I don't drink water; fish fuck in it. -- W.C. Fields
n Claude William Dukenfield claimed he ran away from home at age 11. His sister said he moved out when he was 19. In any event, he became one of the world's best juggler
s and toured the globe. By the time talking pictures
became popular he was one of the highest paid stars on Broadway
. John Cleese
, of Monty Python's Flying Circus
, has called him, "the greatest of all comics." We know Caude William as the actor W.C. Fields
Whether it was burlesque, vaudeville, Ziegfield's Follies, or My Little Chickadee -- Fields carried an unmistakeable presence. He could be the bold and brash con-man or the morose American everyman, but he was always W.C. Fields -- with his biting, sarcastic wit and the inevitable bottle of liquor.
Until 1916 Fields never spoke during his act - it was all juggling and pantomime. He also became a very good billiards player and incorporated trick shots he had mastered into his stage act and movies. As America entered the Great Depression, Fields was perhaps the highest paid star on Broadway - earning $5000 a week.
In 1899 Fields hired Harriet Hughes as an assistant in his stage act, then married her a year later. They had one son, but parted ways shortly after he was born (1902). Harriet refused to raise her son on the road, so she ended up raising him alone -- though Fields regularly sent her money. The couple never divorced.
Some Familiar Quotations:
Hell, I never vote for anybody. I always vote against.
I am free of all prejudice. I hate everyone equally.
If at first you don't succeed, try, try and try again. Then give up. There's no use being a damned fool about it.
Madam, there's no such thing as a tough child -- if you parboil them first for seven hours, they always come out tender.
I certainly do not drink all the time. I have to sleep you know.
Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.
On the whole, I'd rather be in Philadelphia.
** denotes films Fields also wrote
Song of the Open Road (1944)
Sensations of 1945 (1944)
Follow the Boys (1944)
Show Business at War (1943)
Tales of Manhattan (1942)
**Never Give a Sucker an Even Break (1941)
**The Bank Dick (1940)
**My Little Chickadee (1940)
**You Can't Cheat an Honest Man (1939)
The Big Broadcast of 1938 (1938)
**Man on the Flying Trapeze (1935)
David Copperfield (1935)
**It's a Gift (1934)
**The Old-Fashioned Way (1934)
Six of a Kind (1934)
You're Telling Me! (1934)
Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch (1934)
Alice in Wonderland (1933)
Tillie and Gus (1933)
**The Barber Shop (1933)
Hip Action (1933)
International House (1933)
The Pharmacist (1933)
**The Fatal Glass of Beer (1933)
**The Dentist (1932)
If I Had a Million (1932)
Million Dollar Legs (1932)
Her Majesty, Love (1931)
A Flask of Fields (1930)
**The Golf Specialist (1930)
Fools for Luck (1928)
Tillie's Punctured Romance (1928)
Two Flaming Youths (1927)
Running Wild (1927)
The Potters (1927)
So's Your Old Man (1926)
**It's the Old Army Game (1926)
That Royle Girl (1925)
Sally of the Sawdust (1925)
Janice Meredith (1924)
**Pool Sharks (1915)
His Lordship's Dilemma (1915)