|Born||in Darby, Pennsylvania, USA|
|Died||in Pasadena, California, USA (stomach hemorrhage)|
|Birth Name||William Claude Dukenfield|
|Height||5' 7" (1.7 m)|
Mini Bio (2)
William Claude Dukenfield was the eldest of five children born to Cockney immigrant James Dukenfield and Philadelphia native Kate Felton. He went to school for four years, then quit to work with his father selling vegetables from a horse cart. At eleven, after many fights with his alcoholic father (who hit him on the head with a shovel), he ran away from home. For a while he lived in a hole in the ground, depending on stolen food and clothing. He was often beaten and spent nights in jail. His first regular job was delivering ice. By age thirteen he was a skilled pool player and juggler. It was then, at an amusement park in Norristown PA, that he was first hired as an entertainer. There he developed the technique of pretending to lose the things he was juggling. In 1893 he was employed as a juggler at Fortescue's Pier, Atlantic City. When business was slow he pretended to drown in the ocean (management thought his fake rescue would draw customers). By nineteen he was billed as "The Distinguished Comedian" and began opening bank accounts in every city he played. At age twenty-three he opened at the Palace in London and played with Sarah Bernhardt at Buckingham Palace. He starred at the Folies-Bergere (young Charles Chaplin and Maurice Chevalier were on the program).
He was in each of the Ziegfeld Follies from 1915 through 1921. He played for a year in the highly praised musical "Poppy" which opened in New York in 1923. In 1925 D.W. Griffith made a movie of the play, renamed Sally of the Sawdust (1925), starring Fields. Pool Sharks (1915), Fields' first movie, was made when he was thirty-five. He settled into a mansion near Burbank, California and made most of his thirty-seven movies for Paramount. He appeared in mostly spontaneous dialogs on Charlie McCarthy's radio shows. In 1939 he switched to Universal where he made films written mainly by and for himself. He died after several serious illnesses, including bouts of pneumonia.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
W.C. ran away from school and home at 11 and spent 4 years selling newspapers and doing odd jobs then in an Atlantic City beer garden he got a semi theatrical job at £1 a week which was soon increased to £2 plus board and slept on 2 cafe tables pushed together. He then moved into cheap variety jobs often doing 12 performances a day. Finally he made it onto variety circuit as a silent juggler then added pantomime into his routine. Before long he was making Summer trips for bookings abroad in England, France, Germany, Scandanavian countries, and further afield to Africa, Australia and South America.
He introduced a few novelties into his act one of which was a crazy golf game which was seen by Ziegfeld who added him to his books for 9 years. Eventually he was cast in the theatre production of 'Poppy', the story of carnival life, which became his first stage triumph and led to such as 'George White's Scandals' and other productions and his first film 'Sally of the Sawdust' directed by D W Griffith in 1925. He was a sensation in the silent films but when sound came he was out as casting agents didn't like his voice. It was only when Paramount was casting 'Million Dollar Legs' and wanted all the comedians they could get that he got a part which led him to become a star overnight
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tonyman 5
|Spouse||Harriet Hughes (8 August 1900 - 25 December 1946) (his death) (1 child)|
James Lydon Dukenfield
Trade Mark (1)
Personal Quotes (49)
|The Dentist (1932)||$5,000 /week|
|The Big Broadcast of 1938 (1938)||$20,000|
|You Can't Cheat an Honest Man (1939)||$125,000|
|My Little Chickadee (1940)||$125,000|
|The Bank Dick (1940)||$125,000|
|Never Give a Sucker an Even Break (1941)||$125,000|
|Follow the Boys (1944)||$15,000|