Albert Austin

Albert Austin (13 December 1881 – 17 August 1953) was an English actor, film star, director, and script writer, remembered for his work in Charlie Chaplin films.

Albert Austin
Albert Austin at United Artists Studio.jpg
Albert Austin at United Artists (1920)
Born13 December 1881
Died17 August 1953(1953-08-17) (aged 71)
Years active1912–1930


Austin with Charlie Chaplin

Austin was born in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England, and was a music hall performer before going to the United States with Chaplin, both as members of the Fred Karno troupe in 1910.

Known for his painted handlebar moustache and acerbic manner, he worked for Chaplin's stock company and played supporting roles in many of his films, often as a foil to the star and working as his assistant director.

After the development of sound films, he moved into scriptwriting, directing, and acting, chiefly in comedy shorts. Among other things, he assisted Chaplin in developing the plot of The Adventurer (1917). However, he only received screen credit as a collaborator once, for City Lights (1931).

As an actor, he appeared in Chaplin's comedies for the Mutual Film Corporation. Later he had two brief, uncredited roles in one of Chaplin's 'silent' comedies made in the sound era, City Lights. Austin is also seen very briefly (as a cab driver) at the beginning of Chaplin's short film One A.M. (1916). He also appeared in films starring Jackie Coogan and Mack Sennett.

Austin's best known performance may be in Chaplin's short The Pawnshop (1916). Austin enters the shop with an alarm clock, hoping to pawn it. To establish the clock's value, Chaplin dissects it. Austin maintains a deadpan expression as Chaplin progressively destroys his clock, then hands the pieces back to Austin.

He had the leading role in Mary Pickford's Suds (1920), where he co-stars as a customer leaving his shirt at her laundry. In that film he appears without his comic moustache.

In his final years he worked as a police officer at the Warner Brothers studios, according to a The New York Times obituary. He died on 17 August 1953, and was interred at Grand View Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.[1]


Year Title Role Notes
1915 A Safe Investment Detective Short
1916 The Floorwalker Shop assistant Short
1916 The Fireman Fireman Short
1916 The Vagabond Trombonist Short
1916 One A.M. Taxi Driver Short
1916 The Count Tall Guest Short, Uncredited
1916 The Pawnshop Client with clock Short
1916 Behind the Screen Scene Shifter Short, Uncredited
1916 The Rink The Cook / Skater Short
1917 Easy Street Minister / Policeman Short, Uncredited
1917 The Cure Sanitarium Attendant Short
1917 The Immigrant A Diner / An Immigrant Short
1917 The Adventurer The Butler Short
1918 A Dog's Life Thief / Employment agency clerk Short, Uncredited
1918 Triple Trouble Policeman Short, Uncredited
1918 The Bond Friend Short, Uncredited
1918 Shoulder Arms American Soldier / Clean Shaven German Soldier / Bearded German Soldier / The Kaiser's driver
1919 The Professor Man in Flophouse Short, Uncredited
1920 Suds Horace Greensmith
1921 The Kid Man in Shelter / The Car Thief
1923 A Prince of a King Uncredited
1925 The Gold Rush Prospector Uncredited
1928 The Circus Clown Uncredited
1931 City Lights Street Sweeper / Burglar Uncredited, (final film role)


  1. ^ Ellenberger, Allan R. (2001). Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company. p. 103. ISBN 9780786409839.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)

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