Lionel Atwill


Actor
Lionel Atwill

About

Also Known As
Lionel Alfred William Atwill
Birth Place
Croydon, England, GB
Born
March 01, 1885
Died
April 22, 1946
Cause of Death
Pneumonia

Biography

Prolific British stage actor who came to America in 1916 and starred as a romantic lead on Broadway. Although Atwill made his screen debut in 1916, he is best known as the suavely menacing villain (most often a sinister mad doctor) of countless Hollywood horror films of the 1930s and 40s, most notably "Doctor X" (1932), "The Mystery of the Wax Museum" (1933, an especially superb performa...

Photos & Videos

The Vampire Bat - Lobby Card
The Strange Case of Doctor Rx - Scene Stills
The Mad Doctor of Market Street - Publicity Stills

Family & Companions

Louise Cromwell MacArthur
Wife
Married June 7, 1930; formerly the wife of Major General Douglas MacArthur.

Biography

Prolific British stage actor who came to America in 1916 and starred as a romantic lead on Broadway. Although Atwill made his screen debut in 1916, he is best known as the suavely menacing villain (most often a sinister mad doctor) of countless Hollywood horror films of the 1930s and 40s, most notably "Doctor X" (1932), "The Mystery of the Wax Museum" (1933, an especially superb performance), "Murders in the Zoo" (1933) and "The Hound of the Baskervilles" (1939). He was also memorable as the stolid, one-armed police chief doggedly searching for the monster in the horror sequel, "Son of Frankenstein" (1939). Rather stocky in middle age, with an incisive manner and a rich voice beautifully suited to the delivery of ruefully ironic dialogue, Atwill also gave a fine account of himself as one of several men dangerously obsessed with Concha (Marlene Dietrich) in Josef von Sternberg's memorable "The Devil Is a Woman" (1935).

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Genius at Work (1946)
Latimer Marsh
House of Dracula (1945)
Inspector Holtz
Crime, Inc. (1945)
Pat Coyle
House of Frankenstein (1945)
Arnz
Fog Island (1945)
Alec Ritchfield
Secrets of Scotland Yard (1944)
Waterlow
Lady in the Death House (1944)
[Charles] Finch
Captain America (1944)
Raiders of Ghost City (1944)
Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (1943)
[Professor] Moriarty
Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943)
Mayor
The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)
Doctor [Theodor] Bohmer
To Be or Not to Be (1942)
Rawitch
Pardon My Sarong (1942)
Varnoff
Cairo (1942)
Teutonic gentleman
The Strange Case of Doctor Rx (1942)
Dr. Fish
The Mad Doctor of Market Street (1942)
[Dr. Ralph Benson, also known as] Graham
Night Monster (1942)
Dr. King
Junior G-Men of the Air (1942)
Man Made Monster (1941)
Dr. [Paul] Rigas
Girl in 313 (1940)
Russell Woodruff
Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise (1940)
Dr. Suderman
The Great Profile (1940)
Dr. Bruce
Boom Town (1940)
Harry Compton
Johnny Apollo (1940)
Jim McLaughlin
Charlie Chan in Panama (1940)
Clivedon Compton
The Secret of Dr. Kildare (1939)
Paul Messenger
The Sun Never Sets (1939)
[Hugo] Zurof
Son of Frankenstein (1939)
Krogh
The Three Musketeers (1939)
De Rochefort
The Gorilla (1939)
Walter Stevens
Balalaika (1939)
Marakov
The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939)
Dr. James Mortimer
Mr. Moto Takes a Vacation (1939)
Professor Hildebrand
Three Comrades (1938)
Breuer
The Great Waltz (1938)
Count Hohenfried
The Wrong Road (1937)
Mike Roberts
The Road Back (1937)
Prosecutor
Lancer Spy (1937)
Colonel Fenwick
The Last Train from Madrid (1937)
Colonel Vigo
The Great Garrick (1937)
Beaumarchais
Lady of Secrets (1936)
Mr. Whittaker
Absolute Quiet (1936)
G. [Gerald] A. Axton
Till We Meet Again (1936)
Ludwig
Rendezvous (1935)
[Major] William Brennan
The Devil Is a Woman (1935)
Don Pasqual
Captain Blood (1935)
Colonel Bishop
Mark of the Vampire (1935)
Inspector Neumann
Murder Man (1935)
Captain Cole
The Man Who Reclaimed His Head (1934)
Henri Dumont
The Firebird (1934)
John Pointer
One More River (1934)
Mr. Brough
Nana (1934)
Col. André Muffat
Beggars in Ermine (1934)
John "Flint" Dawson, also known as John Daniels
The Age of Innocence (1934)
Julius Beaufort
Stamboul Quest (1934)
Von Sturm
The Song of Songs (1933)
Baron von Merzbach
The Solitaire Man (1933)
[Inspector] Wallace
The Secret of Madame Blanche (1933)
Aubrey St. John
Murders in the Zoo (1933)
Eric Gorman
The Vampire Bat (1933)
Dr. Otto von Niemann
Secret of the Blue Room (1933)
Robert von Helldorf
The Sphinx (1933)
Jerome Breen
Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933)
Mr. Igor
Doctor X (1932)
Dr. Xavier
The Silent Witness (1932)
Sir Austin Howard
The Highest Bidder (1921)
Lester
Indiscretion (1921)
Howard Hollister
The Eternal Mother (1920)
The Marriage Price (1919)
Kenneth Gordon
Eve's Daughter (1918)
Courtenay Urquhart
For Sale (1918)

