Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle

Actor, Director, Screenwriter
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 ... Read more »
Born: 03/24/1887 in Smith Center, Kansas, USA

Filmography

Actor (8)

Brewster's Millions 1920 (Movie)

Monte Brewster (Actor)

Leap Year 1920 (Movie)

(Actor)

Fatty's Tintype Tangle 1914 (Movie)

(Actor)

Mabel's Dramatic Career 1912 (Movie)

(Actor)

Bright Lights (Movie)

(Actor)

Hollywood (Movie)

(Actor)

Life of the Party (Movie)

(Actor)

The Masquerader (Movie)

Film Actor (Actor)
Director (2)

Bright Lights (Movie)

(Director)

The Red Mill (Movie)

(Director)

Biography

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.

Relationships

Addie Oakley Dukes McPhail

Wife
born c. 1905 married on June 28, 1932

Mary Arbuckle

Mother
died in 1899

Doris Arbuckle

Wife
married in 1925 divorced in 1928

Minta Durfee

Wife
married in 1909 separated in 1917 divorced in 1925 was his early vaudeville partner

Milestones

1933

Had just completed four comedy shorts for Warner Bros. at the time of death; died of heart attack after celebrating his first wedding anniversary with third wife

1932

Made several vaudeville appearances and an unsuccessful European tour

1928

Opened restaurant, The Plantation Cafe (closed 1930)

1927

Returned to stage in "Baby Mine"

1925

Began directing films under the pseudonym William B Goodrich

1921

Arrested and charged with manslaughter in the death of Virginia Rappe

1919

Signed with Paramount; made nine films in an eighteen month period

1917

Established own film company, Comique, in partnership with Joseph M Schenck; films released through Famous Players Lasky; hired Buster Keaton as a writer

1914

Teamed with Mabel Normand for a series of films

1914

Directed first feature, "Barnyard Flirtations"

1913

Joined Keystone; first film as actor (Keystone Cop) in "In the Clutches of the Gang"

1913

Feature film acting debut, "Passions He Had Three"

1909

First film appearance in "Ben's Kid"

1907

First appearance in film as an extra in one-reel comedies for Selig Polyscope Company

1904

Hired to work the Pantages vaudeville circuit

1888

Family moved to California

Tried three times for manslaughter; acquitted

Worked as plumber's assistant before becoming performer in carnivals and vaudeville

SIMILAR ARTICLES