William Claude Dukenfield, aka W.C. Fields (1880–1946), was an American comedian, actor, juggler and writer, most famous during the 1930s and 1940s. He made several classic comedy films, but was also well known for his radio performances with Edgar Bergen's dummy Charlie McCarthy.
Fields is best known for his comic persona as a misanthropic alcoholic who generally disliked dogs, women and children, an image that was a bit Truth in Television. His films have been praised for their clever jokes and anti-sentimental comedy, which made him a Cult Actor even to this day. His magnum opus, The Bank Dick (1941), has been Vindicated by History as one of the best comedy films of all time.
- The Alcoholic
- Butt Monkey: Mostly Fields, though everybody gets his or her comeuppance.
- Child-Hater: Considering how ill behaved the kids in those movies were, who couldn't but be on his side?
- Comedic Sociopathy
- Dark Comedy: In It's a Gift, Fields' character has a deaf and blind man visit his store. The customer smashes up everything while Fields desperately tries to tell him to sit down and don't move!
- Dueling Stars Movie: W.C. Fields and Mae West were co-stars in My Little Chickadee (1941).
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: In Fields' opinion, anyway.
- Ironic Death: The actor died on the day he hated the most: Christmas Day.
- Never Work with Children or Animals: Attributed to him.
- Removable Steering Wheel: In The Bank Dick, when asked by the thug in the back seat to give him the wheel, Egbert Souse (Fields) matter-of-factly pulled it off the steering column and gave it to him. This sequence paid homage to the Mack Sennett/Keystone Kops and Hal Roach/Our Gang comedies of the 1920s and 1930s. Model T Fords were generally used for these comic chases.
- The Trickster
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist
- Would Hurt a Child: He kicks an infant in the film It's a Gift.