Roscoe Fatty Arbuckle
A comic genius from the golden age of the silent cinema, the Prince of Whales was the first comedian ever to be hit by an on-screen custard pie. He was working as an overweight plumber in 1913 when he was discovered by Mack Sennett. He had come to unclog the film producer’s drain but Sennett had other plans for him. He took one look at his hefty frame and offered him a job as a Keystone Kop. Eight years later, Roscoe signed a three-year contract with Paramount for $1 million – an unheard of amount at the time, even in Holywood. To celebrate, Arbuckle and his pals booked into a room at the St Francis Hotel in San Francisco. It was to be his undoing. It was there that he was falsely accused of the rape and murder of starlet Virginia Rappe. The courts eventually cleared him but the public never did. After a huge media witch-hunt, Fatty never regained his popularity and died of a heart attack aged 46.