William Claude Dukenfield, a.k.a. 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 TruthInTelevision. His films have been praised for their clever jokes and anti-sentimental comedy, which made him a cult actor even to this day. His MagnumOpus, ''Film/TheBankDick'' (1941), has been VindicatedByHistory as one of the best comedy films of all time.
Fields is endlessly quotable, being a funny comedian as he is. Not all of it is safe for work though.
Fields is also present on the album cover of ''Music/SgtPeppersLonelyHeartsClubBand'' by Music/TheBeatles.
!!Tropes associated with W.C. Fields:
* TheAlcoholic: Sadly TruthInTelevision.
-->"Whilst traveling through Afghanistan, we lost our corkscrew. Had to live on food and water for several days." [''My Little Chickadee'', 1940]
* ButtMonkey: Mostly Fields, though everybody gets his or her comeuppance.
* ChildHater: Considering how ill behaved the kids in those movies were, who couldn't but be on his side?
* DarkComedy: 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!
* DefiantToTheEnd: In his last days, one of his friends was surprised to discover him reading the Bible, as he'd always had disdain for religion. Fields replied that he was looking for loopholes.
* DuelingStarsMovie: W.C. Fields and Creator/MaeWest were co-stars in ''My Little Chickadee'' (1941).
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: He was a very dirty comic trapped in an era that didn't allow it to be put onscreen (much like Creator/MaeWest, only she did find a way around this). But he did sneak the occasional joke past, like the several times in ''The Bank Dick'' where we see the titular dick entering a bar called The Black Pussy.
* IronicDeath: The actor died on the day he hated the most: Christmas Day.
* NeverWorkWithChildrenOrAnimals: Attributed to him.
* RemovableSteeringWheel: 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/[[TheLittleRascals Our Gang]] comedies of the 1920s and 1930s. Model T Fords were generally used for these comic chases.
* RunningGag: Perhaps the most famous ever: Whenever his character goes outside or inside in ''The Fatal Glass Of Beer'', which takes place during a snowstorm in Alaska, he pauses in the door and says with great pathos: "And it ain't a fit night out ... for man nor beast." [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JOfYbhzy0g And EVERY TIME he gets a bucket of snow thrown in his face.]]
* SmokingIsCool: In ''The Bank Dick'', after being incorrectly identified as a hero in his small town, Fields entertains some kids with some cigarette tricks. He sends them off, saying "I'll teach you when you're older! Didn't take it up myself 'til I was nine..."
* WouldHurtAChild: He kicks an infant in the film ''It's a Gift''.