Leonidas Frank Chaney
April 1, 1883
|Died||August 26, 1930 (aged 47)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale)|
|Other names||Lon Chaney Sr.|
The Man of a Thousand Faces
Frances Cleveland ("Cleva") Creighton
(m. 1905; div. 1913)
Hazel Bennett Hastings
|Children||Lon Chaney Jr. (born Creighton Tull Chaney)|
Leonidas Frank "Lon" Chaney (April 1, 1883 – August 26, 1930) was an American actor and makeup artist. He is regarded as one of the most versatile and powerful actors of cinema, renowned for his characterizations of tortured, often grotesque and afflicted characters, and his groundbreaking artistry with makeup. Chaney was known for his starring roles in such silent horror films as The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) and The Phantom of the Opera (1925). His ability to transform himself using makeup techniques that he developed earned him the nickname "The Man of a Thousand Faces".
Leonidas Frank Chaney was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to Frank H. Chaney (a barber) and Emma Alice Kennedy. His father was of English and French ancestry, and his mother was of Scottish, English, and Irish descent. Chaney's maternal grandfather, Jonathan Ralston Kennedy, founded the "Colorado School for the Education of Mutes" (now Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind) in 1874, and Chaney's parents met there. His great-grandfather was congressman John Chaney.
Both of Chaney's parents were deaf and, as a child of deaf adults, Chaney became skilled in pantomime. He entered a stage career in 1902, and began traveling with popular vaudeville and theater acts. In 1905, Chaney, then 22, met and married 16-year-old singer Cleva Creighton (Frances Cleveland Creighton) and in 1906, their only child, a son, Creighton Tull Chaney (later known as Lon Chaney Jr.) was born. The Chaneys continued touring, settling in California in 1910.
Marital troubles developed and on April 30, 1913, Cleva went to the Majestic Theater in downtown Los Angeles, where Lon was managing the "Kolb and Dill" show, and attempted suicide by swallowing mercuric chloride. The suicide attempt failed, but it ruined her singing career; the ensuing scandal and divorce forced Chaney out of the theater and into film.
The time spent there is not clearly known, but between the years 1912 and 1917, Chaney worked under contract for Universal Studios doing bit or character parts. His skill with makeup gained him many parts in the highly competitive casting atmosphere. During this time, Chaney befriended the husband-wife director team of Joe De Grasse and Ida May Park, who gave him substantial roles in their pictures, and further encouraged him to play macabre characters.
In 1915, Chaney married one of his former colleagues in the Kolb and Dill company, a recently divorced chorus girl named Hazel Hastings. The new couple gained custody of Chaney's 10-year-old son Creighton, who had resided in various homes and boarding schools since Chaney's divorce from Cleva in 1913.
By 1917, Chaney was a prominent actor in the studio, but his salary did not reflect this status. When Chaney asked for a raise, studio executive William Sistrom replied, "You'll never be worth more than one hundred dollars a week." After leaving the studio, Chaney struggled for the first year as a character actor. It was not until he played a substantial role in William S. Hart's picture Riddle Gawne (1918) that Chaney's talents as a character actor were truly recognized by the industry.
Universal presented Chaney, Dorothy Phillips, and William Stowell as a team in The Piper's Price (1917). In succeeding films, the men alternated playing lover, villain, or other man to the beautiful Phillips. They would occasionally be joined by Claire DuBrey nearly making the trio a quartet of recurring actors from film to film. So successful were the films starring this group that Universal produced fourteen films from 1917 to 1919 with Chaney, Stowell, and Phillips.
The films were usually directed by Joe De Grasse or his wife Ida May Park, both friends of Chaney's at Universal. When Chaney was away branching out on films such as Riddle Gawne and The Kaiser, the Beast of Berlin (both 1918), Stowell and Phillips would continue on as a duo until Chaney's return. Stowell and Phillips made The Heart of Humanity (also 1918), bringing in Erich von Stroheim for a part as the villain that could easily have been played by Chaney.
Paid in Advance (1919) was the group's last film together, for the chiseled featured Stowell was sent to Africa by Universal to scout locations for a movie. En route from one city to another, Stowell was in the caboose when it was hit by the locomotive from another train; he was killed instantly. The majority of these films are lost but a few, including Triumph and Paid in Advance survive in private collections or unrestored in European or Russian archives.[Note 1]
Chaney had a breakthrough performance as "The Frog" in George Loane Tucker's The Miracle Man (1919). The film displayed not only Chaney's acting ability, but also his talent as a master of makeup. Critical praise and a gross of over $2 million put Chaney on the map as America's foremost character actor.
Chaney exhibited great adaptability with makeup in more conventional crime and adventure films, such as The Penalty (1920), in which he played a gangster with both legs amputated. Chaney appeared in 10 films directed by Tod Browning, often portraying disguised and/or mutilated characters, including carnival knife-thrower Alonzo the Armless in The Unknown (1927) opposite Joan Crawford. Around the same time, Chaney also co-starred with Conrad Nagel, Marceline Day, Henry B. Walthall and Polly Moran in the Tod Browning horror film London After Midnight (1927), one of the most sought after lost films. His final film role was a sound remake of his silent classic The Unholy Three (1930), his only "talkie" and the only film in which Chaney utilized his powerful and versatile voice. Chaney signed a sworn statement declaring that five of the key voices in the film (the ventriloquist, the old woman, a parrot, the dummy and the girl) were his own.
