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Overview for Boris Karloff
Boris Karloff

Boris Karloff


TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (21)

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The Ape ... Dr. Bernard Adrian is a kindly mad scientist who seeks to cure a young woman's... more info $10.95was $14.99 Buy Now

The Fatal... In one of his numerous appearances as the immortal Detective Wong, the equally... more info $8.95was $9.99 Buy Now

Doomed To Die ... The fifth installment in a six-part mystery series centering around beloved... more info $8.95was $9.99 Buy Now

Dick Tracy... Fearless detective Dick Tracy meets his match when he tangles with Gruesome, the... more info $8.95was $9.99 Buy Now

The Lost... Victor McLaglen, Boris Karloff, Wallace Ford. A WWI unit in Mesopotamia loses... more info $12.95was $17.99 Buy Now

Hollywood... "Doctor X" (1932) is an early shock classic with Lionel Atwill as a Long Island... more info $22.46was $29.99 Buy Now

Also Known As: Died: February 2, 1969
Born: November 23, 1887 Cause of Death: respiratory disease
Birth Place: London, England, GB Profession: Cast ...


Cast (feature film)

Masque of Madness, A (2014)
Clips from more than 170 films pay tribute to the magnificent voice, strong chin, and many masks of Boris Karloff. Along with the famous monster, Karloff played mad scientists and a host of other characters, and here they all interact in both humorous and dramatic ways.
Transylvania Twist (1989) as Himself (Archival Footage)
A shy Transylvanian librarian is forced to collect 200 years of overdue fines on the "Book of All-Evil".
Madhouse (1974) as Himself (Archival Footage)
A horror star''''s attempted comeback is complicated by a string of murders.
Cauldron of Blood (1971) as [Charles] Badulescu
A sadistic sculptor who tortures his wife, gets revenge on her after she tries to turn the tables on him by killing people and giving him the bones for his work.
The Crimson Cult (1970) as Professor Marsh
When his brother disappears, Robert Manning pays a visit to the remote country house he was last heard from. While his host is outwardly welcoming - and his niece more demonstrably so - Manning detects a feeling of menace in the air with the legend of Lavinia Morley, Black Witch of Greymarsh, hanging over everything.
Mad Monster Party (1969) as
The Voices of Boris Karloff, Phyllis Diller, and Ethel Ennis. Frankenstein celebrates his retirement by throwing a bash and inviting every ghoul in town in this animated feature using three-dimensional figures in a stop-motion process called ''Animagic''.
Targets (1968) as Byron Orlok
An aging horror star and a psychotic veteran come face to face at the premiere of the star''''s most recent film.
The Venetian Affair (1967) as Dr. Pierre Vaugiroud
A reporter investigates an American diplomat''s murder in Venice.
Mondo balordo (1967) as Narrator
The Sorcerers (1967) as Professor Monserrat
A great hypnotist develops a technique for controlling minds.
The Daydreamer (1966) as The Rat
The teen-aged Hans Christian Anderson runs away from home and turns his dreams into classic stories.
The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini (1966) as Hiram Stokely, the corpse
Hiram Stokley is a recently desased corpse who learns that he has 24 hours to mastermind and perform one good deed in order to get into Heaven, so he enlists the help of his long deceased girlfriend Cecily, a ghost, to stop his greedy lawyer, Reginald Ripper and his henchman J. Sinister Hulk from claiming his estate for themselves and protecting his eligible heirs, Chuck, Lili, Hiram's cousin Myrtle, and her son who brings his beach party friends up at the mansion for a pool party while Reginald Ripper also employs his daughter Sinistra, and J. Sinister Hulk's slow-witted associates Chicken Feather and Yolanda to help them terrorize the teens, while dopey biker Eric Von Zipper and his Malibu Rat Pack bikers also get involved in pursuing Yolanda for a share of the estate.
Die, Monster, Die! (1965) as Nahum Witley
On a trip to meet his girlfriend's family, a young man uncovers deadly secrets.
Black Sabbath (1964) as Gorca
A trio of atmospheric horror tales presented by Boris Karloff.
Bikini Beach (1964) as Art dealer
A millionaire tries to prove that his pet chimp is as smart as the local teens.
Black Sabbath (1964) as
A trio of atmospheric horror tales presented by Boris Karloff.
