: I have a face that would stop a sundial.
Laughton was expected to take over the family business after graduating from Stonyhurst at age 16. His passion, however, like in the performance arts and he enrolled at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1925. In 1926, Laughton made his inaugural professional stage appearance in London in the production of The Government Inspector. This role allowed him to show his versatility as a thespian, by portraying both villainous and virtuous characters.
After many successful stage performances, Laughton made his film debut in the 1928 British-Comedy, silent comedy Blue Bottles (1928), where he would meet his future wife Elsa Lanchester.
Laughton was the original choice to play the role of Colonel Nicholson in The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957). He turned down the role, saying he did not know how to play it convincingly as he did not understand the motivations of the character. He said he only understood the character after seeing the completed film and Alec Guinness' performance.