Charles Laughton Biography

Published On May 17, 2018
Facts of Charles Laughton
Date of Birth: 1899 , July-1
Date of Death: 1962 , December-15
Birth Nation: United Kingdom
Height: 5 Feet 8 Inch
Name Charles Laughton
Birth Name Charles Laughton
Nick Name Charles
Father Robert Laughton
Mother Eliza Laughton
Nationality British and American
Birth Place/City Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Religion Catholic
Ethnicity White
Profession Actor, Screenwriter, Producer, Director
Net Worth estimated $19 million
Famous for The Night of Hunter, The Private Life on Henry VIII
Married Yes
Married to Elsa Lanchester (M. 1927)
Education Graduated from RADA in drama
Awards Academy Award nomination
Movies The Man from Down Under (1943), This Land is Mine (1943)
TV Show Daydreams, Blue Bottles, The Tonic
Died 15 December 1962
View moreless Facts of Charles Laughton

Charles Laughton was an English film actor, director, screenwriter, and producer. Laughton professionally appeared on stage in 1926, at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. Laughton’s biggest hits include The Barretts of Wimpole Street, Mutiny on the Bounty, Jamaica Inn, The Big Clock and Ruggles of Red Gap. Charles died in Hollywood, California, on 15 December 1962.

Charles was born in Scarborough, North Riding of Yorkshire, to Robert Laughton and Eliza. He was sent to attend a local boy, Scarborough College. He was then sent to Stonyhurst College.

He also served in World War I with the 2/1st Battalion of the Huntingdonshire Cyclist Battalion and with the 7th Battalion of the Northamptonshire Regiment. Later, he worked at his family hotel. In 1925, Charles joined the RADA as a drama student.

Laughton made his professional appearance at the Barnes Theatre on 28th April 1926. He then played the title role of Samuel Pickwick in Mr. Pickwick, in London at the Theatre Royal. Charles also appeared in Comedie-Francaise in the second act of Moliere on 9 May 1936. Along with his Elsa Lanchester, whom he later married, he starred in a few short silent comedies like Daydreams, Blue Bottles, The Tonic, etc. Charles made his early British Talkies: Wolves and Dorothy Gish from a play set in a whaling camp. He then played a role of a Drug-smuggling ship’s captain in Down River.

Eventually, Charles made into the Hollywood film industry. His first Hollywood film was The Old Dark Horse, where he was seen alongside Boris Karloff. He then starred in Devil and the Deep along-side Tallulah Bankhead, Gary Cooper and Cary Grant. Likewise, he also starred in The Private Life of Henry VIII, for which he won an Academy Award.

He eventually gave up stage shows to dedicate entirely to films. In the following year, he appeared in movies White Woman (1933) co-starring Carole Lombard. Charles memorable screen appearances include Mutiny on the Bounty, Ruggles of Red Gap. In 1936, he played the title role in Rembrandt.

Moving away from Historical Parts, he later played in They Knew What They Wanted as an Italian vineyard owner. He also starred in Forever and a Day (1943), The Man from Down Under (1943), This Land is Mine (1943), The Suspect (1944). He played in two comedies, It started with Eve (1941) with Deanna Durbin and Because of Him (1946).

Laughton’s first color film was The Man on the Eiffel Tower as Inspector Maigret, in 1949. Later in 1954, he starred in Choice, which was directed by David Lean. He then played in Witness for the Prosecution for which he received an Academy Award and a Golden Globe nominations. Laughton’s Advise & Consent (1962) was the last film of his career. For the role, he received positive feedbacks and appreciations.

Apart from acting, Laughton was also involved in film direction. His directorial debut was The Night of the Hunter in 1955, which was produced by his friend Paul Gregory

Likewise, his other directorial venture The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial became a huge success and established him as a successful director. He then directed John Brown’s Body, a staged reading of Stephan Vincent Benet.

Talking about Charles personal life, he was a married man. He started dating Elsa Lanchester in 1927, at the time of a stage play. He was married to Elsa Lanchester. The duo initially met in 1927 during a stage play and eventually started dating. They got married in 1929 and were together until Laughton’s death.

They have appeared in several movies together, which includes Rembrandt (1936), Tales of Manhattan (1942), The Big Clock (1948), The Private life of Henry VIII. For their performances in Witness for the Prosecution, they received Academy Award nomination.

Although Laughton and Lanchester were married for a long time they didn’t have any children. Laughton’s bisexuality was also later claimed by some as the reason they did not have any children. Likewise, Lanchester abortion she suffered in her early career was also quoted to be the reason behind her unwillingness to have any children. 

Laughton died at the age of 63 on 15 December 1962, in Hollywood, Los Angeles due to renal cancer. He was laid to peace at Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills).

Laughton stands 5 feet 8 inches. He had dual nationality, British and American and belonged to white ethnicity. Likewise, Charles net worth is an estimated $19 million. His salary is not revealed; however, the star of The Night of the Hunter did earn enough.

He owned a spectacular estate above Pacific Coast Highway. However, in 1944 the property suffered landslide.

Charles Laughton facts on timeline

born in United Kingdom

July 1 , 1899

Charles was born in Scarborough, North Riding of Yorkshire to Robert Laughton and Eliza. He was raised by his mother who was a devoted Catholic. 

graduated from RADA


He was sent to attend a local boy, Scarborough College. Later, he attended Stonyhurst College. In 1925, Charles joined the RADA as a drama student.

Made his professional appearance at Barnes Theatre

April 28 , 1926

Laughton made his professional appearance at the Barnes Theatre on 28th April 1926. Charles starred in The Private Life of Henry VIII for which he won an Academy Award.  He starred in White Woman (1933). Laughton’s final film was Advise & Consent (1962). 

Appeared in White Woman


After returning from stage shows to films he starred in White Woman (1933). Laughton’s first color film was The Man on the Eiffel Tower as Inspector Maigret in 1949. He also starred in Forever and a Day (1943), The Man from Down Under (1943), This Land is Mine (1943), The Suspect (1944). 

Won Academy Award


He won an Academy Award for The Private life of Henry VIII. He received an Academy Award and a Golden Globe nominations for Witness for the Prosecution. In 1982, the Story Teller won a Grammy for Best Spoken Word Recording.

Married Elsa Lanchester


Charles and Elsa started dating in 1927 and got married in 1929. The two were together till Laughton's death. Throughout their life the didn't have any children. 

Died due to cancer

December 15 , 1962

Charles Laughton died at the age of 69 due to renal cancer on 15 December 1962. He is buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills).