American actor (1883-1930). Born Leonidas Frank Chaney in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Though his parents were both deaf-mutes, he became an actor and the co-owner of a theater company. He made his film debut in 1912 and performed almost exclusively in silent movies (his only sound movie was a remake of one of his earlier films called "The Unholy Three". His best known movies include "The Hunchback of Notre Dame", "The Phantom of the Opera", "Oliver Twist", and "London After Midnight".

Chaney was known as "The Man with a Thousand Faces" because he was so skilled at disguising himself with makeup. Back then, they didn't have latex makeup; when Chaney wanted to make his face look like a skull in "The Phantom of the Opera", he had to use wires--painful wires--to draw his lips and nose back and to hold his eyes open.

Chaney died in 1930 of bronchial cancer. His son, Lon Chaney, Jr., also became a famous horror actor.

Research from the Internet Movie Database (