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W. C. Fields is a Actor, Director and Scriptwriter American born on 29 january 1880 at Philadelphia (USA)

W. C. Fields

W. C. Fields
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Birth name William Claude Dukenfield
Nationality USA
Birth 29 january 1880 at Philadelphia (USA)
Death 25 december 1946 (at 66 years) at Pasadena (USA)

William Claude Dukenfield (January 29, 1880 – December 25, 1946), better known as W. C. Fields, was an American comedian, actor, juggler and writer. Fields' comic persona was a misanthropic and hard-drinking egotist, who remained a sympathetic character despite his snarling contempt for dogs and children.

His career in show business began in vaudeville, where he attained international success as a silent juggler. He gradually incorporated comedy into his act, and was a featured comedian in the Ziegfeld Follies for several years. He became a star in the Broadway musical comedy Poppy (1923), in which he played a colorful small-time con man. His subsequent stage and film roles were often similar scoundrels, or else henpecked everyman characters.

Among his recognizable trademarks were his raspy drawl and grandiloquent vocabulary. The characterization he portrayed in films and on radio was so strong it was generally identified with Fields himself. It was maintained by the publicity departments at Fields' studios (Paramount and Universal) and was further established by Robert Lewis Taylor's biography, W.C. Fields, His Follies and Fortunes (1949). Beginning in 1973, with the publication of Fields' letters, photos, and personal notes in grandson Ronald Fields' book W.C. Fields by Himself, it was shown that Fields was married (and subsequently estranged from his wife), and financially supported their son and loved his grandchildren.


Fields married a fellow vaudevillian, chorus girl Harriet "Hattie" Hughes (1879-1963), on April 8, 1900. She became part of Fields' stage act, appearing as his assistant, whom he would entertainingly blame whenever he missed a trick. Hattie was well educated and tutored Fields in reading and writing during their travels. Fields became an enthusiastic reader and habitually traveled with a trunkful of books that included grammar books, translations of Homer and Ovid, and works by authors ranging from Shakespeare to Dickens to Twain.

The couple had a son, William Claude Fields, Jr. (July 28, 1904 - Feb. 16, 1971) and although Fields was an avowed atheist—who, according to James Curtis, "regarded all religions with the suspicion of a seasoned con man"—he yielded to Hattie's wish to have their son baptized.

By 1907 he and Hattie separated; she had been pressing him to stop touring and settle into a respectable trade, but he was unwilling to give up show business. They never divorced. Until his death, Fields continued to correspond with Hattie and voluntarily sent her a weekly stipend.

While performing in New York City at the New Amsterdam Theater in 1916, Fields met Bessie Poole, an established Ziegfeld Follies performer whose beauty and quick wit attracted him, and they began a relationship. With her he had another son, named William Rexford Fields Morris (August 15, 1917 – November 30, 2014). Neither Fields nor Poole wanted to abandon touring to raise the child, who was placed in foster care with a childless couple of Bessie's acquaintance. Fields' relationship with Poole lasted until 1926. In 1927, he made a negotiated payment to her of $20,000 upon her signing an affidavit declaring that "W. C. Fields is NOT the father of my child". Poole died of complications of alcoholism in October 1928, and Fields contributed to her son's support until he was 19 years of age.

Fields met Carlotta Monti (1907–1993) in 1933, and the two began a sporadic relationship that lasted until his death in 1946. Monti had small roles in two of Fields' films, and in 1971 wrote a biography, W.C. Fields and Me, which was made into a motion picture at Universal Studios in 1976. Fields was listed in the 1940 census as single and living at 2015 DeMille Drive (Cecil B. DeMille lived at 2000, the only other address on the street).

Alcohol, dogs, and children
Fields' screen character often expressed a fondness for alcohol, a prominent component of the Fields legend. Fields never drank in his early career as a juggler, because he did not want to impair his functions while performing. Eventually, the loneliness of constant travel prompted him to keep liquor in his dressing room as an inducement for fellow performers to socialize with him on the road. Only after he became a Follies star and abandoned juggling did Fields begin drinking regularly. His role in Paramount Pictures' International House (1933), as an aviator with an unquenchable taste for beer, did much to establish Fields' popular reputation as a prodigious drinker. Studio publicists promoted this image, as did Fields himself in press interviews.

