Silent comedians are a beloved form of entertainment from the past. Long before television as we know it today, we sought our laughs from what is probably the hardest type of entertainment to provide – the silent comedian. Without the use of words, these uniquely innovative entertainers acted out full shows and made us laugh.
Below, you will read about the Top Ten Best Silent Comedians Ever.
10. Larry Semon
Larry Semon was one of the best silent comedians from the silent film era. He was a comedian, actor, director, producer, and screenwriter. He starred in the silent film version of the Wizard of Oz, as well as many other silent films. He was a man of many names, including Zigoto, Ridolino, Jaimito, and more.
Larry Semon was a popular silent comedian that loved a great gag and expensive special effects.
9. Ben Turpin
Ben Turpin was a popular silent comedian. He is best known for his looks, with an unforgettable mustache and crossed eyes. Not only did Ben Turpin accept the fact that he had crossed eyes, he embraced this unique facial trait and attributed this as the reason his comedic career took place. Rather than continue his career into the “sound” or “talkie” years, Ben Turpin retired at the end of the silent film era.
8. Mabel Normand
Mabel Normand was a popular silent comedian during her time. She was beautiful, hilarious, and an all around entertainer. She was a comedian. actress, director, screenwriter, and producer of films. Of her many popular silent films, Mabel Normand had the honor of working alongside other great silent comedians including Charlie Chaplin and Fatty Arbuckle. Unfortunately, this beautiful silent comedian’s life came to an early end at the young age of thirty-seven of health problems.
7. Mary Pickford
Mary Pickford, or Gladys Louise Smith, was a beautiful silent comedian who took on many projects. She was a silent comedian, actress, producer, director, and writer. She was also the co-founder of the United Artists film studio, as well as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She quickly became one of the most popular actresses during the 1910’s and 1920’s, and earned the names “America’s Sweetheart” as well as “Queen of the Movies”. Mary Pickford was not only a glamorous actress and silent comedian, she earned the second ever Academy Award for Best Actress, as well as an honorary Academy Award. She is considered to be one of the best silent comedians of all time, as well as a pioneer of the film industry during her time.
6. Fatty Arbuckle
Fatty Arbuckle, or Roscoe Conkling Fatty Arbuckle, was one of the best silent comedians ever. His career was on fire during the 1910’s and he was considered one of the most popular and highest paid of the silent comedians during his time. Fatty Arbuckle was not only a silent comedian. He was an actor, comedian, silent comedian, screenwriter, director, mentor to Charlie Chaplin, and the man responsible for discovering both Bob Hope and Buster Keaton. Unfortunately, his career took a turn for the worse as a result of allegations and trials for which he was eventually acquitted.
5. Harold Lloyd
Harold Lloyd was a silent comedian, actor, film director, stunt performer, screenwriter, and film producer. He was a man of many roles. One of the best silent comedians ever, Harold Lloyd created approximately two hundred comedy films, many of those silent films. Harold Lloyd is best known for playing a “Glasses” character, and for extended chase scenes in his films, as well as daredevil stunt feats. Early in his career, Harold Lloyd was told he was too good looking to do comedy without disguising himself. From this criticism came the “Glasses” character.
4. Oliver Hardy
Oliver Hardy was a silent comedian that is most famous for his comedy partnership with Stan Laurel. Laurel and Hardy were hilarious silent comedian actors whose names are still known around the world today. During his early career years, before he was matched with Laurel, Oliver Hardy was known as Babe Hardy, and started his acting career in 1914 with the film Outwitting Dad. He played the role of the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz and played roles in several other films, but the majority of Oliver Hardy’s works were opposite Stan Laurel. This silent comedic duo stares in 107 short and feature films and cameos together throughout their careers.
3. Stan Laurel
Stan Laurel was one of the most famous silent comedians during the silent film era. The role he is most famous for is his part in the comedy pairing of Laurel and Hardy. Stan Laurel began acting in 1917, but by 1928 he was exclusively working with and making appearances with his comedy partner Oliver Hardy. This famous silent comedian earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and still brings smiles and laughs to all that watch his many hilarious films.
2. Buster Keaton
Buster Keaton was a popular silent comedian from a low class family. In addition to a silent comedian, he was a stunt performer, actor, writer, producer, and director. Buster Keaton earned the nickname “The Great Stone Face” because of his straight, dead pan facial expression during his silent comedy performances. His career peaked from 19020 to 1929, in which he worked in many films both acting and directing. He is thought of by many as one of the greatest, if not THE greatest actor-director of his time.
1. Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin was not only the best silent comedian, he was the most popular and the most widely-known. Even for those of you that have never watched a silent film or heard of the name, you surely have seen Charlie Chaplin. With his suit and bowler hat, he is an iconic sight. Charlie Chaplin changed the silent film forever. He lived from 1889 to 1977 and created many hilarious and fun lovig silent films.
For the people of the early 1900’s, these silent comedians offered the perfect form of entertainment. While silent comedians are now a long forgot memory of the past, there was once a time that people lined up to be entertained by these performers.