Classic Screams Banner



Lon Chaney Jr. Lon Chaney Jr. - as The Wolf Man Lon Chaney Jr.
Lon Chaney Jr.

Lon Chaney Jr. was born Creighton Tull Chaney on February 10, 1906 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Lon is the son of Silent Film Legend Lon Chaney and Francis Cleveland Creighton (Cleva).

Lon grew and followed his parents to there theater engagements. Sometimes staying with Cleva's or Lon's Parents. After the divorce of Lon and Cleva in 1915, Creighton was sent to a home for children of divorce and disaster.

Creighton attended Los Feliz grammar school in Hollywood and in the seventh grade won a pantomime contest in which he played the role of the "Prince" in "The Princess and the Pea". Lon Sr. did not want young Creighton to be an actor, he wanted him in a more stable business. Young Creighton always had a desire to followe in his famous fathers footsteps. He would try to learn all of the techniques of makeup at his fathers side. He took some stage rolls in stock companies for awhile. Creighton worked many types of jobs.

Creighton was married to Dorothy Hinckley in 1926 and had two sons, Lon Ralph Chaney born July 3, 1928 and Ronald Creighton Chaney born March 18, 1930. Creighton went to work for Dorothy's father at 'General Water Heater Co.' and became a secretary of the firm.

After the death of his father, Creighton decided to begin acting. In 1931 a casting director named Rex Bailey asked him to change his name to Lon Chaney Jr. Rex pitched the idea of a 'Chaney Jr.' to David Selznik at RKO Pictures. Selznik loved the idea and wanted to sign Creighton to a long term contract if he would allow to be billed as Lon Chaney Jr. Creighton refused because he did not want to be thought of as the 'Son of the Great Actor' but wanted to be known for his own merot.

RKO finally agreed to give him a try and signed in March of 1932 as Creighton Chaney. He did some bit parts, took acting lessons and did stunt work while working under several different names. He worked hard for many years learning his craft.

The studio still asked him to change his name and finally in 1935 a producer insisted on changing his name to Lon Chaney Jr. as a marketing ploy. After trying to make it on his own name for many years Creighton finally gave in to become known as Lon Chaney Jr. With this change he did start to see more opportunities for new and better parts.

In 1936 or 1937, Creighton (Now known as Lon) met a young starlet and model by the name of Patricia Beck and fell in love with her. After ten years of being married to Dorothy they divorced, and Lon left everything to Dorothy and the boys. Lon and Patricia (Patsy) Beck were married October 1, 1937. Also in 1937 Lon signed with Fox Studios and made around 30 films in the next 3 years.

Chaney would always be uncomfortable with the ploy and always hated the "Jr". addendum, but he was aware that it would help his career so he kept using it. Languished in bit parts Lon got a part in John Steinbeck's film adaptation 'Of Mice and Men' where he played his classic 'Lenny' character (a role he reprise a few times - the character was so popular it was also featured in a 'Looney Tunes' cartoon) for the West coast production of this Broadway play. His performance was so good that they signed him to Hal Roach's (Hal also did the 'Our Gang' series) production of 'Of Mice and Men' (1939). Following this film he starred in another Hal Roach production titled 'One Million B.C.' (1940) in which he developed his own makeup, but was unable to use it due to union regulations.

Lon then signed to Universal in 1941, where he did his first monster film 'Man Made Monster' (1941). He also made several Westerns and a Comedy. Finally his big break came when Universal cast him as 'The Wolf Man' (1941) in which the troubled Larry Talbot gets bitten by a wolf (played by Bela Lugosi) and turns into the Werewolf himself. The transformation to the wolf was excellent for that time period and Lon played the part superbly.

