Now That's Funny! A Silent Collection

by dictracy23 | created - 11 Mar 2014 | updated - 12 Mar 2014 | Public

1. Max Linder

Actor | Seven Years Bad Luck

Although all too frequently neglected by fans of silent comedy, Max Linder is in many ways as important a figure as Charles Chaplin, Buster Keaton or Harold Lloyd, not least because he predated (and influenced) them all by several years and was largely responsible for the creation of the classic ...

2. Charles Chaplin

Writer | The Great Dictator

Considered to be one of the most pivotal stars of the early days of Hollywood, Charlie Chaplin lived an interesting life both in his films and behind the camera. He is most recognized as an icon of the silent film era, often associated with his popular character, the Little Tramp; the man with the ...

3. Harold Lloyd

Actor | Safety Last!

Born in Buchard, Nebraska, USA to Elizabeth Fraser and 'J. Darcie 'Foxy' Lloyd' who fought constantly and soon divorced (at the time a rare event), Harold Clayton Lloyd was nominally educated in Denver and San Diego high schools and received his stage training at the School of Dramatic Art (San ...

4. Buster Keaton

Actor | The General

Joseph Frank Keaton was born on October 4, 1895 in Piqua, Kansas, to Joe Keaton and Myra Keaton. Joe and Myra were Vaudevillian comedians with a popular, ever-changing variety act, giving Keaton an eclectic and interesting upbringing. In the earliest days on stage, they traveled with a medicine ...

5. Mack Sennett

Producer | The Good-Bye Kiss

Mack Sennett was born Michael Sinnott on January 17, 1880 in Danville, Quebec, Canada, to Irish immigrant farmers. When he was 17, his parents moved the family to East Berlin, Connecticut, and he became a laborer at American Iron Works, a job he continued when they moved to Northampton, ...

6. Stan Laurel

Actor | Sons of the Desert

Stan Laurel came from a theatrical family, his father was an actor and theatre manager, and he made his stage debut at the age of 16 at Pickard's Museum, Glasgow. He traveled with Fred Karno's vaudeville company to the United States in 1910 and again in 1913. While with that company he was Charles ...

7. Oliver Hardy

Actor | Sons of the Desert

Although his parents were never in show business, as a young boy Oliver Hardy was a gifted singer and, by age eight, was performing with minstrel shows. In 1910 he ran a movie theatre, which he preferred to studying law. In 1913 he became a comedy actor with the Lubin Company in Florida and began ...

8. Ben Turpin

Actor | Yankee Doodle in Berlin

First of all, the cross-eyed comedian of silent days was not born that way. Supposedly his right eye slipped out of alignment while playing the role of the similarly afflicted Happy Hooligan in vaudeville and it never adjusted. Ironically, it was this disability that would enhance his comic value ...

9. Mabel Normand

Actress | Mickey

Mabel Normand was one of the comedy greats of early film. In an era when women are deemed 'not funny enough' it seems film history has forgotten her contributions. Her films debuted the Keystone Cops, Charlie Chaplin's tramp and the pie in the face gag. She co-starred with both Chaplin and Roscoe "...

10. Harry Langdon

Actor | The Chaser

Langdon first performed when he ran away from home at the age of 12-13 to join a travelling medicine show. In 1903 he scored a lasting success in vaudeville with an act called "Johnny's New Car" which he performed for twenty years. In 1923, he signed with Principal Pictures as a series star, but ...

11. Mary Pickford

Actress | Coquette

Mary Pickford was born Gladys Louise Smith in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to Elsie Charlotte (Hennessy) and John Charles Smith. She was of English and Irish descent. Pickford began in the theater at age seven. Then known as "Baby Gladys Smith", she toured with her family in a number of theater ...

12. Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle

Actor | The Butcher Boy

Roscoe Arbuckle, one of nine children, was the baby of the family who weighed a reported 16 pounds at birth. Born in Smith Center, Kansas, on March 24, 1887, his family moved to California when he was a year old. At age eight he appeared on the stage. His first part was with the Webster-Brown Stock...

13. Hal Roach

Director | One Million B.C.

Hal Roach was born in 1892 in Elmira, New York. After working as a mule skinner, wrangler and gold prospector, among other things, he wound up in Hollywood and began picking up jobs as an extra in comedies, where he met comedian Harold Lloyd in 1913 in San Diego. By all accounts, including his own,...

14. Ford Sterling

Actor | Yankee Doodle in Berlin

Ford Sterling was born on November 3, 1883 in La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA as George Ford Stich. He was an actor and director, known for Yankee Doodle in Berlin (1919), The Show-Off (1926) and Wild Oranges (1924). He was married to Teddy Sampson. He died on October 13, 1939 in Los Angeles, California,...

15. Billy Bevan

Actor | Another Dawn

Billy Bevan's show-business career began in his native Australia, with the Pollard theatrical organization. The company had two theater troupes, one which toured Asia and the other traveling to North America. Bevan wound up in the latter, performing in skits and plays all over Canada and Alaska ...

16. Marie Dressler

Actress | Min and Bill

Once you saw her, you would not forget her. Despite her age and weight, she became one of the top box office draws of the sound era. She was 14 when she joined a theater group and she went on to work on stage and in light opera. By 1892, she was on Broadway and she later became a star comedienne on...

17. Charley Chase

Actor | On the Wrong Trek

While Charley Chase is far from being as famous as "The Big Three" (Charles Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd) today, he's highly respected as one of the "greats" by fans of silent comedy.

Chase (real name Charles Parrott) was born in Maryland, USA, in 1893. After a brief career in vaudeville,...

18. Constance Talmadge

Actress | Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages

She was blonde; star sister Norma Talmadge was brunette. She was buoyant and a comedienne; Norma was introspective and a tragedienne. Nicknamed "Dutch" by her stage mother Peg as she looked like a cherubic Little Dutch Boy, silver screen star Constance Talmadge was one of silent pictures' most ...

19. Marion Davies

Actress | Going Hollywood

Marion Cecelia Douras was born in the borough of Brooklyn, New York on January 3, 1897. She had been bitten by the show biz bug early as she watched her sisters perform in local stage productions. She wanted to do the same. As Marion got older, she tried out for various school plays and did fairly ...

20. Chester Conklin

Actor | Modern Times

Iowa-born Chester Conklin was raised in a coal-mining area by a devoutly religious father who hoped that his son would go into the ministry. However, Chester got the performing bug one day when he gave a recitation at a community singing festival and won first prize. Knowing his father would never ...

21. Bobby Vernon

Actor | Bulldog Drummond

Bobby Vernon was born in the U.S. in 1897, was trained in Vaudeville and became a talented comic in the silent era. He began working in 1913, appearing in Lon Chaney's Almost an Actress (1913) and later worked for Mack Sennett, who teamed him up with young Gloria Swanson in 9 comedies between 1916 ...

22. Larry Semon

Actor | Lights Out

Larry Semon is an actor, known for Lights Out (1946) and The Clock (1949).

23. Anita Garvin

Actress | Blotto

Anita Frances Garvin was born in the Hell's Kitchen area of New York, the youngest of 3 children to Ann Frances Donovan, who was half Irish and half Blackfoot Indian, and Edward Garvin, an engineer who was killed in an accident when Anita was 6. By the age of 12 she was 5' 6", enabling her to pass ...



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