W. C. Fields

W. C. Fields

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William Claude Dukenfield (January 29, 1880 – December 25, 1946), better known as W. C. Fields, was an American actor, comedian, juggler, and writer.Fields's career in show business began in vaudeville, where he attained international success as a silent juggler. He began to incorporate comedy into his act and was a featured comedian in the Ziegfeld Follies for several years. He became a star in the Broadway musical comedy Poppy (1923), in which he played a colorful small-time con man. His subsequent stage and film roles were often similar scoundrels or henpecked everyman characters. Among his trademarks were his raspy drawl and grandiloquent vocabulary. His film and radio persona was generally identified with Fields himself. It was maintained by the publicity departments at Fields's studios (Paramount and Universal) and was further reinforced by Robert Lewis Taylor's 1949 biography W. C. Fields, His Follies and Fortunes. Beginning in 1973, with the publication of Fields's letters, photos, and personal notes in grandson Ronald Fields's book W. C. Fields by Himself, it was shown that Fields was married (and subsequently estranged from his wife), financially supported their son, and loved his grandchildren.