W C Fields

Actor, Comedian, Screenwriter
A renowned gambler and card-shark, a gin drinker, and hater of children, iconic actor- comedian W. C. Fields was known as all these things and more - a pool hustler, a juggler and an ordinary man struggling against ... Read more »
Born: 01/29/1880 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Filmography

Actor (9)

Mouthing Off: 51 Greatest Smartasses 2003 - 2004 (TV Show)

Actor

My Little Chickadee 1939 (Movie)

Cuthbert J Twillie (Actor)

The Bank Dick 1939 (Movie)

Egbert Souse (Actor)

The Big Broadcast of 1938 1937 (Movie)

S.B. Bellows (Actor)

David Copperfield 1934 (Movie)

Mr Micawber (Actor)

It's a Gift 1933 (Movie)

Harold Bissonette (Actor)

The Old-Fashioned Way 1933 (Movie)

(The Great McGonigle) (Actor)

You're Telling Me 1933 (Movie)

Sam Bisbee (Actor)

Running Wild 1926 (Movie)

(Actor)
Writer (3)

My Little Chickadee 1939 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Bank Dick 1939 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

It's a Gift 1933 (Movie)

(From Story)

Biography

A renowned gambler and card-shark, a gin drinker, and hater of children, iconic actor- comedian W. C. Fields was known as all these things and more - a pool hustler, a juggler and an ordinary man struggling against life. Some widely held beliefs were true; some were part of the act, but above all the cantankerous man with a bulbous nose and a drawling voice was one of the funniest, richest and most influential comics of the twentieth century. While Charlie Chaplin drew our sympathy, Buster Keaton earned our astonishment and the Marx Brothers made us blush, Fields spoke directly to what made us human - our dark desires, the unspoken urge for meanness, the depravity which we all held quiet, all the while making us laugh when he got away with it. Fields was the man whom audiences hated to admit reminded them of themselves.

Relationships

Kate Dukenfield

Mother

Fay Adler

Companion
together c. 1928 to c. 1933

Judith Allen Actor

Companion
began short-term relationship in 1934

Mildred Blackburn

Companion
had relationship c. 1923 to c. 1928

James Dukenfield

Father
British immigrant served in the Union Army during the Civil War

Leroy Dukenfield

Brother
born in 1895

Walter Dukenfield

Brother
younger

Adel Dukenfield

Sister
younger

May Dukenfield

Sister
younger

Maude Fenwick

Companion
had relationship c. 1916 to c. 1923

Claude Fields

Son
born in July 1904 parents separated c. 1905

Harriet Hughes

Wife
met in late 1890s when they were both in appearing in vaudeville became engaged in 1899 married in San Francisco on April 18, 1900 separated shortly after birth of son Claude she converted to Roman Catholicism in 1906 and refused to grant Fields a divorce died on November 7, 1963

Carlotta Monti Actor

Companion
began on-again, off-again relationship with Fields in 1933 detailed their relationship in book "W.C. Fields and Me" later biographers of Fields disputed many of her claims

Bessie Poole

Companion
together c. 1914 to c. 1916 gave birth to a son William on August 15, 1917, who later claimed to be Fields' illegitimate son Fields reportedly paid child support for the boy until 1927 when Poole signed an agreement that William would make no further claims on any future inheritances and swearing that Fields was not the boy's father in return for $20,000 paid by Fields

Milestones

1944

Made last feature film appearance in "Sensations of 1945"

1943

Recreated his legendary pool routine in the vaudeville-inspired feature "Follow the Boys"

1940

Last starring vehicle, "Never Give A Sucker an Even Break"; also wrote story under pseudonym Otis Criblecoblis

1940

Teamed with Mae West for the comedy "My Little Chickadee"; also credited with co-writing screenplay with West

1940

Starred in the comedy "The Bank Dick"; wrote screenplay under pseudonym Mahatma Kane Jeeves

1939

Reportedly declined to play the title role in "The Wizard of Oz", feeling the film would be a flop

1939

Signed on at Universal for more than $100,000 per picture; first vehicle, "You Can't Cheat an Honest Man"

1938

Last film for Paramount, "The Big Broadcast of 1938"

1937

Co-starred on the NBC radio program "Chase and Sanborn Hour", alongside Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy

1936

Again reprised stage role in "Poppy", a remake of "Sally of the Sawdust"

1935

Starred in and provided story for "Man on the Flying Trapeze", a loose remake of "Running Wild"

1935

Delivered sole career dramatic performance playing Mr. Micawber in the George Cukor-directed "David Copperfield"

1934

Provided the stories (under pseudonym Charles Bogle) for "The Old Fashioned Way" and ""It's a Gift"

1933

Radio debut as guest on "California Melodies"

1933

First film with Baby LeRoy, "Tillie and Gus"

1933

Cast as Humpty Dumpty in the screen version of "Alice in Wonderland"

1931

First sound feature film role, played a barber in "Her Majesty Love"

1930

Again co-starred in Earl Carroll's "Vanities"

1930

Made final appearances in vaudeville at the Palace Theater

1930

First sound film, the RKO short "The Golf Specialist", recreating routine from the "Ziegfeld Follies of 1918"

1928

Appeared in Earl Carroll's "Vanities"

1928

Last Paramount silent, "Fools for Luck" (no longer extant)

1928

Played the ringmaster in "Tillie's Punctured Romance"

1927

Acted in feature "Running Wild", helmed by Gregory La Cava

1925

Began making features for Paramount; first was "That Royle Girl" (no longer extant), directed by Griffith

1925

Returned to the "Ziegfeld Follies"

1925

Starred in "Sally of the Sawdust", directed by D.W. Griffith, a film adaptation of the stage play "Poppy"; recreated stage role of Eustace McGargle

1924

Returned to films after nine years; made feature film acting debut in cameo role in "Janice Meredith"

1923

Starred as Eustace McGargle on stage in "Poppy"

1922

Appeared in Ziegfeld rival George White's "Scandals of 1922"

1915

Film acting debut in short, "Pool Sharks"

1908

Continued to divide time appearing throughout the USA, in Europe, South Africa and Australia

1907

Resumed vaudeville performances, returning with a juggling act

1905

Broadway acting debut in "The Ham Tree"; toured with show on and off until 1907

1905

After completing performances in Denmark, Germany and Spain, returned to USA for first time in nearly three years

1904

Toured Great Britain; also appeared in France and Italy

1903

Traveled to Australia and then South Africa

1902

Returned to Europe, playing Berlin, Vienna, Prague and London

1901

Embarked on European tour, beginning in Berlin, Germany; later played London and Paris

1900

Solo debut on the Orpheum circuit; began tour in San Francisco

1899

NYC debut at Miner's Bowery Theatre (January)

1898

Left home just before his 18th birthday and made stage debut peforming in vaudeville in Philadelphia

1898

Began touring with the Monte Carlo Girls

Debuted at the Follies Bergere in Paris

Became a Broadway headliner with the yearly editions of the "Ziegfeld Follies"

Raised in the Philadelphia area

Acted in a series of short films for producer Mack Sennett, including "The Dentist" (1932), "The Fatal Glass of Beer" and "The Pharmacist" (both 1933)

Final Broadway performance in "Ballyhoo"

Bonus Trivia

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Suffered various alcohol-related illnesses, including cirrhosis of the liver and kidney disease; made attempts to stop drinking but was unsuccessful

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