- "You hear this, you son of a bitch! I'm gonna get you for it! I'm gonna get you, and I'm gonna get Eddie! No matter what!"
- ―Charles to Mike before his death.
Charles Lee Ray, also known as the Lakeshore Strangler, was Chucky's original human form.
Child's Play (1988)
Chased and engaged in a shoot-out with detective Mike Norris, Charles is shot in his leg. His accomplice Eddie abandons him in their getaway van when Jack Santos approaches in his police car. With nowhere left to run, Charles hides in a nearby toy store but is fatally shot by Mike. Knowing he will die soon, he plans on using the soul transferring technique he was taught by his voodoo instructor John. However, he cannot find another person nearby to switch souls with, and in desperation decides to use a Good Guy doll. He swears to Mike that he would come back for him, before using his amulet, the Heart of Damballa, to transfer his soul into the doll. The store is then struck by lightning, and Mike finds Charles dead.
Bride of Chucky (1998)
With the fingerprints of Charles found on a cigarette lighter at a recent murder scene, the police plan to excavate his corpse to find out what is going on. Before the police go through with and open his coffin, Chucky arrives with Jade to retrieve the Heart of Damballa from around his skeleton's neck.
Curse of Chucky (2013)
Before the events of the first film, Charles had a double life as a serial killer and a regular civilian. While at a neighbourhood barbeque, a mutual friend of his introduces him to a woman named Sarah and her family. He looks down at a young Barb, and remarks that she has her mother's eyes. Over time Charles becomes increasingly obsessed with Sarah, and about taking her husband Daniel's place.
Intending not to let Sarah go, Charles drives up to Daniel one night and offers him a ride home. Sometime during this ride Charles manages to subdue and drown him. He attends Daniel's funeral, and proceeds to kidnap Sarah shortly after. He ties her up inside his safe house, while his accomplice Eddie waits outside in their getaway van. Bringing her sunflowers, he tells her he is going to pick up Barb from daycare. Sarah attempts to get him to stay, telling him she wants to spend more time with him alone. He retorts that that's a "selfish fucking attitude for a mother to take", and asks if she doesn't want to share him with Barb. When she shakes her head no, he asks if she is going to keep him from the new baby too, as that would be very hurtful to him. Suddenly much to Charles' surprise, the police quickly have his safe house surrounded as Sarah managed to call the cops earlier about her suspicions. Feeling betrayed about Sarah destroying their "family", Charles stabs her in the stomach hitting the baby inside. Right after Charles escapes the house intending to reach Eddie, but instead his partner drives away before he can reach him. He is then pursued by Detective Norris.
Charles' past is slowly revealed through a series of flashbacks. The first flashback is in 1965 when Charles is 7-years-old, after he returns home from trick-or-treating during Halloween. He decides to pick up an apple that he received, and notices a razor blade stuck inside of it. He bites into it regardless, and smiles after the razor blade cut into his mouth causing it to bleed.
The second flashback is as Chucky is reminiscing about his first kill. During his birthday party, he uses a mallet to knock the piñata to the ground, but continues to aggressively smash it even after it has fallen. He overhears the news of a serial killer on the loose on the radio, and delights in plunging a knife into his birthday cake. Later that night, Charles wakes from his sleep to discover the serial killer has broken into his house and is stabbing his father Peter to death. His mother Elizabeth takes him and the two hide in a closet, but Charles manages to grab his pocketknife before they hide. The killer soon finds their hiding place, but when he opens the closet, he finds that Charles already stabbed his mother to death, claiming to have "helped". Impressed by the boy's actions, the killer gives him advice that he should always cover his tracks, and wipes the blood off his pocketknife before handing it back to him.
The third flashback is in 1972, where a now 14-year-old Charles is staying at the Burlington County Home for Wayward Boys in South Jersey. He attempts to mold three boys into following his killer footsteps, teaching them swear words and reading them fairy tales twisted to revolve around murder. One day while running through the house, the janitor becomes angry with him for messing up his clean floor with dirty sneakers, and proceeds to wet his only pair of shoes with the filthy mop. This displeases Charles, who murders the janitor with his pocketknife and dumps his body in the forest. A few days later, he takes his group of three boys on a Peter Pan-esque adventure to get Captain Hook. He leads them through the forest and to the corpse of the janitor. Charles claims that the janitor is Captain Hook, as he cut off the janitor's hand and shoved a hook into the bloody stump. Two of the boys run away screaming, but one stays with Charles, a boy named Eddie Caputo. That night, the police arrive at the Burlington Home to investigate the janitor's death. Before leaving and going on the run, Charles says goodbye to Eddie and gifts him the janitor's severed hand.
The fourth flashback is set in 1986, where Charles is seen hanging out at a nightclub. He approaches a woman named Delilah, and they then pick up another red-headed woman before leaving to the Hackensack Hotel. He watches the two women kiss on the bed before grabbing the red-headed woman by the neck and holding a knife to her head. Smiling, she tells him to do it, but he hesitates and instead stabs Delilah in the stomach. He hands the knife to the other woman, allowing her to finish the job and kill Delilah. Exhilarated by the kill, they jump on the bed and start making out. She tells him her name is Tiffany, and remarks that he should go by "Chucky".
The fifth flashback is in 1987, where Charles and Tiffany are looking to purchase a Pontiac car. While talking to the car salesman, Charles argues that the car he's selling isn't vintage or an antique, it's just old like him. He tells the man not to worry as they're going to give him another paint job too, just as Tiffany sneaks up behind him and slits his throat with her nail file. Taking the keys from the man, the two get into the car. Charles reads a book on voodoo as Tiffany drives out of Hackensack and to Chicago.
The final flashback is set in 1988, after Charles and Tiffany have moved into an apartment in Chicago. They order a pizza and kill the delivery man, leaving his body in their bathroom while they fool around in the living room. Sometime later, Tiffany arrives back to the apartment to find Charles killing a woman without her. She becomes upset as "killing is an 'us' thing", which Charles brushes off claiming he has a life outside of her. Tired of listening to Tiffany's whining, he puts on his coat and storms out of the apartment. Unbeknownst to him, she then calls Mike Norris with information about Charles after he leaves.
Murders Committed by Charles
- Vivian Van Pelt: Strangulation. Off-screen. (Mentioned)
- Tiffany's Mother: Death mentioned.
- Daniel Pierce: Drowned. Off-screen. (Flashback)
- Elizabeth Ray: Stabbed to death. Off-screen. (Flashback)
- Janitor: Hand cut off and throat slit. Off-screen. (Flashback)
- Delilah: Stabbed to death, with Tiffany. (Flashback)
- Pizza Delivery Man: Stabbed by Charles and/or Tiffany. Off-screen. (Flashback)
- Unnamed Woman: Stabbed. Off-screen. (Flashback)
- His name is derived from the names of three notorious killers: Charles Manson, Lee Harvey Oswald, and James Earl Ray.
- As a child, Charles lived at 987 Sherwood Lane in Hackensack. As an adult, Charles lived at 730 Stoney Island Avenue on the South Side of Chicago.
- In Child's Play 2, Charles is mentioned by Grace to have murdered at least 12 people in a series of ritual voodoo killings.
- The story of Charles Lee Ray becoming the killer doll has become a legend in the Child's Play universe, as a movie about him had been made in Hollywood in Seed of Chucky, called "Chucky Goes Psycho".
- In the Child's Play 2 novel, Charles' mother was an alcoholic dwarf who was abusive to him for being taller than her. His father left before his son was born. He did poorly in school and was put in special classes. At the age of 13, after being abused for years and teased constantly by other children about his mother's height, he strangled her to death.