Mack Sennett

Mack Sennett
Mack Sennett 1916.jpg
Michael Sinnott

(1880-01-17)January 17, 1880
DiedNovember 5, 1960(1960-11-05) (aged 80)
OccupationActor, director, producer, screenwriter, presenter, composer, cinematographer
Years active1908–1949

Mack Sennett (born Michael Sinnott; January 17, 1880 – November 5, 1960) was a Canadian-American film actor, director, and producer, and studio head, known as the King of Comedy.

Born in Canada, he started in films in the Biograph company of New York, and later opened Keystone Studios in Edendale, California in 1912. It was the first fully enclosed film stage, and Sennett became famous as the originator of slapstick routines such as pie-throwing and car-chases, as seen in the Keystone Cops films. He also produced short features that displayed his Bathing Beauties, many of whom went on to develop successful acting careers.

Sennett's work in sound-movies was less successful and he was bankrupted in 1933. He was presented with an honorary Academy Award for his contribution to film comedy.

Early life

Born Michael Sinnott in Richmond Ste-Bibiane Parish, Quebec, Canada, he was the son of Irish Catholic John Sinnott and Catherine Foy, married 1879 in Tingwick, Québec.[1] The newlyweds moved the same year to Richmond, where John Sinnott was hired as a laborer. By 1883, when Michael's brother George was born, John Sinnott was working in Richmond as an innkeeper; he worked as an innkeeper for many years afterward. John Sinnott and Catherine Foy had all their children and raised their family in Richmond, then a small Eastern Townships village. At that time, Michael's grandparents were living in Danville, Québec. Michael Sinnott moved to Connecticut when he was 17 years old.

He lived for a while in Northampton, Massachusetts, where, according to his autobiography, Sennett first got the idea to become an opera singer after seeing a vaudeville show. He claimed that the most respected lawyer in town, Northampton mayor (and future President of the United States) Calvin Coolidge, as well as Sennett's own mother, tried to talk him out of his musical ambitions.[2]

In New York City, Sennett became an actor, singer, dancer, clown, set designer, and director for Biograph. A major distinction in his acting career, often overlooked, is the fact that Sennett played Sherlock Holmes 11 times, albeit as a parody, between 1911 and 1913. [3]

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