photograph by Carl Van Vechten, 1940.
Born July 1, 1899
Scarborough, Yorkshire, England
Died December 15, 1962(aged 63)
Hollywood, California, US
Occupation Actor, screenwriter, producer, director Years active 1926–62 Spouse Elsa Lanchester (1929–62) (his death)
Early life and career
Laughton was born in Scarborough, Yorkshire, England, the son of Robert Laughton, a Yorkshire hotel keeper, and his wife Elizabeth (née Conlon). His mother was a devout Roman Catholic and he attended Stonyhurst College, a Jesuit school, in Lancashire, England. He served during World War I (in which he was gassed) first with the 2/1st Battalion of the Huntingdonshire Cyclist Regiment and later with the 7th Battalion of the Northamptonshire Regiment.
He started work in the family hotel business, while participating in amateur theatricals in Scarborough. Finally allowed by his family to become a drama student at RADA in 1925, Laughton made his first professional stage appearance on April 28, 1926 at the Barnes Theatre, as Osip in the comedy The Government Inspector, in which he also appeared at the London Gaiety Theatre in May. Despite not having the looks for a romantic lead, he impressed audiences with his talent and played classical roles in two plays by Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard and The Three Sisters. Laughton played the lead role of Harry Hegan in the world premiere of Sean O'Casey's "The Silver Tassie" in 1928 in London. He played the title role in Arnold Bennett's Mr Prohack (Elsa Lanchester was also in the cast), Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot in Alibi, the title role in Mr Pickwick after Charles Dickens, Tony Perelli in Edgar Wallace's On the Spot and William Marble in Payment Deferred. He took this last play across the Atlantic and in it he made his debut in the United States on September 24, 1931, at the Lyceum Theatre. He returned to London for the 1933–34 Old Vic Season and was engaged in four Shakespeare roles (as Macbeth and Henry VIII, Angelo in Measure for Measure and Prospero in The Tempest). In 1936, he went to Paris and on May 9 appeared at the Comédie-Française as Sganarelle in the second act of Molière's Le Médecin malgré lui, the first English actor to appear at that theatre, where he acted the part in French and received an ovation.
Laughton commenced his film career in England while still acting on the London stage. He took small roles in three short silent comedies starring his wife Elsa Lanchester, Daydreams, Blue Bottles and The Tonic (all 1928) which had been specially written for her by H. G. Wells. He made a brief appearance as a disgruntled diner in another silent film Piccadilly with Anna May Wong in 1929. He appeared with Elsa Lanchester again in a "film revue", featuring assorted British variety acts, called Comets (1930) in which they duetted in 'The Ballad of Frankie and Johnnie', and made two other early British talkies: Wolves with Dorothy Gish (1930) from a play set in a whaling camp in the frozen north, and Down River (1931) in which he played a murderous, half-oriental drug-smuggler.
His New York stage debut in 1931 immediately led to film offers and Laughton's first Hollywood film was The Old Dark House (1932) with Boris Karloff in which he played a bluff Yorkshire businessman marooned during a storm with other travellers in a creepy mansion in the Welsh mountains. He then played a demented submarine commander in The Devil and the Deep with Tallulah Bankhead, Gary Cooper and Cary Grant and followed this with his best-remembered film role of that year as Nero in Cecil B. DeMille's The Sign of the Cross. He also turned out a number of other memorable performances during that first Hollywood trip, repeating his stage role as a murderer in Payment Deferred, playing H. G. Wells's mad vivisectionist Dr. Moreau in Island of Lost Souls, and the meek raspberry-blowing clerk in the brief segment of If I Had a Million that was directed by Ernst Lubitsch. In all, he appeared in six Hollywood films during 1932.
His association with film director Alexander Korda began in 1933 with The Private Life of Henry VIII (loosely based on the life of King Henry VIII of England), for which Laughton won an Academy Award, the first British actor to do so. However, he continued to act occasionally in the theatre, including his American production of Life of Galileo by (and with) Bertolt Brecht.
Laughton soon gave up the stage in preference for a film career and returned to Hollywood where his next film was White Woman (1933) in which he co-starred with Carole Lombard as a Cockney river trader in the Malaysian jungle. Then came The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934) as Norma Shearer's malevolent father; Les Misérables (1935) as Javert, the police inspector; Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) as Captain William Bligh, one of his most famous screen roles, co-starring with Clark Gable as Fletcher Christian; and Ruggles of Red Gap (1935) as the very English butler transported to early 1900s America. He was also signed to play Micawber in David Copperfield (1934) but after a few days shooting asked to be released from the part, as he did not feel suited to it, and was replaced by W. C. Fields.
