Ben Turpin with Charlie Chaplin - Credit: Johh McNab
Ben Turpin (1869-1940) was an American comedian of the silent era, particularly famous for his cross-eyed stare. He worked in the early days with Charlie Chaplin, but became a star through his association with slapstick film-maker Mack Sennett. Sennett often cast the ridiculous-looking Turpin against type (a rugged Yukon miner; a suave, worldly lover; a stalwart cowboy; a fearless stuntman) for maximum comic effect. When sound came to the film business Turpin was mostly relegated to cameo parts - usually some scene involving irascible staring - sometimes as a foil to the comic duo Laurel and Hardy, with whom he made his last film Saps at Sea in 1940. Turpin died of a heart attack the same year.
Here's a short clip from Saps at Sea featuring Ben Turpin's last-ever appearance, as the plumber.