CREIGHTON TULL CHANEY (February 10, 1906 –July 12, 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 , 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.
* 1 Early life
* 2 Career
* 2.1 As Creighton Chaney * 2.2 As Lon Chaney Jr * 2.3 20th Century Fox * 2.4 _Of Mice and Men_ (1939) * 2.5 Universal Pictures * 2.6 Horror Film Star: The Wolf Man, The Mummy, Inner Sanctum * 2.7 Leaving Universal * 2.8 1960s * 2.9 Final films
* 3 Personal life
* 3.1 Honors
* 4 Death * 5 Biography
* 6 Filmography
* 6.1 1920s * 6.2 1930s * 6.3 1940s * 6.4 1950s * 6.5 1960s * 6.6 1970s
* 7 Selected television appearances * 8 Select radio credits * 9 References * 10 External links
Lon Chaney , Creighton's father
Creighton was born in Oklahoma City , Oklahoma Territory , 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 the film industry) married Hazel Hastings and could provide a stable home.
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
Creighton's life changed forever when his father was diagnosed with throat cancer and died on August 26, 1930 at the age of 47. 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. Creighton always maintained he had a tough childhood.
AS CREIGHTON CHANEY
It was only after his father's death that Chaney started acting in films, acting under his own name. He began with an uncredited bit part in the 1931 serial _The Galloping Ghost _ and signed a contract with RKO who gave him small roles in a number of films, including _Girl Crazy _ (1932), _ The Roadhouse Murder _ (1932), _Bird of Paradise _ (1932), and _The Most Dangerous Game _ (1932).
RKO gave him the starring role in a serial, _The Last Frontier _ (1932). He got bigger film roles in _Lucky Devils _ (1933), _Son of the Border _ (1933), _ Scarlet River _ (1933), _The Life of Vergie Winters _ (1934). Over at Mascot Pictures he supported John Wayne in a serial, _The Three Musketeers _ (1933), which was later re-edited into a film _Desert Command_ (1946).
"I did every possible bit in pictures" said Chaney later. "Had to do stuntwork to live. I bulldogged steers, fell off and got knocked off cliffs, rode horses and precipes into rivers, drove prairie schooners up and down hills."
He had the lead in the independent film _ Sixteen Fathoms Deep _ (1934) and a small part in _Girl o\' My Dreams _ (1934) at Monogram. The last film he made under the name "Creighton Chaney" was _The Marriage Bargain _ (1935) for Screencraft Productions. From this point on he would be billed as "Lon Chaney, Jr. From 1942 onward, he was billed as "Lon Chaney" although the "Jr." was usually added by others when they referred to him to distinguish him from his more famous father.
AS LON CHANEY JR
He had the lead _ A Scream in the Night _ (1935) made for Commodore Pictures, a horror movie. He played small roles at Paramount: _Hold \'Em Yale _ (1935), _Accent on Youth _ (1935) and _Rose Bowl _ (1936). A small outfit, Ray Kirkwood Productions, gave him a lead, _The Shadow of Silk Lennox _ (1935).
At Republic he starred alongside Gene Autry in _The Singing Cowboy _ (1936) and _ The Old Corral _ (1937). He was a henchman in a serial for Republic, _ Undersea Kingdom _ (1936). Universal got him to play a henchman in their serial, _Ace Drummond _ (1937) and he was uncredited in Columbia's _ Killer at Large _ (1937). He leant his name to a cafe which was embroiled in a liquor scandal.
20TH CENTURY FOX
He signed a contract at 20th Century Fox and appeared in _Love Is
News _ (1937), _Midnight Taxi _ (1937), _
That I May Live _ (1937),
This Is My Affair _ (1937), _Angel\'s Holiday _ (1937), _Born
Reckless _ (1937), _Wild and Woolly _ (1937), _
The Lady Escapes _
(1937), _Thin Ice _ (1937), _
One Mile from Heaven _ (1937), _Charlie
Chan on Broadway _ (1938), _
Life Begins in College _ (1937), _Wife,
Doctor and Nurse _ (1937), _Second Honeymoon _ (1937), _Checkers _
Love and Hisses _ (1938), _City Girl _ (1938), _Happy Landing
_ (1938), _
Sally, Irene and Mary _ (1938), _Mr. Moto\'s Gamble _
Walking Down Broadway _ (1938), _Alexander\'s Ragtime Band _
(1938), _Josette _ (1938), _
Speed to Burn _ (1938), _Passport Husband
_ (1938), _
Straight, Place and Show _ (1938), _
He later made _ Charlie Chan in City in Darkness _ (1939) and _Frontier Marshal _ (1939).
