Although his parents were deaf-mutes, Leonidas Chaney became an actor and also owner of a theatre company (together with his brother John). Chaney made his debut in the movies in 1912 and his filmography is extensive. Although Lon Chaney was famous for his horror roles such as Quasimodo…more
Chaney made only one talking film: The Unholy Three in 1930. It was actually a remake of one of his silent films.
Chaney has been pictured on US postage stamps twice. Once in a series in 1994 honoring silent film stars, and again in 1997 honoring famous movie monsters.
Chaney hated giving interviews and didn't like Hollywood social life, so he often visited a cabin he had in the Sierra Nevadas. This isolated nature made many people believe he was unfriendly.
Actor Wallace Beery greatly admired Chaney, and claimed that "He was the one man I knew who could walk with kings and not lose the common touch."
Chaney was an expert on make-up, and often devised his own make-up for the monsters he played on film. He was such an expert that he once wrote the entry on it for Encyclopedia Britannica.
Because of the monstrous and disfigured characters Chaney played in films, a joke orginated that went "Don't step on it; it might be Lon Chaney!"
Chaney's favorite film of his own was 1926's Tell it to the Marines.
Director Tod Browning was a huge fan of Chaney's work, and desperately wanted him for the lead role in Dracula, but Chaney died before filming began.
Chaney's closest friends were actors Boris Karloff and Noble Johnson. He was responsible for starting them both in movie careers.
In 1957, a biographical movie was made about Chaney's life called Man of a Thousand Faces, starring James Cagney as Chaney.
The Lon Chaney Theater in Chaney's hometown of Colorado Springs, CO is named in his honor.
Chaney has a Star on the Walk of Fame.
Chaney stood 5'9".
Chaney: (on why he played so many monsters in films) I don't feel comfortable being photographed as myself.
Chaney: The trick in this business is to do something totally different from the rest so they'll take notice of you.
Chaney: (his advice to actress Patsy Ruth Miller) Remember, my dear, you are an actress. You don't have to live the part, just act it. The point is not for you to cry, make your audience cry. You have to be in control of yourself.
Chaney: (on the deformed, yet heroic, characters he often played) I wanted to remind people that the lowest types of humanity may have within them the capacity for supreme self-sacrifice.
Chaney: (on his isolated lifestyle) Between pictures, there is no Lon Chaney.
Chaney: (on movies) It's an art, but not magic.
Chaney: The chief thing for any actor to remember is that it wasn't his brains that got him to stardom, it was only his acting.
Chaney: Actors should pay more attention to their work and less attention to their fan mail.
Chaney: (on his private, isolated lifestyle) My whole career has been devoted to keeping people from knowing me.