William Claude Dukenfield, who was better known by his stage name W. C. Fields, was a juggler and comedian who was often called one of the most famous people in early American movies. He was born into a poor family and ran away when he was only 11 years old. He started out as a juggler and was known to work for hours to get better at it. By the time he was 15, he was juggling at church and theater shows to make money for himself. He called himself “The Eccentric Juggler,” and he came up with a juggling act that included funny stories and anecdotes. He used to juggle cigar boxes, hats, and other odd things, which made him look interesting. He went on tours all over the world, and by the early 1900s, he was known as the best juggler in the world. He moved up in his career by performing in Broadway shows before moving on to movies. Even though he didn’t like women, children, or dogs, his stage persona was that of a hard-drinking misanthrope who could make people feel sorry for him. By the 1930s, he was a big movie star. But he became an alcoholic, which hurt both his personal and professional life. The once-great comedian died because of complications caused by his drinking.
Early years and childhood
He was born as James Lydon Dukenfield’s oldest son. His dad used to be in the army and was hurt while he was there. Later, he was a self-employed fruit and vegetable dealer and kept a hotel on the side.
He started working when he was young to help support his poor family. He worked at a department store and in an oyster restaurant.
When he was 11, he ran away from home. He taught himself how to juggle and worked at it for hours until his fingers hurt. When he was 15, he started juggling acts at church and theater shows.
W. C. Fields’s Career
He started out as a juggler in vaudeville, where he combined juggling with comedy to make a unique act. He used things like cigar boxes and hats to juggle, which made him even more interesting.
He soon became known as “The Eccentric Juggler” and went on tours all over North America and Europe. By the early 1900s, people were calling him the best juggler in the world.
In 1906, a musical comedy called “The Ham Tree” was his first show on Broadway.
From 1915 on, he wore a top hat, cutaway coat and collar, and a cane on stage. This outfit seemed to be based on the look of the cartoon character Ally Sloper.
From 1916 to 1922, he was the star of Florenz Ziegfeld’s Broadway shows called “Ziegfeld Follies.” He made people laugh with a billiards skit that included funny-shaped cues and tricks.
In the 1923 Broadway musical comedy “Poppy,” he played Eustache McGargle, a small-time con man with a colorful personality.
In the 1920s, he was in a number of movies, such as “Sally of the Sawdust” (1925), “It’s the Old Army Game” (1926), “Running Wild” (1927), and “The Golf Specialist” (1928). (1930).
In 1932 and 1933, Fields worked with Mack Sennett, who was one of the first people to make comedies, to make four short films that were released by Paramount Pictures.
He also helped write the scripts for movies under names like Charles Bogle, which sound strange and unusual. In a few of his movies, he wrote and spoke all of the lines himself. In his movies, he often played con artists, carnival barkers, and people who were good at cards.
It’s a Gift, which came out in 1934, is thought to be his funniest movie. The movie was about what happened when a grocery store owner tried to deal with his shrewish wife and annoying kids. The results were funny.
In 1936, he played Eustace McGargle in the movie “Poppy,” which was based on a stage show of the same name. In the movie, he played a con man who sold snake oil.
At the end of the 1930s, his drinking started to hurt his career. He also started to gain weight and lost the charm he had when he was younger. Even so, he continued to be in movies.
In the 1941 movie “Never Give a Sucker an Even Break,” he played his last lead role. He also wrote the first story, but he did so under a different name. The movie got mixed reviews when it came out, but now it’s thought of as a classic.
Works of note
W. C. Fields was a much-loved comedian who was known for playing a misanthropic, arrogant, clumsy, hard-drinking egoist who hated both people and animals. He is considered one of the greats of early American cinema.
Personal History and Legacies
In 1900, he got married to Harriet Hughes, who was also a vaudevillian. One of them was a boy. By 1907, they were no longer together because he didn’t want to give up show business and find another job.
He had a relationship with Bessie Poole, and they had a son together. Bessie died in a fight in a bar, and her child was sent to live with a foster family.
He was with Carlotta Monti for a long time, and they were together until he died.
He loved having people over and had a very large library.
He had a long history of drinking too much, and he died in 1946 from a stomach bleed caused by drinking.
Estimated Net worth
W. C. Fields was an American juggler, comedian, actor, and writer who was worth $10 million when he died (after adjusting for inflation). W. C. Fields was born in January 1880 in Darby, Pennsylvania, and he died in December 1946.
He started out in vaudeville, where he became well-known as a silent juggler. He became a stand-up comedian in the Ziegfeld Follies and was the main actor in Poppy on Broadway.
He liked Charles Dickens a lot.