Makeup in the early days of cinema was almost non-existent with the exception of beards and moustaches to denote villains. Most of what the Hollywood studios knew about film stemmed from their experience with theater makeup, but this did not always transfer well to the big screen, especially as the film quality increased over time. It is also worth noting that makeup departments were not yet in place during Chaney's time. Prior to the mid-20s, actors were expected to do their own makeup.
In the absence of such specialized professions, Chaney's skills gave him a competitive advantage over other actors. He was the complete package. Casting crews knew that they could place him in virtually any part and he would thrive. In some films his skill allowed him to play dual roles. An extreme case of this was the film Outside the Law (1920), where he played a character that shot and killed another character, whom he also was playing.
As Quasimodo, the bell ringer of Notre Dame Cathedral, and Erik, the "phantom" of the Paris Opera House, Chaney created two of the most grotesquely deformed characters in film history. "Phantom … became a legend almost immediately," wrote the Los Angeles Times in 1990. "The newspapers of the day reported that women fainted, children bawled and grown men stepped outside for fresh air after the famous unmasking scene." "The unmasking of the titular Phantom is one of the most well-known moments in silent film," wrote Meg Shields in 2020. "Arguably, it’s one of the most horrifying images ever put on screen." However, Chaney's portrayals sought to elicit a degree of sympathy and pathos among viewers not overwhelmingly terrified or repulsed by the monstrous disfigurements of these victims of fate.
In a 1925 autobiographical article for Movie magazine, he wrote: "I wanted to remind people that the lowest types of humanity may have within them the capacity for supreme self-sacrifice. The dwarfed, misshapen beggar of the streets may have the noblest ideals. Most of my roles since The Hunchback, such as The Phantom of the Opera, He Who Gets Slapped, The Unholy Three, etc., have carried the theme of self-sacrifice or renunciation. These are the stories which I wish to do." Chaney referred to his expertise in both makeup and contorting his body to portray his subjects as "extraordinary characterization". Chaney's talents extended beyond the horror genre and stage makeup. He was also a highly skilled dancer, singer and comedian.
Ray Bradbury once said of Chaney, "He was someone who acted out our psyches. He somehow got into the shadows inside our bodies; he was able to nail down some of our secret fears and put them on-screen. The history of Lon Chaney is the history of unrequited loves. He brings that part of you out into the open, because you fear that you are not loved, you fear that you never will be loved, you fear there is some part of you that's grotesque, that the world will turn away from."
Chaney and his second wife Hazel led a discreet private life distant from the Hollywood social scene. Chaney did minimal promotional work for his films and for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, purposefully fostering a mysterious image, and he reportedly intentionally avoided the social scene in Hollywood.
In the final five years of his film career (1925–1930), Chaney worked exclusively under contract to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, giving some of his most memorable performances. His portrayal of a tough-as-nails marine drill instructor in Tell It to the Marines (1926), one of his favorite films, earned him the affection of the Marine Corps, who made him their first honorary member from the motion picture industry.
He also earned the respect and admiration of numerous aspiring actors, to whom he offered mentoring assistance, and between takes on film sets he was always willing to share his professional observations with the cast and crew. During the filming of The Unknown (1927), Joan Crawford stated that she learned more about acting from watching Chaney work than from anyone else in her career. "It was then," she said, "I became aware for the first time of the difference between standing in front of a camera, and acting."
During the filming of Thunder in the winter of 1929, Chaney developed pneumonia. In late 1929, he was diagnosed with bronchial lung cancer. This was exacerbated when artificial snow lodged in his throat during filming and caused a serious infection. Despite aggressive treatment, his condition gradually worsened, and he died of a throat hemorrhage on August 26, 1930, in a Los Angeles, California hospital.[Note 2]
His funeral was held on August 28 in Glendale, California. Honorary pallbearers included Paul Bern, Hunt Stromberg, Irving Thalberg, Louis B. Mayer, Lionel Barrymore, Wallace Beery, Tod Browning, Lew Cody, and Ramon Novarro. The U.S. Marine Corps provided a chaplain and Honor Guard for his funeral. While his funeral was being conducted, all MGM studios and offices observed two minutes of silence.
Chaney was interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, next to the crypt of his father. His wife Hazel was interred there upon her death in 1933. In accordance with his will, Chaney's crypt has remained unmarked.
In 1957, Chaney was the subject of a biopic titled Man of a Thousand Faces, in which he was portrayed by James Cagney. The film is a largely fictionalized account, as Chaney was notoriously private and hated the Hollywood lifestyle. He never revealed personal details about himself or his family, once stating, "Between pictures, there is no Lon Chaney."
Chaney's son Creighton, who later changed his name to Lon Chaney Jr., became a film actor after his father's death. Chaney Jr. is best remembered for roles in horror films, such as the title character in The Wolf Man (1941). In October 1997, both Chaneys appeared on commemorative US postage stamps as the Phantom of the Opera and the Wolf Man, with the set completed by Bela Lugosi as Dracula and Boris Karloff as Frankenstein's monster and the Mummy.
Chaney is also the subject of the 2000 documentary feature, Lon Chaney: A Thousand Faces. The film was produced by silent film historian Kevin Brownlow and narrated by Kenneth Branagh.
