English actor CHARLES LAUGHTON, was born on this day (d. 1962);  Poor Laughton…hated the way he looked, hated the face he was born with, and despised his corpulent body. Nonetheless, his face was his fortune and helped to make him one of the great character actors in the history of films, a performer able to portray the most diverse range of personalities with flamboyance or finesse as each part required.

No matinee idol could possibly have been assigned the variety of human types that Laughton played in his thirty year career. As a homosexual he felt cheated because he was not handsome, even though he was blessed with a wife whose love and intelligence allowed her to share him with his Gay male friends. Elsa Lanchester’s foreword to her husband’s biography is a warm and candid document, well worth reading. It is a tribute to the English actor’s genius and, unwittingly, to her own.