Charles King

Active - 1921 - 1949  |   Born - Feb 21, 1895   |   Died - May 7, 1957   |   Genres - Western, Adventure, Action

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Biography by AllMovie

Though never officially billed as Charles "Blackie" King, American actor Charlie King played so many "Blackies" in B-westerns that one is astounded to discover that it wasn't his middle name. Drifting into films in the '20s, the squat, stubble-chinned, mustachioed King picked up minor roles as chauffeurs, interns and bridegrooms in the two-reel comedies of such performers as Our Gang, the Three Stooges and Leon Errol. It was during the B-western boom of the early talkie era that King really came into his own, showing up in virtually every other poverty-row oater as a gang boss, lynch-mob leader or sinister henchman. Evidently King felt the day was wasted if he wasn't dynamiting a dam, setting fire to homesteaders' shacks, or engaging the hero in a fistic battle. Outtakes of these westerns have revealed that this "human monster" was actually shy and soft-spoken, never reverting to profanity when blowing his lines (more than can be said for some of the "clean-living" western heroes of the era). In fact, King's private life was governed by his formidable wife, who had spies posted at the studio to make certain that King came home right away with his paycheck without any side trips to bars or gaming tables. Gaining a beard and excess weight in the late '40s, King began appearing less frequently as villains and more often as roly-poly comedy relief. King literally died with his boots on, suffering a heart attack after shooting a 1957 episode of Gunsmoke -- in which he played a corpse! William K. Everson's 1964 coffee-table book The Bad Guys was affectionately dedicated to the scurrilously prolific Charles "Blackie" King.

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