Film Production - Main (Feature Film)

The Mad Empress (1939)
Prod adv

Life Events

1904

London stage debut in "The Walls of Jerico"

1916

Moved to USA

1918

Screen debut, "For Sale"

1932

Went to Hollywood; earliest films there include "The Silent Witness" and "Dr. X"

1946

Last films included "Genius at Work"

Photo Collections

The Vampire Bat - Lobby Card
Here is the Title Lobby Card from The Vampire Bat (1933). Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
The Strange Case of Doctor Rx - Scene Stills
Here are several Scene Stills from Universal Pictures' The Strange Case of Doctor Rx (1946), starring Patrick Knowles, Lionel Atwill, and Ann Gwynne.
The Mad Doctor of Market Street - Publicity Stills
Here are a few photos taken to help publicize Universal Pictures' The Mad Doctor of Market Street (1942), starring Lionel Atwill, Una Merkel, and Nat Pendleton. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
The Mad Doctor of Market Street - Scene Stills
Here are several scene stills taken during production of Universal Pictures' The Mad Doctor of Market Street (1942), starring Lionel Atwill, Una Merkel, and Nat Pendleton.
The Song of Songs - Scene Stills
Here are a number of scene stills from Paramount's The Song of Songs (1933), starring Marlene Dietrich, Brian Aherne, and Lionel Atwill.
The Song of Songs - Jumbo Lobby Cards
Here are a few Jumbo Lobby Cards from Paramount's The Song of Songs (1933), starring Marlene Dietrich, Brian Aherne, and Lionel Atwill. Jumbo Lobby Cards were 14" x 17" borderless posters; they were much less common than standard lobby cards.
The Song of Songs - Program Book
Here is the souvenir Program Book sold at roadshow engagements for Paramount's The Song of Songs (1933), starring Marlene Dietrich, Brian Aherne, and Lionel Atwill.
The Strange Case of Doctor Rx - Publicity Stills
Here are several Publicity Stills from Universal Pictures' The Strange Case of Doctor Rx (1946), starring Patrick Knowles, Lionel Atwill, and Ann Gwynne. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, taken for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
The Strange Case of Doctor Rx - Movie Poster
Here is the Title Lobby Card from Universal Pictures' The Strange Case of Doctor Rx (1942). Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
The Mad Doctor of Market Street - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Universal Pictures' The Mad Doctor of Market Street (1942), starring Lionel Atwill, Una Merkel, Nat Pendleton, and Claire Dodd. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
The Song of Songs - Movie Posters
Here are a few movie posters from Paramount Pictures' The Song of Songs (1933), starring Marlene Dietrich, Brian Aherne, and Lionel Atwill.
Murders in the Zoo - Movie Poster
Here is the Window Card from Paramount's Murders in the Zoo (1933), starring Lionel Atwill, Charlie Ruggles, Kathleen Burke, and John Lodge. Window Cards were 14x22 mini posters designed to be placed in store windows around town during a film's engagement. A blank space at the top of the poster featured theater and playdate information.
Murders in the Zoo - Publicity Stills
Here are a few photos taken to help publicize Paramount's Murders in the Zoo (1933), starring Lionel Atwill, Charlie Ruggles, Kathleen Burke, Randolph Scott, and Gail Patrick. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Murders in the Zoo - Scene Stills
Here are some scene stills from Paramount's Murders in the Zoo (1933), starring Lionel Atwill, Charlie Ruggles, Kathleen Burke, Randolph Scott, and Gail Patrick.
Murders in the Zoo - Lobby Cards
Here are a few lobby cards from Paramount's Murders in the Zoo (1933), starring Lionel Atwill, Charlie Ruggles, Kathleen Burke, and John Lodge. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Mark of the Vampire - Scene Stills
Here are a few scene stills from MGM's Mark of the Vampire (1935), starring Lionel Barrymore, Bela Lugosi, and Elizabeth Allen.

