Talk:Charles Laughton

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Gay actor?[edit]

No evidence cited here, so I have removed him from the category.Paul Tracy|\talk

He should be included in the category. There is a good deal of evidence that he was a homosexual, though he was married to Elsa Lancaster. I'll see what I can dig up and cite the sources and then re-add him to the category. *Exeunt* Ganymead | Dialogue? 16:09, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
Go to it. I just though it was odd that he had been added to the category when the strongest mention in the article was to "his rumored homosexuality". Lots of actors and other humans have had "rumored homosexuality" at one time or another!Paul Tracy|\talk

There was nothing rumored about Laughton's homosexuality. According to Frank Langella's "Dropped names" he went and visited Elsa at hers and Charles' house. She told Frank Charles was HOMOSEXUAL not BI-SEXUAL. But, then again, we are talking about Elsa . . .

I don't know if I want to step into this or not, but here goes . . . I really could not care less whether or not Laughton was gay. There certainly is no reason that I can think of that could not have been. Nonetheless, I have seen over the years that activist groups sometimes claim "as their own" people who are dead and beyond the ability to speak for themselves. I think that his wife's biographical testimony is clearly a significant piece of evidence supporting his possible homosexuality, but I have been looking online for a while now, and can find nothing else. On the other side of the debate, we have the testimony of his protege, Ms. O'Hara, who says that he was not gay. Also providing some evidence (though by no means indisputable) for the proposition that he was not gay is the fact that he did remain married to the same woman for over thirty years. The evidence about why they did not have children is also very disputed, with one argument from his defenders—that Elsa had had a botched abortion—providing a motive for her [Elsa] to have been untruthful about his sexuality.
So when all is said and done, here's what I think: It appears quite likely that Laughton was gay, but it is far from certain. Unfortunately, historical conditions often keep us from knowing a great many things with certainty. It seems to me that, without further independent and disinterested verification, it is not unreasonable to place the word "rumored" in front of Laughton's homosexuality. (And the plethora of gay organizations' websites that tout him as a homosexual, and the gazillions of lists that use such websites as their source material, do not constitute credible independent verification.) Unschool 21:41, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

I agree that regarding the sexual tendencies of famous people there's often much unconfirmed rumour going around just for the sake of gossip: often people would do better in learning about these people's splendid work first, and not whether or what they did in their private lifes. However, regarding Laughton's homosexuality, there's more than mere rumour and there are certainly a good number of testimonies (printed and recorded, not merely on websites) of it beyond that of his widow Elsa Lanchester : Laughton himself revealed the fact to friends like Billy Wilder (read the book-interview by Cameron Crowe), musician Larry Adler, Robert Mitchum or the writer Christopher Isherwood to name a few. I recommend you read two fine books on him and excellent analyses of his work : "A Difficult Actor" by Simon Callow and "Heaven and Hell to Play with" by Preston Neal Jones. It is not a matter of making lists or making him part or not of one clique (to which I don't belong so I have no particular interest in the issue): his homosexuality was a factor of his personality , just as, say, his Yorkshire background, his love of painting, literature or gardening, or his Catholic upbringing: by obliteraring any of these (or other) factors you miss a relevant facet of him... His being gay -whether you warm to the idea or not-certainly shouldn't prevent you from admiring him and enjoying his magnificent work. Regarding Maureen O'Hara, I have read her recent autobiography and, if I understood it well, what she denies is Elsa's statement that Laughton didn't want to be a father, not whether he was homosexual or not. (Gloria Porta 15:09, 30 May 2006 (UTC))

  • That's good enough for me. I just didn't want to go on Elsa alone. (And yes, he was magnificent—one of my favorites of all time.) Unschool 05:28, 31 May 2006 (UTC)


Does anyone have a source for his Irish background? This site [1] does say his mother was a devout Catholic, but that's about it... JackO'Lantern 01:20, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

While Elizabeth (born Conlon) Laughton -his mother- is stated as being from Seaham Harbour (Yorkshire), she was -from all printed reference- of Irish stock, and a Roman Catholic. His husband's religion's is not stated, but his son Tom Laughton (Charles' brother) indicated that his father's religion was not the same of his mother's Gloria Porta

Seaham Harbour isn't in Yorkshire. It's in County Durham, just south of Sunderland. Bandalore 16:01, 30 June 2007 (UTC)

Contrasting contradictory versions in first sources[edit]

Sorry, in the edit history, I say O'Hara's article, I meant Lanchester's. Zelse81 04:01, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

Zelse, I'm considering editing the reference, as I believe is in open contradiction with what Elsa stated in her 1983 biography. Namely, that Elsa got once pregnant -from Charles- but decided not to have the kid (she records a previous abortion before they met). Lanchester, in her own words, declined having children with him later, but doesn't mention any physical handicap on her side as a reason for it, rather her lack of wish of having children from Charles, as a reckoning against him for having "cheated" her. Probably Charles' statement to O'Hara was meant to excuse, or cover, Elsa's motives for not having children.

