Boris Karloff

Boris Karloff


Boris Karloff
TV: South side of the 6600 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Boris Karloff
Film: West side of the 1700 block of Vine Street
Born William Henry Pratt on Nov. 23, 1887 in Dulwich, United Kingdom
Died Feb. 2, 1969 of respiratory ailment in London, United Kingdom

Boris Karloff was best known as the arch-monster Frankenstein, who thrilled and terrified millions of youngsters through three generations.

Despite more than 130 film roles including monsters, revived Egyptian mummies, zombies and mad scientists from the test tube days to the computer era, Karloff in his private life was a soft-spoken, lisping, quiet man fond of reading poetry and puttering in his garden.

Karloff went to Hollywood in 1919 and began playing bit parts. In 1931 he was asked to portray a monster from the pages of the novel "Frankenstein" by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley in which Dr. Frankenstein creates a man out of parts of dead bodies and jolts the monster to life with electric shocks.

"He was inarticulate, helpless and tragic," Karloff later said of the monster. "I owe everything to him. He's my best friend."

The success of "Frankenstein" prompted two more films on the theme — "Bride of Frankenstein" and "House of Frankenstein" — and "Frankenstein 1970" in the late 1950s.

When he wasn't busy with Frankenstein roles, Karloff's softly sinister manner was employed in such thrillers as "The Body Snatcher," "Isle of the Dead," "The Ghoul," "The Man They Could Not Hang" and "The Invisible Ray."

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