which was a transformation sequence deliberately evoking memories of his father's makeup expertise. (Unfortunately, union rules were such than Lon Jr. was not permitted to apply his own makeup). Universal would recast Chaney as the Wolf Man in four subsequent films, and cast him as the Frankenstein Monster in The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942) and the title role in Son of Dracula (1943). Chaney also headlined two B-horror series, one based upon radio's Inner Sanctum anthology, and the other a spin-off from the 1932 film The Mummy. Chaney occasionally got a worthwhile role in the '50s, notably in the films of producer/director Stanley Kramer (High Noon, Not as a Stranger, and especially The Defiant Ones), and he co-starred in the popular TV series Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans. For the most part, however, the actor's last two decades as a performer were distinguished by a steady stream of cheap, threadbare horror films, reaching a nadir with such fare as Hillbillies in a Haunted House (1967). In the late '60s, Chaney fell victim to the same throat cancer that had killed his father, although publicly he tried to pass this affliction off as an acute case of laryngitis. Unable to speak at all in his last few months, he still grimly sought out film roles, ending his lengthy film career with Dracula vs. Frankenstein(1971). He died in 1973.
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