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Roscoe Arbuckle

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Previous star: Mary Astor

Biography

Arbuckle, c. 1920

Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle was an American silent film comedian, director, and screenwriter. Starting at the Selig Polyscope Company he eventually moved to Keystone Studios where he worked with Mabel Normand and Harold Lloyd. He mentored Charlie Chaplin and discovered Buster Keaton and Bob Hope. Arbuckle was one of the most popular stars of the 1910s, starring in films such as Fatty’s New Role and Fatty and Mabel Adrift. By 1918, he was one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood. Arbuckle began his film career with the Selig Polyscope Company in July 1909 when he appeared in Ben's Kid. Arbuckle appeared sporadically in Selig one-reelers until 1913, moved briefly to Universal Pictures and became a star in producer-director Mack Sennett's Keystone Cops comedies.

Despite his massive physical size, Arbuckle was remarkably agile and acrobatic. Mack Sennett, when recounting his first meeting with Arbuckle, noted that he "skipped up the stairs as lightly as Fred Astaire"; and, "without warning went into a feather light step, clapped his hands and did a backward somersault as graceful as a girl tumbler". Arbuckle's comedies are noted as rollicking and fast-paced, have many chase scenes, and feature visual gags. Arbuckle was fond of the famous "pie in the face," a comedy cliché that has come to symbolize silent-film-era comedy itself. The earliest known use of this gag was in the June 1913 Keystone film A Noise from the Deep, starring Arbuckle and frequent screen partner Mabel Normand.

Fact file

  • Born: Roscoe Conkling Arbuckle March 24, 1887 Smith Center, Kansas, U.S.
  • Died: June 29, 1933 (aged 46) New York, New York, U.S.
  • Other name(s): Fatty Arbuckle, William Goodrich
  • Years active: 1909-1933
  • Spouse(s): Minta Durfee (1908-1925) Doris Deane (1925-1929) Addie Oakley Dukes McPhail (1929-1933)
  • Occupation: Silent film comedian, director, screenwriter.

Read more about Roscoe Arbuckle at Wikipedia or at the Internet Movie Database

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