Cheney was born prematurely, leading to a number of medical problems in later life. He often told the story that he was born "black and dead" and that his father took him out into the cold of an Oklahoma February, broke the ice on a lake, and plunged him into the freezing water so that the shock would start his breathing.
Lon's son, Lon Ralph Cheney, later said that the story was fiction.
Chaney was the only actor to play the Big Four of horror: Count Dracula (in 1943's Son of Dracula), the Frankenstein Monster (in 1942's The Ghost of Frankenstein), the Wolf Man (in The Wolf Man, 1941), and the Mummy (in The Mummy's Curse, 1944).
The character that he played in Son of Dracula was actually the titular role (Count Anthony Alucard) but that does nothing to diminish Chaney's achievement.
Chaney was preparing a return to the stage in a production of Arsenic and Old Lace at the time of his death.
Chaney's wife, Patsy, couldn't stand Peter Lorre and refused to socialize with him or let him inside their house.
Chaney reportedly slammed Bela Lugosi against a wall on the set of The Black Sleep after they got into an argument.
Chaney was an avid hunter and fisherman. He also enjoyed the sport of motorboat racing and sponsored a racing boat at one time.
Chaney and Of Mice and Men co-star Betty Field were reunited in an episode of Route 66 entitled The Mud Nest.
Sadly, Chaney, unlike his famous father, does not have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Don't bother looking for Chaney's grave. He doesn't have one. He willed his body to the UCLA Medical Center so that it could be used for research and teaching purposes.
Chaney was portrayed by Ann-Margret's future husband, Roger Smith, in the 1957 biopic about his father entitled Man of a Thousand Faces.
Chaney and Raymond Burr didn't get along at all on the set of the 1951 film Bride of the Gorilla. Needless to say, Chaney never made a guest appearance on Perry Mason.
Chaney is mentioned in the lyrics of Warren Zevon's song Werewolves of London.
Chaney resided in San Clemente during his later years where he was a neighbor of President Nixon whose "Western White House" was located there.
Chaney's favorite role was that of Lenny in Of Mice and Men.
Chaney had two sons, Lon Ralph and Ronald Creighton, from his first marriage.
Lon was married to Dorothy Hinckley from 1928 to 1937 and to Patsy Beck from 1937 until his death in 1973.
Lon appeared in most of his early films under his real name, Creighton Chaney, but his career struggled and at the advice of his agent he changed it to Lon Chaney, Jr.
Chaney was only six feet tall but he frequently wore lifts in his shoes when on-screen that made him appear to be much taller.
Chaney only appeared in two films with fellow horror legend Boris Karloff: House of Frankenstein and The Black Castle.
Lon tested for the role of The Hunchback of Notre Dame but lost out to Charles Laughton. This marked the only time he attempted to portray a role that had been previously played by his father.
During his teenaged years, Chaney would occasionally hitchhike up to the San Joaquin Valley and pick fruit on the farms located there. This experience proved valuable for his role as Lennie in Of Mice and Men.
Chaney's grandparents, who were deaf mutes, taught him sign language.
Chaney and Bela Lugosi didn't get along at all due to the fact that Lugosi was originally slated to star in The Wolf Man only to be replaced by Lon.
Chaney, Boris Karloff, and Peter Lorre all appeared as themselves on an episode of Route 66 entitled Lizard's Legs and Owlet's Wings.
Chaney played Larry Talbot, the Wolf Man, in five movies: The Wolf Man, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, House of Frankenstein, House of Dracula, and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.
Chaney's actor father didn't want him to follow in his footsteps.
Actress Fay Wray of King Kong fame was a classmate of Chaney's at Hollywood High School.
Lon's mother, Cleva, was confined to a sanitarium after a suicide attempt. To make things worse he was told she had died and didn't learn she was still alive until many years later.