Leonard Frank Chaney was born on 1 st April 1883 in Colorado. Both of his parents were deaf and mute, and Lon became adept at understanding people that were challenged and developed a keen interest in pantomime. This spilled onto an interest in acting on the stage and screen, and he was to become known as the ‘Man of a Thousand Faces’.
Lon began his movie career in 1912, and starred in a range of silent movies. He did manage one sound-enhanced movie before his death, and this was a remake of one of his silent ones, ‘The Unholy Three’ which was remade in 1930. The twice-married Chaney was a good friend to a novice actor who arrived on the Hollywood scene one day, whose name was Boris Karloff.
Lon Chaney was a very private person, and unlike many of the other Hollywood legends, was not one for interviews, cameras and photos. He preferred quality time with his loved ones and seemed to shy away from the cameras, which some people though a little odd.Chaney died a relatively early age – he was just 47 when he passed away from lung cancer in Hollywood on 26 th August 1930. There were still a number of movie roles lined up for him when he died. Indeed, one director, Tod Browning, had a starring role lined up for him in a vampire movie ‘Dracula’. However, due to Chaney’s death the role went to another actor – Bela Lugosi.
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