29¢ Lon Chaney
Silent Screen Stars
Issue Date: April 27, 1994
City: San Francisco, CA
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Lithographed and engraved
Color: Red, black and bright violet
Called the “Man of a Thousand Faces,” Lon Chaney’s macabre characterizations have become classics of the silent screen. Born of deaf-mute parents, Chaney learned pantomime at an early age, and later became a prop man, director, and actor in his brother’s traveling show.
Beginning his film career as an extra, he became an overnight success after starring in The Miracle Man (1919). During the next ten years Chaney earned a reputation as the finest character actor in films, playing such memorable roles as Quasimodo the hunchback in the Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) and the dual role of police inspector/vampire in London After Midnight (1927). But his greatest achievement was his characterization of Eric, the demented, acid-scarred musician who haunted the subterranean passages of the Paris Opera in The Phantom of the Opera (1925).
A versatile actor, he also won acclaim for his realistic performances in Tell It to the Marines (1927), While the City Sleeps (1928), and Thunder (1929).