Albert Austin

Albert Austin (13 December 1881 – 17 August 1953) was an English actor, film star, director, and script writer, noted mainly for his work in Charlie Chaplin films.

Albert Austin
Austin with Charlie Chaplin
Born13 December 1881
Died17 August 1953(1953-08-17) (aged 71)
Years active1912–1930

He was born in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England and was a music hall performer before going to the U.S. with Chaplin, both as members of the Fred Karno troupe in 1910.

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..

He also appeared in films starring Jackie Coogan and Mack Sennett.

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.[1]

Filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1916The FloorwalkerShop assistantShort
1916The FiremanFiremanShort
1916The VagabondTrombonistShort
1916One A.M.Taxi DriverShort
1916The CountTall GuestShort, Uncredited
1916The PawnshopClient with clockShort
1916Behind the ScreenScene ShifterShort, Uncredited
1916The RinkThe Cook / SkaterShort
1917Easy StreetMinister / PolicemanShort, Uncredited
1917The CureSanitarium AttendantShort
1917The ImmigrantA Diner / An ImmigrantShort
1917The AdventurerThe ButlerShort
1918A Dog's LifeThief / Employment agency clerkShort, Uncredited
1918Triple TroublePolicemanShort, Uncredited
1918The BondFriendShort, Uncredited
1918Shoulder ArmsAmerican Soldier / Clean Shaven German Soldier / Bearded German Soldier / The Kaiser's driver
1919The ProfessorMan in FlophouseShort, Uncredited
1920SudsHorace Greensmith
1921The KidMan in Shelter / The Car Thief
1923A Prince of a KingUncredited
1925The Gold RushProspectorUncredited
1928The CircusClownUncredited
1931City LightsStreet Sweeper / BurglarUncredited, (final film role)

References

  1. Ellenberger, Allan R. (2001). Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company. p. 103. ISBN 9780786409839.
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