Charles Brown Middleton was born 7th October 1879. His father was a military man with a strong sense of discipline which conflicted with Charles' own outlook on how to live his life so when 12 he ran away to join a circus and looked after the elephants before moving into performing in dramatic vignettes between traditional acts. At 18 he'd formed his own stock company which toured the South performing Shakespeare and self penned melodramas. He worked his way onto the Vaudeville circuit earning a reputation as a good actor which is how he met Stan Laurel. He appeared in some silent films in the 20's but his career took off with sound as stage actors were in demand due to their experience of vocal performance. He had a very distinctive voice which marked him out from the competition.He appeared with 3 great film comedy teams - Laurel and Hardy, The Marx Brothers and the Three Stooges. He was often cast as a 'Heavy' and appeared in a lot of serials - Di ck Tracy, Batman, and Black Raven but is probably best remembered as Ming the Merciless in 3 Flash Gordon serials of the 30's. He was never under contract which allowed him to choose his own roles but a succession of unwise career choices led to less work in his later years so for every good role there were some bad ones. In his final years he took to the stage touring theatres showing clips from his films and talking about his work. On 19th April 1949 he was admitted to hospital and had an operation for gangrene on his right foot and died on the 22nd with cause of death being given as arteriosclerotic heart disease which he'd been suffering from for 20 years.
- Prosecutor(as Charles B. Middleton)
- Ming the Merciless
- Ferryman Douglas
- Emperor Ming
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