Mack Sennett was a Canadian-born American director and was known as the innovator of slapstick comedy in film. During his lifetime he was known at times as the “King of Comedy”. His short “Wrestling Swordfish” was awarded the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film in 1932 and he earned an Academy Honorary Award in 1937.
Born as Mikall Sinnott in Danville, Quebec, Canada, the son of Irish Catholic immigrant farmers. His father was a blacksmith in the small Eastern Townships village. When he was 17 years old his family moved to Connecticut.
The family lived for a time in Northampton, Massachusetts, where, according to his autobiography, Sennett first got the idea to go on stage after seeing a vaudeville show. He claimed that the most respected lawyer in town, Northampton mayor Calvin Coolidge, as well as Sennett’s own mother, tried to talk him out of his theatrical ambitions.
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 in a parodic format, between 1911 and 1913.