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Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle

Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle

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Also Known As: Roscoe Conkling Arbuckle, William Goodrich, William B Goodrich, Roscoe Arbuckle, Fatty Arbuckle Died: June 29, 1933
Born: March 24, 1887 Cause of Death: heart attack
Birth Place: Smith Center, Kansas, USA Profession: actor, director, producer, screenwriter, restauranteur, plumber

Biography CLOSE THE FULL 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...

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.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
2.
3.
  Fool's Luck (1926)
4.
  My Stars (1926)
5.
  Movies, The (1925)
6.
  Curses (1925)
7.
  Love (1919) Director
8.
  Back Stage (1919) Director
9.
  Bell Boy, The (1918) Director
10.
  Out West (1918) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Hollywood (1923) Fat man in casting director's office
3.
 Crazy To Marry (1921) Dr. Hobart Hupp
4.
 The Dollar-a-Year Man (1921) Franklin Pinney, a laundryman
5.
 Brewster's Millions (1921) Monte Brewster
6.
 Gasoline Gus (1921) Gasoline Gus
7.
 The Fast Freight (1921)
8.
 Leap Year (1921)
9.
 The Traveling Salesman (1921) Bob Blake
10.
 The Life of the Party (1920) Algernon Leary
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1888:
Family moved to California
:
Worked as plumber's assistant before becoming performer in carnivals and vaudeville
1904:
Hired to work the Pantages vaudeville circuit
1907:
First appearance in film as an extra in one-reel comedies for Selig Polyscope Company
1909:
First film appearance in "Ben's Kid"
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"
1914:
Directed first feature, "Barnyard Flirtations"
1914:
Teamed with Mabel Normand for a series of films
1917:
Established own film company, Comique, in partnership with Joseph M Schenck; films released through Famous Players Lasky; hired Buster Keaton as a writer
1919:
Signed with Paramount; made nine films in an eighteen month period
1921:
Arrested and charged with manslaughter in the death of Virginia Rappe
:
Tried three times for manslaughter; acquitted
1925:
Began directing films under the pseudonym William B Goodrich
1927:
Returned to stage in "Baby Mine"
1928:
Opened restaurant, The Plantation Cafe (closed 1930)
1932:
Made several vaudeville appearances and an unsuccessful European tour
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
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Minta Durfee. Actor. Married in 1909; separated in 1917; divorced in 1925; was his early vaudeville partner.
wife:
Doris Arbuckle. Married in 1925; divorced in 1928.
wife:
Addie Oakley Dukes McPhail. Born c. 1905; married on June 28, 1932.

Family close complete family listing

mother:
Mary Arbuckle. Died in 1899.

Bibliography close complete biography

"The Day the Laughter Stopped: The True Story of Fatty Arbuckle"
"Frame-Up: The Untold Story of Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle" William Morrow
"Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle: A Biography of the Silent Film Comedian, 1887-1933" McFarland

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