_OF MICE AND MEN_ (1939)
Chaney Jr's only stage appearance had been as Lennie Small in a production of _ Of Mice and men _ with Wallace Ford . He was cast in that role in the film version , which was produced by Hal Roach Studios . The film was Chaney Jr's first major role in an A film and was a massive critical success for him.
Hal Roach used him in his third-billed character role in _One Million B.C. _ (1940) as Victor Mature's caveman father, Chaney began to be viewed as a character actor in the mold of his father. He had in fact designed a swarthy, ape-like Neanderthal make-up on himself for the film, but production decisions and union rules prevented his following through on emulating his father in that fashion. Cecil B. de Mille used him in a support role in _North West Mounted Police _ (1940) and MGM used him in _ Billy the Kid (1941 film) _ (1941). That studio considered putting Chaney Jr in a remake of his father's hit _He Who Gets Slapped _ but decided not to make it.
Universal Pictures offered Chaney Jr the lead in _Man-Made Monster _ (1941), a science-fiction horror thriller originally written with Karloff in mind. Chaney's first horror film, it was successful enough for them to offer him a long-term contract.
Universal kept him in support roles for a while: a comedy _Too Many Blondes _ (1941), a musical _San Antonio Rose _ (1941), a serial _ Riders of Death Valley _ (1941), the Western _ Badlands of Dakota _ (1941) and the "Northern" _ North to the Klondike _ (1942).
HORROR FILM STAR: THE WOLF MAN, THE MUMMY, INNER SANCTUM
Chaney was then given the title role in _The Wolf Man _ (1941) for
Universal, a role which, much like Karloff's
Chaney Jr was now an official horror star, and Universal gave him the role of Frankenstein's Monster in _ The Ghost of Frankenstein _ (1942). He was in a crime film, _ Eyes of the Underworld _ (1942) and the wartime shorts _ Keeping Fit _ (1942) and _What We Are Fighting For _ (1943).
Chaney Jr played Kharis the Mummy in _The Mummy\'s Tomb _ (1942),
another hit. He was in a Western _
Frontier Badmen _ (1943), then
reprised his role as the Wolf Man in _
Chaney was given the role of Dracula in _Son of Dracula _ (1943). This made him the only actor to portray all four of Universal's major horror characters: the Wolf Man, Frankenstein's Monster, the Mummy, and Count Dracula .
After a cameo in _Crazy House _ (1943) he was given the lead in
Calling Dr. Death _ (1943), based on the
Inner Sanctum mysteries. It
kicked off another series starring Chaney, the first of which was
_Dead Man\'s Eyes _ (1944) was the third
Inner Sanctum then he was
back as the Wolf Man in _House of
He had a small role in an Abbott and Costello comedy _Here Come the Co-Eds _ (1945), then made more Inner Sanctums: _ The Frozen Ghost _ (1945) and _ Strange Confession _ (1945). He returned as the Wolf Man in _House of Dracula _ (1945), one of the last of the Universal horror cycle. _ Pillow of Death _ (1945) was the last Inner Sanctum. _The Daltons Ride Again _ (1945) was a Western.
Despite being typecast as the Wolf Man, the 6-foot 2-inch, 220 pound actor managed to carve out a secondary niche as a supporting actor and villain.
He was in a Bob Hope comedy _ My Favorite Brunette _ (1947), supported Randolph Scott in _Albuquerque _ (1948) and had a support in _The Counterfeiters _ (1948) and played a villain in _ 16 Fathoms Deep _ (1948) for Monogram Pictures , a remake of his 1934 film.