Fields expressed his fondness for alcohol to Gloria Jean (playing his niece) in Never Give a Sucker an Even Break: "I was in love with a beautiful blonde once, dear. She drove me to drink. That's the one thing I am indebted to her for." Equally memorable was a line in the 1940 film My Little Chickadee: "Once, on a trek through Afghanistan, we lost our corkscrew...and were forced to live on food and water for several days!" The oft-repeated anecdote that Fields refused to drink water "because fish fuck in it" is unsubstantiated.

On movie sets Fields famously shot most of his scenes in varying states of inebriation. During the filming of Tales of Manhattan (1942), he kept a vacuum flask with him at all times and frequently availed himself of its contents. Phil Silvers, who had a minor supporting role in the scene featuring Fields, described in his memoir what happened next:

One day the producers appeared on the set to plead with Fields: "Please don't drink while we're shooting — we're way behind schedule" ... Fields merely raised an eyebrow. "Gentlemen, this is only lemonade. For a little acid condition afflicting me." He leaned on me. "Would you be kind enough to taste this, sir?" I took a careful sip — pure gin. I have always been a friend of the drinking man; I respect him for his courage to withdraw from the world of the thinking man. I answered the producers a little scornfully, "It's lemonade." My reward? The scene was snipped out of the picture.

In a testimonial dinner for Fields in 1939, the humorist Leo Rosten remarked of the comedian that "any man who hates dogs and babies can't be all bad". The line—which Bartlett's Familiar Quotations later erroneously attributed to Fields himself—became famous, and reinforced the popular perception that Fields hated children and dogs. In reality, Fields was somewhat indifferent to dogs, but occasionally owned one. He was fond of entertaining the children of friends who visited him, and doted on his first grandchild, Bill Fields III, born in 1943. He sent encouraging replies to all of the letters he received from boys who, inspired by his performance in The Old Fashioned Way, expressed an interest in juggling.

Usually with

Tammany Young
Tammany Young
(6 films)
Mack Sennett
Mack Sennett
(5 films)
John W. Boyle
John W. Boyle
(3 films)
Source : Wikidata

Filmography of W. C. Fields (45 films)

