Mack Swain

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Mack Swain (1920)

Mack Swain (born February 16, 1876 in Salt Lake City , Utah as Moroni Swain , † August 25, 1935 in Tacoma , Washington ) was an American actor and comedian. He is best known for his work in many Charlie Chaplin films .


Mack Swain was born in Salt Lake City to Robert Henry Swain and Mary Ingeborg Jensen . His family were Mormon , and Swain's father was a priest in Latter-day Saint Church of Jesus Christ . He himself had the birth name Moroni - after the prophet of the same name in the Book of Mormon - but took on the artist's first name Mack for his show career . He began his career as an entertainer in vaudeville shows. From 1913 Swain Films was under contract with the Keystone Studios of Mack Sennett , where he turned off numerous silent short film comedies. His career was interrupted when he was blacklisted , but flourished again after the gold rush . He quickly formed a comedian duo with Chester Conklin : while Swain's character was called Ambrose , Conklin's character was called Walrus . The distinctive mustaches became the hallmarks of the two comedians, and they appeared together in over two dozen films.

At Keystone Studios, the tall, heavyweight actor also appeared alongside other silent film comedians such as Mabel Normand , Charles Chaplin and Roscoe Arbuckle . He later moved to the film studio L-KO Kompany , where he played the role of Ambrose again in numerous short film comedies of his own. From 1921 onwards, Swain worked again with Charlie Chaplin at First National , who cast him in four of his comedies up to 1925. Swain had his best-known film appearance as the crude but kind-hearted prospector Big Jim MacKay in Chaplin's classic silent film Gold Rush (1925) . Swain also appeared in some films outside of the comedy genre.

With the start of talkies in the late 1920s, he increasingly withdrew from the film business. In total, he played in around 160 films until his death. Mack Swain died in 1935 at the age of 59. He was married to Cora King from 1899 until his death.

Filmography (selection)

Web links

Commons : Mack Swain  - collection of images, videos and audio files