Boris Karloff Death – Obituary News; Boris Karloff, original name William Henry Pratt, (born November 23, 1887, London, England—died February 2, 1969, Midhurst, West Sussex), English actor who became internationally famous for his sympathetic and chilling portrayal of the monster in the classic horror film Frankenstein (1931).
Karloff, the youngest of nine children born to Edward and Eliza Pratt, deliberately failed a consular service exam in order to pursue a career in acting. He sailed to Canada in 1909 and the following year joined a touring theatre troupe. A motion-picture extra as well as a stage actor from 1918, he played minor roles in silent films until he earned recognition for his portrayal of a convict-turned-killer—a part he had played on Broadway in 1930—in the sound film The Criminal Code (1931).
When Bela Lugosi turned down the role of the monster in Universal Pictures’s adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, one of Hollywood’s first important horror films, Karloff was hired for the part. The film was a sensation, and Karloff’s tender, the sympathetic performance received so much critical praise that he became an overnight sensation.
Karloff continued acting in the horror genre for the rest of his career, although he took other roles, including that of Mr. Wong in a Monogram Studios detective series of the 1930s and ’40s and that of an Indian chief in Cecil B. DeMille’s Unconquered (1947). More typically, he played mad doctors and scientists, as in Black Friday (1940) and House of Frankenstein (1944). He also had another stage success in 1950, as Captain Hook in the Broadway revival of Peter Pan.