Corridors of Blood (1963) as Dr. Bolton
In an effort to relieve the suffering of surgery patients, Dr. Thomas Bolton painstakingly develops an opium-based anesthetic, to which he gradually becomes addicted. In order to provide a continual supply of chemicals to continue his experiments and support his addiction, he falls in with a den of murderers who use his signature to sell cadavers to the local hospital.
The Raven (1963) as Dr. Scarabus
A widowed sorcerer discovers his late wife is alive and living with his mortal enemy.
The Terror (1963) as Baron von Leppe
A lost soldier discovers a mysterious beauty haunting a half-deserted castle.
The Comedy of Terrors (1963) as Amos Hinchley
A dishonest undertaker and his sidekick create their own customers when they cannot find willing ones.
The Haunted Strangler (1958) as James Rankin
A writer investigating the execution of a serial killer known as "The Haymarket Strangler" 20 years previously begins to suspect that the wrong man might have been hanged. However, when he picks up a scalpel used by the murderer, he finds himself possessed by the killer's spirit and begins committing similar murders.
Frankenstein--1970 (1958) as Baron Victor Von Frankenstein
A descendent of Baron Frankenstein unleashes an undead murderer on the crew filming his forebear''s story.
Voodoo Island (1957) as Phillip Knight
A tycoon hires an investigator to prove that voodoo doesn''''t exist.
Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1953) as Dr. [Henry] Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Two bumbling American cops hunt for the mysterious Mr. Hyde in London, England.
The Black Castle (1952) as Dr. Meissen
The Strange Door (1951) as Voltan
Noble-born cad Dennis (Stapley) has been tricked into a forced stay at the eerie manor of the Sire de Maletroit (Laughton), an evil madman who can't get over the death of his beloved, twenty years after she married his brother (Cavanagh) instead and subsequently passed away during childbirth. Maletroit is determined to have his revenge: the brother has been stowed away in the dungeon for two decades, while he's convinced his disreputable house guest will make a suitably hellish husband for his niece. As luck would have it, the young couple manage to fall in love, and with the help of manservant Voltan (Karloff), they try to make their escape, but not before a final confrontation with Maletroit in the dungeon's crushing deathtrap.
Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer: Boris Karloff (1949) as Swami Talpur
Lost Caverns Hotel bellhop Freddie Phillips is suspected of murder. Swami Talpur tries to hypnotize Freddie into confessing, but Freddie is too stupid for the plot to work. Inspector Wellman uses Freddie to get the killer (and it isn't the Swami).
Tap Roots (1948) as Tishomingo
Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome (1947) as Gruesome
Dick Tracy tracks down a bank robber using nerve gas.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947) as Dr. [Hugo] Hollingshead
An accountant dreams of being a hero but finds it''s not so easy in real life.
Lured (1947) as Artist
A woman helps the police catch the serial killer who murdered her best friend.
Unconquered (1947) as Guyasuta, Chief of the Senecas
An English convict girl sent to the colonies gets mixed up in the war with the Indians.
Bedlam (1946) as George Sims
When an actress tries to reform an asylum, its corrupt keeper has her committed.
Isle of the Dead (1945) as General Ferides
The inhabitants of a Balkans island under quarantine fear that one of their number is a vampire.
House of Frankenstein (1945) as Dr. Niemann
A mad scientist hides within a traveling sideshow.
The Body Snatcher (1945) as John Gray
To continue his medical experiments, a doctor must buy corpses from a grave robber.
The Climax (1944) as Dr. [Frederick] Hohner
Dr. Hohner (Karloff), theatre physician at the Vienna Royal Theatre, murders his mistress, the star soprano when his jealousy drives him to the point of mad obsession. Ten years later, another young singer (Foster) reminds Hohner of the late diva, and his old mania kicks in. Hohner wants to prevent her from singing for anyone but him, even if it means silencing her forever. The singer's fiancée (Bey) rushes to save her in the film's climax.
The Boogie Man Will Get You (1942) as Professor Nathaniel Billings
