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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. Nevertheless, he is best remembered today as one of the original action heroes of the cinema. 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). Crabbe's career waned somewhat in the 1950s, though he did make regular television appearances including one on an episode of the 1979 series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century where he plays a retired warrior named "Brigadier Gordon" in honor of Flash Gordon. 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. Crabbe starred in the television series, Captain Gallant of the Foreign Legion (1955 to 1957) as Captain Michael Gallant; the adventure series aired on NBC. He did not achieve stardom until the 1939 feature film version of Of Mice and Men, in which he played Lennie Small. Other characters he portrayed included Western hero Billy the Kid and Buck Rogers.

His first movie was an uncredited role in the 1932 film Girl Crazy. His next major role was as Flash Gordon in the popular Flash Gordon serial (a role he reprised in two sequels). He did not take any movie roles until after his father's death. In the 1933 movie, King of the Jungle the 1941's Jungle Man, and the 1952 serial, King of the Congo he played similar roles...but that's not Tarzan. But he also studied makeup under his father. Other than a 1964 remake of the same movie, it would be the only movie in which he starred as Tarzan. He worked menial jobs in order to make his own way. Crabbe's role in a 1933 Tarzan serial, also issued as a full length movie Tarzan the Fearless, launched a successful career in which he starred in over one hundred movies.

Chaney worked hard to avoid his father's shadow. Ironically, at that Olympics, he broke the record held by Johnny Weissmuller, whose role as Tarzan he would later assume. Chaney was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and died in San Clemente, California. Raised in Hawaii, he excelled as a swimmer and participated in two Olympic Games: 1928, where he won the bronze medal for the 1,500 meter freestyle, and 1932, where he won the gold medal for the 400 meter freestyle. He was born Creighton Tull Chaney, and was first credited as "Lon Chaney, Jr." in 1935, as a studio marketing ploy. According to the Internet Movie Database he was born February 17, 1907, and his birth name was Clarence Linden Crabbe. 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. Larry 'Buster' Crabbe (February 7, probably in 1908, Oakland, California - April 23, 1983, Scottsdale, Arizona) was an American athlete turned actor, who starred in a number of popular serials in the 1930s and 1940s.

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