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Lon Chaney, Jr.

Lon Chaney, Jr. (February 10, 1906 - July 12, 1973) was an American character actor, well-known mainly for his roles in monster movies and as the son of his better-known father, Lon Chaney. He was born Creighton Tull Chaney, and was first credited as "Lon Chaney, Jr." in 1935, as a studio marketing ploy.

Chaney was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and died in San Clemente, California. Chaney worked hard to avoid his father's shadow. He worked menial jobs in order to make his own way. But he also studied makeup under his father. He did not take any movie roles until after his father's death. His first movie was an uncredited role in the 1932 film Girl Crazy. He did not achieve stardom until the 1939 feature film version of Of Mice and Men, in which he played Lennie Small.

In 1941 he starred in the title role of The Wolf Man, the characterization which would be his stereotypical role for the rest of his life. He maintained a strong career in horror movies, playing all four of the classic horror roles -- the Wolf Man, Frankenstein's monster in The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942), The Mummy in The Mummy's Tomb (1942) and (the son of) Dracula in Son of Dracula (1943). He achieved immortality by appearing on one of a series of United States postage stamps portraying movie monsters, as the Wolf Man, in 1977.


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He achieved immortality by appearing on one of a series of United States postage stamps portraying movie monsters, as the Wolf Man, in 1977. He is survived by his grandson, actor Keith Coogan. He maintained a strong career in horror movies, playing all four of the classic horror roles -- the Wolf Man, Frankenstein's monster in The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942), The Mummy in The Mummy's Tomb (1942) and (the son of) Dracula in Son of Dracula (1943). He was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery. In 1941 he starred in the title role of The Wolf Man, the characterization which would be his stereotypical role for the rest of his life. He died of heart disease in 1984. He did not achieve stardom until the 1939 feature film version of Of Mice and Men, in which he played Lennie Small. His most famous TV role was as Uncle Fester in The Addams Family television series.

His first movie was an uncredited role in the 1932 film Girl Crazy. After the war, Coogan returned to acting, taking mostly character roles and appearing on television. He did not take any movie roles until after his father's death. He served in Asia, and flew gliders for the transportation of Orde Wingate's Chindits in the Burma Campaign. But he also studied makeup under his father. He left film entirely for several years, beginning in 1941, shortly before the United States entered World War II to serve as a flight officer in the Air Force. He worked menial jobs in order to make his own way. As he grew older, Coogan's popularity as an actor waned, though he had several well-publicised love affairs with leading Hollywood starlets, including a three-year marriage to Betty Grable.

Chaney worked hard to avoid his father's shadow. The legal battle did, however, bring attention to child actors and resulted in the state of California enacting the California Child Actor's Bill, sometimes known as the Coogan Bill. Chaney was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and died in San Clemente, California. He sued them in 1935, but only received $126,000. He was born Creighton Tull Chaney, and was first credited as "Lon Chaney, Jr." in 1935, as a studio marketing ploy. As a child star, Coogan earned as much as $4 million, but the money was taken by his mother and step-father. Lon Chaney, Jr. (February 10, 1906 - July 12, 1973) was an American character actor, well-known mainly for his roles in monster movies and as the son of his better-known father, Lon Chaney. As a child actor, he is best remembered for his role as Charlie Chaplin's irrascible sidekick in The Kid (1921) and for the title role in Oliver Twist by Frank Lloyd the following year.

Coogan began his acting career as an infant in both vaudeville and film, with an uncredited role in the 1917 film Skinner's Baby. Jackie Coogan (October 26, 1914 - March 1, 1984) was a American actor who began his movie career as a child actor in silent films.

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