Back in England, and again with Alexander Korda, he played the title role in Rembrandt (1936). In 1937, also for Korda, he starred in an ill-fated film version of the classic novel, I, Claudius, by Robert Graves, which was abandoned during filming owing to the injuries suffered by co-star Merle Oberon in a car crash. (Out-takes from this film provided the material for a BBC TV documentary in 1965 entitled The Epic That Never Was, narrated by Dirk Bogarde.)
After I, Claudius, he and the ex-patriate German film producer Erich Pommer founded the production company Mayflower Pictures in the UK, which produced three films starring Laughton: Vessel of Wrath (US Title The Beachcomber) (1938), based on a story by W. Somerset Maugham, in which Laughton's wife Elsa Lanchester co-starred; St. Martin's Lane (US Title Sidewalks of London), a story about London street entertainers that also featured Vivien Leigh and Rex Harrison; and Jamaica Inn, with Maureen O'Hara and Robert Newton, based on a novel about Cornish smugglers by Daphne du Maurier, and the last film Alfred Hitchcock directed in Britain before moving to Hollywood in the late 1930s. (Actually, Laughton more or less usurped direction of Jamaica Inn from Hitchcock, changing his own role from a minor character to the principal villain. Hitchcock later complained that he had not directed the film, but had "refereed" it.) The films produced were not successful enough, and the company was saved from bankruptcy when RKO Pictures offered Laughton the title role of Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939). Laughton and Pommer had plans to make further films, but the outbreak of World War II, which implied the loss of many foreign markets, meant the end of the company.
Laughton's early success in The Private Life of Henry VIII established him as one of the leading interpreters of the costume and historical drama parts for which he is best remembered (Nero, Henry VIII, Mr. Barrett, Inspector Javert, Captain Bligh, Rembrandt, Quasimodo and others); he was also type-cast for arrogant, unscrupulous characters (Quasimodo was an exception).
He played an Italian vineyard owner in California in They Knew What They Wanted (1940); a South Seas patriarch in The Tuttles of Tahiti (1942); an American admiral in Stand by for Action (1942); a butler in Forever and a Day (1943); and an Australian bar-owner in The Man from Down Under (1943). Simon Callow's 1987 biography quotes a number of contemporary reviews of Laughton's performances in these films. James Agate, reviewing Forever and a Day, wrote: "Is there no-one at RKO to tell Charles Laughton when he is being plain bad?" (on the other hand, Bosley Crowther of the New York Times declared that Forever and a Day boasted "superb performances".). C. A. Lejeune, writes Callow, was "shocked" by the poor quality of Laughton's recent work: "One of the most painful screen phenomena of latter years", she wrote in The Observer, "has been the decline and fall of Charles Laughton."
On the other hand, David Shipman, in his book The Great Movie Stars: The Golden Years, said "Laughton was a total actor. His range was wide".
Laughton played a cowardly schoolmaster in occupied France in This Land is Mine (1943), by Jean Renoir, in which he engaged himself most actively; in fact, while Renoir was still working in an early script, Laughton would talk to him about Alphonse Daudet's story "The Last Lesson", which suggested to Renoir a relevant scene of the film. He played a henpecked husband who eventually murders his wife in The Suspect (1944), directed by Robert Siodmak, who later became a good friend of his. He played sympathetically an impoverished composer-pianist in Tales of Manhattan (1942) and starred in an updated version of Oscar Wilde's The Canterville Ghost in 1944.
Laughton appeared in two comedies with Deanna Durbin, It Started with Eve (1941) and Because of Him (1946). He portrayed a bloodthirsty pirate in Captain Kidd (1945) and a malevolent judge in Alfred Hitchcock's The Paradine Case (1948). Laughton played a megalomaniac press tycoon in The Big Clock (1948). He had supporting roles as a Nazi in pre-war Paris in Arch of Triumph (1948), as a bishop in The Girl from Manhattan (1948), as a seedy go-between in The Bribe (1949), and as a kindly widower in The Blue Veil (1951). He played a Bible-reading pastor in the multi-story A Miracle Can Happen (1947), but his sequence was deleted and replaced with another featuring Dorothy Lamour, and in this form the film was retitled On Our Merry Way. However, an original print of A Miracle Can Happen was sent abroad for dubbing before the Laughton sequence was deleted, and in this form it was shown in Spain under the title Una Encuesta Llamada Milagro.
