After 22 years of experience with minstrel shows, vaudeville, and legitimate theater, in 1913 he joined Mack Sennett's Keystone comedies. Standing 6'2" and weighing 280 pounds, he was skilled in knockabout, slapstick comedy; he supported Charlie Chaplin in many of the latter's earliest shorts. In late 1914 he began starring in his own comedy series, portraying Ambrose, an energetic, lecherous lout with a huge mustache and thick makeup. In the late teens his career started drying up, and he might have become a has-been if not for Charlie Chaplin, who rescued his career; he played supporting roles in many of Chaplin's films, including his features. He was especially memorable in The Gold Rush (1925) as the starving prospector who imagines Chaplin to be a chicken dinner. He went on to play character parts and occasional leads through the early '30s.