Billie Ritchie was born in Scotland in 1874 and joined the world-renowned Karno Fun Factory and Comedy Troupe traveling the world with Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel, among others. In 1914 he left Karno and began making silent films for director Henry "Pathe" Lehrman's L-Ko Comedy studios and then his Fox/Sunshine Studios. Ritchie always claimed that Charlie Chaplin imitated his on-stage character of a rag-bedecked "little tramp," although he himself was saddled with the description of being one of the many Chaplin imitators. In late 1919 Ritchie was injured while making a Lehrmann comedy when several ostriches used in filming attacked the unfortunate actor. He was severely injured, and over the next two years was confined to his bed with serious back and internal injuries. He eventually succumbed to his injuries on July 6, 1921, dying in bed at his Hollywood home at 1200 North McCadden Place. He was only 42.