Laughton made his first color film in Paris as Inspector Jules Maigret in The Man on the Eiffel Tower (1949) and, wrote the Monthly Film Bulletin, "appeared to overact" alongside Boris Karloff as a mad French nobleman in a version of Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Door in 1951. He played a tramp in O. Henry's Full House (1952), in which he had a one-minute scene with Marilyn Monroe. He became a pirate again, buffoon style this time, in Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd (1952). He guest-starred in an episode of the Colgate Comedy Hour on TV that also featured Abbot and Costello and that was notable for his delivery of the Gettysburg Address. He played Herod Antipas in Salome (1953, with Rita Hayworth in the title role) and repeated his role as Henry VIII in Young Bess (1953). He returned to England to star in Hobson's Choice (1954) directed by David Lean. Kevin Brownlow's biography of David Lean (1996) reveals in Chapter 26 that Lean was a great admirer of Laughton and briefly considered him for the part of Colonel Nicholson in The Bridge on the River Kwai, hoping that Laughton would lose weight for the role. Other possible contenders for the part included Cary Grant and Laurence Olivier, though in the end it went to Alec Guinness.
Laughton received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for his role as Sir Wilfrid Robarts in the screen version of Agatha Christie's play Witness for the Prosecution (1957).
His final film was Advise and Consent (1962), for which he received favorable comments for his performance as a southern US Senator (for which accent he studied recordings of Mississippi Senator John Stennis). Laughton worked on the film, which was directed by Otto Preminger, while he was dying from metastatic renal cell carcinoma (cancer of the kidney).
The Night of the Hunter
In 1955, Laughton directed (but did not act in) The Night of the Hunter, starring Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters and Lillian Gish. The film is often cited among today's critics as one of the best of the 1950s, and has been selected by the United States National Film Registry for preservation in the Library of Congress. At the time of its original release, however, it was a critical and box-office failure, and Laughton never had another chance to direct. The documentary Charles Laughton Directs The Night of the Hunter by Robert Gitt (2002) features preserved rushes and outtakes with Laughton's audible off-camera direction.
Laughton made his London stage debut in Gogol's The Government Inspector (1926). He appeared in many West End plays in the following few years and his earliest successes on the stage were in roles like Hercule Poirot in Alibi (1928, the first actor to portray Agatha Christie's Belgian detective Hercule Poirot) - a stage adaptation of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd) and William Marble in Payment Deferred, in which he made his Lyceum Theatre (New York) debut in 1931.
In 1926, he played the role of the criminal Ficsur in the original London production of Ferenc Molnár's Liliom (The play was musicalized in 1945 by Rodgers and Hammerstein as Carousel, where Ficsur became Jigger Craigin, but Laughton never appeared in the musical version). While Laughton is most remembered for his film career, he continued to work in the theatre, as when, after the success of The Private Life of Henry VIII he appeared at the Old Vic Theatre in 1933 as roles Macbeth, Lopakin in The Cherry Orchard, Prospero in The Tempest and Angelo in Measure for Measure. In America, Laughton worked closely with Bertolt Brecht on a new English version of Brecht's play Galileo. Laughton played the title role at the play's premiere in Los Angeles on 30 July 1947 and later that year in New York. This staging was directed by Joseph Losey. The processes by which Laughton painstakingly, over many weeks, created his Galileo—and incidentally, edited and translated the play along with Brecht—are detailed in an essay by Brecht, "Building Up A Part: Laughton's Galileo." Brecht's essay offers a sympathetic and detailed portrait of an actor at work.
Laughton had one of his most notable successes in the theatre by directing and playing the Devil in Don Juan in Hell beginning in 1950. The piece is actually the third act sequence from George Bernard Shaw's play Man and Superman, frequently cut from productions to reduce its playing time, consisting of a philosophical debate between Don Juan and the Devil with contributions from Doña Ana and the statue of Ana's father. Laughton conceived the piece as a staged reading and cast Charles Boyer, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, and Agnes Moorehead (billed as "The First Drama Quartette") in the other roles. Boyer won a special Tony Award for his performance. The performance, recorded complete by Columbia Masterworks, is now available as an MP3 download.