In the song "Werewolves of London" by Warren Zevon, both Chaney and his son Lon Chaney Jr are name-called in the last verse.
Chaney has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, located on Hollywood Boulevard. In 1994, Al Hirschfeld's caricature of Chaney was featured on a commemorative United States postage stamp.
In 1929, Chaney built a stone cabin in the remote wilderness of the eastern Sierra Nevada near Big Pine, California as a retreat, hiring Paul R. Williams. Located in the Inyo National Forest, the cabin still stands, though it is not open to the public. Following his death, Chaney's famous makeup case was donated to the Los Angeles County Museum by his widow, Hazel. The case is occasionally displayed for the public. The stage theater at the Colorado Springs Civic Auditorium is also named after the actor.
Approximately 102 of the 157 films made by Chaney are currently classified as lost films. A number of others exist only in extremely truncated form or suffer severe decomposition.
|1913||Poor Jake's Demise||Willy (The Dude) Mollycoddle||Chaney's first credited film appearance |
|1913||The Sea Urchin||Barnacle Bill||Lost film|
|1913||The Blood Red Tape of Charity||A Jewish pawnbroker (uncredited)||Lost film|
|1913||Shon the Piper||Scottish clansman (uncredited)||Also known as Shawn the Piper|
|1913||The Trap||Lon (uncredited)||Lost film|
|1913||The Restless Spirit||The Russian Count wearing a beard (uncredited)||Lost film|
|1913||Almost an Actress||Lon plays a cameraman||Lost film|
|1913||An Elephant on His Hands||Eddie ||Lost film|
|1913||Back to Life||The Rival||Lost film|
|1913||Red Margaret, Moonshiner||Lon (an old moonshiner with a wild beard)||Re-release title: Moonshine Blood|
|1913||Bloodhounds of the North||Mountie lieutenant||Lost film|
|1914||The Lie||Young MacGregor||Lost film|
|1914||The Honor of the Mounted||Jacques Laquox||Lost film|
|1914||Remember Mary Magdalen||The half-wit||Lost film|
|1914||Discord and Harmony||Lon, a sculptor||Lost film|
|1914||The Menace to Carlotta||Giovanni Bartholdi||Chaney also wrote the screenplay|
Working title: Carlotta, the Bead Stringer
|1914||The Embezzler||J. Roger Dixon, a blackmailer||Lost film|
|1914||The Lamb, the Woman, the Wolf||The Wolf (a mountain man)||Lost film|
|1914||The End of the Feud||Wood Dawson||Lost film|
|1914||The Tragedy of Whispering Creek||The Greaser||Some sources say Chaney wrote the screenplay as well (but this is disputed)|
Print exists in the Deutsche Kinematek film archive
|1914||The Unlawful Trade||The half-breed||Lost film|
|1914||The Forbidden Room||John Morris||Working title: The Web of Circumstance|
|1914||The Old Cobbler||Wild Bill||Lost film|
|1914||A Ranch Romance||Raphael Praz||Lost film|
|1914||The Hopes of Blind Alley||The vendor||aka The Hopes of a Blind Alley|
|1914||Her Grave Mistake||Nunez, a Mexican spy||Lost film|
|1914||By the Sun's Rays||Frank Lawler, the clerk||A 16mm. print of this film exists|
available on DVD
|1914||The Oubliette||Chevalier Bertrand de la Payne||A nitrate print was discovered in Georgia in 1983.|
Alternate title: The Adventures of François Villon #1: The Oubliette
|1914||A Miner's Romance||John Burns||Lost film|
|1914||Her Bounty||Fred Howard||Lost film|
|1914||The Higher Law||Sir Stephen Fitz Allen||Alternative title: The Adventures of François Villon #2: The Higher Law|
|1914||Richelieu||Baradas, the villain||Lost film|
|1914||The Pipes o' Pan||Arthur Farrell||Some sequences were hand colored|
|1914||Virtue Is Its Own Reward||Duncan Bronson, an unsavory co-worker||In 2018, a 25-foot fragment of this film was discovered in a Brooklyn attic|
|1914||Her Life's Story||Don Valesquez, a nobleman||Lost film|
|1914||A Small Town Girl||A pimp||Released Nov. 7, 1914|
|1914||Lights and Shadows||Bentley, a wealthy man's son||Lost film|
|1914||The Lion, the Lamb, the Man||Fred Brown, the "Lion"||A 1-reel cutdown print survives with most of the opening footage removed|
|1914||A Night of Thrills||The Visitor||Lost film|
|1914||Her Escape||Pete Walsh, a blind man||Chaney also wrote the screenplay for this film|
|1915||The Sin of Olga Brandt||Stephen Leslie, an attorney||Lost film|
|1915||The Star of the Sea||Tomasco, a hunchbacked fisherman||Lost film|
