Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle
Best remembered for the scandal surrounding the death of an aspiring actress that ended his career, Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle was actually one of early Hollywood's biggest stars even before the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton earned a similar stature. After receiving his start in vaudeville, Arbuckle began making movies like "Ben's Kid" (1909) and went on to become first a bit player, then the main attraction in Mack Sennett's Keystone Kops series. Even though he was a large man, Arbuckle was surprisingly light on his feet and was capable of pulling off acrobatics that even a thin man would have difficulty with. His association with the Keystone Kops helped turn him into a star and in 1914 he began earning an unprecedented $1,000 a day. During this period, Arbuckle turned out his finest work, particularly with "Fatty and Mabel Adrift" (1916), "Out West" (1918) and "The Round-Up" (1920), the last of which was one of his first feature-length pictures. But at the height of his popularity, Arbuckle was rocked by scandal and never recovered. In 1921, he was accused of raping actress Virginia Rappe, the alleged violence of which led to her death from a ruptured bladder days later. Dragged through the mud by William Randolph Hearst and lambasted by the public, Arbuckle suffered through three manslaughter trials - the first two ended with a hung jury - before finally being acquitted. Though found not guilty, Arbuckle was banned from making movies while exhibitors refused to release any picture with his name on it. With his personal and professional lives in tatters, he struggled through the decade in uncredited appearances while directing under the pseudonym William Goodrich until his death in 1933. Because of the trumped up charges, Arbuckle endured unwarranted public scorn born of a lynch mob mentality and never found redemption during his lifetime. While history has managed to clear his name somewhat, Arbuckle nonetheless remained a controversial but important figure from early Hollywood.