He reprised his Wolfman role to great effect in _Abbott and Costello
Chaney kept busy in support roles: _ Captain China _ (1950), _Once a Thief _ (1950), _Inside Straight _ (1951), _ Bride of the Gorilla _ (1951), _]_ (1951), _ Behave Yourself! _ (1951), _ Flame of Araby _ (1952), _The Bushwackers _ (1952), _ Thief of Damascus _ (1952), _ Battles of Chief Pontiac _ (1952) (in the title role), _ High Noon _ (1952), _Springfield Rifle _ (1952), _ The Black Castle _ (1952) (a return to horror), _ Raiders of the Seven Seas _ (1953), _A Lion Is in the Streets _ (1953), _ The Boy from Oklahoma _ (1954), _Casanova\'s Big Night _ (1954), _Passion _ (1954), _ The Black Pirates _ (1954), _Jivaro _ (1955), _ Big House, U.S.A. _ (1955), _I Died a Thousand Times _ (1955), _ The Indian Fighter _ (1955), and _ The Black Sleep _ (1956)
He had a leading role in _ Indestructible Man _ (1956) then was back to support parts; _ Manfish _ (1956), a Martin and Lewis comedy, _ Pardners _ (1956); _ Daniel Boone, Trail Blazer _ (1957), _The Cyclops _ (1957) and _ The Alligator People _ (1959).
Chaney established himself as a favorite of producer Stanley Kramer ; in addition to playing a key supporting role in _ High Noon _ (1952) (starring Gary Cooper ), he also appeared in _ Not as a Stranger _ (1955)—a hospital melodrama featuring Robert Mitchum and Frank Sinatra —and _ The Defiant Ones _ (1958, starring Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier ). Kramer told the press at the time that whenever a script came in with a role too difficult for most actors in Hollywood, he called Chaney.
One of his most legendary roles was a 1952 live television version of
He became quite popular with baby boomers after Universal released its back catalog of horror films to television in 1957 (Shock Theater ) and _ Famous Monsters of Filmland _ magazine regularly focused on his films.
In 1957, Chaney went to Ontario, Canada , to costar in the first ever American-Canadian television production, as Chingachgook in _Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans _, suggested by James Fenimore Cooper 's stories. The series ended after 39 episodes. That same year, Universal released the popular film biography of his father, _Man of a Thousand Faces _, featuring a semi-fictionalized version of Creighton's life story from his birth up until his father's death. Roger Smith played the young Creighton.
He appeared in a 1958 episode of the western series _Tombstone Territory _ titled "The Black Marshal from Deadwood ", and appeared in numerous western series such as _Rawhide _. He also hosted the 13-episode television anthology series _ 13 Demon Street _ in 1959, which was created by Curt Siodmak . _ Chaney Jr. in Dracula vs. Frankenstein_ (1971)
In the 1960s, Chaney specialised in horror films, such as _House of Terror _ (1960), _The Devil\'s Messenger _ (1961) and _The Haunted Palace _ (1963), replacing Boris Karloff in the latter for Roger Corman .
He was in a Western _Law of the Lawless _ (1963), _Face of the Screaming Werewolf _ (1964), _Witchcraft _ (1964), and _Stage to Thunder Rock _ (1964).
He had one of his best later roles in _ Spider Baby _, made in 1964 but not released until 1967. Then it was back to Westerns - _Young Fury _ (1965), _ Black Spurs _ (1965), _ Town Tamer _ (1966), _Johnny Reno _ (1967), _ Apache Uprising _ (1967), _Welcome to Hard Times _ (1967) and _Buckskin _ (1968). There was also horror, such as _Dr. Terror\'s Gallery of Horrors _ (1967) and _Hillbillys in a Haunted House _ (1967).
His bread-and-butter work during this decade was television – where he made guest appearances on everything from _ Wagon Train _ to _The Monkees _ – and in a string of supporting roles in low-budget Westerns produced by A. C. Lyles for Paramount . In 1962, Chaney got a brief chance to play Quasimodo in a simulacrum of his father's make-up, as well as return to his roles of the Mummy and the Wolf Man on the television series _Route 66 _ with friends Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre . During this era, he starred in Jack Hill 's _Spider Baby _ (filmed 1964, released 1968), for which he also sang the title song.
