Charles Laughton

Charles Laughton


7/1/1899, Scarborough, Yorkshire, United Kingdom



Birth Name


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Portly British-born actor who enjoyed a long career in films and on-stage. Laughton was married to fellow thespian Elsa Lanchester in real life and appeared in such classic films as Mutiny on the Bounty, Les Miserables, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Witness for the Prosecution, Spartacus, and Advise and Consent.more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • On March 31, 1952, Laughton appeared on the cover of Time magazine.

    • Laughton played the sadistic Roman emperor Nero in the 1933 film Sign of the Cross.

    • Laughton made his American film debut in the 1932 film Devil and the Deep in which he co-starred with Gary Cooper, Tallulah Bankhead, and Cary Grant.

    • Laughton appeared twice as the Mystery Guest on What's My Line?

    • Laughton's wife, Elsa Lanchester, would claim after his death that he was homosexual and that they never consumated their marriage.

    • Laughton's role as Captain William Bligh in Mutiny on the Bounty was played by Trevor Howard in the 1962 remake.

    • Laughton won the New York Critics Circle Award in 1936 for his performance as Captain William Bligh in Mutiny on the Bounty.

    • Laughton had two younger brothers named Robert and Francis.

    • Laughton has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It is located at 7021 Hollywood Boulevard.

    • Laughton was an avid hunter, fisherman, and cigar smoker.. He also owned an extensive art collection.

    • Laughton fulfilled a lifelong wish to visit Japan in 1960.

    • Laughton once joked that he had a face that would stop a sundial.

    • Laughton had a one man stage show where he gave dramatic readings for many years. A recording ot this stage show won a Grammy in 1962.

    • During the 1930's Laughton wanted to play Mr. Micawber in a film version of the classic novel, David Copperfield, but the role went to W. C. Fields instead.

    • In the 1928 London stage play, Alibi, Laughton became the first actor to play Agatha Christie's famed detective, Hercule Poirot. Laughton later repeated the role on Broadway.

    • Laughton stood 5 feet, 10 inches tall.

    • His parents' names were Robert and Elizabeth Conlan Laughton.

    • After his service in World War I, Laughton entered the family business. He didn't make his first stage appearance until 1926.

    • Laughton is buried in the Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills Cemetary in Los Angeles.

    • Laughton appeared on an episode of Wagon Train entitled The Albert Farnsworth Story.

    • Despite never getting a chance to direct another film after Night of the Hunter, Laughton directed several Broadway plays including Don Juan in Hell and Major Barbara.

    • Two child actors were major characters in Laughton's 1955 film Night of the Hunter. Because he disliked young children, Laughton let star Robert Mitchum direct their scenes.

    • Laughton played notorious pirate Captain William Kidd on-screen twice. Once in 1945's Captain Kidd and the second time for laughs in 1953's Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd.

    • Laughton received Academy Award nominations for Best Actor in 1935 and 1957 for his performances in Mutiny on the Bounty and Witness for the Prosecution respectively. He lost out both times.

    • Laughton served during World War I where he was the victim of a poison gas attack by German forces.

    • Laughton attended Stonyhurst College in Lancashire, England.

    • Laughton and Bela Lugosi did not get along well when they appeared together in the 1932 film Island of the Lost Souls. Lugosi reportedly said of Laughton, "I thought I was an arrogant guy until I met him."

    • Laughton discovered actress Maureen O'Hara when she was 18 and brought her to Hollywood as his protege. The two co-starred together in The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

    • Laughton appeared with wife Elsa Lanchester in Rembrandt, The Private Life of Henry VIII, and Witness for the Prosecution.

    • Laughton was scheduled to star in a film version of Robert Graves' classic novel I, Claudius but cost overruns and an untimely injury to co-star Merle Oberon led to the movie being abandoned.

    • Laughton directed one film--1955's Night of the Hunter which starred Robert Mitchum. Mitchum later said that Laughton was the best director he ever worked with.

    • Laughton was good friends with the comedy team of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello.

    • Laughton won an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1933 for his performance in the title role of The Private Life of Henry VIII.

    • Laughton's final role, that of a southern U. S. Senator in Advise and Consent, was based on real life Mississippi Senator John C. Stennis. Laughton even got Stennis to read his lines into a tape recorder so he could listen to and learn the accent correctly.

    • Laughton and his wife, Elsa Lanchester, became American citizens in 1950.

    • Laughton had a lifelong dislike of small children and zoos.

    • Laughton played the title role in The Hunchback of Notre Dame in 1939. He beat out Lon Chaney, Jr., son of the original portrayer, for the role.

    • Laughton was married to Elsa Lanchester from 1929 until his death in 1962.

  • Quotes

    • Laughton: Method actors give you a photograph. Real actors give you an oil painting.

    • Laughton: It's got so that every time I walk into a restaurant I get not only the soup but an impersonation of Captain Bligh.