W.C. Fields

William Claude Dukenfield -- aka W.C. Fields -- was born Jan. 29, 1880, in Darby, Pa., and sold vegetables from a cart before joining up with the vaudeville circuit at age 11. His talent for juggling led to spots in silent films and talkies, and he eventually landed the part of a lifetime as Mr. Micawber in the film adaptation of Charles Dickens's David Copperfield (1935).

He re-created his signature stage role in Poppy (1936) the following year and, after a career lull of several years, starred with Mae West in My Little Chickadee (1940), cementing his status as a staple of American cinema with a knack for unforgettable one-liners.

Although Fields's Hollywood persona was that of a man who loved to drink but hated women and children, he actually had a wife and a son, and was even known to spoil his grandchildren. He died on Dec. 25, 1946 -- Christmas Day.

Filmography