Oct 20, 2013
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A Halloween Special by Spooky Steve McGarry

Lon Chaney

A superstar of the silent movie era, Long Chaney was an incredibly versatile character actor whose genius with makeup made him a master of disguise and earned him the nickname "The Man of a Thousand Faces."  His memorable portrayals of the most grotesque figures made him the first icon of horror movies.

Leonidas Frank Chaney was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on April 1, 1883.  The child of deaf parents, he learned at an early age to use pantomime to communicate.

He started out performing in vaudeville before breaking into movies.  He went to extraordinary lengths to create effects for his characters - for 1923's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," he donned a heavy hump and harness and wore a straightjacket to contort his body.

He went on to star in the likes of "The Phantom of the Opera" and "Tell it to the Marines" before making his first "Talkie," 1930's remake of "The Unholy Three."

It was his final role.  Seven weeks after the movie's release, he was dead, having succumbed to pneumonia, lung cancer and a throat infection.

His son, Lon Chaney Jr., Subsequently enjoyed an acting career that spanned five decades, most notably playing the lead in the 1941 horror classic "The Wolf Man."
Nov 3, 2013
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