- Fields, William Claude
- (W. C.)(1880-1946)Vaudeville film and radio comedian W. C. Fields was born William Claude Dukenfield in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His early theatrical career began as a juggler, and in the 1890s through 1915 he toured America and Europe. In 1915, Fields joined the Ziegfeld Follies on Broadway and appeared in a successful Broadway musical, Poppy, from 1923 until 1924. The film version of Poppy, Sally of the Sawdust appeared in 1925 (and in sound in 1936), and Fields also appeared in numerous other silent movies in the 1920s developing his comic persona as the con man or harassed husband, both with a strong disliking for children and a liking for alcohol. In the 1930s, he moved to Hollywood, where he wrote scripts and starred in several films, including It’s a Gift (1934), David Copperfield (1935), and The Bank Dick (1940). Other successful films included You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man (1939), Never Give a Sucker an Even Break (1941), and My Little Chickadee (1940), which also starred Mae West. Fields also had a successful radio career on The Chase & Sanborn Hour starting in 1937. In 1940, he authored a spoof political campaign program, Fields for President. His last film was Sensations in 1945, released shortly before his death.See also Cinema.
Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . Neil A. Wynn . 2015.