Lon Chaney Jr.: Wolf Man to Has Been

Lon Chaney Jr.: Wolf Man to Has Been

Lon Chaney Jr. played the role of Lawrence Talbot and the Wolf Man. I don’t know if Chaney Jr. was the greatest actor ever or that was real pain that he shows in every scene. Chaney was the son of legendary actor Lon Chaney, from such films as The Phantom of the Opera (1925), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) and about another 160 movies. Junior is perhaps best known for playing the role of Lennie in Of Mice and Men (1939).

The Wolf Man (1941) Stamp

The Wolf Man (1941) Stamp

Chaney Jr. has long been one of my favorite actors, specifically for his tortured portrayal of the Wolf Man. Jr. felt he was in his father’s shadow during his entire acting career. Born while his parents were touring, Jr. was on the stage from about six months of age. 

While Chaney Sr. became a major star, Jr. refused to go along for the ride, supporting himself by working at labor jobs. Jr. has watched his father work and eventually took these skills to work in stock acting companies. 

After Sr. died in 1930, Jr. began acting. His first film was The Galloping Ghost (1931). However, 1935 he was forced to change his name to Lon Chaney Jr. He was unhappy with this change throughout his entire career. 

Chaney Jr. showed his real talent as the gentle giant Lennie in the film adaptation of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men (1939). But he had another smash hit as the conflicted Lawrence Talbot in The Wolf Man (1941). This movie made Jr. a certified star and he was bigger than his father. He should have been at the top of his game, but he was plagued by depression and alcohol abuse. He did continue to act and was a popular character actor in major films such as High Noon (1952). His final film was a low budget horror film, Dracula vs. Frankenstein (1971). When Lon Chaney Jr. died in 1973, he was more famous than his father in everyone’s opinion but his own. It is ironic that the icon is chased is largely forgotten but Jr. is remembered well.

Of Mice and Men Lon Chaney Jr. and Burgess Meredith

Of Mice and Men Lon Chaney Jr. and Burgess Meredith

The Galloping Ghost (1931)
Girl Crazy (1932)
The Roadhouse Murders (1932)
Bird of Paradise (1932)
The Most Dangerous Game (1932)
The Last Frontier (1932)
The Black Ghost (1932)
Lucky Devils (1933)
Desert Command (1933)
The Three Musketeers (1933)
Son of the Border (1933)
Scarlet River (1933)
Sixteen Fathoms Deep (1934)
The Life of Vergie Winters (1934)
Girl o’ My Dreams (1934)
The Marriage Bargain (1935)
Hold ‘Em Yale (1935)
A Scream in the Night (1935)
Accent on Youth (1935)
The Shadow of Silk Lennox (1935)
The Singing Cowboy (1936)
Undersea Kingdom (1936)
Ace Drummond (1936)
Killer at Large (1936)
Rose Bowl (1936)
The Old Corral (1936)
Cheyenne Rides Again (1937)
Love Is News (1937)
Midnight Taxi (1937)
Secret Agent X-9 (1937)
That I May Live (1937)
This Is My Affair (1937)
Angel’s Holiday (1937)
Born Reckless (1937)
Wild and Woolly (1937)
The Lady Escapes (1937)
One Mile From Heaven (1937)
Thin Ice (1937)
Charlie Chan on Broadway (1937)
Life Begins in College (1937)
Wife, Doctor and Nurse (1937)
Second Honeymoon (1937)
Checkers (1937)
Love and Hisses (1937)
City Girl (1938)
Happy Landing (1938)
Sally, Irene and Mary (1938)
Mr. Moto’s Gamble (1938)
Walking Down Broadway (1938)
Alexander’s Ragtime Band (1938)
Josette (1938)
Speed to Burn (1938)
Passport Husband (1938)
Straight Place and Show (1938)
Submarine Patrol (1938)
Road Demon (1938)
Jesse James (1939)
Union Pacific (1939)
Charlie Chan in City in Darkness (1939)
Of Mice and Men (1939)
Frontier Marshal (1939)
North West Mounted Police (1940)
One Million B.C. (1940)
Too Many Blondes (1941)
Billy the Kid (1941)
Man Made Monster (1941)
San Antonio Rose (1941)
Riders of Death Valley (1941)
Badlands of South Dakota (1941)
The Wolf Man (1941)
North to the Klondike (1941)
Overland Mail (1942)
The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)
Keeping Fit (1942)
Eyes of the Underworld (1942)
The Mummy’s Tomb (1942)
Frontier Badmen (1943)
Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943)
What We Are Fighting For (1943)
Son of Dracula (1943)
Crazy House (1943)
Calling Dr. Death (1943)
Weird Woman (1944)
The Mummy’s Ghost (1944)
Cobra Woman (1944)
The Ghost Catchers (1944)
Dead Man’s Eyes (1944)
House of Frankenstein (1944)
The Mummy’s Curse (1944)
Here Come The Co-Eds (1945)
The Frozen Ghost (1945)
Strange Confession (1945)
House of Dracula (1945)
The Daltons Ride Again (1945)
Pillow of Death (1945)
Desert Command (1946)
My Favorite Brunette (1947)
Laguna U.S.A. (1947)
Albuquerque (1948)
The Counterfeiters (1948)
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
16 Fathoms Deep (1948)
Captain China (1950)
There’s a Girl In My Heart (1950)
Once a Thief (1950)
Inside Straight (1951)
Bride of the Gorilla (1951)
Only the Valiant (1951)
Behave Yourself! (1951)
Flame of Araby (1951)
The Bushwhackers (1952)
The Thief of Damascus (1952)
Battles of Chief Pontiac (1952)
High Noon (1952)
Springfield Rifle (1952)
The Black Castle (1952)
Raiders of the Seven Seas (1953)
Bandit Island (1953)
A Lion Is in the Streets (1953)
The Boy from Oklahoma (1954)
Casanova’s Big Night (1954)
The Big Chase (1954)
Passion (1954)
The Black Pirates (1954)
Jivaro (1954)
Big House, U.S.A. (1955)
I Died a Thousand Times (1955)
The Indian Fighter (1955)
Not as a Stranger (1955)
The Silver Star (1955)
The Black Sleep (1956)
Indestructible Man (1956)
Manfish (1956)
Pardners (1956)
Daniel Boone, Trail Blazer (1956)
The Cyclops (1957)
The Defiant Ones (1958)
The Alligator People (1959)
Money, Women, and Guns (1959)
House of Terror (1960)
The Phantom (1961)
The Devil’s Messenger (1961)
Rebellion in Cuba (1961)
The Haunted Palace (1963)
Law of the Lawless (1963)
Face of the Screaming Werewolf (1964)
Witchcraft (1964)
Stage to Thunder Rock (1964)
Spider Baby (1964)
House of Black Death (1965)
Young Fury (1965)
Black Spurs (1965)
Town Tamer (1965)
Johnny Reno (1966)
Apache Uprising (1966)
Welcome to Hard Times (1967)
Dr. Terror’s Gallery of Horrors (1967)
Hillbillys in a Haunted House(1967)
The Far Out West (1967)
Spider Baby (1968)
Cannibal (1968)
Buckskin (1968)
The Fireball Jungle (1969)
The Female Bunch (1969)
A Stranger in Town (1969)
Dracula vs. Frankenstein (1971)

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