Karloff as the Monster


Karloff as Imhotep


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Boris Karloff , More Than A Monster - Compiled by David Collier

William Henry Pratt, better know to the masses as Boris Karloff, was an English actor
whose career spanned 50 years and more than 150 films. He is universally known for his iconic portrayal as the monster in the classics Frankenstein (1931), The Bride of Frankenstein (1939), and Son of Frankenstein (1939). He also starred as Imhotep in The Mummy (1932).He was also known as the narrator of the Christmas classic Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966) and starred in the animated Mad Monster Party (1967).

Karloff got his start when he left for Canada in 1909, playing in many stage shows
throughout the country for many years before heading to Hollywood.

Once in Hollywood, Karloff appeared in many silent films up to the 1930’s before
becoming a huge star because of Frankenstein.

Even though Karloff would diversify in his choices for film roles such as Scareface
(1932) and The Lost Patrol (1934), it was the horror genre that would forever define his
legacy. Karloff played the role of the monster only three times in feature films, before giving the
reigns over to Glenn Strange who starred as the monster in House of Frankenstein

He would go on to work in many horror films throughout the rest of his career, most
notably with Bela Lugosi in films such as The Black Cat (1934), The Raven (1935) and
The Body Snatcher (1945).

At the end of his career, spanning some 50 years, he would do a series of Mexican
horror films for producer Luis Vergara. He shot all of his scenes for these pictures in the
Spring of 1968 in Los Angeles while the rest of the productions were completed in
Mexico. All four films (The Snake People, The Incredible Invasion, The Fear Chamber
and House of Evil) would all be released posthumously.

Boris Karloff will forever be known as the ‘King of Horror’.

Other Vital Statistics:

William Henry Pratt
23 November 1887
Honor Oak, London, England, UK

2 February 1969 (aged 81)
Midhurst, Sussex, England, UK

Some Trivia:

Appeared in 80 films before his breakthrough role in Frankenstein (1931).

He had East Indian heritage on this father's side. This gave Karloff a dark skin tone. In several
films he was cast in roles such as Arabs and American Indians

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.

According to daughter Sara Karloff, he had to have three major back surgeries in his lifetime.

Thought to have had a bitter rivalry with fellow actor Bela Lugosi, this was nothing more than a
publicity stunt put on by the actors.

When he died, the New York Times obituary featured a picture of Frankenstein's monster. Unfortunately, it was actor Glenn Strange in the photo and not Karloff.


My wife has good taste. She has seen very few of my movies.

My dear old monster. I owe everything to him. He's my best friend.

Other Places of Interest:


Official Boris Karloff site

Karloff: More than a Monster (amazon books)

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