Lon Chaney Jr - Rotten Tomatoes

Lon Chaney Jr

Highest Rated:   100% Spider Baby (1968)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA
The son of actors Lon Chaney and Cleva Creighton, Creighton Tull Chaney was raised in an atmosphere of Spartan strictness by his father. He refused to allow Creighton to enter show business, wanting his son to prepare for a more "practical" profession; so young Chaney trained to be plumber, and worked a variety of relatively menial jobs despite his father's fame. After Lon Sr. died in 1930, Creighton entered movies with an RKO contract, but nothing much happened until, by his own recollection, he was "starved" into changing his name to Lon Chaney Jr. He would spend the rest of his life competing with his father's reputation as The Man With a Thousand Faces, hoping against hope to someday top Lon Sr. professionally. Unfortunately, he would have little opportunity to do this in the poverty-row quickie films that were his lot in the '30s, nor was his tenure (1937-1940) as a 20th Century Fox contract player artistically satisfying. Hoping to convince producers that he was a fine actor in his own right, Chaney appeared as the mentally retarded giant Lennie in a Los Angeles stage production of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. This led to his being cast as Lennie in the 1939 film version -- which turned out to be a mixed blessing. His reviews were excellent, but the character typed him in the eyes of many, forcing him to play variations of it for the next 30 years (which was most amusingly in the 1947 Bob Hope comedy My Favorite Brunette). In 1939, Chaney was signed by Universal Pictures, for which his father had once appeared in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) and The Phantom of the Opera (1925); Universal was launching a new cycle of horror films, and hoped to cash in on the Chaney name. Billing Lon Jr. as "the screen's master character actor," Universal cast him as Dynamo Dan the Electric Man in Man Made Monster (1941), a role originally intended for Boris Karloff. That same year, Chaney starred as the unfortunate lycanthrope Lawrence Talbot in The Wolf Man, the highlight of which was a transformation sequence deliberately evoking memories of his father's makeup expertise. (Unfortunately, union rules were such than Lon Jr. was not permitted to apply his own makeup). Universal would recast Chaney as the Wolf Man in four subsequent films, and cast him as the Frankenstein Monster in The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942) and the title role in Son of Dracula (1943). Chaney also headlined two B-horror series, one based upon radio's Inner Sanctum anthology, and the other a spin-off from the 1932 film The Mummy. Chaney occasionally got a worthwhile role in the '50s, notably in the films of producer/director Stanley Kramer (High Noon, Not As a Stranger, and especially The Defiant Ones), and he co-starred in the popular TV series Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans. For the most part, however, the actor's last two decades as a performer were distinguished by a steady stream of cheap, threadbare horror films, reaching a nadir with such fare as Hillbillies in a Haunted House (1967). In the late '60s, Chaney fell victim to the same throat cancer that had killed his father, although publicly he tried to pass this affliction off as an acute case of laryngitis. Unable to speak at all in his last few months, he still grimly sought out film roles, ending his lengthy film career with Dracula vs. Frankenstein(1971). He died in 1973.

