The son of actors Lon Chaney and Cleva Creighton, Creighton Tull Chaney was raised in an atmosphere of Spartan strictness by his father. He refused to allow Creighton to enter show business, wanting his son to prepare for a more “practical” profession; so young Chaney trained to be plumber, and worked a variety of relatively menial jobs despite his father’s fame. After Lon Sr. died in 1930, Creighton entered movies with an RKO contract, but nothing much happened until, by his own recollection, he was “starved” into changing his name to Lon Chaney Jr. He would spend the rest of his life competing with his father’s reputation as The Man With a Thousand Faces, hoping against hope to someday top Lon Sr. professionally. Unfortunately, he would have little opportunity to do this in the poverty-row quickie films that were his lot in the ’30s, nor was his tenure (1937-1940) as a 20th Century Fox contract player artistically satisfying.
Hoping to convince producers that he was a fine… read more