Village of Carroll

Lon Chaney Bio

actor developed his pantomime skills

According to local lore, Lon Chaney was born in a small house at the corner of Winchester and Pickerington Roads on April 1, 1883 when his parents were here visiting family. At that time, extended visits were quite common and a woman expecting a baby might stay with family to help.

Chaney’s parents, residents of Colorado Springs, Colorado, were deaf mutes and it is believed the actor developed his pantomime skills from learning to communicate with them. These skills served him well on stage, vaudeville, and in silent films and he became one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. He was known as “The Man of a Thousand Faces” due to his ability to transform himself into the role he was playing. His use of makeup was groundbreaking and his performances as Quasimodo in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and as the title character in “The Phantom of the Opera” are classics.

Chaney died at age 47 on August 27, 1930 in California.

Although at this time there is no evidence confirming the story of his local birth that has been passed down through the years, we hope that someday a document can be found to prove the story true. Since his parents were residents of Colorado Springs at the time of his birth and there is no proof to the contrary except local legend, that city officially claims him (but we still like to believe he was actually born here).

                                                                  ~Provided by the Carroll Area Historical Society