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Boris Karloff

Biography

The long-reigning king of Hollywood horror, Boris Karloff was created William Henry Pratt on November 23, 1887 in South London. The youngest of nine kids, he was informed at London College or university in preparation to get a career like a diplomat. Nevertheless, in 1909 he emigrated to Canada to simply accept a job on the farm, even though surviving in Ontario, he started pursuing acting, becoming a member of a touring business and implementing the stage name Boris Karloff. His 1st part was as an seniors man inside a creation of Molnar’s The Devil, as well as for the next 10 years, Karloff toiled in obscurity, journeying across THE UNITED STATES in a number of theatrical troupes; by 1919 he was surviving in LA, unemployed and taking into consideration a transfer to vaudeville, when rather he discovered regular are a supplementary at General Studios. Karloff’s initial role of be aware is at 1919’s His Majesty the American, and his initial sizable part emerged in The Deadlier Sex a calendar year afterwards; still, while he proved helpful prolifically, his tenure within the silents was undistinguished, though it allowed him to hone his abilities being a consummate display screen villain. Karloff’s initial sound-era role is at the 1929 melodrama The Unholy Evening, but he continuing to languish without the kind of see, remaining therefore anonymous even inside the film sector itself that Picturegoer newspaper credited 1931’sThe Offender Code as his initial film functionality. The picture, a Columbia creation, became his initial significant strike, and shortly Karloff was an in-demand personality actor in tasks which range from the Wheeler & Woolsey humor Cracked Nuts towards the Edward G. Robinson automobile Five Star Last towards the serial experience King from the Crazy. Meanwhile, at Common Studios, plans had been underway to adapt the Mary Shelley traditional Frankenstein within the wake from the studio’s substantial Bela Lugosi strike, Dracula. Lugosi, nevertheless, rejected the part from the monster, choosing instead to add his name to some project entitled Quasimodo which eventually proceeded to go unproduced. Karloff, for the Common lot capturing 1931’s Graft, was quickly tapped by movie director James Whale to displace Lugosi as Dr. Frankenstein’s monstrous creation, and using the studio’s make-up and results unit, he joined into his definitive part, becoming an over night superstar. Touted because the organic successor to Lon Chaney, Karloff was authorized by Common to some seven-year agreement, but 1st he had a need to fulfill his prior commitments and exited to surface in movies like the Howard Hawks traditional Scarface and Business or Pleasure. Upon time for the Common steady, he portrayed himself in 1932’s The Cohens and Kellys in Hollywood before starring like a nightclub owner in Night time World. Nevertheless, Karloff quickly reverted to type, starring within the name part in 1932’s The Mummy, accompanied by a change like a deaf-mute killer in Whale’s outstanding The Aged Dark Home. On mortgage to MGM, he essayed the titular evildoer within the Cover up of Fu Manchu, but on his go back to General, he demanded a larger salary, of which stage the studio lowered him. Karloff after that journeyed back again to Britain, where he starred in 1933’s The Ghoul, before returning to Hollywood to surface in John Ford’s 1934 work The Shed Patrol. After producing amends with General, he co-starred with Lugosi within the Black Kitty, the to begin many pairings for both stars, and in 1936 he starred within the stellar sequel The Bride-to-be of Frankenstein. Karloff spent the rest from the ’30s carrying on to just work at an incredible speed, however the quality of his movies, almost all them B-list productions, started to taper off significantly; finally, in 1941 he started a three-year theatrical work in Arsenic and Aged Lace before time for Hollywood to celebrity within the A-list creation The Climax. Once again, however, Karloff quickly discovered himself consigned to poverty row attempts, such as for example 1945’s THE HOME of Frankenstein; he also discovered himself at RKO under Val Lewton’s famous horror unit. Some of his movies were more recognized — he made an appearance in THE TRICK Lifestyle of Walter Mitty, Unconquered, and also Abbott and Costello Meet up with the Killer — and in 1948, he starred on Broadway in J.B. Priestley’s The Linden Tree, but more often than not, Karloff delivered solid performances in weakened projects. With the middle-’50s, he was a familiar existence on tv, and from 1956 to 1958 hosted his very own series; by the next 10 years, he was a fixture at Roger Corman’s American International Images. In 1969, Karloff made an appearance in Peter Bogdanovich’s Goals, a smart, delicate tale where he portrayed an ageing horror film celebrity; the role demonstrated an ideal epitaph — he passed away on Feb 2, 1969.

