He had some ups and downs, and not every last one of his films was a smash hit, but there was something unmistakably special about Lon Chaney Jr. He garnered a sympathy from the audience that is simply not typical, in any way shape or form. At the same time, he had the capacity to be a ruthless performer that seemed to hold nothing back. Lon Chaney Jr. was amazing, to be straight forward, and sadly, 44 years ago today, in 1973, at the age of 67, he passed away. Beriberi and liver failure ended the legend’s life.
Chaney Jr. will no doubt be remembered for his portrayal of the Wolf Man, one of Universal’s true great Monsters, and the inspiration behind an enormous influx of werewolf films. But Chaney’s body of work was extensive, especially within the genre.
In addition to The Wolf Man, Chaney Jr. also appeared in Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, House of Frankenstein, House of Dracula, the absolutely amazing Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, The Mummy’s Tomb, The Mummy’s Ghost, The Mummy’s Curse, and The Frozen Ghost, among others.
Our connection to the one-in-a-million Lawrence Talbot is unique and magical, and it’s not likely to ever fade. The character is amazing, Chaney’s work was amazing. Fortunately for us, the man built up a resume that all the time in the world cannot erase.
Here’s to the joys of the other side, good sir. Hopefully we’ll meet one day down the line.