He directed several plays on Broadway. His most notable box-office success as a director came in 1954, with The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, a full-length stage dramatization by Herman Wouk of the court-martial scene in Wouk's novel The Caine Mutiny. The play, starring Henry Fonda as defense attorney Barney Greenwald, opened the same year as the film starring Humphrey Bogart as Captain Queeg and José Ferrer as Greenwald based on the original novel, but did not affect that film's box-office performance. Laughton also directed a staged reading in 1953 of Stephen Vincent Benét's John Brown's Body, a full-length poem about the American Civil War and its aftermath. The production starred Tyrone Power, Raymond Massey (re-creating his film characterizations of Abraham Lincoln and John Brown), and Judith Anderson. Laughton did not appear himself in either of these productions, but John Brown's Body was recorded complete by Columbia Masterworks.
Laughton returned to the London stage in May 1958 to direct and star in Jane Arden's The Party at the New Theatre which also had Elsa Lanchester and Albert Finney in the cast. He made his final theatre appearances as Nick Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream and as King Lear at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in 1959, although failing health resulted in both performances being disappointing, according to some British critics. His performance as King Lear came in for particular lambasting by critics, with many reviews saying that the portly actor looked more like Old King Cole than Shakespeare's creation, and critic Kenneth Tynan wrote that Laughton's Nick Bottom "...behaves in a manner that has nothing to do with acting, although it perfectly hits off the demeanor of a rapscallion uncle dressed up to entertain the children at a Christmas party". Although a British production of A Midsummer Night's Dream did air on television around this time, it was not the one with Laughton, but rather a 1958 production with Paul Rogers as Bottom.
Although he did not appear in any later plays, he continued to tour the US with staged readings, including a very successful appearance on the Stanford University campus in 1960.
Laughton's voice first appeared on 78-rpm records with the release of five British Regal Zonophone 10-inch discs entitled Voice of the Stars issued annually from 1934 to 1938. These featured short soundtrack snippets from the year's top films. He is heard on all five records in, respectively, The Private Life of Henry VIII, The Barretts of Wimpole Street, Mutiny on the Bounty, I, Claudius (curiously, since this film was unfinished and thus never released), and Vessel of Wrath. In 1937 he recorded Lincoln's Gettysburg Address on a 10-inch Columbia 78, having made such an impression with it in Ruggles of Red Gap.
He made several other spoken-word recordings, one of his most famous being his one-man album of Charles Dickens's Mr. Pickwick's Christmas, a twenty-minute version of the Christmas chapter from Dickens's The Pickwick Papers. It was first released by American Decca in 1944 as a four-record 78-rpm set, but was afterward transferred to LP. It frequently appeared on LP with a companion piece, Decca's 1941 adaptation of Dickens's A Christmas Carol, starring Ronald Colman as Scrooge. Both stories were released together on a Deutsche Grammophon CD for Christmas 2005.
In 1943, Laughton recorded a reading of the Nativity story from St. Luke's Gospel, and this was released in 1995 on CD on a Nimbus Records collection entitled Prima Voce: The Spirit of Christmas Past.
A Brunswick/American Decca LP entitled Readings from the Bible featured Laughton reading Garden of Eden, The Fiery Furnace, Noah's Ark, and David and Goliath. It was released in 1958. Laughton had previously included several Bible readings when he played the title role in the film Rembrandt.
Laughton was also heard narrating the story on the soundtrack album of the film that he directed, Night of the Hunter, accompanied by the film's score. This album has also been released on CD.
Also, and derived from the film they made together, a complete radio show (18 June 1945) of The Canterville Ghost was broadcast which featured Laughton and Margaret O'Brien. It has been issued on a Pelican LP.
His wife Elsa Lanchester made three LPs in the 1950s: Songs for a Shuttered Parlour, Songs for a Smoke-Filled Room, and Cockney London. Laughton introduced the various numbers with spoken introductions on the first two and wrote the sleeve notes for the third.
An online version of the complete, two-LP Columbia Masterworks recording of the 1950 Broadway staging of George Bernard Shaw's Don Juan in Hell was re-released [Saland Publishing] in April, 2009. It is available only as a download from various vendors.
However, none of Laughton's other record albums has been made available on CD as yet. A two-LP Capitol Records album was released in 1962, the year of Laughton's death, entitled The Story Teller: A Session with Charles Laughton. Taken from Laughton's one-man stage shows, it culls together dramatic readings from several sources. Three of the excerpts are broadcast annually on a Minnesota Public Radio Thanksgiving programme entitled Giving Thanks. The Story Teller won a Grammy in 1962 for Best Spoken Word Recording. However, although the album has yet to be released on compact disc, it can now be heard in its entirety online.