The solution is to either mention both versions or delete the mentionGloria Porta 07:13, 10 July 2006 (UTC)


What can be added about his appreciation for Korda's work? - Pernambuco 22:18, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

More like..."about Korda's appreciation of his work"~, as it was Korda who went after Laughton when he came back from a successful string of performances in Hollywood films in 1932. Indeed, much more information could be added about Korda and other issues (check the Catalan language Wikipedia article), but then it is a matter of finding time to read source bibliography - I have four books on Thalberg and Korda to finish reading- and elaborate the information within a paragraph that doesn't clash with previous contributions (and cross fingers so anyone who's just got an inaccurate bit of info from internet won't vandalize your carefully sourced contribution)Gloria Porta 08:28, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

Stand By For Action[edit]

I'm intrigued by the comment that Laughton was "mis-cast in Stand by for Action (film)". I have seen this film a number of times and considering that the rôle called for a bombastic arrogant aristocratic naval sort, and came across as such with a certain relish I have to wonder who would say that he was "miscast". Any citation? --Harlsbottom 21:09, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

If no citation is provided, the statement should be removed. It is certainly POV if no citation is present. *Exeunt* Ganymead | Dialogue? 21:29, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

laughton and brecht[edit]

as far as i know, laughton did not direct galileo! it is true that he worked very closely with brecht on the translation and staging of the play and both did most of the director's work as well. however, neither brecht nor laughton were the director of the play. this job was done by joseph losey.

please check up this information in "Bertolt Brecht in America. James K. Lyon. Princeton University Press, 1980." —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 21:10, 14 May 2007 (UTC).

Clearly biased[edit]

While this article purports to look at Laughton's career objectively, it includes extensive quotes from unfavorable reviews of his work, while almost completely ignoring the good reviews. So I have added some examples of those. It also includes weasel words and phrases such as "clearly seemed to be enjoying himself". AlbertSM (talk) 20:11, 25 November 2010 (UTC)


Wasn't there an unfinished Laughton film "I, Claudius" with Laughton in the lead role, Merle Oberon as Valeria Messalina and Emlyn Williams in the other male lead? This was supposed to be a Korda follow on from the Henry VIII film but the whole idea collapsed for obscure reasons.

I seem to recall that some time in the early 1960s, Dirk Bogarde located the existing reels and these were then shown on UK TV.AT Kunene (talk) 14:54, 12 March 2013 (UTC)

American naturalization[edit]

In previous versions of this article I remember reading that Laughton became an American citizen in 1950 together with his wife. In this newer version this indication has been removed. Why is that? Didn't he become an American citizen after all? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Criticonprognosticon (talkcontribs) 23:51, 24 June 2013 (UTC)


In the Categories section there should be a title saying «Naturalized Citizens of the United States» and «American actors» and «American directors» etc. In previous versions of this article there were such titles but they have been removed in this recent version, I can't understand for the life of me why.


Laughton was gay, not bisexual. (GeorgeJefferys (talk) 18:15, 5 February 2015 (UTC))

Anon editor[edit]

An anon editor has been deleting cited materials with no reasons. Thank youRFD (talk) 16:08, 17 February 2015 (UTC)

The anon editor seems to change IP with the intent of making disruptive edits for no cited reasons whatsoever and does so on a daily basis, with several edits per day. What can be done about this? Holanthony (talk) — Preceding undated comment added 19:10, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

I went ahead and requested for page protection due to the edit warring by this edit warrior, they seem to have returned. Melody Concertotalk 08:00, 12 July 2015 (UTC)


This help request has been answered. If you need more help, you can ask another question on your talk page, contact the responding user(s) directly on their user talk page, or consider visiting the Teahouse.


Favonian has already done this. I have, however, trimmed the section you were edit-warring over to include only the pertinent claims; Wikipedia is not a tabloid and anyone wanting in depth details of Bowers' stories should read his book. Yunshui  11:44, 26 February 2015 (UTC)

Tabloid rubbish about Laughton[edit]

Why state the deleterious issue of one commercially sensationalist biographer that Laughton was a "coprophage". (talk) 22:28, 16 July 2015 (UTC)

Problems with user removing cited content wantonly[edit]

This help request has been answered. If you need more help, you can ask another question on your talk page, contact the responding user(s) directly on their user talk page, or consider visiting the Teahouse.