|1915||The Measure of a Man||Mountie Lt. Jim Stuart||Lost film|
|1915||The Threads of Fate||The Count||The opening and closing scenes were hand colored|
|1915||When the Gods Played a Badger Game||Joe – the Property Man||Working title was The Girl Who Couldn't Go Wrong|
|1915||Such Is Life||Tod Wilkes, a burlesque show performer||Lost film|
|1915||Where the Forest Ends||Paul Rouchelle, an artist||Lost film|
|1915||Outside the Gates||Perez, a peddler||Lost film|
|1915||All for Peggy||Seth Baldwin, the stable boy||Lost film|
|1915||The Desert Breed||Fred||Lost film|
|1915||Maid of the Mist||Lin – Pauline's Father||Lost film|
|1915||The Girl of the Night||Jerry, a small-time crook||Re-release title: Her Chance|
|1915||The Stool Pigeon||Chaney directed this film (his first) but did not star in it |
|1915||The Grind||Henry Leslie||Released in U.K. as On the Verge of Sin|
|1915||For Cash||Chaney directed this film but did not star in it|
|1915||An Idyll of the Hills||Lafe Jameson, moonshiner||Lost film|
|1915||The Stronger Mind||The Crook's Pal||Lost film|
|1915||The Oyster Dredger||Chaney wrote and directed this film but did not star in it|
|1915||Steady Company||Jimmy Ford, a warehouse employee||Lost film|
|1915||The Violin Maker||Pedro, the violin maker||Chaney directed this film |
|1915||The Trust||Jim Mason, a thief||Chaney directed this film |
Alternative title: The Truce
|1915||Bound on the Wheel||Tom Coulahan, a drunkard||Lost film|
|1915||Mountain Justice||Jeffrey Kirke, a moonshiner||Lost film|
|1915||Quits||Frenchy, a fugitive||Working title was The Sheriff of Long Butte (the title of the Jules Furthman story it was based on); released 8/17/15; one reel  |
Lost film (a still from the film exists)
|1915||The Chimney's Secret||Dual role: as both Charles Harding (the bank cashier) and as the miserly old beggar||Chaney wrote and directed this film |
|1915||The Pine's Revenge||Black Scotty, a criminal||The working title was The King's Keeper|
|1915||The Fascination of the Fleur de Lis||Duke of Safoulrug||An incomplete print survives in the hands of a private collector in England|
|1915||Alas and Alack||Dual role: Jess's husband (a fisherman) and Hunchback Fate (in a fantasy sequence) ||An incomplete print exists in the National Film Archives in London.|
|1915||A Mother's Atonement||Dual role: Ben Morrison (as an old man and as his younger self) ||Only the first two reels of the picture survive at the Library of Congress|
|1915||Lon of Lone Mountain||Lon Moore, a mountain man||Lost film|
|1915||The Millionaire Paupers||Martin, the building manager||The working title was Fate's A Fiddler |
A brief fragment of the film exists in a private collection.
|1915||Under a Shadow||DeSerris, a Secret Service agent||Lost film |
|1915||Stronger Than Death||An attorney||Lost film|
|1916||Dolly's Scoop||Dan Fisher, reporter||A print of the film survives, missing the main title but otherwise complete.|
|1916||Felix on the Job||Tod||released Oct. 31, 1916 |
|1916||Accusing Evidence||Lon, a Canadian Mountie||Apparently filmed in 1914 but only released on Nov. 23, 1916|
|1917||The Mask of Love||Marino, an underworld criminal||Apparently filmed in 1914 but only released on Mar. 19, 1917
|1915||Father and the Boys||Tuck Bartholomew||Lost film|
|1916||The Grip of Jealousy||Silas Lacey||Working title was Love Thine Enemy|
|1916||Tangled Hearts||John Hammond||Roughly two minutes of footage exist in a private collection|
|1916||The Gilded Spider||Giovanni||Working title was The Full Cup|
A print was rediscovered in 2008.
|1916||Bobbie of the Ballet||Hook Hoover||Lost film|
|1916||The Grasp of Greed||Jimmie||About half the film still exists (incomplete print) at the George Eastman House Film Archive|
|1916||The Mark of Cain||Dick Temple||Chaney received first billing in this film for the first time in his career.|
Working title was By Fate's Decree.
|1916||If My Country Should Call||Dr. George Ardrath||Incomplete print (reels 2, 3 and 5 of 5) exists at the National Archives of Canada and the Library of Congress.|
|1916||The Place Beyond the Winds||Jerry Jo||Working title was Mansion of Despair|
Four of the five reels (reels 2, 3, 4 and 5) still survive in the film archive in the Library of Congress and in the National Archives of Canada.
