|born: 23 May 1893
New York City, New York,
United States of America
|died: 24 July 1940
Hollywood, Los Angeles, California,
United States of America
|American actor. Griffin’s birth record indicates his father, Carlton L. Griffin, was 32 at the time of his birth on 23 May 1893, so he was born in either 1860 or 1861. Griffin’s mother was Minnie Elliott Griffin, hence he was given his mother’s maiden name as his middle name.
In 1910 Griffin was living at a hotel at 14 East 59th St., New York, just off Fifth Avenue, along with his parents Carlton L. (father) and Alma (mother). Griffin was then 16. His father’s occupation was listed as “chiropodist.” Apparently Griffin’s father remarried some time between 1893 and 1910, as Minnie is no longer listed as his wife.
On May 10, 1913, Griffin married Inez Cooper Waller in New York City. Inez was 21 and Carlton 19, not quite 20, although he gave his age as 21 on the marriage documents. Carlton Griffin registered for the draft on May 31, 1917. At that time he was residing at 63 East 59th St., New York City, just down the block from where he’d been living with his parents in 1910. He was 24 and listed his occupation as “theatrical,” “self” employed, and “transient,” indicating he was either between jobs, or normally on the vaudeville circuit and not attached to a regular theatrical company. Physical features: height and build both “medium,” eyes “brown,” hair “medium brown.”
Subsequent to his registration, Griffin enlisted as a private, Co. G of the 305th Infantry, on October 11, 1917. He served until discharged on May 15, 1919.
On June 13, 1930, Griffin married Verna Bell Miller in New York City. Despite his earlier marriage, Griffin listed himself as “single” rather than divorced or widowed. Verna was then 34 and Carlton 37. Verna’s date of birth was June 25, 1896, so technically she was still 33 on her wedding day. Griffin’s previous wife, Inez Cooper Waller, seems to have separated from him some time prior to 1919. A passenger manifest for the liner Espagnerecords her arrival in New York from Bordeaux on 7 February 1919, and shows she was traveling under her maiden name and that she resided in Philadelphia. Less than a year later, she married Herman Thomas Morgan in New York on 22 November 1919. Again, this marriage record doesn’t indicate any previous marriage for her, either.
In April 1940, Griffin was living at the Blackburn Apts., 1805 Wilcox Ave., Los Angeles, with his wife Verna. They’d been residing at the same place in 1935. Griffin was listed as “actor – films,” but had not worked in the previous 30 weeks, or since approximately August or September 1939. Despite this lack of work, he’d made $1100 the previous year. Griffin indicated he had completed 4 years of college, and Verna had completed 3. The Griffins were renting their apartment for $50 a month. (Quite a number of their neighboring tenants also worked in the entertainment industry, including Fuzzy Knight).
Less than four months after he’d provided information to the census taker, Carlton Griffin passed away at 2 A.M. on 24 July 1940. This was only 5 weeks after Charley Chase, with whom he’d worked so frequently. Some time between April and July the Griffins moved to 1776 North Sycamore Avenue, Los Angeles. The death certificate indicated Griffin had resided in California approximately 10 years. (He definitely resided there at various times in the 1920s, as evidenced by his film work, but he doesn’t seem to have established permanent residency there until about 1930, or around the time of his earliest appearances in Charley Chase’s films). His occupation is listed as “Actor – Stage & Screen.” Unlike all other records, this death certificate reports Griffin’s birthplace not as New York City, but Seneca Falls, NY. Cause of death is listed as “Cardiac failure, chr[onic] myocarditis, chr[onic] alcoholism.” In other words, a heart attack due to heart inflammation brought about by drinking – the same ailments Chase died of. Notes indicate Griffin had had these health problems 2 years, or since some time in 1938, though no doubt his alcoholism dated back further. Griffin was cremated and interred at Forest Lawn. Verna outlived Carlton by 37 years. She never remarried, and passed away at the age of 81 in Orange, CA, on August 17, 1977.
|Real name: Carlton Elliott Griffin||Films listed on this page: complete Hal Roach filmography.|