Boris Karloff

Boris Karloff
Borris Karloff still.jpg
Born
William Henry Pratt

(1887-11-23)23 November 1887
Camberwell, Surrey, England
Died2 February 1969(1969-02-02) (aged 81)
Midhurst, Sussex, England
OccupationActor
Years active1909–1969
Spouse(s)
  • Grace Harding
    (m. 1910; div. 1913)
  • Montana Laurena Williams
    (m. 1920; div. 1922)
  • Helene Vivian Soule
    (m. 1924; div. 1928)
  • Dorothy Stine
    (m. 1930; div. 1946)
  • Evelyn Hope Helmore
    (m. 1946; his death 1969)
Children1 with Dorothy Stine[1]

William Henry Pratt (23 November 1887 – 2 February 1969), better known by his stage name Boris Karloff (f/), was an English actor who was primarily known for his roles in horror films.[2] He portrayed Frankenstein's monster in Frankenstein (1931), Bride of Frankenstein (1935) and Son of Frankenstein (1939). He also appeared as Imhotep in The Mummy (1932).

In non-horror roles, he is best known to modern audiences for narrating and as the voice of Grinch in the animated television special of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966). For his contribution to film and television, Boris Karloff was awarded two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Early years

English Heritage Blue plaque marking Karloff's birthplace at 36 Forest Hill Road, London

Boris Karloff was born William Henry Pratt on 23 November 1887,[3] at 36 Forest Hill Road, Camberwell, Surrey (now London), England,[4] but Pratt stated that he was born in nearby Dulwich.[5] His parents were Edward John Pratt, Jr. and Eliza Sarah Millard. His brother, Sir John Thomas Pratt, was a British diplomat.[6] Edward John Pratt, Jr. was an Anglo-Indian, from a British father and Indian mother,[7] while Karloff's mother also had some Indian ancestry, thus Karloff had a relatively dark complexion that stood out in British society at the time.[8] His mother's maternal aunt was Anna Leonowens, whose tales about life in the royal court of Siam (now Thailand) were the basis of the musical The King and I. Pratt was bow-legged, had a lisp, and stuttered as a young boy.[9] He conquered his stutter, but not his lisp, which was noticeable throughout his career in the film industry.

Pratt spent his childhood years in Enfield, in the County of Middlesex. He was the youngest of nine children, and following his mother's death was brought up by his elder siblings. He received his early education at Enfield Grammar School, and later at the private schools of Uppingham School and Merchant Taylors' School. After this, he attended King's College London where he took studies aimed at a career with the British Government's Consular Service. However, in 1909, he left university without graduating and drifted, departing England for Canada, where he worked as a farm labourer and did various odd itinerant jobs until happening upon acting.[10]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Boris Karloff
العربية: بوريس كارلوف
aragonés: Boris Karloff
Aymar aru: Boris Karloff
azərbaycanca: Boris Karloff
Bân-lâm-gú: Boris Karloff
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Барыс Карлаф
български: Борис Карлоф
català: Boris Karloff
čeština: Boris Karloff
Deutsch: Boris Karloff
Ελληνικά: Μπόρις Καρλόφ
español: Boris Karloff
Esperanto: Boris Karloff
euskara: Boris Karloff
français: Boris Karloff
Gaeilge: Boris Karloff
hrvatski: Boris Karloff
Bahasa Indonesia: Boris Karloff
italiano: Boris Karloff
Lëtzebuergesch: Boris Karloff
Bahasa Melayu: Boris Karloff
Nederlands: Boris Karloff
occitan: Boris Karloff
português: Boris Karloff
română: Boris Karloff
Runa Simi: Boris Karloff
Simple English: Boris Karloff
српски / srpski: Борис Карлоф
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Boris Karloff
svenska: Boris Karloff
Türkçe: Boris Karloff
українська: Борис Карлофф