The kids of today probably hasn’t even heard about the silent era of comedy. But people like me who were born in 80s and 90s might have heard a bit about some silent comedians. Those people were the best entertainers because amusing people without uttering a single word is what’s actually harder. Following is the list of top 10 silent comedians of their time, some of them might be heard of whereas others have been forgotten in time.
10. Larry Semon
Larry is listed amongst the forgotten stars of the century. He was born in Mississippi in 1889 and had been working for a newspaper as a cartoonist. Soon he was approached to write and direct a few films and within 3 months he was starring in them as well. His appearance in his films was verily appreciated, he appeared in films as a white-faced, derby hat wearing klutz who would stumble into a scene and cause all kinds of chaos. After his films received a great success he was allowed to make the films as accordingly as he liked which caused Larry being bankrupt just before his end of time which was in 1928.
Turpin was born in 1869 in New Orleans. Like most other stars he started his career in very early stages. In the year 1907, when cinemas came to life he got work at the Essanay studios as an actor and also as the janitor. But within few years his scribbling the floor days were far over. He became an established actor. The most famous thing about Turpin was his crossed eyes. The attention he got was not only because of the jokes but also because of his appearance. A publicity stunt was reported about Turpin that he had insured his eyes for $25,000. He retired early but still had appeared in some shows as a guest. He died on July 1, 1940 due to a heart attack.
After seeing her face if anyone is having the impression of a young innocent girl, I’m sorry to say that you sir/mam are thinking totally opposite of what she really was. Her abilities included directing, producing and acting. But the star’s life was full of scandals and drug addiction. She had played a very important role in cinematography and also in the career development of the infamous Chaplin. Chaplin’s character made its first ever appearance in Mable’s film. In Normond’s early twenties problems started arousing because of the fact that she was involved in drugs and was also counted as a suspect in the mysterious murder of her close friend. She carried on making a few more movies while ignoring her health which caused her an early death in 1930, her cause of death was TB.
Mary, who was born as Gladys Marie Smith in 1982 was a very talented and one of few silent female comedians of the silent era. She was the first super star who had control over things, either onscreen or off-screen. She had been doing a little this a little that in the beginning but by 1913, she had been hired by a director for $500 per week. Her success rate was so fast that within 3 years she was earning ten thousand dollars. Her cause of popularity was based around her innocent looks. She had played the roles of teenagers in her adulthood. Mary was considered to be the most famous woman in the world by 1920s. Due to some inside problems she retired early in 1933.
Fatty Arbuckle is yet another forgotten comedian. In his time he was considered to be the only one who could stand next to Chaplin in terms of box office receipts and worldwide fame. His rate of success can be concluded by the fact that he rose from a plumber’s assistant to a million dollar a year movie star. However he was never as ambitious a Chaplin but still his art of making people laugh can’t be forgotten, even though his life was filled with scandals. Arbuckle was Chaplin’s mentor. The star had to face 3 trials for a scandal hit of killing Virginia Rappe after raping her. He was shortly acquitted by the jury, but the damage had been done and his career went to ruins. In 1932 he appeared in a couple of short films. He was forgiven by the public and was ready to make a full-fledged comeback, he even signed a contract with Warner in 1933, but as he said it was the best day of his life he died of a heart attack on the very same night.