Quick Facts


Full Name Boris Karloff
Died February 2, 1969, Midhurst, United Kingdom
Height 1.8 m
Profession Voice Actor
Education Merchant Taylors' School, Northwood, University of London, Uppingham School, Enfield Grammar School, King's College London
Nationality British
Spouse Evelyn Hope, Dorothy Stine, Helene Vivian Soule, Montana Laurena Williams, Olive de Wilton, Grace Harding, Olive Wilton
Children Sara Karloff
Parents Edward John Pratt, Jr., Eliza Sarah Millard
Siblings John Thomas Pratt, David Cameron Pratt, George Marlow Pratt, Julia Honoria Pratt, Frederick Grenville "F.G." Pratt, Emma Caroline Pratt, Eliza Julia Pratt, Charles Rory Pratt, Edward Millard "Ted" Pratt, Richard Septimus Pratt
Awards Grammy Award for Best Album for Children
Music Songs Snake People, Welcome Christmas, Trim Up The Tree, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Pirate Song from "Peter Pan", The Plank Song, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Part 2, The Grinch, Snake People 3, The Pirate Song, Voice From The Grave, Island Monster, Island Monster 1, The Year Without A Santa Claus, Just Inside The Cemetery, The Vampire Sleeps, The Fortune Teller, Don't Lose Your Head, Peter Pan: Plank Song, Snake People 2, Snake People 4, Snake People 1, The Man In The Raincoat, Never Kick A Black Cat, You Always Love The Same Girl, The Hand Of Fate, A Toast, Part 1, One Step Ahead, Call At Midnight, Medley : Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat / Old Woman / Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, Dilly Dilly
Albums Tales Of The Frightened Volume 1, Tales Of The Frightened Volume 2, Mother Goose, Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf, Op. 67 & Lieutenant Kijé, Suite Symphonique, Op. 60, How The Grinch Stole Christmas
Nominations Tony Award for Best Lead Actor in a Play
Movies Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, The Mummy, Son of Frankenstein, The Black Cat, The Body Snatcher, The Raven, The Old Dark House, The Terror, Black Sabbath, The Ghoul, Targets, House of Frankenstein, The Mask of Fu Manchu, Isle of the Dead, The Invisible Ray, The Black Room, The Devil Commands, Bedlam, The Lost Patrol, Scarface, The Man They Could Not Hang, The Comedy of Terrors, The Criminal Code, Corridors of Blood, Die, Monster, Die!, The Ape, Tower of London, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, Five Star Final, The Man with Nine Lives, Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff, The Sorcerers, Before I Hang, The Fatal Hour, The Haunted Strangler, Mad Monster Party?, Isle of the Snake People, Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Incredible Invasion, The Boogie Man Will Get You, The Climax, Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome, The Black Castle, Fear Chamber, Mr. Wong, Detective, Frankenstein 1970, Charlie Chan at the Opera, House of Evil, The Mystery of Mr. Wong, Voodoo Island
TV Shows Out of This World, Thriller, Colonel March of Scotland Yard, Down You Go, The Ernie Kovacs Show, The Veil, Who Said That?, Starring Boris Karloff, The Dr. Seuss Show


