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Silent film giant the first star of Tinseltown to face a scandal; FATTY ARBUCKLE ON TRIAL THREE TIMES IN THE 1920s.

Byline: ANDY RICHARDSContent Editor andy.richards@trinitymirror.com @AndyRichards9

T was Tinseltown's first major scandal.

IHollywood's biggest earner, the silent film actor, comedian, director and screenwriter Roscoe Conkling "Fatty" Arbuckle was the defendant in three widely-publicised trials for the rape and manslaughter of actress Virginia Rappe.

Arbuckle was one of the most popular silent stars of the 1910s, and soon became one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood.

He signed a contract in 1920 with Paramount Pictures for US $1 million.

Rappe had fallen ill at a party hosted by Arbuckle at the St Francis Hotel in San Francisco in September 1921. She died four days later. Arbuckle was accused of raping and accidentally killing her.

Two trials resulted in hung juries.

A third concluded on December 4, 1921, when Arbuckle was found not guilty by 10-2 of rape and manslaughter. He received a formal written statement of apology from the jury.

But his career was ruined and the scandal overshadowed his legacy as a pioneering comedian. He died in his sleep of a heart attack in 1933 at age 46, reportedly on the same day he signed a contract with Warner Brothers to make a feature film.

Nowadays guests at San Francisco's Westin St Francis Hotel still ask to see the room where the infamous bootleg-boozesoused party took place.

The management are happy to show visitors the suite, if it's unoccupied, but they don't know exactly what happened in there - no-one does.

Arbuckle always insisted that he had gone to use the bathroom where he found Rappe in a drunken faint on the floor.

He had merely carried her to the bed and she had fallen off, he insisted.

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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Dec 6, 2017
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