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Boris Karloff

Boris Karloff

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Also Known As: William Henry Pratt, Karloff Died: February 2, 1969
Born: November 23, 1887 Cause of Death: respiratory disease
Birth Place: London, England, GB Profession: actor, farm worker, truck driver

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Arguably Hollywood's most celebrated and enduring screen horror icon, Boris Karloff embodied legendary movie monsters and madmen in such films as "Frankenstein" (1931), "The Mummy" (1931), "The Mask of Fu Manchu" (1932), "The Bride of Frankenstein" (1935), "Isle of the Dead" (1945) and "The Body Snatcher" (1945) over the course of a four-decade career. He began as an obscure background player, essaying exotic types in silent films and serials until 1931, when his sympathetic turn as the Monster in "Frankenstein" made him an international star. For the next two decades, Karloff was the undisputed king of movie horror, while cultivating a lively presence in more dramatic and even comic fare on television and stage. He remained exceptionally popular into his seventh decade, especially among young viewers, who were entranced by his avuncular narration for "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas!" (CBS, 1966). A beloved figure both on and off-screen, Karloff's performances - both chilling and charming - remained the gold standard by which all subsequent horror actors were measured.

Arguably Hollywood's most celebrated and enduring screen horror icon, Boris Karloff embodied legendary movie monsters and madmen in such films as "Frankenstein" (1931), "The Mummy" (1931), "The Mask of Fu Manchu" (1932), "The Bride of Frankenstein" (1935), "Isle of the Dead" (1945) and "The Body Snatcher" (1945) over the course of a four-decade career. He began as an obscure background player, essaying exotic types in silent films and serials until 1931, when his sympathetic turn as the Monster in "Frankenstein" made him an international star. For the next two decades, Karloff was the undisputed king of movie horror, while cultivating a lively presence in more dramatic and even comic fare on television and stage. He remained exceptionally popular into his seventh decade, especially among young viewers, who were entranced by his avuncular narration for "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas!" (CBS, 1966). A beloved figure both on and off-screen, Karloff's performances - both chilling and charming - remained the gold standard by which all subsequent horror actors were measured.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Transylvania Twist (1989) Himself (Archival Footage)
3.
 Madhouse (1974) Himself (Archival Footage)
4.
 Cauldron of Blood (1971) [Charles] Badulescu
5.
 The Crimson Cult (1970) Professor Marsh
6.
7.
 Targets (1968) Byron Orlok
8.
 Mondo balordo (1967) Narrator
9.
 The Sorcerers (1967) Professor Monserrat
10.
 The Venetian Affair (1967) Dr. Pierre Vaugiroud
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1909:
Immigrated to Canada
1910:
Joined Ray Brandon Players
1910:
Adopted name Boris Karloff (date approximate)
1912:
Joined Harry St. Claire Players
1919:
Moved to Hollywood
1931:
Achieved star status with his appearance as the monster in James Whale's "Frankenstein"
1932:
First starring role with spoken dialogue, "Mask of Fu Manchu", in the title role
1939:
Played the Frankenstein monster for the third and final time in "Son of Frankenstein"
1943:
Enjoyed considerable Broadway success as the villainous Jonathan in the comedy "Arsenic and Old Lace"
:
Successfully acted onstage opposite Julie Harris in "The Lark" in the 1950s (date approximate)
:
Hosted TV suspense and mystery series, "Thriller"; also acted in a number of episodes
1966:
Narrated and provided the voice of the Grinch for the Christmas TV favorite, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas", based on the Dr. Suess story
1969:
Acted in final film, "The Curse of the Crimson Altar"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Dr Starkey's School: -
Enfield Grammar School: -
Merchant Taylors' School: -
Uppingham School: - 1903 - 1906
King's College, University of Cambridge: - 1906 - 1909

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Helen Vivian Soule. Married in 1924; divorced in 1928.
wife:
Dorothy Stine. Married in 1930; divorced in 1945.
wife:
Evelyn Helmore. Married in 1946 until his death.

Family close complete family listing

brother:
George Pratt. Actor. Elder brother who had a short stage career.
daughter:
Sara Karloff. Mother, Dorothy Stine; survived him.

Bibliography close complete biography

"Karloff and Lugosi: The Story of a Haunting Collaboration" McFarland

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