  • Facts
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#Fact
1 According to the authorized Karloff bio by Stephen Jacobs, the acting troupe Karloff was part of in 1912, touring Canadian cities and towns, was running out of money, the person in charge was drinking away their savings, and the troupe was on the verge of breaking up. Karloff himself was considering giving up on acting and becoming a farmer in the province of Saskatchewan where the troupe was touring in June of 1912. They were in Regina, Saskatchewan the day an F4 tornado ripped through the prairie city, killing 28 (including a couple that had missed their ride on the Titanic months earlier) and left thousands homeless. Karloff and others helped in the recovery effort and the troupe got back together to put on benefit performances, donating half the proceeds of each to the recovery effort.
2 Karloff's last words to his wife as he was dying of pneumonia were "Walter Pidgeon.".
3 He was awarded 2 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Motion Pictures at 1737 Vine Street; and for Television at 6664 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
4 He appeared with Bela Lugosi in eight films:Gift of Gab (1934) The Black Cat (1934), The Raven (1935), The Invisible Ray (1936), Son of Frankenstein (1939), You'll Find Out (1940), Black Friday (1940) and The Body Snatcher (1945).
5 He was a distant cousin of Quentin Crisp. Karloff's real name was William Henry Pratt while Crisp's was Denis Pratt. Karloff appeared in Bride of Frankenstein (1935) while Crisp appeared in the remake The Bride (1985).
6 He has three roles in common with his Corridors of Blood (1958) and The Crimson Cult (1968) co-star Christopher Lee: (1) Karloff played Frankenstein's Monster in Frankenstein (1931), Bride of Frankenstein (1935) and Son of Frankenstein (1939) while Lee played him in The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), (2) Karloff played the Mummy in The Mummy (1932) while Lee played him in The Mummy (1959), (3) Karloff played Dr. Fu Manchu in The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932) while Lee played him in The Face of Fu Manchu (1965), The Brides of Fu Manchu (1966), The Vengeance of Fu Manchu (1967), The Blood of Fu Manchu (1968) and Sax Rohmer's The Castle of Fu Manchu (1969) and (4) Karloff played Grigori Rasputin in Suspense: The Black Prophet (1953) while Lee played him in Rasputin: The Mad Monk (1966).
7 Was a huge fan and avid follower of rugby and cricket.
8 He is commemorated by a plaque on the wall of 36 Forest Hill Road, Camberwell, London.
9 Insured himself against "premature aging" due to the heavy stage makeup and prosthetics he often worked in.
10 His performance as Frankenstein's Monster was an inspiration for the Marvel comics character the Incredible Hulk.
11 Domestic partner of Olive de Wilton (1916-1919).
12 Karloff was considered such an anonymous actor by Universal that he was not invited to the December 6, 1931 premiere of Frankenstein (1931).
13 Almost 25 years after his death, he appeared in archive footage taken from Bride of Frankenstein (1935) in the opening credits of Weird Science (1994). The same is true of Ernest Thesiger.
14 Karloff got the role in The Criminal Code (1931), a breakthrough role for him, because he was broke. He could not go to the Masquers Club because he could not pay his dues and could not afford his second choice, a cup of coffee, so he went to Actors' Equity, where he learned that there was casting for the role.
15 Karloff was one of the 12 original founders of the Screen Actors Guild and held SAG card #9.
16 In his book, "Mark of the Werewolf", novelist Jeffrey Sackett has a character named William Henry Pratt. The character's description fits Karloff perfectly.
17 His siblings pushed him toward a career in government service, but he turned to acting instead.
18 He was raised by his older brothers and a stepsister.
19 He was the youngest of eight sons.
20 Both of Karloff's parents died when he was still a child.
21 The mad scientist character in the Bugs Bunny short Water, Water Every Hare (1952) is patterned after Boris right down to his slight lisp and heavy eyebrows.
22 Never legally changed his name to Boris Karloff. He always signed contracts and documents as "William Henry Pratt aka Boris Karloff".
23 Maintained an apartment in New York's The Dakota apartment house.
24 Took out his false teeth to achieve the metamorphosis in The Haunted Strangler (1958).
25 Rejected by the British Army in World War I, because of a heart murmur.
26 Once did a television commercial for A-1 Steak Sauce.
27 He was Christopher Lee's neighbor for many years.
28 His voice was the basis for future Tony the Tiger commercials by Kellogg's.
29 Although he will forever be linked to Frankenstein's Monster, Karloff actually played Frankenstein's creation only three times--once in the original Frankenstein (1931), again in Bride of Frankenstein (1935) and finally in Son of Frankenstein (1939). He played Dr. Frankenstein only once, in Frankenstein 1970 (1958).
30 Raised rare Bedlington Terriers while he lived in Brentwood, California. One day he was walking them with his four-year old daughter Sara Karloff when they broke free and they ran up to an inebriated man stumbling down the street. The drunk begged Karloff for a ride to Cedars of Lebanon Hospital, claiming he "just saw three sheep bark!". Karloff obliged.
31 He was the biggest star to lend his voice to a sound effect. Universal added his anguished scream over the dead Ygor from Son of Frankenstein (1939) to its stock sound effects library and used it for subsequent films, including House of Frankenstein (1944) (the cry when Daniel the hunchback falls from the roof).
32 He is commemorated by a plaque inside St. Paul's Church (The Actors' Church), Covent Garden, London.
33 Was one of the founding members of the Screen Actors Guild. His daughter recounts that, due to the Hollywood studio chiefs' distrust of unions and their attempts to keep them from forming, he always carried a roll of dimes in his pocket. This was because he had to use pay phones when conducting union business, since he knew his home phone had been tapped.
34 He celebrated his 51st birthday during the production of Son of Frankenstein (1939) and remarked that he received the best birthday present ever: the birth of his daughter Sara Karloff. He reportedly rushed from the set to the hospital in full makeup and costume.
35 During the production of Frankenstein (1931) there was some concern that seven-year-old Marilyn Harris, who played Maria, the little girl thrown into the lake by the creature, would be overly frightened by the sight of Karloff in costume and make-up when it came time to shoot the scene. When the cast was assembled to travel to the location, Marilyn ran from her car directly up to Karloff, who was in full make-up and costume, took his hand and asked "May I drive with you?". Delighted, and in typical Karloff fashion, he responded, "Would you, darling?". She then rode to the location with "The Monster".
36 When he died, the New York Times obituary featured a picture of Frankenstein's monster. Unfortunately, the image was actually Glenn Strange in full makeup, not Karloff.
37 A photo of him keeping wicket while C. Aubrey Smith was batting was included in a display in the Long Room at Lord's cricket ground in 2004. The display was to celebrate Sussex (the oldest county side) winning the County Championship for the first time and the photo was included because Smith had been a captain of Sussex CCC.
38 Played cricket for Enfield Cricket Club (just north of London, England) before emigrating, and the club has his picture hanging in the pavilion.
39 He appeared in 80 films before his breakthrough role in Frankenstein (1931).
40 Refused to reprise his role as Frankenstein's Monster in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948), because he felt spoofs would not sell to the audience. He did agree to do publicity for the film and posed for pictures of himself going to see the film.
41 According to daughter Sara Karloff, he had to have three major back surgeries in his lifetime as a result of carrying Colin Clive up the stairs of the windmill in the climax of Frankenstein (1931).
42 On June 30, 1912, a then-unknown Karloff had taken some time off to canoe while touring around the city of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. When he came back to the city, he returned to find his accommodation had been destroyed by a tornado that killed 28. He organized a concert that raised some much needed funds for the city.
43 Often thought of as a very large man, he was in reality a slim man of medium height. He wore huge lifts and much padding to give him the massive look as Frankenstein's monster.
44 1956: He was a celebrity contestant on The $64,000 Question (1955). The category he chose was children's fairy tales. He won the $32,000 level and quit due to tax considerations.
45 He would mark his lines in the script. Jack Nicholson saw this and adopted the procedure himself.
46 In the final years of his life, walking, and even just standing, became a painful ordeal. Some directors would change the script to place Karloff's character in a wheelchair, so that he would be more comfortable.
47 When he traveled to England to shoot The Ghoul (1933), it was the first time in nearly 25 years that he returned to his home country and reunited with the surviving members of his family.
48 His first Broadway play was "Arsenic and Old Lace" in a role that was written for him. He played Jonathan Brewster, whose face has been changed by a disreputable plastic surgeon named Dr. Einstein so that he now looks like Boris Karloff. He also performed the role in the road company of this production.
49 His favorite author was Joseph Conrad. In the 1950s, he was cast as Kurtz in a production of Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" on Playhouse 90 (1956).
50 He had East Indian heritage on his father's side, which gave Karloff a dark skin tone. In several films, he was cast in roles such as Arabs and American Indians.
51 Suffered from chronic back trouble for most of his adult life, the result of the heavy brace he had to wear as part of his Frankenstein costume. He never let it slow him up, though, and kept active to the end of his life.
52 When told by a mutual friend that Bobby Pickett, who recorded the hit song "Monster Mash", was a huge fan of his, Karloff replied, "Tell him I enjoy his record very much." Pickett still considers that the greatest compliment he has ever gotten, and Karloff eventually sang the song himself on a television special.
53 In contrast to the image he presented in most of his films, the private Karloff was, by every account, a quiet, bookish man off- screen. A true gentleman, he had many friends, both in and out of show business, and he was particularly fond of children. For the latter, among other things, he recorded many successful albums of children's stories.
54 A photograph of Karloff in his Frankenstein (1931) monster makeup appears on one stamp of a sheet of 10 USA 37¢ commemorative postage stamps, issued 25 February 2003, celebrating American Filmmaking: Behind the Scenes. The stamp, which honors makeup artists, shows Jack P. Pierce and an unidentified assistant applying the monster makeup.
55 Pictured on two of a set of five 32¢ US commemorative postage stamps, issued 30 September 1997, celebrating "Famous Movie Monsters". He is shown on one stamp as the title character in The Mummy (1932) and on the other as the monster in Frankenstein (1931). Other actors honored in this set of stamps, and the classic monsters they portray, are Lon Chaney as The Phantom of the Opera (1925); Bela Lugosi as Dracula (1931); and Lon Chaney Jr. as The Wolf Man (1941).
56 He was considered a late bloomer in Hollywood; Frankenstein (1931) premiered when he was 44 years old.
57 Shares a birthday with his daughter Sara Karloff.
58 Received a Tony Award nomination in 1956 for his dramatic role in "The Lark".
59 Great-nephew of Anna Leonowens.


