Charley Grapewin was born in Xenia, Ohio in 1869. He first worked as a trapeze artist with P.T. Barnum before turning to acting. Grapewin performed on stage with various stock companies and wrote stage plays as a vehicle to star in. He co-wrote the words and music to the Broadway production The Awakening of Mr. Pipp performed in 1904.
During his long film career, Grapewin appeared in more than 95 features. He began in silent films, appearing in his first short-reel comedy in 1900 for American Mutoscope & Biograph where he performed with his wife. However, he did not appear on film again until 1929 and the advent of "talkies". His last film appearance was in 1951.
He married actress Anna Chance in 1895. She passed away in 1943.
Grapewin died in Corona, California, in 1956. He was 86 years old.