Birthdate: Thursday, March 24th, 1887
Location: Smith Center, Kansas, USA
Died: Thursday, June 29th, 1933
Location: New York City, New York, USA
Cause of death: Heart attack
Best known for: One of the most successful stars of the silent comedy era (he was the first movie star to be paid $1m a year) whose fall from grace has overshadowed his achievements in film ever since. Few people could name one of his films, but more probably know all about the scandal that destroyed his career and rocked Hollywood to its core.
|Roscoe's mugshots, 1921, when he was 34|
|Roscoe Arbuckle at one of his three trials in 1921/22.|
|Roscoe in his final star feature for 11|
years, Leap Year.
Old friend Buster Keaton famously refused to turn his back on Roscoe and tried to get him work by employing him on a number of his projects - he was slated to direct some scenes in Keaton's Sherlock Jr (1924) - but didn't actually carry this out - and made an uncredited cameo in 1925's Go West as "Woman in department store", but it wasn't enough to save Roscoe from the lure of the bottle.
|Roscoe moved behind the|
camera to direct in the 1920s
After the best part of a decade out of the limelight of the camera lens himself, Roscoe attempted a comeback when he signed to Warner Bros. in 1932, agreeing to make six 20-minute comedy shorts. These films provide us with the only recordings of Roscoe's voice, and proved very successful on American shores. However, despite the scandal being 11 years behind him, not all territories were as forgiving: when Warner Bros. tried to exhibit Roscoe's first short, November 1932's Hey, Pop!, in the UK, the British Board of Film Classification declined permission, citing the manslaughter trial as reason.
|Roscoe often weighed over|
300lbs, something that was
written into his contracts.
Roscoe's final three shorts were released posthumously, in the autumn and winter of 1933. The last one, Tomalio, doesn't seem to be available in the public domain, but his penultimate short is - In the Dough - so here's how Fatty appeared in the days leading up to his untimely death...