A young divorcee tries to convert a house into a hotel despite its oddball inhabitants.
The Devil Commands (1941) as Dr. Julian Blair
A scientist kills innocent victims in his efforts to communicate with his late wife.
Black Friday (1940) as Dr. Ernest Sovac
When his friend Professor Kingsely (Ridges) is at deaths door, brain surgeon Dr. Sovac (Karloff) saves his life by means of an illegal operation that transplants part of injured gangster Red Cannon's brain. Unfortunately, the operation has a disasterous Jeckll and Hyde side effect and under certain conditions the persona of Cannon emerges. Sovac soon learns of the duel personality and of half a million dollars the gangster has hidden away. He attempts to find the money through the manipulation of his friend, an attempt that brings Kingsley closer to madness as he alternates between a meek professor of english and a brutal gangster out for murderous revenge on those who tried to kill him.
The Man with Nine Lives (1940) as Dr. Leon Kravaal
A doctor''''s attempts to cure cancer lead to a series of grisly murders.
The Ape (1940) as Dr. Bernard Adrian
A mad doctor dresses as an ape to kill victims for their spinal fluid.
You'll Find Out (1940) as Judge Mainwaring
Kay Kyser and his band fight to save a young girl trapped in a haunted mansion.
British Intelligence (1940) as Valdar [also known as Franz Shindler]
A lady spy uses a British nobleman''s home in her undercover work for the Germans.
The Fatal Hour (1940) as James Lee Wong
Asian sleuth Mr. Wong gets caught up in the mystery surrounding a policeman''''s death.
Before I Hang (1940) as Dr. John Garth
A mad scientist experiments with a serum tainted with a psychopath''''s blood.
Doomed to Die (1940) as James Lee Wong
Asian sleuth Mr. Wong investigates the murder of a shipping tycoon.
Mr. Wong in Chinatown (1939) as James Lee Wong
The Asian sleuth sets out to solve the murder of a Chinese princess.
The Man They Could Not Hang (1939) as Dr. Henryk Savaard
A mad scientist uses an artificial heart pump he invented to seek revenge after he is executed.
Devil's Island (1939) as Dr. Charles Gaudet
A surgeon unjustly sent to Devil's Island fights to survive harsh treatment.
The Mystery of Mr. Wong (1939) as Mr. Wong
An Asian sleuth digs for the truth behind a rare gem and a mysterious will.
Son of Frankenstein (1939) as The Monster
The legendary scientist''s son is tempted to resume his father''s horrible experiments.
Tower of London (1939) as Mord
An ambitious duke uses his executioner henchman to kill his way to the crown.
The Invisible Menace (1938) as Jevries [previously known as Dolman]
An Army base murder investigation dredges up strange secrets.
Mr. Wong, Detective (1938) as Mr. James Lee Wong
An Asian sleuth assists a baffled police detective in solving a bizarre murder.
West of Shanghai (1937) as Wu Yen Fang
A Chinese warlord holds three fugitives prisoner.
Night Key (1937) as Dave Mallory
Charlie Chan at the Opera (1937) as Gravelle
Regarded by many as the best of the Charlie Chan series. The opera star Gravelle suffers amnesia. He is a recent escapee from an insane asylum, accused of murdering fellow performers (his wife and her lover). Included in the movie is the opera "Carnival", composed for the picture by Oscar Levant.
The Walking Dead (1936) as John Elman
A framed man comes back from the dead to seek revenge.
Juggernaut (1936)
The Man Who Lived Again (1936) as Dr. Laurience
Dr. Laurence, a once-respectable scientist, begins to research the origin of the mind and the soul. The science community rejects him, and he risks losing everything for which he has worked. He begins to use his discoveries to save his research and further his own causes, thereby becoming... a Mad Scientist, almost unstoppable...
The Raven (1935) as Edmond Bateman
An insane plastic surgeon plots to kill people in ways inspired by Edgar Allan Poe.
Bride of Frankenstein (1935) as The Monster
To save his wife, Baron Frankenstein must build a mate for his monster.
The Black Room (1935) as Anton/Gregor
An evil twin brother disposes of his enemies in a secret death chamber on his estate.
The Black Cat (1934) as Hjalmar Poelzig
A Satanist faces off with the vengeful man whose wife and daughter he has stolen.
The Lost Patrol (1934) as Sanders
A British army troop fights off Arab snipers while holed up in an oasis.
The House of Rothschild (1934) as Count Ledrantz