Actor

Actor

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Guilty Generation 1931 Tony Ricca
Frankenstein 1931 The Monster (as ?)
The Mad Genius 1931 Fedor's Father (uncredited)
The Yellow Ticket 1931 Drunken Orderly (uncredited)
Graft 1931 'Terry'
I Like Your Nerve 1931 Luigi - Pacheco's Butler
Five Star Final 1931 Isopod
Sous les verrous 1931 Le Tigre
The Public Defender 1931 The Professor
Smart Money 1931 Sport Williams (uncredited)
Young Donovan's Kid 1931 Cokey Joe
The Vanishing Legion 1931 The Voice (voice, uncredited)
Cracked Nuts 1931 Boris - First Revolutionary
King of the Wild 1931 Mustapha
The Criminal Code 1931 Galloway
The Utah Kid 1930 Henchman Baxter
The Sea Bat 1930 Corsican
The Bad One 1930 Monsieur Gaston
The Unholy Night 1929 Abdul Mohammed Bey - the Hindu Lawyer (uncredited)
The King of the Kongo 1929 Scarface Macklin
Behind That Curtain 1929 Beetham's Manservant
The Phantom of the North 1929 Jules Gregg
Anne Against the World 1929
Two Sisters 1929 Cecil
The Devil's Chaplain 1929 Boris
The Fatal Warning 1929 Mullins
Burning the Wind 1928 Pug Doran
The Little Wild Girl 1928 Maurice Kent
Vultures of the Sea 1928 Grouchy
The Vanishing Rider 1928 The Villain
Sharp Shooters 1928 Cafe Proprietor (uncredited)
The Love Mart 1927 Fleming
Two Arabian Knights 1927 The Purser
Soft Cushions 1927 The Chief Conspirator
The Phantom Buster 1927 Ramon
The Meddlin' Stranger 1927 Al Meggs
Tarzan and the Golden Lion 1927 Owaza
The Princess from Hoboken 1927 Pavel
Let It Rain 1927 Crook
The General 1926 Union General (unconfirmed, uncredited)
Old Ironsides 1926 Saracen Guard (uncredited)
Flaming Fury 1926 Gaspard
The Nickel-Hopper 1926 Short Dance Hall Masher (uncredited)
The Eagle of the Sea 1926 Pirate (uncredited)
Flames 1926 Blackie Blanchette
The Golden Web 1926 Dave Sinclair
The Bells 1926 The Mesmerist
Her Honor, the Governor 1926 Snipe Collins
The Man in the Saddle 1926 Robber
The Greater Glory 1926 Scissors Grinder
Without Mercy 1925 Madame Gordon's 2nd Henchman (uncredited)
Perils of the Wild 1925
Lady Robinhood 1925 Cabraza
Parisian Nights 1925 Pierre
The Prairie Wife 1925 Diego
Forbidden Cargo 1925 Pietro Castillano
Dynamite Dan 1924 Tony Garcia
Riders of the Plains 1924
The Hellion 1924 The Outlaw
The Prisoner 1923 Prince Kapolski
The Altar Stairs 1922 Hugo
Omar the Tentmaker 1922 Imam Mowaffak
The Woman Conquers 1922 Raoul Maris
The Infidel 1922 The Nabob
The Man from Downing Street 1922 Maharajah Jehan
Nan of the North 1922 Undetermined Role (uncredited)
The Cave Girl 1921 Baptiste
Cheated Hearts 1921 Nei Hamid
Without Benefit of Clergy 1921 Ahmed Khan
The Hope Diamond Mystery 1921 Priest of Kama-Sita Dakar
The Last of the Mohicans 1920 Indian (uncredited)
The Courage of Marge O'Doone 1920 Tavish
The Deadlier Sex 1920 Jules Borney
The Prince and Betty 1919 Undetermined Role
His Majesty, the American 1919 Henchman in cloth cap (uncredited)
The Masked Rider 1919 Mexican in Saloon (Ch. 2)
The Lightning Raider 1919
Alien Terror 1971 Prof. John Mayer
Isle of the Snake People 1971 Carl van Molder Damballah
Cauldron of Blood 1970 Franz Badulescu
Fear Chamber 1968 Dr. Karl Mantell
House of Evil 1968 Matthias Morteval
The Crimson Cult 1968 Professor John Marsh
The Name of the Game 1968 TV Series Mikhail Orlov
The Red Skelton Hour 1956-1968 TV Series Dr. Johnson Sr. / Mad Scientist
Targets 1968 Byron Orlok
The Sorcerers 1967 Prof. Marcus Monserrat
Mad Monster Party? 1967 Baron Boris von Frankenstein (voice)
I Spy 1967 TV Series Don Ernesto Silvando
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! 1966 TV Movie Narrator / The Grinch (voice)
The Venetian Affair 1966 Dr. Pierre Vaugiroud
The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. 1966 TV Series Mother Muffin
The Wild Wild West 1966 TV Series Mr. Singh
The Daydreamer 1966 The Rat (voice)
The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini 1966 The Corpse
Die, Monster, Die! 1965 Nahum Witley
Bikini Beach 1964 The Art Dealer
The Comedy of Terrors 1963 Amos Hinchley
Black Sabbath 1963 Gorca (segment "I Wurdalak")
The Terror 1963 Baron Victor Frederick Von Leppe / Eric
The Raven 1963 Dr. Scarabus
Route 66 1962 TV Series Boris Karloff
The Dickie Henderson Show 1962 TV Series
Theatre '62 1962 TV Series Judge Lord Thomas Horfield
The Paradine Case 1962 TV Movie Judge Lord Thomas Horfield
Arsenic & Old Lace 1962 TV Movie Jonathan Brewster
The Secret World of Eddie Hodges 1960 TV Movie Captain Hook
Upgreen - And at 'Em 1960
The DuPont Show of the Month 1960 TV Series Capt. Billy Bones