|1916||The Price of Silence||Dr. Edmond Stafford||A print exists in the CNC French Film Archives|
|1917||The Piper's Price||Billy Kilmartin||Lost film|
|1917||Hell Morgan's Girl||Sleter Noble||Working title was The Wrong Side of Paradise|
|1917||The Girl in the Checkered Coat||Hector Maitland||Lost film|
|1917||The Flashlight||Dual Role as both Henry Norton and as Porter Brixton (two step-brothers)||Lost film|
|1917||A Doll's House||Nils Krogstad||Lost film|
|1917||Fires of Rebellion||Russell Hanlon||Lost film|
|1917||The Rescue||Thomas Holland||Lost film|
|1917||Pay Me!||Joe Lawson||Alternate title: Vengeance of the West|
|1917||Triumph||Paul Neihoff||An incomplete print consisting only of the first three reels were discovered in England and have been preserved at AMPAS|
|1917||The Empty Gun||Frank||Lost film|
|1917||Bondage||The Seducer||Uncredited (his appearance in this film is unconfirmed, but Blake's book says Chaney was in the film)|
|1917||Anything Once||Waught Moore||Working title was A Fool for Luck; a.k.a. The Maverick|
|1917||The Scarlet Car||Paul Revere Forbes||Prints exist at the Library of Congress and elsewhere|
Clips included in the 1995 documentary Lon Chaney: Behind the Mask
|1918||Broadway Love||Elmer Watkins||A print of the film survives in the George Eastman House Motion Picture Collection.|
|1918||The Grand Passion||Paul Argos||Working title was The Boss of Powderville|
|1918||The Kaiser, the Beast of Berlin||Bethmann-Hollweg||Lost film|
|1918||Fast Company||Dan McCarty||Lost film|
|1918||A Broadway Scandal||"Kink" Colby||Lost film|
|1918||Riddle Gawne||Hame Bozzam||Two of the five reels exist in the Library of Congress (incomplete print)|
|1918||That Devil, Bateese||Louis Courteau||Lost film|
|1918||The Talk of the Town||Jack Lanchome (Langhorne in some sources)||Based on a novelette called Discipline of Genevra|
|1918||Danger, Go Slow||Bud||Lost film|
|1919||The False Faces||Karl Eckstrom, a German spy||Based on the novel by Louis Joseph Vance|
The film's working title was The Lone Wolf
Complete print exists at the George Eastman House
Available on DVD
|1919||The Wicked Darling||Stoop Connors||Chaney's first collaboration with Tod Browning|
Working titles were The Gutter Rose and Rose of the Night
A complete print (with some decomposition) exists at the Netherlands Filmmuseum in Amsterdam
Available on DVD
|1919||A Man's Country||"Three Card" Duncan||A small portion of this film was discovered at the Danish Film Institute film archive in Denmark.|
The fragment does not contain any of Chaney's scenes
|1919||The Miracle Man||The Frog||Lost Film|
A 3-minute fragment exists showing Chaney in the faith healing sequence
|1919||Paid in Advance||Bateese Le Blanc||A nitrate stock print (with Czech subtitles) is housed at the Narodni Filmovy Archive in Czechoslovakia|
|1919||When Bearcat Went Dry||Kindard Powers||A complete prints exists at the American Film Institute, donated by a collector|
|1919||Victory||Ricardo||With Wallace Beery; complete film available on DVD|
|1920||Daredevil Jack||Royce Rivers, bandit leader||15-chapter serial|
Segments of this film (mainly Chapters 1, 2 and 4) are stored at the University of California, Los Angeles
Chaney does not appear in the existing footage
|1920||Treasure Island||Dual role as two pirates, Blind Pew and Merry||Lost film|
|1920||The Gift Supreme||Merney Stagg||An incomplete print (reel one of six) survives and is preserved in a private collection.|
|1920||Nomads of the North||Raoul Challoner||Available on DVD|
|1920||The Penalty||Blizzard||Available on DVD|
|1920||Outside the Law||Dual role as Black Mike Sylva and Ah Wing||Print exists in the Film Preservation Associates film collection|
Available on DVD.
|1921||For Those We Love||Trix Ulner||Lost film|
|1921||Bits of Life||Chin Chow||Lost film|
|1921||The Ace of Hearts||Farallone||Available on DVD|
|1922||Voices of the City||Red O'Rourke, gangster||Released in 1921 as The Night Rose, then censored and retitled; Chaney's name was changed from Red O'Rourke to Duke McGee; |
|1922||The Trap||Gaspard||Chaney also co-wrote the story that this film was based on|
Released in the U.K. as Heart of a Wolf
|1922||Flesh and Blood||David Webster||Working title was Fires of Vengeance; re-released in 1927; available on DVD|
|1922||The Light in the Dark||Tony Pantelli||Later edited down into a shorter version called The Light of Faith|
Only the short version is available on DVD
|1922||Oliver Twist||Fagin||Available on DVD|
|1922||Shadows||Yen Sin, the Heathen||Available on DVD|
|1922||Quincy Adams Sawyer||Obadiah Strout||Lost film|
|1922||A Blind Bargain||Dual Role as Dr. Arthur Lamb/ The Ape Man||Based on the novel The Octave of Claudius|
|1923||All the Brothers Were Valiant||Mark Shore||Lost film|
|1923||While Paris Sleeps||Henri Santodos,a sculptor||Working title was The Glory of Love|
Film was made in 1920, but only released in 1923
|1923||The Shock||Wilse Dilling||Working title was Bittersweet|
Available on DVD
|1923||The Hunchback of Notre Dame||Quasimodo||Assisted as makeup artist (uncredited)|
Available on DVD
|1924||The Next Corner||Juan Serafin||Lost film|
|1924||He Who Gets Slapped||Dual role as both Paul Beaumont and "HE"||Available on DVD|
|1925||The Monster||Dr. Ziska||Available on DVD|
|1925||The Phantom of the Opera||The Phantom||Asst. director, makeup (uncredited)|
Available on DVD
|1925||The Unholy Three||Dual role as Echo and the Old Lady||Remade as a sound film in 1930, again starring Chaney|
Available on DVD
|1925||The Tower of Lies||Jan||Lost film|
|1926||The Blackbird||Dual role as The Blackbird and The Bishop||A.k.a. The Black Bird|
Available on DVD
|1926||The Road to Mandalay||Singapore Joe||The film's working title was Singapore|
A condensed version with French subtitles exists in some museums
|1926||Tell It to the Marines||Sergeant O'Hara||Available on DVD|
|1927||Mr. Wu||Dual role as Mr. Wu and Mr. Wu's grandfather||Available on DVD|
|1927||The Unknown||Alonzo the Armless||Available on DVD|
|1927||Mockery||Sergei, a Russian peasant||Working title was Terror|
Available on DVD
|1927||London After Midnight||Dual role as Professor Edward C. Burke and The Vampire||Alternate title: The Hypnotist|
Makeup artist (uncredited)
|1928||The Big City||Chuck Collins||Lost film|
|1928||Laugh, Clown, Laugh||Tito the Clown||A near complete print exists|
Available on DVD
|1928||While the City Sleeps||Dan Coghlan||Incomplete print with some wear exists in some collections|
|1928||West of Zanzibar||Phroso||Available on DVD|
|1929||Where East Is East||Tiger Haynes||Available on DVD|
|1929||Thunder||Grumpy Anderson||Mostly a lost film; only a few minutes survives|
|1930||The Unholy Three (Sound Remake)||Dual role as Echo and the Old Lady||Available on DVD|
Gallery: The Man of a Thousand Faces
Blind Pew in Treasure Island (1920)
Fagin in Oliver Twist (1922)
"Erik, The Phantom" in The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
"Hypnotist" in London After Midnight (1927)
- ^ In a scene from Triumph (1917), biographer Daniel Blum described the scene as: "... Phillips has hand on Chaney's head embracing him while Stowell reads paperwork on desk."
