Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Rondo Hatton - The Creeper

Rondo Hatton who is remembered for his roles as the “Creeper” was known as a kind gentleman was born in Hagerstown, Maryland on April 22, 1894 to Stewart Price and Emily Zarring Hatton, who were both teachers. Accounts of his early life report the Hatton was handsome as a young who excelled in sports. As an adult Hatton suffered from a condition called Gigantism caused by the Hyper secretion of growth hormones resulting in enlarging of the forehead, mouth, jaw, fingers, joints, and feet, and a coarsening of the skin.  It is believed that his disfigurement was the reason for to his divorce from his first wife Elizabeth James.

While working as a reporter for The Tampa Tribune, Hatton was assigned to cover the filming of Hell Harbor (1930). The director of the film, Henry King noticed Hatton and hired him for a small role, that of a waterfront tavern keeper.  In 1936 Hatton moved the Hollywood where sustained himself by acting in uncredited roles and bit parts. Universal Studios attempting to capitalize on Hatton’s condition for shock value and signed him on for a six movie contract. The studio publicity department would often promote the fact that Hatton had no need for makeup for his roles. He made his first appearance for the studio in the Sherlock Holmes movie, The Pearl of Death (1944).  The Brute Man (1946), ironically, its plot was in eerie reflection of Hatton’s own life about a handsome college athlete scarred and turned into a monster by an accident. Perhaps because of his worsening condition, Hatton had trouble remembering his lines and often seem confused to his fellow actors.
Despite Hatton’s difficulties on the set, Universal Studios had planned a series of Creeper movies featuring him. Unfortunately Hatton died of a heart attack on February 2, 1946 he was only 51 years old. His last film, The Brute Man (1946), would not be released until October 1, 1946, eight months after his death.

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