In later years, he battled throat cancer and chronic heart disease
among other ailments after decades of heavy drinking and smoking. In
his final horror film, _
Chaney was married twice. His first wife Dorothy divorced him in 1936 for drinking too much and being "sullen". He remarried in 1937. He had two sons by his first wife, Lon Ralph Chaney (born July 3, 1928) and Ronald Creighton Chaney (born March 18, 1930), both now deceased.
He was survived by a grandson, Ron Chaney, who attended film conventions and discussed his grandfather's life and film career.
Chaney was well liked by some co-workers – "sweet" is the adjective
that most commonly emerges from those who acted with, and liked him
– yet he was capable of intense dislikes. For instance, he and
Chaney had run-ins with actor Frank Reicher (whom he nearly strangled on camera in _The Mummy\'s Ghost _) and director Robert Siodmak (over whose head Chaney broke a vase). Actor Robert Stack claimed in his 1980 autobiography that Chaney and drinking buddy Broderick Crawford were known as "the monsters" around the Universal Pictures lot because of their drunken behavior that frequently resulted in bloodshed.
In 1999, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California , Walk of Stars was dedicated to him.
Chaney died of heart failure at age 67 on July 12, 1973 in San Clemente, California . His body was donated for medical research .
He was honored by appearing as the Wolf Man on one of a 1997 series of United States postage stamps depicting movie monsters. His grandson Ron Chaney Jr. has frequently appeared as a guest at horror movie conventions.
_ Lon Chaney JR, Horror Film Star, 1906–1973_ (1996) ISBN 0-7864-1813-3
This is a list of known Lon Chaney Jr. theatrical films broken down by decade. Television appearances are listed separately.
* _The Trap _ (1922) (Hand only)
* _The Galloping Ghost _ (1931)
* _Girl Crazy _ (1932)
The Roadhouse Murders _ (1932)
* _Bird of Paradise _ (1932)
* _The Most Dangerous Game _ (1932)
* _The Last Frontier _ (1932)
The Black Ghost _ (1932)
* _Lucky Devils _ (1933)
Desert Command _ (1933)
* _The Three Musketeers _ (1933)
Son of the Border _ (1933)
Scarlet River _ (1933)
Sixteen Fathoms Deep _ (1934)
The Life of Vergie Winters _ (1934)
* _Girl o\' My Dreams _ (1934)
The Marriage Bargain _ (1935)
* _Hold \'Em Yale _ (1935)
A Scream in the Night _ (1935)
* _Accent on Youth _ (1935)
The Shadow of Silk Lennox _ (1935)
* _The Singing Cowboy _ (1936)
Undersea Kingdom _ (1936)
* _Ace Drummond _ (1936)
Killer at Large _ (1936)
* _Rose Bowl _ (1936)
The Old Corral _ (1936)
Cheyenne Rides Again _ (1937)
Love Is News _ (1937)
* _Midnight Taxi _ (1937)
Secret Agent X-9 _ (1937)
That I May Live _ (1937)
This Is My Affair _ (1937)
* _Angel\'s Holiday _ (1937)
* _Born Reckless _ (1937)
* _Wild and Woolly _ (1937)
The Lady Escapes _ (1937)
One Mile From Heaven _ (1937)
* _Thin Ice _ (1937)
Charlie Chan on Broadway _ (1937)
Life Begins in College _ (1937)
Wife, Doctor and Nurse _ (1937)
* _Second Honeymoon _ (1937)
* _Checkers _ (1937)
Love and Hisses _ (1937)
* _City Girl _ (1938)
Happy Landing _ (1938)
Sally, Irene and Mary _ (1938)
* _Mr. Moto\'s Gamble _ (1938)
Walking Down Broadway _ (1938)
* _Alexander\'s Ragtime Band _ (1938)
* _Josette _ (1938)
