American actor (1906-1973). Born Creighton Tull Chaney in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, he was the son of silent film star Lon Chaney, Sr. As a young man, he worked menial jobs as a plumber, a metal worker, a butcher's apprentice, and a farm worker and refused to ask his father for financial help. But he dreamed of following in his father's footsteps and even studied makeup at the elder Chaney's side.

Chaney took a few roles in stage plays, but didn't appear in any movies until after his father died in 1930. For a while, he worked under his own name, but in 1935, a producer insisted on changing his name to "Lon Chaney, Jr." as a marketing ploy -- Chaney was never comfortable with the new name, but kept it to further his acting career.

Chaney's big break came in 1939, when he played Lennie in a film adaptation of John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men". His touching portrayal of the simple-minded Lennie helped him land his next big role: Lawrence Talbot, the reluctant werewolf in "The Wolf Man".

The years that followed included lots of low budget horror films, some good, some bad, and a few high-profile parts in big budget movies like "High Noon". Though Chaney had hoped to become as famous as his father, he just wasn't as talented or as versatile as Lon Sr., and he made a bunch of bad career choices. He slipped into alcoholism and died of beriberi and liver failure in 1973. Though he felt he hadn't been able to match his father, more people have seen his movies than ever saw his dad's films.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.