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Actresses who appeared with Boris Karloff on screen:

Lucille Ball
James Cagney
Haley Mills
Hayley Mills
Patty Duke
Gloria Stuart
Howard Hughes
Myrna Loy
Loretta Young
Fay Wray
Annette Funicello
Susan Hayward
Susan Ward
Margaret Hamilton
Susan George
Claudette Colbert

Boris Karloff
Birthday: December 31, 1969

Birth Place: Camberwell, London, England, UK
Height: 5' 1"

Below is a complete filmography (list of movies he's appeared in) for Boris Karloff. If you have any corrections or additions, please email us at corrections@actorsofhollywood.com. We'd also be interested in any trivia or other information you have.



The long-reigning king of Hollywood horror, Boris Karloff was born William Henry Pratt on November 23, 1887, in South London. The youngest of nine children, he was educated at London University in preparation for a career as a diplomat. However, in 1909, he emigrated to Canada to accept a job on a farm, and while living in Ontario he began pursuing acting, joining a touring company and adopting the stage name Boris Karloff. His first role was as an elderly man in a production of Molnar's The Devil, and for the next decade Karloff toiled in obscurity, traveling across North America in a variety of theatrical troupes. By 1919, he was living in Los Angeles, unemployed and considering a move into vaudeville, when instead he found regular work as an extra at Universal Studios. Karloff's first role of note was in 1919's His Majesty the American, and his first sizable part came in The Deadlier Sex a year later. Still, while he worked prolifically, his tenure in the silents was undistinguished, although it allowed him to hone his skills as a consummate screen villain.Karloff's first sound-era role was in the 1929 melodrama The Unholy Night, but he continued to languish without any kind of notice, remaining so anonymous even within the film industry itself that Picturegoer magazine credited 1931's The Criminal Code as his first film performance. The picture, a Columbia production, became his first significant hit, and soon Karloff was an in-demand character actor in projects ranging from the Wheeler and Woolsey comedy Cracked Nuts to the Edward G. Robinson vehicle Five Star Final to the serial adventure King of the Wild. Meanwhile, at Universal Studios, plans were underway to adapt the Mary Shelley classic Frankenstein in the wake of the studio's massive Bela Lugosi hit Dracula. Lugosi, however, rejected the role of the monster, opting instead to attach his name to a project titled Quasimodo which ultimately went unproduced. Karloff, on the Universal lot shooting 1931's Graft, was soon tapped by director James Whale to replace Lugosi as Dr. Frankenstein's monstrous creation, and with the aid of the studio's makeup and effects unit, he entered into his definitive role, becoming an overnight superstar. Touted as the natural successor to Lon Chaney, Karloff was signed by Universal to a seven-year contract, but first he needed to fulfill his prior commitments and exited to appear in films including the Howard Hawks classic Scarface and Business or Pleasure. Upon returning to the Universal stable, he portrayed himself in 1932's The Cohens and Kellys in Hollywood before starring as a nightclub owner in Night World. However, Karloff soon reverted to type, starring in the title role in 1932's The Mummy, followed by a turn as a deaf-mute killer in Whale's superb The Old Dark House. On loan to MGM, he essayed the titular evildoer in The Mask of Fu Manchu, but on his return to Universal he demanded a bigger salary, at which point the studio dropped him. Karloff then journeyed back to Britain, where he starred in 1933's The Ghoul, before coming back to Hollywood to appear in John Ford's 1934 effort The Lost Patrol. After making amends with Universal, he co-starred with Lugosi in The Black Cat, the first of several pairings for the two actors, and in 1936 he starred in the stellar sequel The Bride of Frankenstein. Karloff spent the remainder of the 1930s continuing to work at an incredible pace, but the quality of his films, the vast majority of them B-list productions, began to taper off dramatically. Finally, in 1941, he began a three-year theatrical run in Arsenic and Old Lace before returning to Hollywood to star in the A-list production The Climax. Again, however, Karloff soon found himself consigned to Poverty Row efforts, such as 1945's The House of Frankenstein. He also found himself at RKO under Val Lewton's legendary horror unit. A few of his films were more distinguished — he appeared in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Unconquered, and even Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer — and in 1948 starred on Broadway in J.B. Priestley's The Linden Tree, but by and large Karloff delivered strong performances in weak projects. By the mid-'50s, he was a familiar presence on television, and from 1956 to 1958, hosted his own series. By the following decade, he was a fixture at Roger Corman's American International Pictures. In 1969, Karloff appeared in Peter Bogdanovich's Targets, a smart, sensitive tale in which he portrayed an aging horror film star; the role proved a perfect epitaph — he died on February 2, 1969.

