Profile Image of Roscoe Arbuckle

Roscoe Arbuckle

1887-03-22 - 1933-06-29

Roscoe Arbuckle (March 24, 1887 - June 29, 1933), widely known to audiences as “Fatty” Arbuckle, was an American silent film actor, comedian, director, and screenwriter. He started at the Selig Polyscope Company and eventually moved to Keystone Studios, where he worked with Mabel Normand and Harold Lloyd as well as with his nephew, Al St. John. He also mentored Charlie Chaplin, Monty Banks and Bob Hope, and brought vaudeville star Buster Keaton into the movie business. Arbuckle was one of the most popular silent stars of the 1910s and one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood at the time. In one of the earliest Hollywood scandals, Arbuckle was the defendant in three widely publicized trials between November 1921 and April 1922 for the rape and manslaughter of actress Virginia Rappe. Rappe had fallen ill at a party hosted by Arbuckle at San Francisco's St. Francis Hotel in September 1921, and died four days later. A friend of Rappe accused Arbuckle of raping and accidentally killing her. The first two trials resulted in hung juries, but the third acquitted Arbuckle. The third jury took the unusual step of giving Arbuckle a written statement of apology for his treatment by the justice system. Despite Arbuckle's acquittal, the scandal largely halted his career and has mostly overshadowed his legacy as a pioneering comedian.