Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Celebrity Grave: "Henry VIII" Actor Charles Laughton

Charles Laughton (July 1, 1899 – December 15, 1962) was an English-American stage and film actor, screenwriter, producer and one-time director.

Private life

Following Laughton's death in 1962, Laughton's wife Elsa Lanchester wrote a book alleging that they never had children because Laughton was actually homosexual. Actress Maureen O'Hara, a friend and co-star of Laughton, claimed that Laughton had told her that his biggest regret was never having children of his own. Laughton also told O'Hara that the reason that he and his wife never had children was due to a botched abortion which Lanchester had early in her career while performing burlesque.

Lanchester mentioned in her autobiography, Elsa Lanchester Herself, having two abortions in her youth (one of them, a child from Charles), though she didn't mention whether this left her incapable or not of becoming pregnant again. According to biographer Charles Higham, the reason she didn't have children was that she didn't feel fond of them.

Lanchester appeared opposite Laughton in several films, including Rembrandt (1936) and The Big Clock (1948). She wittily portrayed Anne of Cleves, Henry VIII's fourth wife, as a dumb-as-a-fox gamine opposite Laughton in The Private Life of Henry VIII. They both received Academy Award nominations for their performances in Witness for the Prosecution (1957) – Laughton for Best Actor, and Lanchester for Best Supporting Actress – but neither won.

In 1950, the couple became American citizens. The cremated remains of Charles Laughton are interred in the Court of Remembrance courtyard, at Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.




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