Roscoe Conkling Arbuckle, better known as Fatty Arbuckle (24 March 1887 – June 29, 1933) was an actor and comedian American silent film. Adopted the nickname of Fatty, “Gordito” in English, while the nickname only used professionally, since hated it i. Arbuckle was one of the most popular of his time, but today is best known for “Fatty Arbuckle scandal”: was accused of violating and cause death an actress, and their judgments became one of the first “juicios-espectáculo” of Hollywood.

Early years

Born in Smith Center, Kansas, son of William Goodrich Arbuckle, and Mollie already accumulating several years of experience in the vaudeville, including work in the Idora Park in Oakland, California, when he began his film career with Selig Polyscope Company. There acquired the nickname of Fatty (Gordito), because of its fat.

Appeared sporadically in a roll of Selig shorts until 1913, and after a brief stay in universal, became one of the cops Keystones of Mack Sennett director-productor stars.

With the momentum of Sennet Arbuckle reached stardom with the series series of Fatty and Mabel, where did couple with Mabel Normand, wife of Sennett comedies. In 1916 Arbuckle was a star so known as Charlie Chaplin, and Paramount offered complete control of their films, besides of creating Comique Film Corporation exclusively for him, unique in the time industry event.

6 August 1908 he married Araminta Estelle Durfee (1889 – 1975), daughter of Charles Warren Durfee and Flora Adkins. Durfee played the role of authoritative wife in many of the early comedy, often in the company of Arbuckle.

Fatty Arbuckle at Coney Island (1917).

Despite its Dieta, Arbuckle was surprisingly agile and enjoyed a great command of his physique. His comedies are known for their speed and dynamism, full of Visual scenes of persecutions and many gags. Arbuckle was particularly fond with the so-called time cake in the face, a cliché of the history of the silent comedy.

According to legend, Arbuckle created this gag after an encounter with the army of Pancho Villa in Rio Grande, during a performance in El Paso, Texas. The story tells that the Arbuckle were making a picnic near the river when Villa, men who were on the other side, and they began to throw fruit on both sides of the River. The stellar moment was when Arbuckle shot down one of his horse men throwing a bunch of bananas, which made that laughing come you to Villa.[quotes required]

Buster Keaton

Arbuckle Buster Keaton provided his first role in the film, 1917, The Butcher Boy short industry. Both comedians forged a close friendship, which cannot shiver when Arbuckle was hard hit by the tragedy, and subsequent depression and decadence that come later. In his autobiography, Keaton described Arbuckle as a man of facetious nature and artifice, next to the own Keaton, who put at the service of figures of talkies comedy comic schemas and elaborate gag (which meant the nearly disappearance of both comedians like film stars).

Arbuckle scandal

Fatty Arbuckle and Buster Keaton in Out West (1918)

At the peak of his career, Arbuckle charged at Paramount Studios a million dollars a year, the largest salary ever paid for a study. 3 September 1921, Arbuckle took a break from his prolific and dizzying film production, and moved to San Francisco with his friends Lowell Sherman and Fred Fischbach. Registered at the hotel Saint Francis, willing to give a feast, which invited several women in her room. During the event, one of them, an aspiring actress, 26-year-old named Virginia Rappe, fell seriously ill and was examined by the doctor of the hotel, which ruled that the woman was probably simply intoxicated.

Rappe died three days later peritonitis caused by bladder perforation. Maude Delmont, friend and Rappe companion in the feast implied Arbuckle event, denouncing the bladder rupture occurred while the actor violated to Rappe with a bottle. Arbuckle, sure his innocence, rejected such accusations. Then Delmont sued it the police hoping to reach a monetary agreement with Arbuckle attorneys, but the matter was hands.

Of Arbuckle’s career is regarded by historians as one of the great tragedies of Hollywood cinema. The trial became a national event and occupied the front pages of newspapers, especially those belonging to the rule of William Randolph Hearst, that not doubted to present in their Chronicles as guilty, actor making advance trials and predisponiendo people to prejudge Arbuckle. After two null trials, 12 April 1922 Arbuckle was declared not guilty of the death of Virginia Rappe.

While Arbuckle was acquitted of the charges, the resulting infamy destroyed the career and personal life of the artist. Various associations of moral surveillance had asked the death penalty for the actor, and owners of studies banned friends Arbuckle industry any sample of public support. Charles Chaplin was in England at the time; However, Buster Keaton, intimate friend Arbuckle, made a public statement in support of his friend, highlighting that Arbuckle was one of kind and caring souls who had known.

Hays Office Agency who controlled and/or censured the film production, withdrew, and banned all movies Arbuckle, although later Will H.Hays stated that they should leave the actor continue working in Hollywood. Ironically, one of the few movies that survived the prohibition, Leap Year, was one of only two finished films that Paramount thought released when the scandal. While in Europe, Arbuckle was gradually rehabilitated after his acquittal, it was never in life in United States nor in England.

Many of the films Arbuckle, including Life of the Party, only survive as mere impressions on intertitles in foreign language (not English). While Life of the Party was premiered by the scandal, nobody bothered to preserve the original copies in the English language.

Recently, some of his early short films (especially those that appeared next to Charles Chaplin or Buster Keaton) have been restored and released on DVD.

Versions of a same story

Virginia Rappe by 1920

Many details commented during three long trials that underwent Arbuckle, but the rough were work directly the tabloid media, and especially, of a man, William Randolph Hearst, who had found a real GoldMine with scandal which was the most famous comedian of his time.