Playhouse 90 1956-1960 TV Series Guibert / Mr. Kurtz / Ward Allen
General Electric Theater 1955-1959 TV Series Henry E. Church / Mr. Blue Ocean
The Gale Storm Show: Oh! Susanna 1959 TV Series Boris Karloff
Corridors of Blood 1958 Dr. Bolton
Frankenstein 1970 1958 Baron Victor von Frankenstein
The Haunted Strangler 1958 James Rankin
The Juggler of Our Lady 1958 Short Narrator (voice)
Studio One in Hollywood 1951-1958 TV Series Professor Theodore Koernig / King Arthur / Skaggs
Shirley Temple's Storybook 1958 TV Series Father Knickerbocker / Narrator
Telephone Time 1958 TV Series Dr. Pierre
The Veil 1958 TV Mini-Series Host / Ira Perry / Sgt. Willmore / ...
Suspicion 1957 TV Series Judge Winthrop Gelsey
Lux Video Theatre 1951-1957 TV Series Montgomery Royle / Larkin / Sir Arthur
The Lark 1957 TV Movie Bishop Cauchon
Voodoo Island 1957 Phillip Knight
Colonel March of Scotland Yard 1954-1956 TV Series Colonel March Of Scotland Yard Col. Perceval March
Climax! 1954-1956 TV Series Vicar / Dr. Philip Nestri
The Alcoa Hour 1956 TV Series Doc Dixon
The United States Steel Hour 1955 TV Series George Redford
A Connecticut Yankee 1955 TV Movie King Arthur
The Elgin Hour 1955 TV Series Mr. Mycroft
The Best of Broadway 1955 TV Series Jonathan Brewster
Sabaka 1954 Gen. Pollegar
The Island Monster 1954 Don Gaetano
Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 1953 Dr. Henry Jekyll Mr. Hyde
Suspense 1949-1953 TV Series Rasputin / Bronson / Toff
Tales of Tomorrow 1952-1953 TV Series Dr. Henry Marco
Robert Montgomery Presents 1951-1953 TV Series Bennett Kimball
Hollywood Opening Night 1953 TV Series
The Plymouth Playhouse 1953 TV Series Story One - The Chase
The Black Castle 1952 Dr. Meissen
Schlitz Playhouse 1952 TV Series Charles Brandon
Curtain Call 1952 TV Series
CBS Television Workshop 1952 TV Series Don Quixote
The Strange Door 1951 Voltan
The Saturday Night Revue with Jack Carter 1950 TV Series
Lights Out 1950 TV Series
Masterpiece Playhouse 1950 TV Series
The Boris Karloff Mystery Playhouse 1949 TV Series
Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff 1949 Swami Talpur
The Chevrolet Tele-Theatre 1949 TV Series Doctor Steven Johnson
The Emperor's Nightingale 1949 Narrator (English version) (English version, voice)
The Ford Theatre Hour 1949 TV Series Jonathan Brewster
Tap Roots 1948 Tishomingo
Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome 1947 Gruesome
Unconquered 1947 Guyasuta - Chief of the Senecas
Lured 1947 Charles van Druten
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty 1947 Dr. Hugo Hollingshead
Bedlam 1946 Master George Sims
Isle of the Dead 1945 Gen. Nikolas Pherides
The Body Snatcher 1945 Cabman John Gray
House of Frankenstein 1944 Doctor Gustav Niemann
The Climax 1944 Dr. Friedrich Hohner
The Boogie Man Will Get You 1942 Prof. Nathaniel Billings
The Devil Commands 1941 Dr. Julian Blair
You'll Find Out 1940 Judge Spencer Mainwaring
The Ape 1940 Dr. Bernard Adrian
Before I Hang 1940 Dr. John Garth
Doomed to Die 1940 James Lee Wong
The Man with Nine Lives 1940 Dr. Leon Kravaal
Black Friday 1940 Dr. Ernest Sovac
British Intelligence 1940 Valdar
The Fatal Hour 1940 James Lee Wong
Tower of London 1939 Mord
The Man They Could Not Hang 1939 Dr. Henryk Savaard
Mr. Wong in Chinatown 1939 James Lee Wong
The Mystery of Mr. Wong 1939 Mr. James Lee Wong
Son of Frankenstein 1939 The Monster
Devil's Island 1939 Dr. Charles Gaudet
Mr. Wong, Detective 1938 Mr. James Lee Wong
The Invisible Menace 1938 Jevries
West of Shanghai 1937 Wu Yen Fang
Night Key 1937 David Mallory
Charlie Chan at the Opera 1936 Gravelle
The Man Who Lived Again 1936 Dr. Laurience
Juggernaut 1936 Doctor Victor Sartorius
The Walking Dead 1936 John Ellman
The Invisible Ray 1936 Dr. Janos Rukh (as Karloff)
The Black Room 1935 Baron Gregor de Berghman Anton de Berghman
The Raven 1935 Edmond Bateman (as Karloff)
Bride of Frankenstein 1935 The Monster (as Karloff)
Gift of Gab 1934 The Phantom (as Karloff)
The Black Cat 1934 Hjalmar Poelzig (as Karloff)
The House of Rothschild 1934 Count Ledrantz
The Lost Patrol 1934 Sanders
The Ghoul 1933 Prof. Henry Morlant
The Mummy 1932 Ardath Bey Imhotep
The Mask of Fu Manchu 1932 Dr. Fu Manchu
The Old Dark House 1932 Morgan
Skyscraper Souls 1932 Man Approaching Ticket Counter (uncredited)
Night World 1932 'Happy' MacDonald
The Miracle Man 1932 Nikko
Scarface 1932 Tom Gaffney
The Cohens and Kellys in Hollywood 1932 Boris Karloff
Business and Pleasure 1932 Sheik Ali Ben Joseph (uncredited)
Behind the Mask 1932 Jim Henderson
Tonight or Never 1931 Waiter

