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December 4, 1921

04 Dec

The manslaughter trial for actor and director Fatty Arbuckle ends in a hung jury.
Born Roscoe Arbuckle in 1887 in Kansas, Arbuckle worked as a plumber’s assistant before launching his performing career. After appearing on the vaudeville circuit, Arbuckle–nicknamed “Fatty” for his generous physique–began appearing in short comedies. He signed with production company Keystone in 1913 and appeared regularly as a Keystone Kop-the bumbling, slapstick police force that appeared in many Keystone movies between 1914 and the early 1920s. Arbuckle made various other silent comedies with prominent co-stars, including Charlie Chaplin. In 1916, he began writing and directing his own movies, and in 1917 he discovered comedian Buster Keaton, who became one of the most sought after film comedians of the 1920s and ’30s.
In 1921, Arbuckle was accused of manslaughter after the death of starlet Virginia Rappe. Rappe died of a ruptured bladder several days after an alleged sexual assault by the 350-pound Arbuckle at a wild drinking party in San Francisco. After two hung juries, Arbuckle was acquitted in 1922, but his films were banned and his career seemed finished. However, in 1925 he began directing under the pseudonym William Goodrich, and worked with such stars as Marion Davies and Eddie Cantor. An attempt to rehabilitate his acting career in 1932 with a live European tour failed. He died the following year at the age of 46.

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Posted by on December 4, 2006 in Actors, Hollywood Trivia

 

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