Austin with Charlie Chaplin
|Born||13 December 1881|
|Died||17 August 1953 71) (aged|
Noted for his painted handlebar moustache and acerbic manner, he worked for Chaplin's stock company and played supporting roles in many of his films, often as a foil to the star and working as his assistant director.
After the development of sound films, he moved into scriptwriting, directing, and acting, chiefly in comedy short subjects. Among other things, he assisted Chaplin in developing the plot of The Adventurer (1917). However, he only received screen credit as a collaborator once, for City Lights.
As an actor, he appeared in Chaplin's comedies for the Mutual Film Corporation. Later he had two brief, uncredited roles in one of Chaplin's 'silent' comedies made in the sound era, City Lights (1931). Austin is also seen very briefly (as a cab driver) at the beginning of Chaplin's short film One A.M..
Austin's best known performance may be in Chaplin's short The Pawnshop. Austin enters the shop with an alarm clock, hoping to pawn it. To establish the clock's value, Chaplin dissects it. Austin maintains a deadpan expression as Chaplin progressively destroys his clock, then hands the pieces back to Austin.
He had the leading role in Mary Pickford's Suds (1920), where he co-stars as a customer leaving his shirt at her laundry. In that film he appears without his comic moustache.
In his final years he worked as a police officer at the Warner Brothers studios, according to a The New York Times obituary. He died on 17 August 1953, and was interred at Grand View Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.
|1916||The Floorwalker||Shop assistant||Short|
|1916||One A.M.||Taxi Driver||Short|
|1916||The Count||Tall Guest||Short, Uncredited|
|1916||The Pawnshop||Client with clock||Short|
|1916||Behind the Screen||Scene Shifter||Short, Uncredited|
|1916||The Rink||The Cook / Skater||Short|
|1917||Easy Street||Minister / Policeman||Short, Uncredited|
|1917||The Cure||Sanitarium Attendant||Short|
|1917||The Immigrant||A Diner / An Immigrant||Short|
|1917||The Adventurer||The Butler||Short|
|1918||A Dog's Life||Thief / Employment agency clerk||Short, Uncredited|
|1918||Triple Trouble||Policeman||Short, Uncredited|
|1918||The Bond||Friend||Short, Uncredited|
|1918||Shoulder Arms||American Soldier / Clean Shaven German Soldier / Bearded German Soldier / The Kaiser's driver|
|1919||The Professor||Man in Flophouse||Short, Uncredited|
|1921||The Kid||Man in Shelter / The Car Thief|
|1923||A Prince of a King||Uncredited|
|1925||The Gold Rush||Prospector||Uncredited|
|1931||City Lights||Street Sweeper / Burglar||Uncredited, (final film role)|
- Ellenberger, Allan R. (2001). Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company. p. 103. ISBN 9780786409839.
- The New York Times obituary, 19 August 1953 (accessed via http://select.nytimes.com, 10 November 2008)
- Charlie Chaplin's Collaborators, British Film Institute, accessed 10 November 2008