The story of the rise of the Rothschild financial empire founded by Mayer Rothschild and continued by his five sons. From humble beginnings the business grows and helps to finance the war against Napoleon, but it's not always easy, especially because of the prejudices against the family.
The Ghoul (1933) as Professor Morlant
An ancient Egyptian returns to punish those who violated his tomb.
Alias the Doctor (1932) as Autopsy surgeon
Brothers with different work ethics clash while attending medical school.
The Cohens and Kellys in Hollywood (1932) as
Small town America: the Cohens own a movie theater; the Kellys own a diner. Kitty Kelly and Maurice Cohen are young lovers; Maurice sends Kitty's picture to a movie studio, and they accept her and make her a star. Soon, the Kelly family is living the high life; they write a postcard to the Cohens, who take a polite "wish you were here" as an invitation to sell everything. The Kellys shun the Cohens, who they now see as gauche. But when sound films are introduced, Kitty is no longer a star, and composer Maurice suddenly makes his family rich (for a while) .
The Mummy (1932) as Imhotep [also known as Ardeth Bey]
An Egyptian mummy returns to life to stalk the reincarnation of his lost love.
The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932) as Dr. Fu Manchu
A Chinese warlord threatens explorers in search of the key to global power.
The Old Dark House (1932) as Morgan
A storm strands travelers in a house full of dangerous eccentrics.
Behind the Mask (1932) as Henderson
A Federal Agent goes undercover in prison to break up a drug syndicate.
Night World (1932) as "Happy" MacDonald
"Happy" MacDonald and his unfaithful wife own a Prohibition era night club. On this eventful night, he is threatened by bootleggers, and the club's star dancer falls in love with a young socialite who drinks to forget a personal tragedy, among other incidents.
The Miracle Man (1932) as Nikko
A gang of crooks evade the police by moving their operations to a small town. There the gang's leader, John Madison, encounters a faith healer and uses him to scam the gullible public of funds for a supposed chapel. But when a real healing takes place, a change comes over the gang.
Scarface (1932) as Gaffney
A murderous thug shoots his way to the top of the mobs while trying to protect his sister from the criminal life.
Business and Pleasure (1932) as Sheik
Smart Money (1931) as Sport Williams
A barber''''s good luck turns him into a big-time gambling boss.
The Yellow Ticket (1931) as Orderly
A young Russian girl is forced into a life of prostitution in Czarist Russia, and she and a British journalist find their lives endangered when she reveals to him information regarding the social crimes rampant in her country.
The Mad Genius (1931) as Fedor's father
A deranged ballet teacher will stop at nothing to keep control of his protegee.
Public Defender (1931) as "Professor"
A bank failure could land one of its executives in jail.
Tonight or Never (1931) as The waiter
An opera diva falls in love with a dashing, handsome young man but she must find out whether he is the answer to her dreams or...just a gigolo.
Cracked Nuts (1931) as Revolutionist
Friendly idiots become rivals in a mythical kingdom''s revolution.
I Like Your Nerve (1931) as Luigi
A bookworm turns himself into a romantic adventurer in Central America.
Young Donovan's Kid (1931) as Cokey Joe
Frankenstein (1931) as The Monster
A crazed scientist creates a living being from body parts, not realizing it has a madman's brain.
Graft (1931) as Terry
The Criminal Code (1931) as Galloway
A convict trying to reform is torn between conflicting loyalties when he witnesses a murder behind bars.
The Guilty Generation (1931) as Tony Ricca
The children of feuding gangsters fall in love and fight to escape their parents'''' notoriety.
Five Star Final (1931) as T. Vernon Isopod
An unscrupulous newspaper editor searches for headlines at any cost.
King of the Wild (1931)
Richard Grant, imprisoned in India for a crime he did not commit, escapes and makes his way to Africa, where he encounters the sheik Mustapha, who not only possesses the evidence which will clear Grant but also the key to a fabulous diamond field.
Pardon Us (1931)
Selling homemade beer lands a two friends in prison together.
The Sea Bat (1930) as Corsican
Mexican fishermen enter a deadly competition to kill a sting ray.
The Utah Kid (1930) as Baxter