Movie Credits
The Fear Chamber (1972)
The Incredible Invasion (1971)
Muerte viviente, La (1971)
Coleccionista de cadáveres, El (1970)
Mad Monster Party? (1969)
Targets (1968)
[ Randy Quaid ][ Peter Bogdanovich ][ Mike Farrell ]
House of Evil (1968)
Curse of the Crimson Altar (1968)
[ Christopher Lee ][ Michael Gough ]
The Sorcerers (1967)
The Venetian Affair (1967)
[ Robert Vaughn ]
The Daydreamer (1966)
[ Ray Bolger ]
The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini (1966)
[ Aron Kincaid ]
Die, Monster, Die! (1965)
Bikini Beach (1964)
[ Don Rickles ][ Keenan Wynn ]
The Comedy of Terrors (1964)
[ Vincent Price ][ Peter Lorre ]
Tre volti della paura, I (1963)
The Terror (1963)
[ Jack Nicholson ][ Francis Ford Coppola ][ John Cho ]
The Raven (1963)
[ Jack Nicholson ][ Vincent Price ][ John Cho ][ Peter Lorre ]
The Paradine Case (1962)
The Secret World of Eddie Hodges (1960)
[ Jackie Gleason ]
To the Sound of Trumpets (1960)
Destination Nightmare (1958)
[ George Hamilton ]
Jack the Ripper (1958)
Food on the Table (1958)
Genesis (1958)
Girl on the Road (1958)
Heart of Darkness (1958)
Corridors of Blood (1958)
[ Christopher Lee ][ Desmond Llewelyn ]
The Veil (1958)
[ Robert Hardy ]
Frankenstein - 1970 (1958)
Grip of the Strangler (1958)
The Juggler of Our Lady (1958)
The Lark (1957)
[ Denholm Elliott ]
Voodoo Island (1957)
[ Adam West ]
Rendezvous in Black (1956)
Mr. Blue Ocean (1955)
A Connecticut Yankee (1955)
[ Edward Albert ][ Eddie Albert ]
The White Carnation (1954)
Sabaka (1954)
Mostro dell'isola, Il (1954)
Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1953)
[ Bud Abbott ][ Lou Costello ]
The Black Prophet (1953)
Memento (1952)
The Black Castle (1952)
[ Lon Chaney Jr. ]
Colonel March Investigates (1952)
Fear (1952)
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1952)
Mutiny on the Nicolette (1951)
The Kimballs (1951)
The Strange Door (1951)
[ Charles Laughton ]
The Jest of Hahalaba (1951)
The Lonely Place (1951)
The Yellow Scarf (1949)
The Monkey's Paw (1949)
Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff (1949)
[ Bud Abbott ][ Lou Costello ]
Expert Opinion (1949)
Cisaruv slavík (1949)
Tap Roots (1948)
[ Ward Bond ]
Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome (1947)
[ Lex Barker ]
Unconquered (1947)
[ Gary Cooper ][ Edward Albert ][ Eddie Albert ][ Ward Bond ][ Lex Barker ]
Lured (1947)
[ George Sanders ]
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947)
[ Danny Kaye ]
Bedlam (1946)
Isle of the Dead (1945)
The Body Snatcher (1945)
[ Bela Lugosi ]
House of Frankenstein (1944)
[ Lon Chaney Jr. ]
The Climax (1944)
The Boogie Man Will Get You (1942)
[ Peter Lorre ]
The Devil Commands (1941)
You'll Find Out (1940)
[ Bela Lugosi ][ Peter Lorre ]
The Ape (1940)
Before I Hang (1940)
Doomed to Die (1940)
The Man with Nine Lives (1940)
Black Friday (1940)
[ Bela Lugosi ]
British Intelligence (1940)
The Fatal Hour (1940)
Mr. Wong in Chinatown (1939)
The Mystery of Mr. Wong (1939)
Son of Frankenstein (1939)
[ Bela Lugosi ][ Ward Bond ]
Devil's Island (1939)
Tower of London (1939)