- ^ The New York Times reported: "Lon Chaney dies after brave fight. On road to recovery, screen actor is stricken by hemorrhage of the throat. Was a master of makeup. Son of deaf and dumb Parents, He began career as property boy. Excelled in vivid personations. Acted as Pike's Peak guide. Made stage debut at 17. Appeared in slap-stick comedy. Wore straitjacket as "Hunchback." New disguise for each film. Although he was believed to be on the road to recovery, Lon Chaney, screen actor, who had been making a valiant fight against anemia and bronchial congestion, died at 12:55."
- ^ a b "Obituary: Lon Chaney." The New York Times, August 27, 1930. Retrieved: July 21, 2007.
- ^ Blackmar 1912, pp. 496–498.
- ^ Mysteries and Scandals – Lon Chaney (Season 3, Episode 34). E!. 2000.
- ^ "Mrs. Lon Chaney dies. Before her husband entered the movies she was well known In Vaudeville." The New York Times, November 1, 1933. Retrieved: July 21, 2007.
- ^ a b c Internet Movie Database, IMDb.com ; film listings on Lon Chaney, William Stowell, Dorothy Phillips & Claire Dubrey
- ^ 'Blum 1953, p. 141
- ^ Vogel 2010, p. 146.
- ^ Herzogenrath 2008, p. 79.
- ^ a b c Anderson, R. G. (1971). Faces, Forms, Films; the Artistry of Lon Chaney (pp. 1–216). Cranbury, NJ: A. S. Barnes and Co., Inc.
- ^ Lussier, Tim. "The Phantom of the Opera (1925)." Silents are Golden, 2000. Retrieved: May 10, 2016.
- ^ Dick 1997, pp. 52–55.
- ^ Turan, Kenneth (February 19, 2006). "The Most Fiendish Face in Movies". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 3, 2022.
- ^ Chalon Smith, Mark (October 25, 1990). "FILM: Lon Chaney's Legendary Phantom". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 18, 2022.
- ^ Shields, Meg (February 28, 2020). "Unmasking the Death's Head Reveal of The Phantom of the Opera". Film School Rejects. Retrieved February 18, 2022.
- ^ a b c Fleming 2009, p. 167.
- ^ a b LaSalle 2000, p. 120.
- ^ Schickel and Hurlburt 1962, p. 133,
- ^ a b "Funeral Service For Lon Chaney." The Telegraph, August 28, 1930, p. 5. Retrieved: January 26, 2015.
- ^ Riley 1993, p. 54.
- ^ Slide 2010, p. 217.
- ^ Smith 2004, pp. 9, 12.
- ^ Guiley 2004, p. 63.
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- ^ Blake 1997, p. 290.
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- ^ Blake, Michael F. (1998). "The Films of Lon Chaney". Vestal Press Inc. ISBN 1-879511-26-6.
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- ^ Blake, Michael F. (1998). "The Films of Lon Chaney". Vestal Press Inc. Page 4. ISBN 1-879511-26-6.
- ^ Blake, Michael F. (1998). "The Films of Lon Chaney". Vestal Press Inc. Page 5. ISBN 1-879511-26-6.
- ^ Blake, Michael F. (1998). "The Films of Lon Chaney". Vestal Press Inc. Page 8. ISBN 1-879511-26-6.
- ^ Blake, Michael F. (1998). "The Films of Lon Chaney". Vestal Press Inc. Page 14. ISBN 1-879511-26-6.
- ^ Mirsalis, John C. "The Embezzler". Lonchaney.org. Retrieved September 24, 2020.
- ^ "The Tragedy of Whispering Creek (1914)". lonchaney.org.
- ^ Bennett, Carl. "The Tragedy of Whispering Creek". silentera.com. Retrieved September 25, 2020.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "The Not Lon Chaney Filmography". lonchaney.org.
