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For the record

  • Who: Roscoe (Fatty) Arbuckle

  • What: First film star to be banned

  • Where:

Roscoe Fatty Arbuckle (1887 - 1933), the world's highest paid entertainer when Paramount's Adolph Zukor offered him a $1 million (then £225,784) a year contract in December 1919, became the first screen star to be banned. The announcement was made by Will H. Hays of the MPPDA on 18 April 1922, six days after Arbuckle had been acquitted of the manslaughter of good time girl Virginia Rappe.

Shortly afterwards Hays drew up a list of 200 people considered morally dangerous whom it was intended to bar from the industry. Heading the list was Wallace Reid, probably the most popular star prior to Douglas Fairbanks' ascendancy, whose drug habit was to finish his career before the MPDDA was able to finish it for him.
At the height Arbuckles' career he weighed 136 kg (300lb).
He was the first American comedy star to direct his own films, predating Charlie Chaplin by several months.
He worked for Paramount for 18 months, starring in 9 feature films.

After his career came to an abrupt end, Buster Keaton financially supported him as thanks for giving him his break into the film industry. Roscoe later directed Beaton under the pseudonym William Goodrich.

In 1932, after appearing in six comic shorts for Warner Brothers starting with Hey, Pop! (USA 1932), he signed a feature film contract with them, but died in his sleep from a heart attack the following night on 29 June 1933 at the age of 46.

 

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