Lon Chaney

American actor (1883–1930)

Lon Chaney (April 1, 1883 – August 26, 1930) was an American actor during the age of silent movies. He is said to be one of the most best actors of early movies. He was well known for his playing tortured, often grotesque and afflicted characters. He was famous for his artistry with makeup.[1] Chaney is remembered for starring in silent horror movies. These include The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Phantom of the Opera. His ability to change himself using makeup techniques which he created earned him the nickname "The Man of a Thousand Faces."

Lon Chaney
Chaney during the production of The Miracle Man, 1919
Leonidas Frank Chaney

(1883-04-01)April 1, 1883
DiedAugust 26, 1930(1930-08-26) (aged 47)
Cause of deathThroat hemorrhage caused by lung cancer
Resting placeForest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California
  • Actor
  • director
  • screenwriter
  • makeup artist
Years active1902-1930
Spouse(s)Cleva Creighton (1906-1915)
Hazel Hastings (1915-1930)
ChildrenLon Chaney Jr. (born Creighton Tull Chaney)

Cultural references

  • In the 1970s The Scooby-Doo Movies episode "The Exteriminator", the eccentric actor/master of disguise Lorn Chumley is a tribute to Lon Chaney.


  1. "Lon Chaney Dies After Brave Fight. On Road to Recovery, Screen Actor Is Stricken by Hemorrhage of the Throat. Was a Master of Makeup. Son of Deaf and Dumb Parents, He Began Career as Property Boy. Excelled in Vivid Personations. Acted as Pike's Peak Guide. Made Stage Debut at 17. Appeared in Slap-Stick Comedy. Wore Straitjacket as "Hunchback." New Disguise for Each Film". New York Times. August 27, 1930. Although he was believed to be on the road to recovery, Lon Chaney, screen actor, who had been making a valiant fight against anemia and bronchial congestion, died at 12:55.