Laughton, Charles, 1899–1962, Anglo-American actor, b. Scarborough, England. A large, versatile character actor, Laughton was successful both in films and on the stage. In The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933), his lusty portrait of the king, for which he won the Academy Award, was startlingly direct. Other notable roles include Ruggles of Red Gap (1935), Mutiny on the Bounty (1935), Witness for the Prosecution (1957), and Advise and Consent (1962). He directed one film, The Night of the Hunter (1955), a forceful allegory of good and evil. In 1951 he directed and starred in a dramatic reading of Shaw's Don Juan in Hell.
See biography by his wife, Elsa Lanchester (1938); S. Callow, Charles Laughton: A Difficult Actor (1987, repr. 1997).