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William Claude Dukenfield (Fields-W-C)

Born: 1880 AD
Died: 1946 AD, at 66 years of age.

Nationality: American
Categories: Actors, Comics



1880 – He was born this year in Darby, Pennsylvania. Fields left home at age 18 and entered vaudeville. By age 21 he was traveling as a comedy juggling act, becoming a headliner in both North America and Europe.


1900 – He married a fellow vaudevillian, chorus girl Harriet "Hattie" Hughes, on April 8 of this year.


1901 – He made his Broadway debut in the musical comedy The Ham Tree'.


1907 – They got separated, she pushed him to stop touring and settle down to a respectable trade, while he was reluctant to give up his own living.


1923 – He first hit big theatrical fame in the Broadway musical Poppy, where he perfected his persona as an oily, botched confidence man.


1935 – He achieved one of his career ambitions by playing the character Mr. Micawber, in MGM's David Copperfield.


1936 – He recreated his signature stage role in Poppy for Paramount Pictures.


1938 – Illness, deteriorated by his heavy drinking, stopped Fields' film work for a time, but he made a comeback trading insults with Edgar Bergen's dummy Charlie McCarthy on radio.


1941 – He was strong-minded to make a movie his way, with his own script and staging, and his own selection of supporting players. Universal finally gave him the opportunity, and the resulting film, Never Give a Sucker an Even Break.


1946 – He died of stomach hemorrhage.











Page last updated: 12:30am, 23rd Mar '07