Soundtrack

Soundtrack

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Rosemary Clooney: Singing at Her Best 2004 Video short performer: "You'd Be Surprised"
Lugosi: Hollywood's Dracula 1997 Documentary performer: "We're Horrible, Horrible Men"
The Red Skelton Hour 1968 TV Series performer - 1 episode
Mad Monster Party? 1967 performer: "One Step Ahead"
Shindig! 1965 TV Series performer - 1 episode
The Gisele MacKenzie Show 1957 TV Series performer - 1 episode
The Lux Show 1957 TV Series performer - 1 episode
The Rosemary Clooney Show 1957 TV Series performer - 1 episode
A Connecticut Yankee 1955 TV Movie performer: "A Toast", "At the Round Table", "You Always Love the Same Girl"
The Body Snatcher 1945 performer: "Poor Daft Jamie" - uncredited
One in a Million 1936 "Horror Boys of Hollywood" 1936

Thanks

Thanks

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Last Circus 2010 the director wishes to thank
The New Bike 2009 Short acknowledgment
Kreating Karloff 2006 Documentary in memory of
The Hypnotic Eye 1996 TV Series dedicatee - 1 episode
Dieter & Andreas 1989 Short grateful acknowledgment
Bikini Beach 1964 special thanks: actor, The Art Dealer

Self

Self

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Jonathan Winters Show 1968 TV Series Himself
Film Review 1968 TV Mini-Series Himself
The London Palladium Show 1966 TV Series Himself
Shindig! 1965 TV Series Himself - Guest Host / Singer
The Entertainers 1965 TV Series Himself
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson 1964 TV Series Himself - Guest
The Garry Moore Show 1964 TV Series Himself
Horror 1964 TV Movie documentary Himself
A Fool's World 1964 Documentary Himself - Narrator
I've Got a Secret 1952-1963 TV Series Himself / Himself - Guest / Himself - Celebrity Guest
Out of This World 1962 TV Series Himself - Host
Thriller 1960-1962 TV Series Himself / Himself - Host / Dr. Konrad Markesan / ...
Here's Hollywood 1960 TV Series Himself
Sunday Showcase 1960 TV Series Himself - Host
The Jack Paar Tonight Show 1958 TV Series Himself
The Betty White Show 1958 TV Series Himself
The Lux Show 1957-1958 TV Series Himself
The Veil 1958 TV Mini-Series Himself - Host
This Is Your Life 1957 TV Series Himself
The Gisele MacKenzie Show 1957 TV Series Himself
The Dinah Shore Chevy Show 1957 TV Series Himself
The Kate Smith Show 1957 TV Series Himself
The Rosemary Clooney Show 1957 TV Series Himself
The Ernie Kovacs Show 1956 TV Series Himself
Frankie Laine Time 1956 TV Series Himself
This Is Your Life 1955 TV Series documentary Himself
The Donald O'Connor Show 1955 TV Series Himself
The New Truth and Consequences 1954 TV Series Himself
The George Gobel Show 1954 TV Series Himself
Who Said That? 1953 TV Series Himself
The 25th Annual Academy Awards 1953 TV Special Himself - Audience Member (New York)
All Star Revue 1953 TV Series Himself
Texaco Star Theatre 1949-1952 TV Series Himself
Celebrity Time 1949-1952 TV Series Himself
That Reminds Me 1952 TV Series Himself
The Fred Waring Show 1951 TV Series Himself
Down You Go 1951 TV Series Himself
TV Club 1951 TV Series documentary Himself
What's My Line? 1951 TV Series Himself - Mystery Guest
The Paul Whiteman's Goodyear Revue 1950 TV Series Himself
Inside U.S.A. with Chevrolet 1950 TV Series Himself
Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall 1950 TV Series
The Boris Karloff Mystery Playhouse 1949 TV Series Himself - Host
We, the People 1948 TV Series Himself
Hedda Hopper's Hollywood No. 6 1942 Documentary short Himself
Information Please: Series 2, No. 12 1941 Documentary short Himself
Screen Snapshots Series 19, No. 9: Sports in Hollywood 1940 Documentary short Himself / Tennis Fan
Breakdowns of 1937 1937 Short Himself
Hollywood Hobbies 1935 Documentary short Himself

