The portly actor Charles Laughton is probably best remembered for such roles as Henry VIII or Capt. Bligh.
Although his greatest fame came from films, Laughton had a second career—reading works of great writers — which took him back and forth across the nation.
His readings started as entertainment for hospitalized serviceman in World War II, and later became public performances.
He would sit alone on the stage and reach into a cloth bag of books to select excepts from such favorites as Dickens, Thurber, Thomas Wolfe, Shakespeare and, often, the Bible.
Despite his ability to portray the epitome of wickedness, audiences couldn't help loving him while despising the character he portrayed.
But he also could master the role of buffoon or underdog with equal expressiveness of face, voice and gesture.
He was the delightful butler in "Ruggles of Red Gap," the cruel Capt. Bligh in "Mutiny on the Bounty," the lusty and gluttonous monarch in "The Private Life of Henry VIII" and the deformed Quasimodo in the "The Hunchback of Notre Dame."
His final film, "Advise and Consent," drew praise for his convincing portrait of Seab Cooley, the devious but essentially upright senator from the Deep South.
|1932||Best Actor||The Private Life of Henry VIII||Win|
|1935||Best Actor||Mutiny on the Bounty||Nomination|
|1957||Best Actor||Witness for the Prosecution||Nomination|