There are four classic movie monsters: Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy and The Wolfman. Only one person has played all four roles:
Lon Chaney Jr. was born Creighton Chaney on February 10, 1906 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the son of Lon Chaney Sr. and Frances Cleveland Creighton.
As a young boy, he traveled with his parents while they appeared in vaudeville. His father discouraged a career in motion pictures, wanting his son instead to pursue a more stable business.
In his early years, he worked as a butcher, ice man, clothing salesman, newsboy and plumbers helper.
In 1922, at the age of 14, he appeared as an uncredited extra in his father's film The Trap, he was merely the hands of the boy.
He attended business school and became successful working in a Los Angeles appliance corporation.
It was not until after his father's death, that he went to work in films. His first film appearances were under his real name Creighton Chaney. However, in 1935, the studio insisted he change his name to Lon Chaney Jr. as a marketing ploy. He was uncomfortable with the ploy but also was aware that the famous name could help his career.
Lon Chaney's first credited role was the part of Tom Kirby in The Black Ghost (1932).
In 1941, Lon Chaney Jr. starred in the title role of The Wolfman, a role which would typecast him for the rest of his life.
Lon Chaney Jr. appeared in classic horror movies as The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942), The Mummy's Tomb (1942), Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), Son of Dracula (1943), The Mummy's Curse (1944), House of Frankenstein (1944), and The Mummy's Ghost (1944).
Lon Chaney Jr. also appeared in such classic films as The Three Musketeers (1933), Jesse James (1939), Union Pacific (1939), Of Mice and Men (1939), My Favorite Brunette (1947), High Noon (1952), and The Defiant Ones (1958).
Lon Chaney Jr. final film appearance was in 1971 in Dracula vs. Frankenstein.
In addition to his film career, Lon Chaney Jr. also appeared on classic television shows as The Pat Boone Show, The Monkees, Rawhide, Have Gun Will Travel, Wanted Dead or Alive, Route 66, The Rifleman, Lawman, Wagon Train and The Red Skelton Show.
Lon Chaney Jr. died at the age of 67 on July 12, 1973.
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