Eccentric director of low-budget horror films, with a flair for self-promotion. William Castle's standout efforts include the B thriller, "When Strangers Marry" (1944), with Robert Mitchum in his first important role and the camp gem, "House on Haunted Hill" (1958). Like a latter-day P.T Barnum, upon whom he modeled himself, Castle lured audiences to his chillers by appearing in their trailers and psyching the audience up to be scared. Most of his films included outrageous gimmicks such as an insurance policy against death by fright for "Macabre" (1957), skeletons that whistled over the audience in a process called "Emergo" during critical scenes in "House on Haunted Hill" and his most audacious stunt, "Percepto," which literally shocked the audience by wiring selected seats in the theater with electricity and administering mild jolts during moments in "The Tingler" (1959). Castle is also noted as the producer of the psychological thriller "Rosemary's Baby" (1968).
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Broadway acting debut at age 15
Directed Bela Lugosi in a Broadway production of "Dracula"
Worked as director and actor on Broadway and in summer stock
Film acting debut
Brought to Hollywood by Harry Cohn; worked for Columbia (1943-1963)
Film directing debut with the short, "Mr. Smug"
Directed first feature film, "The Chance of a Lifetime"
First film as producer (co-associate with Richard Wilson), Orson Welles' "The Lady from Shanghai"
Formed own production company
Produced "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Riot"
Produced TV series, "Circle of Fear"
Played a producer in the film, "Shampoo" and a director in "The Day of the Locust"