Speed to Burn _ (1938)
Passport Husband _ (1938)
Straight Place and Show _ (1938)
* _North West Mounted Police _ (1940)
One Million B.C. _ (1940)
Too Many Blondes _ (1941)
* _Billy the Kid _ (1941)
* _Man-Made Monster _ (1941)
* _San Antonio Rose _ (1941)
Riders of Death Valley _ (1941) serial
Badlands of Dakota _ (1941)
* _The Wolf Man _ (1941)
North to the Klondike _ (1941)
* _Overland Mail_ (1942) serial
The Ghost of Frankenstein _ (1942)
Keeping Fit _ (1942)
Eyes of the Underworld _ (1942)
* _The Mummy\'s Tomb _ (1942)
Frontier Badmen _ (1943)
Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man _ (1943)
* _What We Are Fighting For _ (1943)
* _Son of
Dracula _ (1943)
* _Crazy House _ (1943)
Calling Dr. Death _ (1943)
Eyes of the Underworld _ (1943)
* _ Captain China _ (1950) * _There\'s a Girl In My Heart _ (1950) * _Once a Thief _ (1950) * _Inside Straight _ (1951) * _ Bride of the Gorilla _ (1951) * _ Only the Valiant _ (1951) * _ Behave Yourself! _ (1951) * _ Flame of Araby _ (1951) * _The Bushwhackers _ (1952) * _The Thief of Damascus _ (1952) * _ Battles of Chief Pontiac _ (1952) * _ High Noon _ (1952) * _Springfield Rifle _ (1952) * _ The Black Castle _ (1952) * _ Raiders of the Seven Seas _ (1953) * _Bandit Island _ (1953) * _ A Lion Is in the Streets _ (1953) * _ The Boy from Oklahoma _ (1954) * _Casanova\'s Big Night _ (1954) * _The Big Chase _ (1954) * _Passion _ (1954) * _ The Black Pirates _ (1954) * _Jivaro _ (1954) * _ Big House, U.S.A. _ (1955) * _ I Died a Thousand Times _ (1955) * _ The Indian Fighter _ (1955) * _ Not as a Stranger _ (1955) * _The Silver Star _ (1955) * _ The Black Sleep _ (1956) * _ Indestructible Man _ (1956) * _ Manfish _ (1956) * _ Pardners _ (1956) * _ Daniel Boone, Trail Blazer _ (1956) * _The Cyclops _ (1957) * _ The Defiant Ones _ (1958) * _ The Alligator People _ (1959) * _Money, Women, and Guns _ (1959)
* _House of Terror _ (1960) * _The Phantom _ (1961) * _The Devil\'s Messenger _ (1961) * _Rebellion in Cuba _ (1961) * _ The Haunted Palace _ (1963) * _Law of the Lawless _ (1963) * _ Face of the Screaming Werewolf _ (1964) * _Witchcraft _ (1964) * _ Stage to Thunder Rock _ (1964) * _ Spider Baby _ (1964) * _House of Black Death _ (1965) * _ Young Fury _ (1965) * _ Black Spurs _ (1965) * _ Town Tamer _ (1965) * _ Johnny Reno _ (1966) * _ Apache Uprising _ (1966) * _Welcome to Hard Times _ (1967) * _Dr. Terror\'s Gallery of Horrors _ (1967) * _ Hillbillys in a Haunted House _(1967) * _The Far Out West _ (1967) * _ Spider Baby _ (1968) * _Cannibal _ (1968) * _Buckskin _ (1968) * _The Fireball Jungle _ (1969) * _ The Female Bunch _ (1969) * _A Stranger in Town _ (1969)
SELECTED TELEVISION APPEARANCES
Versatile Varieties _ (1949–1950)
I love Lucy _ as a poker player friend of Ricky and Fred. "Be a
Pal" episode (1951)
The Red Skelton Show
SELECT RADIO CREDITS
* _Inner Sanctum_ - "Ring of Doom" (1943)
* ^ _A_ _B_ "
Lon Chaney Jr., Actor, Is Dead at 67; Portrayed
New York Times . July 14, 1973. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
Lon Chaney Jr., the film actor, died yesterday at the age of 67. A
long series of illnesses had put Mr. Chaney in and out of hospitals
for the last year. He was released from a
San Clemente ...
* ^ FILLER OF FATHER'S FOOTWEAR: FILLER OF FATHER'S FOOTWEAR Smith,