(Never proven) stories about what happened in 1219, 1220 rooms and Hotel Saint Francis, San Francisco, September 5 from 1921, 1221 spoke of Arbuckle, with its more than 120 pounds of weight, had fractured into two to Virginia Rappe; that, due to its extreme degree of intoxication, it was unable to penetrate to Virginia, had to use a Coca Cola bottle (other versions spoke of a bottle wine) or even grinding piece of ice.

As recorded in the minutes of the trial, Arbuckle led up to his hotel room a turntable, multiple disks, and abundant Gin and whisky, contempting directly the Volstead Act prohibiting the production and sale of alcoholic beverages. After 48 hours partying, Virginia Rappe joined the event, which was received by Arbuckle within Pajamas (which led to accusations of actor walking half down the corridors of the hotel). Virginia began to eat large quantities of alcohol, until he had to go to the toilet to vomit, where found it Arbuckle, enclosing with it for 15 minutes long enough, according to the indictment, to commit rape.

According to doctors who examined it shortly afterwards, Virginia Rappe bladder damage could have been practiced shortly before (some trumped the trials) and exacerbated as a result of the large amount of ingested alcohol mixed with medication abortion result. Fred Fischbach filled a tub with cold water where the woman was placed in an attempt to revive it, while Arbuckle placed a piece of ice at the height of the vagina of Rappe, which earned him the charge of having penetrated with a pointed object of the same substance.

Recent years

Signature of fatty Arbuckle.

27 January 1925 Arbuckle divorced in Paris of Araminta Estelle Durfee, after allegations of neglect and desertion. On 16 may 1925 Arbuckle contract marriage with Doris Deane.

Arbuckle attempted to return to the realization of films, but an immediate ban of all his films after their acquittal was not allowed, and fell into alcoholism. In the words of his first wife: single Roscoe seemed to find solace in the bottom of a bottle.

Buster Keaton attempted to help allowing you to work on some of his films, coming to write the screenplay for the short Day Dreams Keaton Arbuckle. Arbuckle claimed have co-directed Keaton Modern Sherlock Holmes movie scenes, but it is difficult to know how much of that material reached the final cut of the film. Arbuckle also directed some of the less well-known Educational Pictures, cartoons under William Goodrich seudónino.

A legend never confirmed but persistent, gives incorrect explanation of the origin of the pseudonym Arbuckle. Reportedly, Keaton, facetious abusive, suggested Arbuckle could directing films under the alias Will B. Good (literally “I will be good”). Arbuckle allegedly agreed with him, but recognizing that Pun was too obvious, and expanded name to become William B. Goodrich. However, Arbuckle directed dozens of films where his pseudonym appeared in the initial credits as William Goodrich, without any initial between name and surname. Writer and British researcher David Yallop discovered the father of Arbuckle’s full name was William Goodrich Arbuckle, which gave an explanation more reasonable and plausible on the origin of the pseudonym.

Latest movies

In 1929 Doris Deane filed for divorce in Los Angeles, alleging cruelty and neglect. 21 June 1931 Arbuckle would later marry to Addie Oakley Dukes McPhail, Addie Oakley Sheldon (1906 – 2003), in Erie, Pennsylvania. Shortly before his marriage Arbuckle signed a contract with Jack Warner in six comic shorts two rolls for Vitaphone, using her real name. On 28 June 1933, after finishing filming the last of these shorts, was hired by Warner Brothers to the realization of a feature film; a few hours later, Arbuckle died.

Six short films Vitaphone, filmed in Brooklyn, constitute unique engravings comedian voice records. Al St. John (nephew of Arbuckle), Lionel Stander and Shemp Howard, actors appeared with Arbuckle in some of these shorts. When Warner Brothers tried to release the first of these, Hey, pop!, England, UK, citing the scandal happened a decade earlier with Arbuckle, not allowed Academy.


Fatty Arbuckle died on 29 June 1933, heart attack in Hollywood. Only was 46 years old. Buster Keaton stated several times that Arbuckle was dead because he had broken heart. Few hours before had signed a new contract with Warner, he declared: today is the happiest of my life day. He was cremated and his ashes scattered in the Pacific Ocean (the supposed tomb of Arbuckle, situated in the Woodlawn cemetery in the Bronx, New York, belongs to Macklin Arbuckle, actor and fatty Arbuckle cousin).

Arbuckle today

The jazz Kesytone (named after Sennet films), led by Dave Douglas group has devoted to select silent films that incorporate their own music as an accompaniment. In your selection has sought to highlight by Arbuckle, in an attempt to vindicate his memory. Its first performance took place at Carnegie Hall in April 2006.

From April to may 2006, the Museum of modern art (MOMA) in New York city presented a major retrospective of 56 films, produced largely with the surviving material production Arbuckle. Releases included The rounders (1914), where he appeared with Charlie Chaplin and Fatty and Mabel’s Simple Life (1915), with Mabel Normand.

Comedian and actor Jim Gaffigan sounds as protagonist of the long-awaited biopic about fatty Arbuckle The life of the Party. Dark Horizons website, Kevin Connor would be the future director.


During the trials introduced a totally idealised version of Virginia Rappe. His dark past featured three to five previous abortion, prostitution, or cause a collective syphilis in Mack Sennet studies. But all these stories fell into the category of the rumorología and little served in the courts.