W. C. FIELDS Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: William Claude Dukenfield                                                       
Born: 29 January 1880 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania                                       
Died: 25 December 1946 Pasadena, California                                           
W. C. Fields (January 29, 1880 - December 25, 1946) was an American juggler,           
comedian, and actor. Fields created one of the great American comic personas of       
the first half of the 20th century a misanthrope who teetered on the edge of           
buffoonery but never quite fell in, an egotist blind to his own failings, a           
charming drunk; and a man who hated children, dogs, and women, unless they were       
the wrong sort of women.                                                               
This characterization that he portrayed in films and radio was so strong that it       
was generally identified with Fields himself. It was maintained by the then-typical   
movie-studio publicity departments at Fields's studios (Paramount and Universal)       
and further established by Robert Lewis Taylor's 1949 biography W.C. Fields, His       
Follies and Fortunes. Beginning in 1973, with the publication of Fields's             
letters, photos, and personal notes in grandson Ronald Fields's book W.C. Fields       
by Himself, it has been shown that Fields was married (and subsequently               
estranged from his wife), he financially supported their son, and he loved his         
There was some truth to the misanthropic persona, however. Madge Evans, an             
actress who appeared in several films during the 1930s and who was later married       
to Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Sidney Kingsley ("Dead End," "Detective           
Story"), told a visitor in 1972 that her friend Fields so deeply resented             
intrusions on his privacy by curious tourists walking up the driveway to his Los       
Angeles home that he would conceal himself in the shrubs by his house, firing BB       
pellets at the trespassers' legs. Groucho Marx told a similar story, in his live       
album An Evening with Groucho.