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A Legacy Of His Own (Happy Birthday Lon Chaney Jr.)

 Born on February 10th 1906, Creighton Tull Chaney was the son of screen legend Lon Chaney Sr. and Frances Cleveland Creighton Chaney. Having lived in various homes as the result of his parents troubled marriage, he eventually rejoined his father when his life became stable. Chaney Jr. maintained that his childhood was tough. Understandable, with this early struggle with family and the early choices to avoid the shadow of his larger than life father. 

After his fathers death in 1930 he began to act, first under is born name, then under his stage name. His early work included small roles and even stunt work. He had steady acting jobs under 20th Century Fox in various roles, including Lennie in the United Artists 1939 John Steinbeck adaptation "Of Mice And Men."

It wasn't until he was given the role of Larry Talbot in the Universal Studios Monster blockbuster "The Wolf Man" that he became the star that we all remember today. Unfortunately this resulted in his typecasting as a 'horror' actor.

He would appear in many Universal Monster classics like "The Mummy's Tomb," "Son Of Dracula," and reprising his role as The Wolf Man in "Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man" and the Abbott and Costello horror comedy "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein." 

In his later years he suffered from chronic heart disease and throat cancer as a result of heavy drinking and smoking. He died at age 67 on July 12th, 1973.

Despite his rough upbringing and sad end, his piece of Hollywood immortality is assured. He will always be remembered by us horror fans as one of the giants of the Universal Monsters era. And that is enough to carve a mighty legacy of his own. Happy Birthday Lon Chaney Jr.


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