Begin New Search
Refine Last Search
Cemetery Lookup
Add Burial Records
Help with Find A Grave

Find all Chaneys in:
 • Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale)
 • Glendale
 • Los Angeles County
 • California
 • Find A Grave

Top Contributors
Success Stories
Community Forums
Find A Grave Store

Log In

Changes are coming to Find A Grave. See a preview now.

Lon Chaney
Original name: Leonidas Frank Chaney
Birth: Apr. 1, 1883
Colorado Springs
El Paso County
Colorado, USA
Death: Aug. 26, 1930
Los Angeles County
California, USA

Actor. He moved from the stage to the screen in 1912, gradually getting more important parts, until his work in the 1919 film 'The Miracle Worker' established his reputation as one of the best character actors in Hollywood. Four years later, in 1923, his reputation increased even more with the release of 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame,' in which he played Quasimodo. He was no longer regarded as a mere character actor but a major star in his own right. For many of his films, his appearance was distorted by grotesque makeup, costumes, disguises, and physical modifications. This earned him the nickname "The Man of a Thousand Faces." These were all his own creations, as he applied and thought up his own makeup. Though he was known as a horror actor because of films such as 'The Phantom of the Opera' (1925), 'The Unknown' (1927), and 'London After Midnight' (1927), most of his films were not horror movies. He played relatively straight roles in such films as 'Tell It to the Marines' (1926), 'All the Brothers Were Valiant' (1923), 'While the City Sleeps' (1928), and 'The Ace of Hearts' (1921). Because his parents were deaf-mutes, he was very adept at pantomimic acting and had keen empathy for those who were different. This empathy for societal outcasts and people who didn't conform to society's "norm" seemed to have been the secret of his success at playing so many societal outcasts and evoking audience sympathy for people they otherwise might not have looked very kindly upon. He was also noted for his kindness and generosity to people who were just getting started in the acting business. Chaney was married twice; his first marriage, to Cleva Creighton, produced his only child, Creighton, who later took on the name Lon Chaney, Jr. and became a successful actor in his own right. This marriage ended in divorce, and he soon remarried to Hazel Hastings. His second marriage proved to be much more stable and successful. Chaney was one of the last major stars to make a sound film. In 1930 he starred in a remake of his 1925 hit 'The Unholy Three.' Many posters advertised it with the slogan, "The Man of a Thousand Faces is now the Man of a Thousand Voices!" In this film, he did five voices—those of a parrot, an old woman, a girl, a ventriloquist, and the ventriloquist's dummy. His voice work was such that he had to sign an affidavit affirming that he had done all of the voices himself instead of using voice doubles. This remake of 'The Unholy Three' was to be his last film; a month and a half after it was released, he died of throat cancer at the age of forty-seven. Many people have speculated that his cancer was caused when a piece of artificial snow, made of crushed gypsum, got stuck in his throat during the filming of his 1929 movie 'Thunder,' but since Chaney was a heavy smoker, it seems more likely that this incident just made the outcome come sooner than it otherwise might have. (bio by: Carrie-Anne) 
Family links: 
  Frank H Chaney (1852 - 1927)
  Emma Alice Kennedy Chaney (1855 - 1914)
  Hazel Bennett Hastings Chaney (1887 - 1933)*
  Francis Cleveland Creighton Bush (1889 - 1967)*
  Lon Chaney (1906 - 1973)*
  Lon Chaney (1883 - 1930)
  Carolyn Emma Chaney Keys (1885 - 1960)*
  Earl Chaney (1887 - 1887)*
  George L Chaney (1893 - 1984)*
*Calculated relationship

Cause of death: Cancer
Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale)
Los Angeles County
California, USA
Plot: Great Mausoleum, Sanctuary of Meditation, C-6407 [unmarked]
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Jan 01, 2001
Find A Grave Memorial# 189
Lon Chaney
Added by: A.J.
Lon Chaney
Added by: Anonymous
Lon Chaney
Added by: A.J.
There is 1 more photo not showing...
Click here to view all images...
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

- Flower Girl
 Added: Oct. 16, 2017

- Pamela Howlett
 Added: Oct. 15, 2017

- Janis•E
 Added: Oct. 5, 2017
There are 1,701 more notes not showing...
Click here to view all notes...
How famous was this person?
Current ranking for this person: (4.7 after 528 votes)

Privacy Statement and Terms of Service