Harold Lloyd is one of those who lived to see cinema talk but was not able to be a part of it. He was considered to be one of the biggest stars of the day; he replaced Arbuckle and started to step up with Chaplin. His big break was in 1913 when he was working with Hal Roach. Lloyd became the comic character of Roach’s famous comic. He had appeared in more than sixty one reel comedies during the time period from 1915-1917. He went on doing big projects, with films like Girl Shy, The Freshman and Speedy were all big success. He was on the path of much greater success until the talkies arrived. He took a back seat in filming and was dealing with depression and other problems. He died in 1971 from a prostate cancer.
4. Oliver Hardy
Oliver is the one-half of the cinema’s best comedy duo ever to live. Oliver had already entered film industry at a very early age. He often worked as a projectionist, ticket taker, janitor and manager of his local nickelodeon in Georgia. His first appearance as an actor was in 1914 and within the next ten years he had made over 200 shorts often featuring Larry Semon before the original duo united in 1927. The duo started making shorts at an amazing rate that featured most of the unique stuff such as the most amazing pie fight in the history of films etc. Hardy and his partner were a few of those people who successfully stepped into sound and made their name permanent because they are still very well recognized, even now. And I can bet that most people have watched their movies more than other silent comedians.
3. Stan Laurel
Stan is the second-half of the cinema’s best comedy duo to ever live. Onscreen Stan was always the fall guy but off screen, he was the brains behind the success of the duo. Stan was born in England in 1880. He joined Fred Karno’s troupe of actors in 1910. In 1926, he joined the Hal Roach studio and started directing his own films. His intentions were to only direct and write films till the day he met Oliver Hardy in 1927. Hal Roach noticed the stars in them and made their dreams into reality. Their success on the sound cinema was as much as they had in the silent era. Their performance on any screen was always welcomed. Their careers started to wade off after the 40s when both of them started having health issues and finally in 1957 Ollie died. Stan, his best buddy followed him in the arms of death on January 1965.
Keaton was born in 1895 to a lower class family. He gained his education from his father who would no doubt use his own son as a servant rather than a human being at the only age of five. Arbuckle showed Keaton the way into filming industry and when he got his recognition and confidence he went out on his own in the 20s and never once looked back. He had been doing films for quite some time and had performed his own dangerous stunts without any protections. Soon after he discovered that MGM was going to take away his freedom by claiming him to do their films he lost his spirit, became an alcoholic and never reclaimed his past glories. He was lucky enough to be cheered for in the 60s and finally getting credit for all his work. But that credit came late as he died soon on Feb 1, 1966 due to lung cancer.
1. Charlie Chaplin
No one in the silent comedy era is more widely known than Charlie Chaplin. Even the people who have never seen a silent film can recognize the Chaplin silhouette, the shabby suit, and the bowler hat. Chaplin was born in England on 1889. Before the arrival of Chaplin in the industry, the film comics were usually based firmly in the realm of cartoonish slapstick. Chaplin’s film making genius and storytelling instincts changed all that. In 1915, his film The Tramp was released. In the film whenever his character gets hurt he is not seen standing up again and continuing the shots, in fact he is seen in hospital beds as to show more reality than fiction. Once he got a leap to the feature films he got even more ambitious. More than 3 or 4 movies of his have been ranked to top 250 movies of all time. Chaplin has made a name that can never be removed from the history of this world. In the late 60s, his health began to fall slowly. Chaplin died in 1977 in his sleep.