Lon Chaney Jr.

Lon Chaney Jr.

Broderick Crawford, who had played Chaney's role of Lennie in "Of Mice and Men" on Broadway in 1937, worked with Chaney at one time and shared a dressing room with him. Apparently, both men were such heavy drinkers that they'd get drunk together and take turns beating each other up.

Attempted an early career as a songwriter.

Father of two sons, Lon and Ron.

From his father he developed skills as a makeup artist. He was not able to make much use of these skills due to strict union rules.

Grandfather of Ron Chaney.

He is the only person to have played all four of the classic movie monsters: The Wolf Man (1941) (Larry Talbot/Wolf Man); The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942) (The Frankenstein Monster); The Mummy's Tomb (1942) (Kharis, the mummy); Son of Dracula (1943) (Count Anthony Alucard, Dracula's son).

He only officially played the role of the Frankenstein Monster twice: once in The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942) and then again in a 1952 episode of the TV series "Tales of Tomorrow" (1951). It wasn't until 1957 when the 1932 version of Frankenstein (1931) staring Boris Karloff would debut on TV. Also in 1957 Christopher Lee would assume the role of the monster in The Curse of Frankenstein (1957). Chaney played the role "unofficially" twice for Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, in Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) in which he stood in for Glenn Strange for one scene while Strange recovered from a broken ankle, and for a 1951 "The Colgate Comedy Hour" (1950) episode where, in a mock-opera sketch, Chaney appe

He was born prematurely, and the illnesses he suffered at the end of his life may have been partially the result of this. In fact, he was born, in his own words, "black and dead." His father took him outside to a ice covered lake, broke the ice and put him into the ice cold water to jump-start his breathing. However, according to his son Lon Ralph Chaney as well as Cleva's daughter by her second marriage, Stella George, the story is complete fiction.

His career suffered in his later years due to alcoholism.

His father told him he was too tall for a successful career in film.

His favorite role was that of Lennie Small in Of Mice and Men (1939). After a few drinks at parties, he would recite scenes from that film.

His last film might have been in Woody Allen's Every Thing You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask (1972). In "Conversations With Woody Allen" by Eric Lax, Allen recalls feeling like a fan, "sitting across from the Wolf Man!" as he interviewed Chaney for a role. Chaney did not appear in the final cut, and died the year after it was released.

In 1930, lived at 735 N. Laurel Avenue, Los Angeles, while working as an advertising manager for a water-heater company.

Is mentioned in the Warren Zevon song "Werewolves of London."

Like his father, he often refused requests for autographs, though when he did sign he usually wrote "Luck, Lon Chaney," using a very large "L" as the first letter for both "Luck" and "Lon".

Pictured on one of a set of five 32¢ US commemorative postage stamps, issued 30 September 1997, celebrating "Famous Movie Monsters". He is shown as the title character in The Wolf Man (1941). Other actors honored in this set of stamps, and the classic monsters they portray, are Lon Chaney as The Phantom of the Opera (1925); Bela Lugosi as Dracula (1931); and Boris Karloff on two stamps as The Mummy (1932) and the monster in Frankenstein (1931).

Son of Lon Chaney.

Two sons with Dorothy Hinckley: Lon Ralph Chaney born July 3, 1928, and Ronald Creighton Chaney born March 18, 1930.

Was an avid hunter/outdoorsman.

Was possibly not as tall as is often reported. According to Calvin Thomas Beck in "Heroes of the Horrors" (Macmillan, 1975), Chaney wore special shoes in Of Mice and Men (1939) to increase his height by six inches. "In reality," Beck writes, "he was just six feet tall." Chaney said, according to Beck, that "from that film on, people thought I was much taller" (Beck, p. 235). Early publicity accounts from the 1930s describe Chaney as a strapping six-footer. In Gregory William Mank's books, Chaney is described as being 6'2" (though Mank reproduces press material for The Wolf Man (1941) which describes Chaney as being five inches taller than Claude Rains, who was 5'7").