Lon Chaney, Jr.

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Lon Chaney, Jr. (February 10, 1906 – July 12, 1973), born Creighton Tull Chaney, was an American character actor. He was best known for his roles in monster movies and as the son of famous silent film actor, Lon Chaney. He is notable for playing Larry Talbot in The Wolf Man movies.

Originally credited in films as Creighton Chaney, he was first credited as "Lon Chaney, Jr." in 1935. Chaney had English, French and Irish ancestry.

Contents

Early life

Creighton was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the son of silent film star Lon Chaney and Frances Cleveland Creighton Chaney, a singing stage performer who traveled in road shows across the country with Creighton. His parents' troubled marriage ended in divorce in 1913 following his mother's scandalous public suicide attempt in Los Angeles. Young Creighton lived in various homes and boarding schools until 1916, when his father (now employed in films) married Hazel Hastings and could provide a stable home. Many articles and biographies over the years report that Creighton was led to believe his mother had died while he was a boy, and was only made aware she lived after his father's death in 1930.

From an early age, he worked hard to get out of his famous father's shadow. In young adulthood, his father discouraged him from show business, and he attended business college and became successful in a Los Angeles appliance corporation.

Career

It was only after his father's death that Chaney started acting in movies, beginning with an uncredited role in the 1932 film Girl Crazy. He appeared in films under his real name until 1935, when he began to be billed as "Lon Chaney, Jr." (and would appear as "Lon Chaney" later in his career). Chaney was asked to test for the role of Quasimodo for the 1939 remake of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The role went to Charles Laughton. In his final years, Chaney would get a brief chance to play Quasimodo, and return to the roles of the Mummy, and the Wolfman on the 1960s television series Route 66 with friends Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre.

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