Lon was then asked to recreate many of the now famous Universal Monsters. He played Frankenstein's monster in 'Ghost of Frankenstein' (1942), Kharis the mummy in 'The Mummy's Tomb' (1942), 'The Mummy's Curse' (1944), 'The Mummy's Ghost' (1944), and Dracula (actually he called himself 'Count Alucard') in 'Son of Dracula' (1943). He would played the 'The Wolf Man' another four times for Universal in 'Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man' (1943), 'House of Frankenstein' (1944), 'House of Dracula' (1945), and 'Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein' (1948).

Lon was in more B-movie cult classic (low budget horror) films than probably any other actor of his magnitude. The films included 'Spider Baby' (1964) w/ Carol Ohmart, 'The Alligator People' (1959) w/ Beverly Garland, and 'Hillbillys in a Haunted House' (1967) w/ Joi Lansing. Lon reprised his role as 'Larry Talbot' and his hairy alter ego 'The Wolf Man' in 'Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein' (1948). (He also played Frankenstein in a few scenes after Glen Strange injured his leg.) Lon also did some Television, he appeared as 'The Wolf Man' in '77 Sunset Strip' and in an episode of 'The Monkees' he played Lenny from 'Of Mice and Men'. Lon's last film was 'Dracula vs. Frankenstein' (1971) w/ Regina Carrol. Lon has reportedly been in over 400 films and/or TV appearances and/or stage appearances.

Lon had many hobbies such as fishing, hunting, and wrestling (he was also a referee for a short time).

Sadly, Lon died in July 12, 1973 in San Clemente, CA from Beriberi, Liver Failure and a Heart Attack. His body was donated to USC Science Department for research so that it would be possible for him to help others after his life ended. Lon was very under-rated as an actor, some of his low budget films are very entertaining. He will be missed by the many people that new him personally and by his millions and millions of fans. Thankfully, most of Lon's films are still with us to watch and enjoy.



***********************************************************
***** Lon Chaney Jr. was in a number of famous lasts! *****
***********************************************************

The last actor to play the Universal Mummy in the last serious entry of their series.

Played Dracula in the last serious Classic Universal Dracula film.

Played the Frankenstein Monster in the last entry in the series where the monster was the 'star'; - he was seen as the monster (clips from 'Ghost of Frankenstein') in the last serious entry in Universal's classic monster series ('House of Dracula'); (He also was seen as the monster in the last of Universal's films using the classic monsters - 'Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein' - when he filled in for Glenn Strange when he injured his leg).



Ron Chaney (the Great-Grandson of Lon Sr and Grandson of Lon Jr) is keeping his Grandfather and Great-Grandfathers spirit alive for us. He spends time doing the Conventions Circuit and talks of their career's and personal life.