Cal Reynolds, known as The Utah Kid (Rex Lease) eludes a sheriff's posse and takes refuge in Robber's Roost, a hideout for outlaws running from the law complete with its own dirt-floor saloon. Jennie Lee (Dorothy Sebastian), a school teacher from a nearby town is out sight-seeing and is picked up by a couple of the boys and brought into the saloon. Since they aren't gentleman and don't believe in "finders-keepers", a brawl breaks out over who gets the girl until Cal steps forward and claims she is his fiancee who had followed him there and hands off, thank you. Some of the boys, including Baxter (Boris Karloff) aren't buying and, just to prove Cal's claim is true, trot out Parson Joe (Lafe McKee) to tie the knot. Jennie also forgets to mention she is engaged to town Sheriff Bentley (Walter Miller. ) Cal, realizing that he is now really married, decides to reform but he isn't far along in his program before Sheriff Bentley and a posse of deputies show up looking for Jennie, and the outlaws think Cal has gone too far too fast reference his reformation and blame him. To prove otherwise Cal joins the gang in a battle against the law and wounds the sheriff, but later saves his life. Gang leader Butch (Tom Santschi) is killed in a duel with Cal, and Jennie decides that Cal is the man for her.
The Phantom of the North (1929) as Jules Gregg
Two Sisters (1929) as Cecil
Burning the Wind (1929) as Pug Doran
Behind That Curtain (1929) as Soudanese servant
Sir George hires Hillary Gatt to find out more about Eric who wants to marry Lois. Gatt is murdered and the couple, married, run off to India. Old friend John Beetham sympathizes with the bride who sees that her hubby is a liar and drunk. John and Lois fly to San Francisco. Eric shows up and tries to kill John, but Scotland Yard's Lt. Charlie Chan intervenes.
The Unholy Night (1929) as Abdoul
A mad strangler haunts the London fog.
Devil's Chaplain (1929) as Boris
King of the Kongo (1929)
A Secret Service agent searches the jungle for his missing brother, also an agent. He encounters a young woman there who is also searching, but for her missing father. They encounter a gang of ivory smugglers who hold a prisoner who knows the secrets of the missing people and a lost treasure. The pair are also menaced by a giant gorilla which guards the temple which is the smugglers' lair.
The Little Wild Girl (1928) as Maurice Kent
Vultures of the Sea (1928)
When his father is falsely convicted and sentenced to die for a murder committed aboard ship, the man's son signs on as a crewman to discover the real killer and clear his father.
The Meddlin' Stranger (1927) as Al Meggs
The Love Mart (1927) as Fleming
Tarzan and the Golden Lion (1927) as Owaza
Flora Hawks is in love with the overseer of Tarzan's African estate. After a search for a legendary city of diamonds, Tarzon races with his pet lion Jad-bal-ja to save Haws from being sacrificed to a lion-god.
Soft Cushions (1927) as The Chief Conspirator
Two Arabian Knights (1927) as Purser
In this silent film, two American soldiers fight to escape the Germans while squabbling over a beautiful harem girl during World War I.
The Phantom Buster (1927) as Ramon
Old Ironsides (1926) as A Saracen guard
Her Honor the Governor (1926) as Snipe Collins
The Greater Glory (1926) as Scissors grinder
Flaming Fury (1926) as Gaspard
The Golden Web (1926) as Dave Sinclair
Flames (1926) as Blackie Blanchette
The Bells (1926) as Mesmerist
Mathias, an Alsatian innkeeper, murders a rich Pole staying at his inn But Mathias' conscience will not let him rest, and the murdered man's spirit drives the innkeeper nearly mad. The victim's brother calls for an inquest and brings with him a sideshow mesmerist supposedly able to read minds. Mathias, as burgomaster, is called upon to conduct the inquest, but under the intuitive eye of the mesmerist cannot resist torment of his own conscience.
Parisian Nights (1925) as Pierre
The Prairie Wife (1925) as Diego
Lady Robinhood (1925) as Cabraza
Forbidden Cargo (1925) as Pietro Castillano
Dynamite Dan (1924) as Tony
The Prisoner (1923) as Prince Kapolski
The Infidel (1922) as The Nabob
The Altar Stairs (1922) as Hugo
The Man From Downing Street (1922) as Maharajah Jehan
The Woman Conquers (1922) as Raoul Maris
Omar the Tentmaker (1922) as Imam Mowaffak
The Cave Girl (1921) as Baptiste
Without Benefit of Clergy (1921) as Ahmed Khan
Cheated Hearts (1921) as Nli Hamed
The Deadlier Sex (1920) as Jules Borney

