Charles Laughton

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

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 © 2013, 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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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.