Born in Oskaloosa, Iowa, Chester Conklin was one of three children who grew up in a violent household. Chester Conklin ran away from home and headed to Des Moines where he found employment as a hotel bellhop but then moved to Omaha, Nebraska where his interest in live theatre led to a career in comedic acting. He spent several years touring with stock companies, doing vaudeville shows, as well as clown work with a travelling circus.
A short, stocky man, as part of his vaudeville act Conklin grew a large moustache that later in film became a trademark. While in Venice, California during the 1913 winter break, the then twenty-
However, while at Keystone, Conklin became most famous when he was teamed up with the robust comic Mack Swain to make a series of comedies. With Swain as "Ambrose" and Conklin as the grand mustachioed "Walrus", they performed these roles in several films including "The Battle of Ambrose and Walrus" and "Love, Speed and Thrills," both made in 1915. Beyond these "Ambrose & Walrus" comedies, the two appeared together in twenty-
In 1920, Chester Conklin went to Fox Film Corporation then to Famous Players-
For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Chester Conklin has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1560 Vine Street.