To get more info on The Chaney's Visit the LONCHANEY.COM:
Chaney.com banner





---------- Film Rolls ----------
     
(1922) The Trap (Hand only)  
(1932) Bird of Paradise  
(1932) Girl Crazy  
(1932) The Last Frontier (12 Chapter Serial)  
(1932) The Most Dangerous Game  
(1932) The Roadhouse Murders  
(1933) Lucky Devils  
(1933) Scarlet River  
(1933) Son of the Border  
(1933) The Three Musketeers (12 Chapter Serial)  
(1934) Girl Of My Dreams  
(1934) Sixteen Fathoms Deep  
(1934) The Life of Vergie Winters  
(1935) A Scream in the Night  
(1935) Accent on Youth  
(1935) Captain Hurricane  
(1935) Hold 'em Yale  
(1935) The Marriage Bargain  
(1935) The Shadow of Silk Lennox  
(1936) Ace Drummond (13 Chapter Serial)  
(1936) Killer At Large  
(1936) The Old Carral  
(1936) The Rosebowl  
(1936) The Singing Cowboy  
(1936) Undersea Kingdom (12 Chapter Serial)  
(1937) Angel's Holiday  
(1937) Born Reckless  
(1937) Charlie Chan on Broadway  
(1937) Checkers  
(1937) Cheyenne Rides Again  
(1937) City Girl  
(1937) Life Begins in College  
(1937) Love and Hisses  
(1937) Love is News  
(1937) Midnight Taxi  
(1937) One Mile from Heaven  
(1937) Second Honeymoon  
(1937) Secret Agent X-9 (12 Chapter Serial)  
(1937) Slave Ship  
(1937) That I May Live  
(1937) The Lady Escapes  
(1937) Thin Ice  
(1937) This is My Affair  
(1937) Wife, Doctor, and Nurse  
(1937) Wild and Wooly  
(1938) Alexander's Ragtime Band  
(1938) Happy Landing  
(1938) Josette  
(1938) Mr. Moto's Gamble  
(1938) Passport Husband  
(1938) Road Demon  
(1938) Sally, Irene and Mary  
(1938) Speed To Burn  
(1938) Straight, Place and Show  
(1938) Submarine Patrol  
(1938) Walking Down Broadway  
(1939) Charlie Chan In the City of Darkness,  
(1939) Frontier Marshal  
(1939) Jesse James  
(1939) Of Mice and Men  
(1939) Union Pacific  
(1940) Northwest Mounted Police  
(1940) One Million B.C.  
(1941) Badlands of Dakota  
(1941) Billy The Kid  
(1941) Man Made Monster  
(1941) Riders of Death Valley  
(1941) San Antonio Rose  
(1941) The Wolf Man  
(1941) Too many Blondes  
(1942) Ghost of Frankenstein  
(1942) Keeping Fit (11 minute short)  
(1942) North to the Klondike  
(1942) Overland Mail(15 Chapter Serial)  
(1942) The Mummy's Tomb  
(1943) Calling Dr. Death  
(1943) Crazy House  
(1943) Eyes of the Underworld  
(1943) Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man  
(1943) Frontier Badmen  
(1943) Son of Dracula  
(1943) What We Are Fighting For  
(1944) Cobra Woman  
(1944) Dead Man's Eyes  
(1944) Follow the Boys  
(1944) Ghost Catchers  
(1944) House of Frankenstein  
(1944) The Mummy's Curse  
(1944) The Mummy's Ghost  
(1944) Weird Woman  
(1945) Here Come the Co-Eds - w/ Abbott and Costello  
(1945) House of Dracula  
(1945) Pillow of Death  
(1945) Strange Confession  
(1945) The Dalton's Ride Again  
(1945) The Frozen Ghost  
(1947) Laguna U.S.A.  
(1947) My Favorite Brunette  
(1948) Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein  
(1948) Albuquerque  
(1948) Sixteen Fathoms Deep  
(1948) The Counterfeiters  
(1949) Captain China  
(1949) There's a Girl in My Heart  
(1950) Once a Thief  
(1951) Behave Yourself  
(1951) Bride of the Gorilla  
(1951) Inside Straight  
(1951) Only the Valiant  
(1952) Battles of Chief Pontiac  
(1952) Flame of Araby  
(1952) High Noon - the classic western with Gary Cooper  
(1952) Springfield Rifle  
(1952) The Black Castle  
(1952) The Bushwackers  
(1952) Thief of Damascus  
(1953) A Lion in the Streets  
(1953) Bandit Island  
(1953) Raiders of the Seven Seas  
(1954) Casanova's Big Night  
(1954) Jivaro  
(1954) Passion  
(1954) The Big Chase  
(1954) The Black Pirates  
(1954) The Boy from Oklahoma  
(1955) Big House U.S.A.  
(1955) I Died a Thousand Times  
(1955) Not as a Stranger  
(1955) The Indian Fighter  
(1955) The Silver Star  
(1956) Daniel Boone  
(1956) Manfish  
(1956) Pardners  
(1956) The Black Sleep  
(1956) The Indestructible Man  
(1956) Trail Blazer  
(1957) The Cyclops  
(1958) Money, Woman and Guns  
(1958) The Defiant Ones  
(1959) Face of the Screaming Werewolf  
(1959) La Casa Del Terror  
(1960) The Alligator People  
(1961) Rebellion in Cuba  
(1962) The Devil's Messenger  
(1963) The Haunted Palace  
(1964) Law of the Lawless  
(1964) Spider Baby  
(1964) Stage to Thunder Rock  
(1964) Witchcraft  
(1965) Black Spurs  
(1965) House of the Black Death  
(1965) Town Tamer  
(1965) Young Fury  
(1966) Apache Uprising  
(1966) Dr Terror's Gallery of Horrors  
(1966) Johnny Reno  
(1967) Hillbilly's in a Haunted House  
(1967) Welcome to Hard Times  
(1968) Buckskin  
(1968) The Far Out West  
(1970) Fireball Jungle  
(1971) Dracula vs Frankenstein  
(1971) The Female Bunch  