Laughton was the fill-in host on September 9, 1956, when Elvis Presley made his first of three appearances on CBS's The Ed Sullivan Show, which garnered 72 million viewers (Ed Sullivan was recuperating from a car accident). That same year, Laughton also hosted the first of two programs devoted to classical music entitled "Festival of Music", and telecast on the NBC television anthology series Producers' Showcase. He appeared multiple times on NBC's The Ford Show, Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford.
In 1959, Laughton appeared in the episode "Eleanor" of the anthology series The Joseph Cotten Show, broadcast over CBS.
One of his last performances was on the TV series Checkmate, in which he played a missionary recently returned from China. He threw himself into the role, traveling to China for several months in order to better understand his character.
Bugs Bunny spoofed Laughton playing Captain Bligh in Buccaneer Bunny (1947), Laughton's Mutiny on the Bounty as Mutiny on the Bunny (1948), The Sign of the Cross with Laughton as Nero in Roman Legion-Hare (1955), and as a spoiled king in Shishkabugs (1962).
In 1927, Laughton began a relationship with Elsa Lanchester, at the time a cast mate in a stage play. The two were married in 1929, became American citizens together in 1950, and remained together until Laughton's death.
Over the years, they appeared together in several films, including Rembrandt (1936), Tales of Manhattan (1942) and The Big Clock (1948). Lanchester portrayed Anne of Cleves, Henry VIII's fourth wife, 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.
Laughton and Lanchester never had children, and years after Laughton's death, Lanchester published her autobiography, which alleged that this was because of Laughton's disinterest in fatherhood due to his being homosexual. While Laughton's homosexuality reportedly has been corroborated by several of his contemporaries and is generally accepted by Hollywood historians, there is some dispute as to whether this was the reason that he and Lanchester did not have children.
Actress Maureen O'Hara, a friend and co-star of Laughton, claimed that Laughton had told her that he and his wife never had children because of a botched abortion which Lanchester had early in her career while performing burlesque and that indeed his biggest regret was never having children of his own. In her own aforementioned autobiography, Lanchester acknowledged having two abortions in her youth (one of them, a child from Charles), though she didn't mention whether this left her incapable 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.
Awards and nominations
- Academy Awards
- 1933 Won Best Actor in a Leading Role, The Private Life of Henry VIII
- 1936 Nominated Best Actor in a Leading Role, Mutiny on the Bounty
- 1958 Nominated Best Actor in a Leading Role, Witness for the Prosecution
- first appearance, debut on the London stage (aka The Government Inspector)
- debut on the New York stage
- police drama, Laughton is also the director (American version of Alibi)
- 1933: Island of Lost Souls (1933 film) with Charles Laughton and Bela Lugosi.
- 1936: Rembrandt adapted from biography of great artist Rembrandt. Charles Laughton played a Rembrandt van Rijn
- 1939: The Hunchback of Notre'dam adapted from the novel by Victor Hugo
- 1947: Galileo by Bertolt Brecht
- 1950: The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov
- 1951 and 1952: Don Juan in Hell, the third act of Man and Superman by George Bernard Shaw
- drama, Laughton is also the director
- comedy, Laughton is also the director
- classic tragedy
- police drama, Laughton also acts in the play.
- 1951 and 1952: Don Juan in Hell (the third act of Man and Superman) by George Bernard Shaw
- drama, Laughton also acts in the play.
- with Judith Anderson
- comedy, Laughton also acts in the play
- 1954–1955: The Caine Mutiny Court Martial adapted from the novel by Herman Wouk
- 1955: 3 for Tonight
- musical revue, with Harry Belafonte
- ^ Obituary Variety, December 19, 1962, p. 67.
- ^ "Charles Laughton Biography". Biography.com. http://www.biography.com/articles/Charles-Laughton-9374728. Retrieved May 10, 2010.
- ^ RonaldBruceMeyer.com "July 1 Almanac." Retrieved August 12, 2007.
- ^ The Charles Laughton pages
- ^ Jamaica Inn at the Internet Movie Database
- ^ Crowther, Bosley (March 13, 1943). "' Forever and a Day,' Pageant of Some English People, Made Cooperatively in Hollywood, Is Attraction at the Rivoli". The New York Times. http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9F00E5D61E39E33BBC4B52DFB5668388659EDE.
