Did W. C. Fields really hate children, or was that just part of his comedy routine?
It was probably just part of his curmudgeonly act. William Claude Fields (1880-1946) was born William Claude Dukenfield in Philadelphia. He began his career at age 11, working as an itinerant juggler. The Ziegfeld Follies gave him his first real boost, and by 1925 he was doing film work with D. W. Griffith. His form of comedy was always raffish, featuring the drunken cad with a swaggering machismo. Fields is especially remembered for his one-liners, such as “I never met a kid I liked” and “Anybody who hates children and dogs can’t be all bad.” For all that bluster, however, his last will and testament suggests sentiments of a different sort. Fields had specified that his money be used to establish a “W. C. Fields College for orphan white boys and girls, where no religion of any sort is to be preached.”