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet The Frozen Ghost
  • Alex Gregor / Gregor The Great
2014
No Score Yet Heroes of Horror
  • Actor
2001
No Score Yet Lon Chaney: A Thousand Faces
  • Actor
2000
No Score Yet Gallery of Horrors
  • Dr. Mendell
1992
41% Into the Night
  • Wolfman
1985
No Score Yet Dracula vs. Frankenstein
  • Groton
1971
100% Spider Baby
  • Bruno
1968
No Score Yet Buckskin
  • Sheriff
1968
No Score Yet Welcome to Hard Times (Killer on a Horse)
  • Avery
1967
No Score Yet Hillbillys in a Haunted House
  • Maximillian
1967
No Score Yet Gallery of Horrors
  • [Spark Of Life]
1967
No Score Yet Apache Uprising
  • Charlie Russell
1966
No Score Yet Johnny Reno
  • Sheriff Hodges
1966
No Score Yet Face of the Screaming Werewolf
  • Mummy/Werewolf
1965
No Score Yet House of the Black Death
  • Belial De Sade
1965
No Score Yet Law of the Lawless
  • Tiny
1964
No Score Yet Witchcraft
  • Morgan Whitlock
1964
71% The Haunted Palace
  • Simon Orne
1963
No Score Yet The Devil's Messenger
  • Actor
1961
No Score Yet La Casa del Terror (House of Terror)
  • Mummy/Werewolf
1960
No Score Yet The Alligator People
  • Mannon
1959
30% Night of the Ghouls
  • Actor
1959
81% The Defiant Ones
  • Big Sam
1958
No Score Yet The Cyclops
  • Martin Melville
1957
No Score Yet Daniel Boone, Trail Blazer
  • Blackfish (as Lon Chaney)
1956
No Score Yet Pardners
  • Whitey
1956
No Score Yet The Black Sleep
  • Dr. Munroe/Mungo
1956
No Score Yet Indestructible Man
  • The Butcher/Charles Benton
1956
No Score Yet Manfish
  • 'Swede'
1956
No Score Yet The Indian Fighter
  • Chivington
1955
0% Not as a Stranger (Morton Thompson's Not as a Stranger)
  • Job Marsh
1955
No Score Yet Big House, U.S.A.
  • Leonard M. Alamo Smith
1955
No Score Yet I Died a Thousand Times
  • Big Mac
1955
No Score Yet Casanova's Big Night
  • Emo
1954
No Score Yet Passion
  • Castro
1954
No Score Yet A Lion Is in the Streets
  • Spurge
1953
No Score Yet The Black Castle
  • Gargon
1952
No Score Yet The Battles of Chief Pontiac
  • Chief Pontiac
1952
No Score Yet Springfield Rifle
  • Elm
1952
96% High Noon
  • Howe
1952
No Score Yet The Bushwhackers
  • Actor
1952
No Score Yet Behave Yourself
  • Pinky
1951
No Score Yet Bride of the Gorilla
  • Police Commissioner Taro
1951
No Score Yet Only the Valiant
  • Trooper Kebussyan
1951
No Score Yet Inside straight
  • Shocker
1951
No Score Yet Flame of Araby
  • Borka
1951
88% Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein
  • Lawrence Talbot/The Wolf Man
1948
No Score Yet 16 Fathoms Deep
  • Dimitri
1948
No Score Yet Albuquerque
  • Steve Murkill
1948
71% My Favorite Brunette
  • Willie
1947
No Score Yet Desert Command
  • Actor
1946
No Score Yet Pillow of Death
  • Wayne Fletcher
1945
56% House of Dracula
  • Lawrence Stewart Talbot/The Wolf Man
1945
No Score Yet Here Come the Co-eds
  • Johnson
1945
No Score Yet Dead Man's Eyes
  • David 'Dave' Stuart
1944
33% The Mummy's Ghost
  • Kharis
1944
100% Cobra Woman
  • Hava
1944
No Score Yet Weird Woman
  • Prof. Norman Reed
1944
55% House of Frankenstein
  • Lawrence Talbot
1944
40% The Mummy's Curse
  • Kharis
1944
No Score Yet Calling Dr. Death
  • Dr. Mark Steel
1943
60% Son of Dracula
  • Count Alucard
1943
No Score Yet Crazy House
  • Cameo appearance
1943
25% Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man
  • The Wolf Man/Lawrence Talbot
1943
75% Ghost of Frankenstein
  • The Monster
1942
29% The Mummy's Tomb
  • Kharis
1942
No Score Yet Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror
  • Gavin
1942
94% The Wolf Man
  • Larry Talbot
1941
No Score Yet Badlands of Dakota
  • Jack McCall
1941
No Score Yet San Antonio Rose
  • Jigsaw Kennedy
1941
No Score Yet Billy the Kid
  • Spike Hudson
1941
No Score Yet Man-Made Monster
  • Dan McCormick
1941
No Score Yet One Million B.C.
  • Akhoba
1940
100% Of Mice and Men
  • Lennie
1939
No Score Yet Union Pacific
  • Dollarhide
1939
No Score Yet Jesse James
  • James Gang Member
1939
No Score Yet Frontier Marshal
  • Pringle
1939
No Score Yet Mr. Moto's Gamble
  • Joey
1938
No Score Yet Cheyenne Rides Again
  • Girard
1938
No Score Yet Happy Landing
  • Reporter
1938
No Score Yet Second Honeymoon
  • Reporter
1937
No Score Yet Charlie Chan on Broadway
  • Desk man
1937
No Score Yet Thin Ice
  • American Reporter
1937
No Score Yet The Old Corral
  • Garland
1936
No Score Yet Ace Drummond
  • Actor
1936
No Score Yet Undersea Kingdom
  • '''Captain Hakur'''
1936
No Score Yet The Cowboy Creed
  • Actor
1936
No Score Yet The Singing Cowboy
  • Martin
1936
No Score Yet Captain Hurricane
  • Actor
1935
No Score Yet Shadow of Silk Lennox
  • Silk Lennox
1935
No Score Yet The Three Musketeers
  • Armand Corday
1933
No Score Yet Desert Command
  • Actor
1933
No Score Yet The Last Frontier
  • Tom Kirby
1932
No Score Yet Bird of Paradise
  • Thornton
1932
No Score Yet The Phantom
  • Actor

Quotes from Lon Chaney Jr's Characters