- ^ Blake, Michael F. (1998). "The Films of Lon Chaney". Vestal Press Inc. Page 20. ISBN 1-879511-26-6.
- ^ Blake, Michael F. (1998). "The Films of Lon Chaney". Vestal Press Inc. Page 21. ISBN 1-879511-26-6.
- ^ "The Oubliette (1914)". www.lonchaney.org.
- ^ Blake, Michael F. (1998). "The Films of Lon Chaney". Vestal Press Inc. Page 26. ISBN 1-879511-26-6.
- ^ "Virtue Its Own Reward (1914)". www.lonchaney.org.
- ^ Blake, Michael F. (1998). "The Films of Lon Chaney". Vestal Press Inc. Page 27. ISBN 1-879511-26-6.
- ^ Blake, Michael F. (1998). "The Films of Lon Chaney". Vestal Press Inc. Page 28. ISBN 1-879511-26-6.
- ^ Blake, Michael F. (1998). "The Films of Lon Chaney". Vestal Press Inc. Page 29. ISBN 1-879511-26-6.
- ^ "The Lion, the Lamb and the Man (1914)". www.lonchaney.org.
- ^ Blake, Michael F. (1998). "The Films of Lon Chaney". Vestal Press Inc. Page 30. ISBN 1-879511-26-6.
- ^ Blake, Michael F. (1998). "The Films of Lon Chaney". Vestal Press Inc. Page 33. ISBN 1-879511-26-6.
- ^ a b Blake, Michael F. (1998). "The Films of Lon Chaney". Vestal Press Inc. Page 34. ISBN 1-879511-26-6.
- ^ Blake, Michael F. (1998). "The Films of Lon Chaney". Vestal Press Inc. Page 35. ISBN 1-879511-26-6.
- ^ Blake, Michael F. (1998). "The Films of Lon Chaney". Vestal Press Inc. Page 36. ISBN 1-879511-26-6.
- ^ Blake, Michael F. (1998). "The Films of Lon Chaney". Vestal Press Inc. Page 37. ISBN 1-879511-26-6.
- ^ Blake, Michael F. (1998). "The Films of Lon Chaney". Vestal Press Inc. Page 38. ISBN 1-879511-26-6.
- ^ Blake, Michael F. (1998). "The Films of Lon Chaney". Vestal Press Inc. Page 39. ISBN 1-879511-26-6.
- ^ Blake, Michael F. (1998). "The Films of Lon Chaney". Vestal Press Inc. Page 42. ISBN 1-879511-26-6.
- ^ Blake, Michael F. (1998). "The Films of Lon Chaney". Vestal Press Inc. Page 43. ISBN 1-879511-26-6.
- ^ Blake, Michael F. (1998). "The Films of Lon Chaney". Vestal Press Inc. Page 45. ISBN 1-879511-26-6.
- ^ Blake, Michael F. (1998). "The Films of Lon Chaney". Vestal Press Inc. Page 47. ISBN 1-879511-26-6.
- ^ Blake, Michael F. (1998). "The Films of Lon Chaney". Vestal Press Inc. Page 48. ISBN 1-879511-26-6.
- ^ a b Blake, Michael F. (1998). "The Films of Lon Chaney". Vestal Press Inc. Page 51. ISBN 1-879511-26-6.
- ^ Mirsalis, Jon C. "Quits". Lonchaney.org. Retrieved November 13, 2020.
- ^ "Quits (1915)." silentera.com. Retrieved: January 26, 2015.
- ^ Blake, Michael F. (1998). "The Films of Lon Chaney". Vestal Press Inc. Page 52. ISBN 1-879511-26-6.
- ^ "The Fascination of the Fleur de Lis (1915)". www.lonchaney.org.
- ^ "Silent Era : Progressive Silent Film List". silentera.com.
- ^ Blake, Michael F. (1998). "The Films of Lon Chaney". Vestal Press Inc. Page 53. ISBN 1-879511-26-6.
- ^ "Alas and Alack (1915)". lonchaney.org.
- ^ "Alas and Alack (1915)". www.lonchaney.org.
- ^ Blake, Michael F. (1998). "The Films of Lon Chaney". Vestal Press Inc. Page 54. ISBN 1-879511-26-6.
- ^ "A Mother's Atonement (1915)". www.lonchaney.org.
- ^ a b Blake, Michael F. (1998). "The Films of Lon Chaney". Vestal Press Inc. Page 56. ISBN 1-879511-26-6.
- ^ "The Millionaire Paupers (1915)". www.lonchaney.org.
- ^ "Silent Era: Dolly's Scoop". silentera. Retrieved June 23, 2008.
- ^ a b Blake, Michael F. (1998). "The Films of Lon Chaney". Vestal Press Inc. Page 65. ISBN 1-879511-26-6.
- ^ Mirsalis, Jon C. "Accusing Evidence". Lonchaney.org. Retrieved November 17, 2020.
- ^ Blake, Michael F. (1998). "The Films of Lon Chaney". Vestal Press Inc. Page 69. ISBN 1-879511-26-6.
- ^ Mirsalis, Jon C. "The Mask of Love". Lonchaney.org. Retrieved November 17, 2020.
- ^ Blake, Michael F. (1998). "The Films of Lon Chaney". Vestal Press Inc. Page 70. ISBN 1-879511-26-6.
