Charles Laughton

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
Charles Laughton
BirthplaceScarborough, North Riding of Yorkshire, England, UK
Actor, screenwriter, producer, director

Laughton, Charles

Laughton, Charles, 1899–1962, Anglo-American actor, b. Scarborough, England. A large, versatile character actor, Laughton was successful both in films and on the stage. In The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933), his lusty portrait of the king, for which he won the Academy Award, was startlingly direct. Other notable roles include Ruggles of Red Gap (1935), Mutiny on the Bounty (1935), Witness for the Prosecution (1957), and Advise and Consent (1962). He directed one film, The Night of the Hunter (1955), a forceful allegory of good and evil. In 1951 he directed and starred in a dramatic reading of Shaw's Don Juan in Hell.


See biography by his wife, Elsa Lanchester (1938); S. Callow, Charles Laughton: A Difficult Actor (1987, repr. 1997).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Laughton, Charles


Born July 1, 1899, in Scarborough; died Dec. 15, 1962, in Hollywood. English stage and film actor.

Laughton graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London in 1926 and made his debut at the Barnes Theater. He began to act in British and American motion pictures in 1928. A realistic actor, Laughton played in both tragedies and comedies, creating strikingly unique types and inimitably pro-found and vital film characterizations—for example, Henry VIII (The Private Life of Henry VIII, 1933), Javert (Les Miserable* 1935), Captain Bligh (Mutiny on the Bounty), Rembrandt (Rembrandt, 1935), Quasimodo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame, 1939), and Sir Wilfrid (Witness for the Prosecution, 1962). He acted in London, New York, and Los Angeles in the plays of Shakespeare, Gogol, and Chekhov. Laughton directed and starred in Brecht’s The Life of Galileo (1947) and translated several plays.


lakovlev, A. “Charlz Louton.” In Aktery zarubezhnogo kino, issue 1. Moscow, 1965.
Singer, K. The Charles Laughton Story. London, 1954.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Laughton, Charles

(1899–1962) stage and film actor; born in Scarborough, England. After working in his family's hotel business, he turned to the English stage (1926). He came to the U.S.A. (1932) to appear in Hollywood movies, and remained to star in many stage and film roles. At home in Shakespeare and modern horror pictures, he also directed and starred in such legendary productions as Shaw's Don Juan in Hell and Brecht's Galileo.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
That changed quickly in the same year, 1938, when she was cast in Alfred Hitchcock's Jamaica Inn opposite Charles Laughton. By that time she had mastered the elevated British stage diction that she employed, with variations for the rest of her career.
MARTIN Scorsese will appreciate the timeless, sinister malevolence at the heart of this restored, all-American horror movie directed in 1955 by the brilliant British actor Charles Laughton.
THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (12) MARTIN Scorsese will appreciate the timeless, sinister malevolence at the heart of this restored, all-American horror movie directed in 1955 by the brilliant British actor Charles Laughton.
It made me lurch round the floor like Charles Laughton in the Hunchback of Notre Dame.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (BBC1, 1.30am) LATER remade as a Disney animation in 1996, this is the Charles Laughton version from 1939 and showing at such a late time that no children will see it.
Stanley Kubrick's Oscar-winning epic, starring Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis, with Jean Simmons, Laurence Olivier, Charles Laughton, Peter Ustinov, Woody Strode, John Gavin and Herbert Lom providing support.
Stanley Kubrick's Oscar-winning epic, with Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons, Charles Laughton and Peter Ustinov.
Regular guests included Thomas Mann, Bertolt Brecht, Arnold Schoenberg, Theodor Adorno, Ludwig Marcuse, Aldous Huxley, Alma Mahler-Werfel, Charlie Chaplin, Charles Laughton, Billy Wilder, and, more recently, Edward Said, Wim Wenders, and Volker Schlondorff.
There he met, interviewed, and dined with many of the top stars of the day, including Spencer Tracy, Lana Turner, and Charles Laughton.
Not only do they showcase Deanna's wonderful singing and charm, they also give viewers the chance to enjoy the long-unseen work of such co-stars as Oscar* winners Charles Laughton, Melvyn Douglas and others."
Hyde with Fredric March, The Hunchback of Notre Dame with Charles Laughton, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein with Bela Lugosi, Glenn Strange, and Lon Chaney Jr., Man of a Thousand Faces with James Cagney, Raging Bull with Robert DeNiro, and Blade Runner with Harrison Ford.
McBean was there on stage photographing Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Charles Laughton, Emlyn Williams (whose shylock still stands as a monument to any interpretation of the part before or since) Richard Burton, John Gielgud, Michael Redgrave, Dorothy Tutin and many more.