The user Stolengood(talk)has repeatedly wantonly removed sourced and accepted sections about Laughton that have previously been approved on this site. without giving any reason but by calling the source in question a "liar" (but without providing any substantiation to why this should be the case). Hence, it can only be regarded as vandalism and I ask that the user's IP is stopped from making any additional vandalism attempts. The section on Bowers has previously been approved by Yunshui and Favonian etc. Holanthony (talk) 11:18, 12 November 2015 (UTC)

@Holanthony & Stolengood: This is a content dispute. What is needed is not the assistance of others or a block, but civil interaction between the two of you to discuss why one of you thinks the source is unreliable and the other does not. Edit warring is not the answer, regardless of who is right, and 3RR is not a license. I've issued edit warring warnings to both of you. Holanthony, I don't see that you've reached out to Stolengood to resolve the issue, you've only reached out to others. Stolengood has taken to your user talk page about the issue; I'd recommend responding and discussing the issue. Cheers, Nick⁠—⁠Contact/Contribs 17:59, 12 November 2015 (UTC)
Scotty Bowers is not a reliable source; hence, why I removed it. I'm completely taken aback that anyone would even think to use the man as a reputable source, much less on Wikipedia; it's absurd. Stolengood (talk) 21:27, 12 November 2015 (UTC)
Fact of the matter is that I have responded in kind several times to Stolengood in the comment section for each revert made. In regards to Bowers, the matter has been up for debate before on this very talk page and has passed the "litmus test" as it were. The information is this considered sourced and therefore valid. Bowers' validity as a source has furthermore not in any way been convincingly disproved either on the talk page nor by additional sources added to the article itself.Holanthony (talk) 22:44, 12 November 2015 (UTC)
People above have questioned the wisdom of having his disreputable claims on Wikipedia, though. It's probably best not to have it, especially since there is nothing proven about it -- only Mr. Bowers's claim, with no independent verification. That alone should be enough cause to remove it. Stolengood (talk) 22:49, 12 November 2015 (UTC)

Point is that many witness accounts are build upon this very principle and if one were to start removing such information wantonly on this ground alone, it would set a negative precedent adversely affect many other articles on Wikipedia. Again, remember that perceived personal offense is not grounds alone to remove information. You may not like what Bowers has written, and you may even hold personal opinions about him as an author, and that is in your full right to do so. Still, Bowers' claims has not been refuted in any court of law in any country, which they indubitably would have been if this was indeed a case of libel. Moreover, the case has been up for debate before and the consensus was that the Bowers' piece stays, but with the clarification that it is explicitly stated that Bowers' is the source for these claims and that the "salacious" details would be left out (whereas anyone interested in delving deeper into these could then read the book).Holanthony (talk) 00:30, 13 November 2015 (UTC)

The fact that the claims have not been refuted in court is a moot one here, as the old saying goes you cannot libel the dead Unibond (talk) 02:26, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
Having looked this over since my reply above, I'm here to give my two cents. Aside from the debate over the reliability of what Bowers has said, is his claim even noteworthy? Right now, I'm only seeing the book itself and a Buzzfeed listicle cited. Is there significant coverage about the fact that Bowers makes these claims about Laughton, specifically? Buzzfeed is not exactly the most reliable of sources. If other reliable sources aren't talking about this claim, is the claim even important enough to include? --Nick⁠—⁠Contact/Contribs 04:44, 13 November 2015 (UTC)

Stolengood, I don't think it is a "moot point". Bowers's testimony is not necessarily invalidated because "you say so". One needs a little more substantiation than that, and as it stands now, there is not a lot to indicate that Bowers' claim is more valid or invalid than many of the other witness accounts about Laughton (or any other noteworthy person for that matter). In fact, several people have actually spoken out in support of Bowers' credibility, such as Tim Teeman, William J. Mann, Dominick Dunne, John Schlesinger and Gore Vidal for instance, the latter of whom knew Bowers for more than 60 years.

Well, NickW557, to answer your question, yes. There have in fact been several "reliable" sources that have discussed this and it did make quite an impact when the book was released (for perhaps obvious reasons).[1][2][3] Furthermore, a film is planned about Bowers, which makes his claims all the more relevant.

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