Film Production - Construction/Set (feature film)

American Werewolf in Paris, An (1997) as Construction Trainee (New York Crew)
Three American college graduates, Andy, Brad, and Chris, go to Paris on a "Daredevil Tour of Europe" looking for a good time. One evening in Paris, the three attempt to bungee-jump from the Eiffel Tower. Out of nowhere, a beautiful young woman plummets into the void only to be saved by Andy who jumps after her. Losing her in the night, he tracks her down again and invites her out for a date. However, it is soon obvious that Serafine is not your average French girl. After an evening capped by a full moon, Andy awakes to find tooth marks on his leg and the news that he is halfway toward becoming a werewolf. To cure himself, he must now devour the heart of the werewolf that bit him.

Cast (special)

Paradine Case, The (1962) as Sir Simon Flaquer
The story of a lawyer who falls in love with his client--a woman accused of murdering her husband.
Arsenic and Old Lace (1962) as Jonathan Brewster
A third television adaptation of the play by Joseph Kesselring about Abby and Martha Brewster, spinster sisters who delight in offering poisoned elderberry wine to elderly men.
Hollywood Sings (1960) as Host
A revue of the Hollywood movie musicals of the past with recreations of famous songs.
Shirley Temple's Storybook: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1958) as Narrator
A special presentation of Shirley Temple's regular series to mark her dramatic acting debut on TV. An adaptation of the Washington Irving story about the residents of Sleepy Hollow and a love-sick school teacher's (Ichabod Crane's) efforts to impress Katrina, the village beauty.
Lark, The (1957) as Cauchon
An adaptation of Jean Anouilh's play about Joan of Arc, the young girl who led the French to victory against the English in the Hundred Years' War, only to be tried for heresy and witchcraft by the Inquisition and burned at the stake.
Connecticut Yankee, A (1955) as King Arthur
The story of Martin Barret, a Connecticut man who, after suffering a head injury, is propelled back in time -- to sixth-century England and the court of King Arthur. His experiences, as he incorporates his knowledge of the twentieth century in a primitive time, is the focal point of the story. An ad

Cast (special)

Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966) as Voice Of The Grinch
Bitter and hateful, the Grinch is irritated at the thought of the nearby village having a happy time celebrating Christmas. So disguised as Santa Claus with his dog Max made to look like a reindeer, he raids the village to steal all the Christmas things.
Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966) as Narration
Bitter and hateful, the Grinch is irritated at the thought of the nearby village having a happy time celebrating Christmas. So disguised as Santa Claus with his dog Max made to look like a reindeer, he raids the village to steal all the Christmas things.

Cast (short)

Cinema Circus (1937)
In this short film, various celebrities take part in a circus performance.

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