Harry Langdon ran away with a traveling medicine show in 1897 at age 13 and never looked back. He played carnivals, circuses and tent shows, learning why people laugh. When he tried vaudeville and musical comedy his acts "clicked" at once. He considered "John's New Car" his most successful stage vehicle.
The "goo-goo-eyed" comedian entered films in 1923, the golden age of the silent screen. A year later, he was a star in Mack Sennett two-reel comedies. His contract with Pathe Exchange Inc. for productions to be made under Harry Langdon Productions was reported to provide a $1 million payment for two years' services.
Later, he made six feature-length films for First National, costarring in one with Joan Crawford. Footlights again called. He returned to vaudeville for a period.
Back in Hollywood, he signed with Hal Roach for a "talkie." After his contract ran out, he alternated between feature pictures and short comedies. Late in his career, he had a commitment with Columbia Pictures to star in several short comedies. One of his last was a burlesque western with El Brendel.
Langdon's marital life became as turbulent as his film dilemmas. Rose Francis Langdon, who had trouped with him as a vaudeville team, divorced him in 1928 after 25 years of marriage.
In July 1930, a year after his marriage to former model and actress Helen Walton, her former husband, Thomas J. O'Brien, sued Langdon for payment of notes for $11,500 given by the comic to settle a threatened suit for $250,000 for alienation of the former Mrs. O'Brien's affections.
Langdon was married a third time to Mabel Georgena Sheldon in 1934.