[ Vincent Price ]
The Man They Could Not Hang (1939)
Mr. Wong, Detective (1938)
The Invisible Menace (1938)
West of Shanghai (1937)
Night Key (1937)
[ Ward Bond ]
Charlie Chan at the Opera (1936)
The Man Who Changed His Mind (1936)
The Walking Dead (1936)
The Invisible Ray (1936)
[ Bela Lugosi ]
Juggernaut (1936)
The Black Room (1935)
The Raven (1935)
[ Bela Lugosi ]
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
[ Walter Brennan ][ Billy Barty ]
Gift of Gab (1934)
[ Bela Lugosi ][ Billy Barty ]
The Black Cat (1934)
[ Bela Lugosi ]
The House of Rothschild (1934)
The Lost Patrol (1934)
[ Jack Lord ][ John Ford ]
The Ghoul (1933)
The Mummy (1932)
The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932)
The Old Dark House (1932)
[ Charles Laughton ]
Night World (1932)
The Miracle Man (1932)
Scarface (1932)
Business and Pleasure (1932)
[ Joel McCrea ]
Behind the Mask (1932)
Alias the Doctor (1932)
The Guilty Generation (1931)
The Mad Genius (1931)
The Yellow Ticket (1931)
[ Laurence Olivier ][ Lionel Barrymore ]
Five Star Final (1931)
Graft (1931)
I Like Your Nerve (1931)
The Public Defender (1931)
[ Richard Dix ]
Smart Money (1931)
Young Donovan's Kid (1931)
[ Jackie Cooper ][ Richard Dix ]
The Vanishing Legion (1931)
Cracked Nuts (1931)
Dirigible (1931)
King of the Wild (1931)
The Criminal Code (1931)
Tonight or Never (1931)
Sous les verrous (1931)
[ Stan Laurel ]
Frankenstein (1931)
The Sea Bat (1930)
The Bad One (1930)
The Utah Kid (1930)
The Unholy Night (1929)
The King of the Kongo (1929)
Behind That Curtain (1929)
The Phantom of the North (1929)
Anne Against the World (1929)
Two Sisters (1929)
The Devil's Chaplain (1929)
The Fatal Warning (1929)
Burning the Wind (1929)
The Little Wild Girl (1928)
Vultures of the Sea (1928)
The Vanishing Rider (1928)
Sharp Shooters (1928)
[ Randolph Scott ]
Two Arabian Knights (1927)
Soft Cushions (1927)
The Phantom Buster (1927)
The Meddlin' Stranger (1927)
The Princess from Hoboken (1927)
Let It Rain (1927)
Tarzan and the Golden Lion (1927)
The Love Mart (1927)
The Man in the Saddle (1926)
The Greater Glory (1926)
Valencia (1926)
Old Ironsides (1926)
[ Gary Cooper ]
The Nickel-Hopper (1926)
Flaming Fury (1926)
The Eagle of the Sea (1926)
Flames (1926)
The Golden Web (1926)
The Bells (1926)
[ Lionel Barrymore ]
Her Honor, the Governor (1926)
Perils of the Wild (1925)
Never the Twain Shall Meet (1925)
Lady Robinhood (1925)
Parisian Nights (1925)
The Prairie Wife (1925)
Forbidden Cargo (1925)
Dynamite Dan (1924)
Riders of the Plains (1924)
The Hellion (1924)
The Prisoner (1923)
The Gentleman from America (1923)
The Infidel (1922)
The Man from Downing Street (1922)
Nan of the North (1922)
The Woman Conquers (1922)
Omar the Tentmaker (1922)
The Altar Stairs (1922)
The Cave Girl (1921)
Cheated Hearts (1921)
Without Benefit of Clergy (1921)
The Hope Diamond Mystery (1921)
The Last of the Mohicans (1920)
[ Bela Lugosi ]
The Courage of Marge O'Doone (1920)
The Deadlier Sex (1920)
The Prince and Betty (1919)
His Majesty, the American (1919)
The Masked Rider (1919)
The Lightning Raider (1919)