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Pop Culture Beast's Halloween Horror Picks 2014-2015 TV Series documentary Cabman John Gray / Byron Orlok
Dante's Domicile 2015 TV Series Baron Victor Frederick Von Leppe / Eric
Spetsyfichni typy komunikatsiyi u mizhnarodnykh informatsiynykh ta kulturnih vidnosynakh: Ukrayinskiy vymir universalnogo kodu kultovogo kino 2015 Short Baron Victor Frederick Von Leppe / Eric (uncredited)
America's Clown: An Intimate Biography of Red Skelton 2014 Video Mad Scientist
Cinemassacre's Monster Madness 2007-2013 TV Series documentary Imhotep The Monster ? ...
A Masque of Madness (Notes on Film 06-B, Monologue 02) 2013
Masterclass Jean-Pierre Bouyxou 2013 Video documentary
South at Six 2012 TV Series Himself
Prophets of Science Fiction 2011 TV Series documentary The Monster in 'Frankenstein'
Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel 2011 Documentary Dr. Scarabus (uncredited)
A History of Horror with Mark Gatiss 2010 TV Mini-Series documentary The Monster / Morgan / Cabman John Gray
Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy 2010 Video documentary Himself (uncredited)
Bones 2009 TV Series Imhotep
American Masters 2009 TV Series documentary Fu Manchu
Happy Tears 2009 Imhotep (uncredited)
He Who Made Monsters: The Life and Art of Jack Pierce 2008 Video short Himself
House of Harrington 2008 Documentary short
One for the Fire: The Legacy of 'Night of the Living Dead' 2008 Documentary Himself
Close-up 2007 TV Series documentary Himself / The Monster / Various
The Fallen Vampire 2007 TV Movie documentary Himself
Famous Monster: Forrest J Ackerman 2007 Documentary Himself
Corridor Gossip 2007 Video documentary short Dr. Thomas Bolton (uncredited)
Haunted Memories 2007 Video documentary short clips from 'The Haunted Strangler'
Ultimate Sci-Fi Quiz 2006 Video Game Frankenstein's Monster (uncredited)
Lugosi, the Dark Prince 2006 Video documentary short Himself
Terror in the Tropics 2006 Video Mr. Wong
History's Mysteries 2006 TV Series documentary Monster
Karloff, the Gentle Monster 2006 Video documentary short Himself
Edgar G. Ulmer - The Man Off-screen 2004 Documentary
Van Helsing: The Man and the Monsters 2004 TV Movie documentary Frankenstein's Monster
Rosemary Clooney: Singing at Her Best 2004 Video short Himself
Van Helsing: Behind the Screams 2004 Video documentary short
The Mesmerist 2003 Short
Extra Weird 2003 Video documentary Himself
Biography 1995-2003 TV Series documentary The Monster / Himself
Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi 2002 TV Short documentary Himself / Characters
The Frankenstein Files: How Hollywood Made a Monster 2002 Video documentary The Monster / Mad Scientist (uncredited)
The Universe According to Universal 2002 Video documentary short Dr. Janos Rukh (uncredited)
Schlock! The Secret History of American Movies 2001 Documentary Himself
Heroes of Horror 2001 TV Movie documentary Himself / Frankenstein's Monster / Narrator & The Grinch / ...
Songs in the Key of Grinch 2000 Video documentary short The Grinch / Narrator
The American Nightmare 2000 Documentary Himself
Monster by Moonlight! The Immortal Saga of 'The Wolf Man' 1999 Video documentary short
Mummy Dearest: A Horror Tradition Unearthed 1999 Video documentary short Im-Ho-Tep
Film Breaks 1999 TV Series documentary Mr. Wong
Bride of Chucky 1998 Clips from 'Bride of Frankenstein' (uncredited)
Universal Horror 1998 TV Movie documentary Himself
100 Years of Horror: The Frankenstein Family 1996 Video documentary Himself
100 Years of Horror 1996 TV Series documentary Himself
Nightmare: The Birth of Victorian Horror 1996 TV Series documentary The Monster
Empire of the Censors 1995 TV Movie documentary Himself
The Interactive History of Frankenstein 1995 Video Game Himself / Frankenstein Monster
The Universal Story 1995 TV Movie documentary Himself
A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies 1995 TV Movie documentary Tom Gaffney, 'Scarface' (uncredited)
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Special Edition 1994 TV Short documentary
Abbott and Costello Meet Jerry Seinfeld 1994 TV Movie documentary
In Search of Dr. Seuss 1994 TV Movie The Grinch (uncredited)
It's Alive: The True Story of Frankenstein 1994 TV Movie documentary
Natural Born Killers 1994 The Monster (uncredited)
The Face of Tutankhamun 1992 TV Mini-Series documentary Ardath Bey / Imhotep
EBN: Commercial Entertainment Product 1992 Video short Frankenstein's Monster (uncredited)
Frankenstein: A Cinematic Scrapbook 1991 Documentary The Monster Doctor Gustav Niemann Dr. Henry Jekyll ...
Hooray for Horrorwood 1991 Video documentary Himself (uncredited)
Myrna Loy: So Nice to Come Home to 1991 TV Movie documentary Himself
Father Dowling Mysteries 1991 TV Series Imhotep
The Horror Hall of Fame 1990 TV Movie documentary Inductee
Transylvania Twist 1989 Himself
Murphy Brown 1989 TV Series Himself / opening credits
Monsters & Maniacs 1988 Video documentary Himself
Horrible Horror 1986 Video Gruesome, In clips from 'Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome'
Moonlighting 1986 TV Series Frankenstein's Monster
The Best of All Time Horror Classics 1985 Video documentary Frankenstein
Going Hollywood: The '30s 1984 Documentary
The Bob Wilkins Super Horror Show 1979 TV Movie documentary Himself
The Horror Show 1979 TV Movie documentary
Brother Can You Spare a Dime 1975 Documentary Himself
Don Adams' Screen Test 1975 TV Series
Madhouse 1974 Clip from 'The Raven'
McCloud 1971 TV Series Hjalmar Poelzig
Film Review 1967 TV Mini-Series John Gray
The Son of Frankenstein 1966 Short The Monster
Way... Way Out 1966 Frankenstein Monster - Film clip on television screen (uncredited)
Doom of Dracula 1966 Short The Madman
Hollywood My Home Town 1965 Documentary Himself
Wayne and Shuster Take an Affectionate Look At... 1965 TV Series documentary Various
Ensign Pulver 1964 film clip from 'The Walking Dead' (uncredited)
The Judy Garland Show 1964 TV Series Himself
Hollywood and the Stars 1964 TV Series The Monster in Frankenstein's segment
Exploring 1962 TV Series documentary Narrator (voice)
Days of Thrills and Laughter 1961 Documentary Himself
The Veil 1958 TV Movie Sgt. Chester Willmore / Dr. Carlo Marcabienti / Andre Giraud / ...
Destination Nightmare 1958 TV Movie Host / Ira Perry / Pete Wade Sr. / ...
Jack the Ripper 1958 TV Movie Capt. John Elwood / Jonas Atterbury / Dr. Francis Mason
Colonel March Investigates 1955 Col. March
When the Talkies Were Young 1955 Short T. Vernon Isopod (uncredited)
Screen Snapshots: Spike Jones in Hollywood 1953 Short Himself
House of Dracula 1945 Frankenstein Monster in Dream Sequence (uncredited)
The Mummy's Curse 1944 Kharis in flashback, bandaging sequence (uncredited)
The Mummy's Hand 1940 Kharis (uncredited)
Cinema Circus 1937 Short Karloff
Boo 1932 Short Frankenstein's Monster (edited from "Frankenstein") (uncredited)

