Boris Karloff

Boris KarloffBoris Karloff (November 23, 1887 – February 2, 1969) was a British actor who emigrated to Canada in the 1910s. He is best remembered for his roles in horror films and his portrayal of Frankenstein’s monster in the 1931 film Frankenstein, 1935 film Bride of Frankenstein, and 1939 film Son of Frankenstein. His popularity following Frankenstein in the early 1930s was such that for a brief time he was billed simply as “Karloff” or, on some movie posters, “Karloff the Uncanny”.
Once Karloff arrived in Hollywood, he made dozens of silent films, but work was sporadic, and he often had to take up manual labor, such as digging ditches and driving a cement truck, to pay the bills. His role as Frankenstein’s monster in Frankenstein (1931) made him a star. A year later, he played another iconic character, Imhotep, in The Mummy.300_24821 In the mid-1960s, Karloff gained a late-career surge of American popularity when he narrated the made-for-television animated film of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and provided “the sounds of the Grinch” (the song “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” was sung not by Karloff, but by American voice actor Thurl Ravenscroft). Karloff later won a Grammy in the spoken word category after the story was released as a record. In 1968 he starred in Targets an avant garde movie about a young man who embarks on a spree of killings carried out with handguns and high powered rifles. The movie starred Karloff as himself, facing an end of life crisis, resolved through a confrontation with the shooter.
In contrast to the sinister characters he played on screen, Karloff was known in real life as a very kind gentleman who gave generously, especially to children’s Boris Karloff - Frankensteincharities. Beginning in 1940, Karloff dressed up as Santa Claus every Christmas to hand out presents to physically disabled children in a Baltimore hospital.
Karloff was also a charter member of the Screen Actors Guild, and was especially outspoken regarding working conditions on sets (some extremely hazardous) that actors were expected to deal with in the mid-1930s. He married six times. He had one child, a daughter, by his fifth wife.
In 1931, Boris Karloff took out insurance against premature aging from his fright make-up.