Charlie King

Charlie "Blackie" King

Charles Lafayette "Blackie" King Jr. (1895–1957). American Actor and Performer. In films since childhood (as a teenager he appeared in The Birth of a Nation (1915), Charles King played a variety of roles in silent films, and even made a series of comedy shorts for Universal in the 1920s. However, it was as a villain in sound westerns that King achieved his greatest fame. In the 1930s and 1940s his jowly face, beady eyes, droopy walrus mustache and overhanging beer belly became familiar to legions of fans of B westerns--especially those of rock-bottom PRC Pictures, where he put in a lot of time--as he appeared in scores of them, and you knew as soon as you saw him that he would meet his doom before the end of the last reel. Sometimes he was actually the head of the gang, but usually he was just a hired gun or "middle management". There's a line in Blazing Saddles (1974) where Gene Wilder says, "I've killed more men than Cecil B. DeMille"; it's doubtful that anyone has been killed more times in films than Charlie King. He's been shot, beaten, run over, thrown off cliffs and blown up by the likes of John Wayne, Buster Crabbe, Buck Jones, Tim McCoy, and pretty much anyone who ever appeared in a film with him--if he had been in a Shirley Temple movie, even she would have found a way to bump him off. After a memorable career as a punching bag, piñata and moving target for most of the actors in Hollywood, Charlie King retired, and died of cirrhosis of the liver in 1957.  

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