Videos

Movie Clip

Balalaika (1939) - Song Of The Volga Boatmen Posing as a student to gain access to Ilona Massey and her revolutionary friends and family, well-meaning Czarist prince Peter (Nelson Eddy) offers the traditional Russian song, with support from Dalies Frantz (on piano), Lionel Atwill, Abner Biberman et al, in MGM’s Balalaika, 1939.
Vampire Bat, The (1933) - She Wants Her Cross Aloof doctor von Niemann (Lionel Atwill) tends to vampire victim "Old Apple Woman" (Rita Carlisle), potential suspect Herman (Dwight Frye) and maid Gertrude (Fern Emmett) attending, while outside Kringen (George E. Stone) spreads further alarm, in The Vampire Bat, 1933.
Vampire Bat, The (1933) - Two Puncture Wounds The doc (Lionel Atwill) studies vampires, with aide (Fay Wray) and her reporter boyfriend (Melvyn Douglas), Aunt Gussie (Maude Eburne) fusses, and the burogmeister (Lionel Belmore) and sidekicks bring news of another murder and missing suspect, in the programmer The Vampire Bat, 1933.
Secret Of The Blue Room (1933) - The Ghost Won't Bite Us Pressed by his birthday-girl daughter Irene (Gloria Stuart) and her three friendly-rival suitors (Paul Lukas, Onslow Stevens and William Janney as Walter, Frank and Tommy), Von Helldorf (Lionel Atwill) tells of the deadly room in the family manor, in Secret Of The Blue Room, 1933.
Secret Of The Blue Room (1933) - You'd Better Have This Lock Fixed Host Von Helldorf (Lionel Atwill) and daughter Irene (Gloria Stuart) are in good morning spirits along with guests Walter and Frank (Paul Lukas, Onslow Stevens) until the butler (Robert Barrat) points out that her third suitor, whom everyone assumed was at no real risk staying in the notorious bedroom, has vanished, in Secret Of The Blue Room, 1933.
Secret Of The Blue Room (1933) - Open, Why All The Secrets? Handy introduction of players from Universal and Gloria Stuart as the object of the admiration of Lionel Atwill as her dad, Paul Lukas, Onslow Stevens and William Janney as her suitors on at the hour of her 21st birthday, in Secret Of The Blue Room, 1933.
Devil Is A Woman, The (1936) - You Lie So Well Blustery policeman Pasqual (Lionel Atwill) attempts to buy Concha (Marlene Dietrich) out of her night club gig, then blows up when he catches her with bull-fighter Morenito (Don Alvarado), in Josef von Sternberg's The Devil Is A Woman, 1936.
Devil Is A Woman, The (1936) - Better Take Two Spanish policeman and spurned lover Pasqual (Lionel Atwill) recounts to Antonio (Cesar Romero) his second meeting with Concha (Marlene Dietrich), at work in a cigarette factory, in Josef von Sternberg's The Devil Is A Woman, 1936.
Mark Of The Vampire (1935) - A Certain Thorny Weed Lionel Barrymore (Professor Zelin) taking over treatment of vampire-bitten Irena (Elizabeth Allen), while her guardian the Baron (Jean Hersholt) tells the inspector (Lionel Atwill) that her dad may not be dead, then ensuing chatter, in director Tod Browning's Mark Of The Vampire, 1935.
Mark Of The Vampire (1935) - This Is No Time For Levity Servants (Leila Bennett, Ivan Simpson) bat-proofing, the count (Bela Lugosi) undeterred, inspector (Lionel Atwill) doubtful, professor (Lionel Barrymore) advises the baron (Jean Hersholt), Elizabeth Allen under guard, her dad (Holmes Herbert) confirmed un-dead, in Mark Of The Vampire, 1935.
Song Of Songs, The (1933) - I'll Make A Great Lady Of You! Expecting to finally see the sculpture that her artist-lover Richard has made of her, Lily (Marlene Dietrich) instead finds him gone, having left a note with his patron Baron Von Merzbach (Lionel Atwill), who provides an explanation favoring his own preferences, in Rouben Mamoulian’s The Song Of Songs, 1933.
Captain Blood (1935) - Your Very Humble Slave First scene for radiant Arabella (Olivia de Havilland), with her uncle Colonel Bishop (Lionel Atwill) joining their friend the Jamaican governor (George Hassell), to look over the new slaves, taking up an immediate and reciprocated interest in star Errol Flynn, in Captain Blood, 1935.