- ^ Amazon.com: The Great Movie Stars: The Golden Years (9780316784870): David Shipman: Books
- ^ Lourié, Eugène (1985) My Work in Films. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich ISBN 015164019X Lourié, who worked after hours to work on the decors, once found Laughton working after hours to get used to move in the scenery.
- ^ Sesonske, Alexander (1996) "Jean Renoir in America: 1942, This Land Is Mine", in: Persistence of Vision (Maspeth), no. 12–13, 1996
- ^ Dumont, Hervé (1981) Robert Siodmak. Lausanne: L'Age d'homme
- ^ http://www.findadeath.com/Deceased/l/charles%20laughton/dc.jpg
- ^ Ebert, Roger (1996). "Review: Night of the Hunter". Chicago Sun-Times. http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19961124/REVIEWS08/401010344/1023.
- ^ Robert Gitt in The Guardian, June 6, 2003 "Charles Laughton directs The Night of the Hunter." Retrieved October 25, 2008.
- ^ Brecht, Life of Galileo. Ed John Willett. London: Methuen, 1980. 131–61.
- ^ THE STORY-TELLER : Charles Laughton : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive
- ^ Booklet/Insert, "The Best of 'Checkmate'", Timeless Media Group
- ^ Lanchester 1983, p. 336
- ^ Houseman, John. The Bride of Frankenstein. The New York Times. 17 April 1983. Access date: 12 August 2007.
- ^ Callow
- ^ Crowe
- ^ Higham
- ^ Jones
- ^ O'Hara
- ^ Higham & Page 27 This biography was backed by Lanchester.
- Brown, William (1970). Charles Laughton A Pictorial Treasury of his Films. New York: Falcon Enterprises.
- Callow, Simon (1988). Charles Laughton: A Difficult Actor. New York: Grove Press. ISBN 0802110479.
- Crowe, Cameron (2001). Conversations With Wilder. New York: Knopf. ISBN 0375709673.
- Higham, Charles (1976). Charles Laughton: An Intimate Biography. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 0385094035.
- Jones, Preston Neal (2004). Heaven and Hell to Play With: The Filming of The Night of the Hunter. New York: Limelight Editions. ISBN 0879109742.
- Lanchester, Elsa (1938). Charles Laughton and I. London: Faber and Faber. p. 271.
- Lanchester, Elsa (1983). Elsa Lanchester Herself. London: Michael Joseph. ISBN 0718123093.
- Lyon, James K. (1980). Bertolt Brecht in America. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 019502639X.
- O'Hara, Maureen (2005). 'Tis Herself. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-7432-4693-4.
- Parker, John (ed), (1947). Who's Who in the Theatre 10th revised edition. London. pp. 892–3..
- Singer, Kurt (1954). The Charles Laughton Story. London: John C. Winston Company.
- Tell Me a Story (1957) and The Fabulous Country (1962). Two literary anthologies selected by Charles Laughton. They contain pieces which were presented by him in his reading tours across America, with written introductions which give some insight about Laughton's thoughts. This selection presents texts from the Bible, Charles Dickens, Thomas Wolfe, Ray Bradbury, and James Thurber to name just a few.
- Diverse authors, articles in The Stonyhurst magazine: Charles Laughton at Stonyhurst by David Knight (Volume LIV, No. 501, 2005), Charles Laughton. A Talent in Bloom (1899–1931), by Gloria Porta (Volume LIV, No. 502, 2006)
- Official Charles Laughton Website
- Charles Laughton at the Internet Movie Database
- Charles Laughton at the TCM Movie Database
- Charles Laughton at the Internet Broadway Database
- Charles Laughton at the British Film Institute's Screenonline
- Rooting for Laughton: Laughtonians of the world, unite! (Weblog)
- Gay Greats
Academy Award for Best Actor (1928–1940)
Emil Jannings (1928) · Warner Baxter (1929) · George Arliss (1930) · Lionel Barrymore (1931) · Fredric March / Wallace Beery (1932) · Charles Laughton (1933) · Clark Gable (1934) · Victor McLaglen (1935) · Paul Muni (1936) · Spencer Tracy (1937) · Spencer Tracy (1938) · Robert Donat (1939) · James Stewart (1940)
Complete list · (1928–1940) · (1941–1960) · (1961–1980) · (1981–2000) · (2001–2020) Charles Laughton FilmsThe Man on the Eiffel Tower (1949) • The Night of the Hunter (1955) Screenplays ProductionsVessel of Wrath
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