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W.C. Fields’ grandson to present program on early American star

November 10, 2018

BULLHEAD CITY — Ronald J. Fields, grandson of William Claude Dukenfield, will be speaking at El Palacio, at 1885 Highway 95 in Bullhead City, at 4 p.m. today.

Dukenfield was better known as W.C. Fields, an early American actor, comedian, writer and juggler.

Fields will be presenting a biographical PowerPoint on Dukenfield which covers his early life, his life in Hollywood and more.

“The youngest picture I have of W.C. is when he was 5 years old,” said Fields. “The presentation is about 20 to 40 minutes and it goes through his life with very little interruption.

“At one point W.C. was considered the best juggler but around 1915, when he was 35 years old, he quit juggling,” said Fields. “He stated that he quit juggling because he didn’t want to show a lesser part of himself.”

Fields said that his grandfather’s wife, Harriet “Hattie” Hughes, kept all of W.C. Fields’ letters, scripts and more.

“We were going to sell my grandfather’s house but when we were going through it we found a small storage place in the basement,” said Fields. “That’s when we found all of his letters, scripts, scrapbooks and more.”

Fields’ appearance is part of the Silent Era in History Series presented by Sharon Hofstra Haugen, who contacted Fields to talk about his grandfather because he was very popular during the silent era in Hollywood. Fields also enjoyed wide popularity in the new-fangled era of talkies.

“During the event, Ronald J. Fields is going to be signing his book ‘W.C. Fields By Himself,’ ” said Haugen.

Fields is closer to the story than the average author, making his presentation a candid glimpse of the Ziegfeld Follies actor, made famous by his role in the 1923 movie “Poppy.”

“The reason why I titled the book ‘W.C. Fields by Himself’ is that most of the words are from W.C. himself from the scripts and letters he left. It’s almost like a biography,” said Fields. “What I really want people to take out of the presentation is a deeper understanding of W.C. I’m not just a historian telling people the story of W.C. but rather I’m a family member that is proud to have W.C. as a grandfather.”

Those who would like to attend should call Haugen at 928-201-22699 or email at sharonlynne42@gmail.com because space is limited.

A $5 donation at the door is appreciated and a no-host cocktail event starts at 3 p.m. with happy hour prices.

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