- ^ Blake, Michael F. (1998). "The Films of Lon Chaney". Vestal Press Inc. Page 60. ISBN 1-879511-26-6.
- ^ Mirsalis, Jon C. "The Grasp of Greed". Lonchaney.org. Retrieved November 19, 2020.
- ^ Mirsalis, Jon C. "The Mark of Cain". Lonchaney.org. Retrieved November 19, 2020.
- ^ "Silent Era: The Place Beyond the Winds". silentera. Retrieved June 25, 2008.
- ^ Mirsalis, Jon C. "The Price of Silence". Lonchaney.org. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
- ^ Bennett, Carl. "Pay Me!". silentera.com. Retrieved September 26, 2020.
- ^ Mirsalis, Jon C. "Triumph". Lonchaney.org. Retrieved January 28, 2021.
- ^ "The Not Lon Chaney Filmography". lonchaney.org. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
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- ^ "Progressive Silent Film List: Broadway Love". silentera.com. Retrieved June 26, 2008.
- ^ Blake, Michael F. (1998). "The Films of Lon Chaney". Vestal Press Inc. Page 86. ISBN 1-879511-26-6.
- ^ "A Man's Country / Henry Kolker [motion picture]:Bibliographic Record Description: Performing Arts Databases, Library of Congress".
- ^ "Silent Era : Progressive Silent Film List". silentera.com.
- ^ Blake, Michael F. (1998). "The Films of Lon Chaney". Vestal Press Inc. Page 94. ISBN 1-879511-26-6.
- ^ "The Gift Supreme". silentera.com. Retrieved January 27, 2015.
- ^ "Silent Era : Progressive Silent Film List". silentera.com.
- ^ Herzogenrath, Bernd, ed. The Cinema of Tod Browning: Essays of the Macabre and Grotesque. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2008. ISBN 978-0-7864-3447-3.
- Anderson, Robert Gordon. Faces, Forms, Films: The Artistry of Lon Chaney. South Brunswick, New Jersey: A. S. Barnes, 1971. ISBN 978-0-4980-7726-5.
- Blackmar, Frank W., ed. Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History, Embracing Events, Institutions, Industries, Counties, Cities, Towns, Prominent Persons, etc.. Chicago : Standard Publishing Company, 1912.
- Blake, Michael F. The Films of Lon Chaney. Vestal, New York: Vestal Press, 1998. ISBN 978-1-5683-3237-6.
- Blake, Michael F. A Thousand Faces: Lon Chaney's Unique Artistry in Motion Pictures. Vestal, New York: Vestal Press, 1997. ISBN 978-1-8795-1121-7.
- Blake, Michael F. Lon Chaney: The Man Behind the Thousand Faces. Vestal, New York: Vestal Press, 1997.
- Blum, Daniel. Pictorial History of the Silent Screen. New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1953. ISBN 978-0-4480-1477-7.
- Dick, Bernard F. City of Dreams: The Making and Remaking of Universal Pictures. Lexington, Kentucky: The University Press of Kentucky, 1997. ISBN 978-0-8131-2016-4.
- Fleming, E.J. Paul Bern: The Life and Famous Death of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Director and Husband of Harlow. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2009. ISBN 978-0-7864-3963-8.
- Guiley, Rosemary. The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters. New York: Infobase Publishing, 2004. ISBN 978-0-8160-4684-3.
- Herzogenrath, Bernd, ed. The Cinema of Tod Browning: Essays of the Macabre and Grotesque. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2008. ISBN 978-0-7864-3447-3.
- LaSalle, Mick. Complicated Women: Sex and Power in Pre-Code Hollywood. New York: Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin's Press, 2000. ISBN 978-0-3122-8431-2.
- Locan, Clarence A. "The Lon Chaney I Knew," Photoplay, November 1930, p. 58.
- "Lon Chaney's Make-up," Photoplay, March 1922, p. 43.
- Riley, Philip J. MagicImage Filmbooks Presents The Wolf Man. Chesterfield, New Jersey: MagicImage Filmbooks, 1993. ISBN 978-1-8821-2721-4.
- Sangster, Margaret E. "Lon Chaney" (poem), Photoplay, October 1930, p. 40.
- Schikel, Richard and Allen Hurlburt. The Stars. New York: Bonanza Books, a division of Crown Publishers, 1962. ISBN 978-0-5170-3771-3.
- Slide, Anthony. Silent Players: A Biographical and Autobiographical Study of 100 Silent Film Actors and Actresses. Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky, 2010. ISBN 978-0-8131-2249-6.
- Smith, Don G. Lon Chaney Jr.: Horror Film Star, 1906–1973. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2004. ISBN 978-0-7864-1813-8.
- Vogel, Michelle. Olive Borden: The Life and Films of Hollywood's 'Joy Girl'. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2010. ISBN 978-0-7864-4795-4.
- Official website
- The Lon Chaney Home Page
- Lon Chaney Sr. Man of 1,000 Faces – Facebook
- Chaney/wp Lon Chaney at the TCM Movie Database
- Lon Chaney at IMDb
- Lon Chaney at the TCM Movie Database
- Silent Era : Progressive Silent Film List
- Feast Your Eyes: The Terrifying Genius of Lon Chaney. Filmstruck Extras, on YouTube
- rare portrait; Spanish collectors card
- 1883 births
- 1930 deaths
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