  • He was the original inspiration for the first illustrations of the Incredible Hulk.
  • Great-nephew of Anna Leonowens.
  • Father of Sara Karloff.
  • Received a Tony nomination in 1956 for his dramatic role in 'The Lark.'
  • Shares a birthday with his daughter Sara Karloff.
  • Considered a late bloomer in Hollywood. Frankenstein (1931) premiered when he was 44 years old.
  • 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/I)_ ; and Lon Chaney Jr. as The Wolf Man (1941).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • When told that Bobby "Boris" Pickett, who recorded the hit song "Monster Mash", was a big fan of his, by a mutual friend, Karloff replied, "tell him I enjoy his record very much." Pickett still considers that the greatest compliment he's ever gotten, and Karloff eventually sang the song himself on a television special.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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,
  • In the final years of his life, walking, and even just standing, became a painful ordeal. Some filmmakers would modify his roles so that they could be performed in a wheel chair to make him more comfortable.
  • He would mark his lines in the script. Jack Nicholson saw this and adopted the procedure himself.
  • In 1956 he was a celebrity contestent on "The ,000 Question." The category he chose was children's fairy tales. He won the ,000 level and quit due to tax considerations.
  • Often thought of as a very large man, he was in actuality a slim man of medium height who wore massive lifts and padding to look large as Frankenstein's monser.
  • 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 accomodation had been destroyed by a tornado that killed 28. He organized a concert that raised some much needed funds for the city.
  • According to his daughter, Sara, he had to have 3 major back surgeries in his lifetime.
  • Refused to reprise his role as the Frankenstein Monster in Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948), because he felt spoofs wouldn't sell to the audience.
  • Appeared in 80 films before his breakthrough role in Frankenstein (1931).
  • Played cricket for Enfield Cricket Club (just north of London, England) before emigrating, and the club has his picture hanging in the pavilion.
  • 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.
  • When he died, the "New York Times" newspaper obituary featured a picture of Frankenstein's monster. Unfortunately, the image was actually Glenn Strange in full makeup, not Karloff.
  • 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 to play 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 "The Monster."
  • 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 Jane. He reportedly rushed from the set to the hospital in full makeup and costume.
  • Was one of the founding Members of the Screen Actor's Guild. His daughter recounts that, due to the Hollywood Studio System's distrust of unions, one of her earliest memories of her father was that he always had carried a roll of dimes in his pocket. This was because he always had to use payphones when dealing with union business, since he knew his home phone had been tapped.
  • Is portrayed by Jack Betts in Gods and Monsters (1998)
  • He is commemorated by a plaque inside St.Paul's Church (The Actors' Church), Covent Garden, London.
  • Was a fancier of Bedlington terriers.

Naked Photos of Boris Karloff are available at MaleStars.com. They currently feature over 65,000 Nude Pics, Biographies, Video Clips, Articles, and Movie Reviews of famous stars.

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