Trailer

Doctor X - (Original Trailer) Reporter Lee Tracy investigates a series of cannibalistic murders at a medical college in the two-strip Technicolor horror classic Doctor X (1932).
Secret of Dr. Kildare, The - (Original Trailer) Kildare (Lew Ayres) tries to help a woman suffering from psychosomatic blindness in the third of the series, The Secret of Dr. Kildare (1939).
Great Garrick, The - (Original Trailer) Director James Whale (The Bride Of Frankenstein) brings his quirky view to this portrait of 18th Century Britain's most famous actor.
Firebird, The - (Original Trailer) A young girl's secret romance is exposed when her lover is murdered in The Firebird (1934) starring Ricardo Cortez.
Absolute Quiet - (Original Trailer) When a plane filled with shady characters is forced to land on a tycoon's ranch Absolute Quiet (1936) is a lost cause.
Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon - (Re-issue Trailer) Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) fights Professor Moriarty (Lionel Atwill) to keep him from handing a new bombsight design to the Nazis.
Stamboul Quest - (Original Trailer) A notorious enemy spy (Myrna Loy) falls for an American medical student during World War I in Stamboul Quest (1934).
Secret Of Madame Blanche, The - (Original Trailer) Irene Dunne must do the noble thing to keep The Secret of Madame Blanche (1933) from the son she gave up long ago.
Boom Town - (Re-issue Trailer) Friends become rivals when they strike it rich in oil in Boom Town (1940), starring Clark Gable & Spencer Tracy.
Murder Man, The -- (Original Trailer) The trailer for this 1935 Spencer Tracy crime thriller begins with a rare appearance by director Tim Whelan.
Rendezvous - (Original Trailer) A decoding expert (William Powell) tangles with enemy spies in Rendezvous (1935) based on the true-life adventures of the head of the U.S. Secret Service.
Three Comrades - (Original Trailer) Three Comrades (1938), Erich Maria Remarque's novel about three friends in Germany between the wars, was adapted for the screen by famed novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Companions

Louise Cromwell MacArthur
Wife
Married June 7, 1930; formerly the wife of Major General Douglas MacArthur.

Bibliography