Won awards

Won awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
1968 Grammy Grammy Awards Best Recording for Children How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966) · Dr. Suess (music and lyrics by)
· Albert Hague (music and lyrics by)
· Eugene Poddany (orchestral score composed by)
· June Foray (performed by)
1960 Star on the Walk of Fame Walk of Fame Motion Picture On 8 February 1960. At 1737 Vine Street.
1960 Star on the Walk of Fame Walk of Fame Television On 8 February 1960. At 6664 Hollywood Blvd.

TitleSalary
Targets (1968) $22,000
The Sorcerers (1967) £11,000
The Raven (1963) $30,000
Corridors of Blood (1958) $37,500
Frankenstein 1970 (1958) $25,000
Grip of the Strangler (1958) $27,500
Voodoo Island (1957) $25,000
Son of Frankenstein (1939) $3,500 /week
The Raven (1935) $10,000
Bride of Frankenstein (1935) $12,500 ($2,500 per week)
The Mummy (1932) $750 per week
The King of the Kongo (1929) $75 /week

#Quote
1 Of course, there are always things you see in your own films that you feel could have been done better. But once a film is finished, it's too late to do anything about it. The ship has sailed and one's mistakes are embalmed. But you can learn something for the next time.
2 [on animals] I am very fond of dogs and used to keep them when I was in Hollywood. But we have an apartment in London, and I don't think one should have a dog without a garden for it to run in.
3 [on his then current studio AIP] James Nicholon and Samuel Arkoff, the bosses, and everyone connected with AIP show me wonderful kindness and consideration. And their standards of production, writing, directing and color are very fine.
4 [on his pet hate] Background music in films. I know my films have it too - the heavy, sinister stuff. But I still think background music is an insult to the intelligence of audiences. The mood should be conveyed by the action and not have to be underlined. There was that Hitchcock film Lifeboat (1944) in which three or four people were floating on a boat in the middle of the ocean. But from nowhere at all there came a celestial choir on the soundtrack. It's so silly.
5 Certainly, I was typed. But what is typing? It is a trademark, a means by which the public recognizes you. Actors work all their lives to achieve that. I got mine with just one picture. It was a blessing.
6 Horror means something revolting. Anybody can show you a pailful of innards. But the object of the roles I played is not to turn your stomach - but merely to make your hair stand on end.
7 Most actors, you know, come out here with contracts from New York. They have gone through their hardships back East, and once in Hollywood, everything is easy on them. But I can remember standing outside little one-arm restaurants along Hollywood Boulevard and wishing I had an extra dime - for a couple of doughnuts to go with my coffee.
8 [on Jack P. Pierce] The best make-up man in the world. I owe him a lot.
9 I am a very lucky man. Here I am in my 80th year, and I am still able to earn my bread and butter at my profession. I am one of that very small family of the human race who happens to thoroughly enjoy his work. If I didn't enjoy it, I wouldn't go on.
10 My leg in a steel brace... operating with only half a lung... why, it's a public scandal that I'm still around. But as long as the people want me, I feel an obligation to go on performing. After all, every time I act I provide employment for a fleet of doubles.
11 My dear old monster. I owe everything to him. He's my best friend.
12 [on his rival, Bela Lugosi] Poor old Bela, it was a strange thing. He was really a shy, sensitive, talented man who had a fine career on the classical stage in Europe, but he made a fatal mistake. He never took the trouble to learn our language. He had real problems with his speech and difficulty interpreting lines.
13 The monster was the best friend I ever had.
14 You could heave a brick out of the window and hit ten actors who could play my parts. I just happened to be on the right corner at the right time.
15 [In 1936, on his appeal to children, who empathized with the monster] I don't really scare them any more than do Jungle Jim, Dan Dunn, Tarzan, and the other heroes of the comic sections.
16 My wife has good taste. She has seen very few of my movies.
17 When I was nine, I played the demon king in "Cinderella" and it launched me on a long and happy life of being a monster.
18 [on whether he resented being typed as a "horror star"] One always hears of actors complaining of being typed - if he's young, he's typed as a juvenile; if he's handsome, he's typed as a leading man. I was lucky. Whereas bootmakers have to spend millions to establish a trademark, I was handed a trademark free of charge. When an actor gets in a position to select his own roles, he's in big trouble, for he never knows what he can do best. I'm sure I'd be damn good as little Lord Fauntleroy, but who would pay ten cents to see it?

#Trademark
1 Often plays imposing, sinister villains
2 Frequently cast by James Whale
3 Gaunt bony features
4 Deep smooth voice
5 Slight lisp to his voice
6 Heavy eyebrows

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