W. C. Fields

Comedian, Film actor

1880 – 1946


Who was W. C. Fields?

William Claude Dukenfield, better known as W. C. Fields, was an American comedian, actor, juggler and writer. Fields' comic persona was a misanthropic and hard-drinking egotist, who remained a sympathetic character despite his snarling contempt for dogs, children, and women.

The characterization he portrayed in films and on radio was so strong it was generally identified with Fields himself. It was maintained by the publicity departments at Fields' studios and was further established by Robert Lewis Taylor's biography, W.C. Fields, His Follies and Fortunes. Beginning in 1973, with the publication of Fields' letters, photos, and personal notes in grandson Ronald Fields' book W.C. Fields by Himself, it was shown that Fields was married, and financially supported their son and loved his grandchildren.

However, Fields' friend Madge Evans, an actress, told a visitor in 1972 that Fields so deeply resented intrusions on his privacy by curious tourists walking up the driveway to his Los Angeles home that he would hide in the shrubs by his house and fire BB pellets at the trespassers' legs. Some years later, Groucho Marx told a similar story on his live performance album, An Evening with Groucho.

Famous Quotes:

  • Somebody left the cork out of my lunch.
  • Once, during Prohibition, I was forced to live for days on nothing but food and water.
  • I am free of all prejudices. I hate everyone equally.
  • My heart is a bargain today. Will you take it?
  • I never vote for anyone. I always vote against.
  • I once spent a year in Philadelphia, I think it was on a Sunday.
  • Show me a great actor and I'll show you a lousy husband. Show me a great actress, and you've seen the devil.
  • I never drink water; that is the stuff that rusts pipes.
  • Remember, a dead fish can float downstream, but it takes a live one to swim upstream.
  • It was a woman who drove me to drink, and I never had the courtesy to thank her for it.

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Jan 29, 1880
Also known as
  • William Claude Dukenfield
  • W.C. Fields
  • W. C Fields
  • Bill
  • Uncle Claudie
  • Otis Criblecobble
  • Charles Bogle
  • Mahatma Kane Jeeves
  • Otis Criblecoblis
  • Uncle Claude
  • United States of America
Lived in
  • Philadelphia
  • Pennsylvania
Dec 25, 1946
Resting place
Forest Lawn Memorial Park

on July 23, 2013


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