Adopted name of Michael Sinnott (1880-1960) Canadian-born US film director. Born in Richmond, Québec, Sennett moved to New York 1904, where he began to perform in vaudeville. After working as an actor in Biograph Studio films under D W Griffith 1908–11, he founded his own film production company, the Keystone Company 1911. As director, Sennett made hundreds of short slapstick comedies, cast Charles Chaplin in his first feature film (Tillie’s Punctured Romance 1914), and started the career of Gloria Swanson. In the following years, Sennett developed the slapstick style of comedy, featuring the first flying custard pie and his Keystone Kops. Before his career ended, with the advent of sound films, he had directed most of Hollywood’s major silent film stars. His studio closed 1933.