Display filmography as list


Follow the Boys, 2h2
Directed by John Rawlins, A. Edward Sutherland
Origin USA
Genres Drama, War, Comedy, Comedy-drama, Musical theatre, Romantic comedy, Musical
Themes Films about music and musicians, Musical films
Actors George Raft, Vera Zorina, Jeanette MacDonald, Charley Grapewin, Charles Butterworth, Elizabeth Patterson
Roles W. C. Fields
Rating58% 2.903532.903532.903532.903532.90353
Durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale, le studio Universal Pictures, comme les autres studios Hollywoodiens, a soutenu l'effort de guerre et le moral des troupes et des civils en réunissant toutes ses stars devant la caméra pour une comédie musicale.
Tales of Manhattan, 2h7
Directed by Julien Duvivier
Origin USA
Genres Drama, Comedy, Comedy-drama, Romance
Themes Children's films
Actors Charles Boyer, Rita Hayworth, Ginger Rogers, Henry Fonda, Charles Laughton, Edward G. Robinson
Roles Professor Pufflewhistle
Rating72% 3.6425453.6425453.6425453.6425453.642545
Based on the Mexican writer Francisco Rojas González's novel, Historia de un frac ("Story of a Tailcoat"), the stories follow a black formal tailcoat as it goes from owner to owner, in five otherwise unconnected stories.
Never Give a Sucker an Even Break, 1h17
Directed by Edward F. Cline
Origin USA
Genres Comedy, Musical theatre, Musical
Themes Films about music and musicians, Musical films
Actors W. C. Fields, Gloria Jean, Leon Errol, Anne Nagel, Margaret Dumont, Franklin Pangborn
Roles The Great Man
Rating70% 3.545923.545923.545923.545923.54592
Introduction : Après une première scène où nous voyons W. C. Fields déambuler sous un panneau publicitaire vantant son dernier film puis dans un pub, nous assistons à une séance de répétition très tourmentée au sein des studios "Ésotériques" impliquant Gloria Jean, la nièce de W. C. Fields et Franklin Pangborn le producteur. Ensuite, W. C. Fields vient présenter à Franklin Pangborn le scénario de son prochain film. Nous avons alors, à la lecture du scénario, un film dans le film puisque celui-ci est interprété au fur et à mesure que le producteur le découvre.
The Bank Dick, 1h12
Directed by Edward F. Cline
Origin USA
Genres Comedy
Actors W. C. Fields, Una Merkel, Cora Witherspoon, Jessie Ralph, Grady Sutton, Franklin Pangborn
Roles Egbert Sousé
Rating70% 3.5459253.5459253.5459253.5459253.545925
Egbert Sousé est pris par inadvertance pour celui qui a permis l'arrestation d'un braqueur de banque. Plutôt que de démentir, il se vante de son coup d'éclat imaginaire. En remerciement, le directeur de la banque lui offre un poste de gardien.
My Little Chickadee, 1h23
Directed by Edward F. Cline, Ray Taylor
Origin USA
Genres Comedy, Western
Actors Mae West, W. C. Fields, Joseph Calleia, Dick Foran, Margaret Hamilton, Fuzzy Knight
Roles Cuthbert J. Twillie
Rating67% 3.3986853.3986853.3986853.3986853.398685
The story is set in the American Old West of the 1880s. Miss Flower Belle Lee (Mae West) is a singer from Chicago who is on her way to visit relatives out west. While she is traveling on a stagecoach with three men and a woman named Mrs. Gideon (Margaret Hamilton), the town gossip and busybody, a masked bandit on horseback holds up the stage for its shipment of gold and orders the passengers to step out.
You Can't Cheat an Honest Man, 1h19
Directed by Edward F. Cline, George Marshall
Origin USA
Genres Comedy
Themes Circus films
Actors W. C. Fields, Edgar Bergen, Constance Moore, Mary Forbes, Thurston Hall, John Arledge
Roles Larson E. Whipsnade
Rating69% 3.496633.496633.496633.496633.49663
Whipsnade is struggling to keep a step ahead of foreclosure, and clearly not paying his performers, including Bergen and McCarthy, who try to coax money out of him, or in McCarthy's case, steal some outright. Whipsnade's co-ed daughter pays a visit and falls in love with Bergen, but after she sees the financial mess that her father is in, she decides to marry a tiresome young millionaire. Whipsnade initially approves of the marriage, and just to be sure that the penniless Bergen doesn't win out (and make McCarthy an in-law), he sets the pair adrift in a hot-air balloon. However, Whipsnade creates a scene at the engagement party, and father and daughter escape together in a chariot, with Bergen and McCarthy in pursuit.
The Big Broadcast of 1938, 1h34
Directed by Mitchell Leisen
Origin USA
Genres Comedy, Musical theatre, Musical, Romance
Themes Films about music and musicians, Musical films
Actors W. C. Fields, Martha Raye, Dorothy Lamour, Shirley Ross, Lynne Overman, Ben Blue
Roles T. Frothingill Bellows / S.B. Bellows
Rating62% 3.149143.149143.149143.149143.14914
In what is being billed as "The Race of the Ages," the new forty-million-dollar “radio powered” ocean liner S.S. Gigantic (“America’s Challenge for Crossing Record”) is about to race its rival, the slightly smaller S.S. Colossal across the Atlantic from New York’s Pier 97 to Cherbourg in two-and-a-half days. Gigantic owner T. Frothingill “T.F.” Bellows (W.C. Fields) intends to send his nearly identical younger brother S.B. (also Fields) to sail aboard the Colossal, hoping he will cause trouble and sabotage the rival ship, enabling the Gigantic and his own Bellows Line to win.
Poppy (1936)
, 1h13
Directed by A. Edward Sutherland
Origin USA
Genres Comedy
Themes Circus films, Théâtre, Films based on plays, Films based on musicals
Actors W. C. Fields, Rochelle Hudson, Richard Cromwell, Catherine Doucet, Lynne Overman, Wade Boteler
Roles Eustace McGargle
Rating66% 3.34553.34553.34553.34553.3455
Eustace McGargle (Fields), a con artist, snake oil salesman and exponent of the shell game, tries to escape the sheriff while taking care of his beloved adopted daughter, Poppy (Hudson), who after pretending to be an heiress to win an inheritance, turns out to really be an heiress.
David Copperfield, 2h10
Directed by George Cukor, Leontine Sagan, John Waters
Origin USA
Genres Drama, Comedy-drama, Adventure, Romance
Actors W. C. Fields, Lionel Barrymore, Freddie Bartholomew, Frank Lawton, Maureen O'Sullivan, Basil Rathbone
Roles Wilkins Micawber
Rating73% 3.6943953.6943953.6943953.6943953.694395
Début du XIX siècle, en Angleterre. David Copperfield vient de perdre sa mère. M. Murdstone, son beau-père, l'envoie chez les Micawber, à Londres. Puis il part chez tante Betsey, une dame un peu loufoque. Le jeune David devient écrivain et se marie.