At 17, Dee Lampton made his big screen debut in a 30 minute short subject opposite Charlie Chaplin. He was billed in the silent production as “Fat Boy.” Dee was signed on to producer Hal Roach’s stable of players, usually relegated to playing characters that exploited his considerable weight. At nearly 300 pounds, Dee was surprisingly agile and was able to tackle the physical requirements of the roles he was given. In five years, Dee appeared in over fifty films, mostly as a supporting player to comedian Harold Lloyd, including the “Luke” series of shorts. Dee was featured in a starring role in a series of shorts playing the unlikely-named character “Skinny Schemer.”
In 1919, Dee died as a result of appendicitis. He was just twenty years-old. His last film was delayed in its release for a year, while star Harold Lloyd recovered from an accident involving a prop bomb explosion while on a promotional tour. Because of this, Dee had faded from the public’s memory.