---------- Television Rolls ----------
     
(1949) The Life of Riley (unaired pilot)  
(1951) Colgate Comedy Hour  
(1951) Cosmopolitan Theater (Last Concerto)    
(1952) Schlitz Playhouse of Stars, (The Trial)    
(1952) Tales of Tomorrow (Frankenstein)  
(1952) You Asked for it  
(1953) The Red Skelton Show  
(1954) Cavalcade Theater (Moonlight School)  
(1954) Jack London's Tales of Adventure (unaired pilot)  
(1954) The Whistler (Backfire)  
(1955) Cavalcade Theater (Stay On, Stranger)  
(1955) Flight From Adventure (unsold series)  
(1955) Masquerade Party  
(1956) Climax (Secret of River Lane)  
(1956) Studio 54 (Ballad of Jubal Pickett)  
(1956) Telephone Time (The Golden Junkman)  
(1957) Climax (Necessary Evil)  
(1957) Hawkeye & The Last of the Mohicans (26 episodes)  
(1958) Target  
(1958) The Red Skelton Show  
(1958) Truth or Consequences  
(1959) Adventures In Paradise (The Black Pearl)  
(1959) General Electric Theater (Family Man)  
(1959) Have Gun Will Travel (Scorched Feather)  
(1959) Number 13 Demon Street (14 episodes)  
(1959) Rawhide (Incident on the edge of Madness)  
(1959) The Rough Riders (An Eye for an Eye)  
(1959) The Texan (No Love Wasted)  
(1959) Tombstone Territory (The Black Marshal from Deadwood)  
(1959) Wanted Dead Or Alive (The Hostage)  
(1960) Bat Masterson (Bat Trap)  
(1960) Johnny Ringo (The Raffertys)  
(1960) Lock Up  
(1960) Wagon Train (The Jose Morales Story)  
(1961) Klondike (The Hostages)  
(1961) Route 66 (The Mud Nest)  
(1961) Stagecoach West (Not in Our Stars)  
(1961) Surfside Six (Witness for the Defense)  
(1961) The Deputy (Brother in Arms)  
(1961) The Gunslinger  
(1961) Wagon Train (The Chalice)  
(1961) Zane Grey Theater (A Warm Day in Heaven)  
(1962) Here's Hollywood  
(1962) Lawman (Tarnished Badge)  
(1962) Route 66 (Lizard's Leg and Owlet's Wing)  
(1962) The Rifleman (Gunfire)  
(1963) Empire (Hidden Asset)  
(1963) Have Gun Will Travel (Cage At McNab)  
(1963) Rawhide (Incident at Spider Rock)  
(1963) Route 66 (Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are)  
(1963) The Phantom (unsold pilot)  
(1964) Route 66  
(1966) Pistols & Petticoats  
(1966) The Monkees (Monkees in a Ghost Town)    
(1967) Proctor & Gamble Bold Detergent (commercial),  
(1967) The Pat Boone Show  
(1968) Star Close-Up  
(1969) A Stranger In Town  
(1969) Pontiac truck commercial (The Chain Gang)    
(1969) The Tonight Show  
(1971) What's New (The Children's West)  


Copyright 2009 - 2014 by the author, Jess Oliver. All rights reserved