Billy West was only one of the many Charlie Chaplin impersonators of the period. But he was by far the best — so good in fact that Chaplin didn’t sue him for plagiarism.
Billy West’s comedies for the independent King Bee Film Company were major hits of the World War One years. Although his mannerisms were definitely those of the Little Tramps’, much of the comedy was new and more original than the other imitators.
In 1921 Billy West abandoned the Chaplin imitation. He continued to make fine comedies, but never regained his former popularity. In the late twenties, West would be successful behind the camera as a producer and director.