Knowledge Identifier: +Charles_Laughton
Category: Movies & TV
Born in 1899.
Countries: United States (45%), United Kingdom (33%), France (5%)
Linked to: Capitol Records, Comedie-Francaise, Decca Records, Deutsche Grammophon
Finally allowed by his family to become a drama student at RADA in 1925, Laughton made his first professional stage appearance on April 28, 1926 at the Barnes Theatre, as Osip in the comedy The Government Inspector, in which he appeared at the London Gaiety Theatre in May. Despite not having the looks for a romantic lead, he impressed audiences with his talent and played classical roles in two plays by Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard and The Three Sisters.
In 1926, he played the role of the criminal Ficsur in the original London production of Ferenc Molnar's Liliom.
In 1927, Laughton began a relationship with Elsa Lanchester, at the time a cast mate in a stage play.
He appeared in many West End plays in the following few years and his earliest successes on the stage were in roles like Hercule Poirot in Alibi (1928, the first actor to portray Agatha Christie's Belgian detective Hercule Poirot) - a stage adaptation of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd) and William Marble in Payment Deferred, in which he made his Lyceum Theatre debut in 1931.
Walter Starkie - In light of his previous successes at the Abbey Theatre the rejection caused much controversy and O'Casey severed his relations with the theatre and took the play to London where it premiered on October 11, 1929 at the Apollo Theatre with Charles Laughton and Barry Fitzgerald under the direction of Raymond Massey
Donald Crisp - Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, he appeared in a wide range of roles alongside some of the era's biggest stars, including Katharine Hepburn in "The Little Minister" , Charles Laughton and Clark Gable in "Mutiny on the Bounty" , Bette Davis and Henry Fonda in "That Certain Woman" , Laurence Olivier in "Wuthering Heights" , Errol Flynn in "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex" and "The Sea Hawk" and Gregory Peck in "The Valley of Decision"
In all, he appeared in six Hollywood films during 1932.
Laughton won the New York Film Critics Circle Awards for Mutiny on the Bounty and Ruggles of Red Gap in 1935.
Eddie Quillan - Eddie Quillan would remain a popular leading and secondary actor throughout the sound film era and would appear in such notable fims as 1935's "Mutiny on the Bounty" with Clark Gable, Charles Laughton, and Franchot Tone, 1939's "Young Mr. Lincoln" opposite Henry Fonda and Alice Brady, and as 'Connie Rivers' in John Ford's 1940 film adaptation of the John Steinbeck novel "The Grapes of Wrath" opposite Henry Fonda and 1943's "Alaska Highway" and "It Ain't Hay" opposite the comedic duo Abbot
In 1936, he went to Paris and on May 9 appeared at the Comedie-Française as Sganarelle in the second act of Molière's Le Medecin malgre lui, the first English actor to appear at that theatre, where he acted the part in French and received an ovation.
In 1943, Laughton recorded a reading of the Nativity story from St. Luke's Gospel, and this was released in 1995 on CD on a Nimbus Records collection entitled Prima Voce: The Spirit of Christmas Past.
Shelley Winters - Throughout the 1950s, Winters continued in films, including "Meet Danny Wilson" as Frank Sinatra's leading lady, most notably in Charles Laughton's 1955 "Night of the Hunter", with Robert Mitchum and Lillian Gish, and the less successful "I Am A Camera" starring opposite Julie Harris and Laurence Harvey
His most notable box-office success as a director came in 1954, with The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, a full-length stage dramatization by Herman Wouk of the court-martial scene in Wouk's novel The Caine Mutiny.
He made his final theatre appearances as Nick Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream and as King Lear at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in 1959, although failing health resulted in both performances being disappointing, according to some British critics.
Although he did not appear in any later plays, he continued to tour the US with staged readings, including a very successful appearance on the Stanford University campus in 1960.
A two-LP Capitol Records album was released in 1962, the year of Laughton's death, entitled The Story Teller: A Session with Charles Laughton.
Both stories were released together on a Deutsche Grammophon CD for Christmas 2005