Charlie Chan At The Circus Cast

Summary: “Charlie Chan at the Circus” is a classic movie released in 1936, starring Warner Oland as detective Charlie Chan. It revolves around the murder of a circus owner and features an ensemble cast of talented actors. In this article, we will delve into the cast of “Charlie Chan at the Circus” and learn more about their roles and their careers.

1. Warner Oland as Charlie Chan

Warner Oland was a Swedish-American actor known for his portrayal of Asian characters, including detective Charlie Chan. He played the titular character in 16 films between 1931 and 1937, including “Charlie Chan at the Circus.” In the film, Oland’s Chan investigates the murder of a circus owner and unravels a web of lies and deceit.

Oland began his career on Broadway before transitioning to Hollywood films. He appeared in over 100 films throughout his career and was considered one of the most successful Asian actors of his time. Unfortunately, he passed away in 1938 at the age of 58 due to bronchial pneumonia, leaving behind a lasting legacy as one of Hollywood’s most memorable detectives.

Despite criticisms of his portrayal of Asian characters, Oland’s performances as Charlie Chan remain iconic and continue to entertain audiences today.

2. Keye Luke as Lee Chan

Keye Luke played Lee Chan, Charlie Chan’s son and assistant in “Charlie Chan at the Circus.” Luke was a Chinese-American actor who appeared in many Hollywood films and TV shows throughout his career, often playing Asian characters like his onscreen father.

Luke’s role as Lee Chan allowed him to showcase his acting skills and charm audiences with his wit and humor. He went on to appear in several other Charlie Chan films, as well as in other popular films such as “Gremlins” and the TV series “Kung Fu.”

Aside from acting, Luke was also an accomplished artist and worked as an illustrator for many years. He passed away in 1991 at the age of 86, but his legacy as a talented actor and artist lives on.

3. Francis Ford as John Gaines

Francis Ford played John Gaines, the owner of the circus who is murdered in “Charlie Chan at the Circus.” Ford was a prolific actor and director, appearing in over 400 films throughout his career. He was also the older brother of iconic film director John Ford.

In “Charlie Chan at the Circus,” Ford’s character is portrayed as a selfish and unlikable man who has made enemies within the circus. Despite his character’s flaws, Ford delivers a solid performance and adds depth to the film’s murder mystery plot.

Ford passed away in 1953 at the age of 72, but his contributions to Hollywood as both an actor and director continue to be celebrated today.

4. Maxine Reiner as Marie Norman

Maxine Reiner played Marie Norman, a circus performer who becomes a suspect in John Gaines’ murder. Reiner was an American actress who appeared in many films and TV shows throughout her career.

Reiner’s performance in “Charlie Chan at the Circus” showcases her versatility as an actress. Her character goes through various emotions and experiences throughout the film, and Reiner brings a sense of authenticity to her portrayal.

Reiner continued acting well into the 1950s, appearing in popular TV shows such as “The Lone Ranger” and “The Adventures of Superman.” She passed away in 1974 at the age of 59.

5. John McGuire as Mickey Daniels

John McGuire played Mickey Daniels, a circus employee and suspect in John Gaines’ murder. McGuire was an American actor who appeared in many films throughout his career, including “Charlie Chan at the Circus.”

McGuire’s performance as Mickey Daniels adds a layer of complexity to the film’s plot. His character is initially introduced as a suspicious figure, but as the story unfolds, audiences begin to see him in a new light.

After his acting career, McGuire went on to work in public relations for companies such as Walt Disney Productions and NBC. He passed away in 1956 at the age of 48 due to complications from surgery.


The cast of “Charlie Chan at the Circus” features a talented group of actors who bring their characters to life in unique and memorable ways. Warner Oland’s iconic portrayal of Charlie Chan continues to entertain audiences today, while Keye Luke’s performance as Lee Chan adds humor and heart to the film. Francis Ford, Maxine Reiner, and John McGuire all deliver solid performances that contribute to the film’s complex murder mystery plot. Together, the cast of “Charlie Chan at the Circus” creates a timeless classic that is sure to entertain generations to come.

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