A tribute today to William Henry Pratt (1887-1969), a.k.a Boris Karloff. A native of Enfield, England, he dropped out of college in 1909 to follow his dream of becoming an actor, working for years as a manual laborer and regional trouper in Canada. After a decade of this he came to Hollywood where he had small roles in silent and early talkie films for a number of years (including 1931’s Cracked Nuts with Wheeler and Woolsey!).
Frankenstein (1931) was the making of Pratt/Karloff, made him such a superstar in fact that for a short time he was billed only by his assumed surname: “Karloff”. He thus became a star at the relatively mature age of 44. There followed a long list of horror classics for almost four decades (although, as in 1932’s Scarface he occasionally got a decent role in a non-horror film.)