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Boris Karloff was born in England in 1887. He moved to Canada at 21 and then the U.S., and he was a stage actor who appeared in a large number of silent movies, but with only limited success. In 1931, he was cast as Frankenstein's monster, and his enormous success in that movie over-shadowed the fine performances he turned in on Scarface (1932), The Lost Patrol (1934), and The House of Rothschild (also in 1934). He was typecast as a monster/horror movie star, and with few exceptions, that is all he played the remainder of his career. He had great roles in The Mummy, The Bride of Frankenstein, and many others. He wore a huge amount of make-up in the Frankenstein movies and The Mummy, and he had health issues that made that even more uncomfortable, and so he later mostly played roles that did not require substantial make-up. In 1941 Karloff was offered the stage role of Jonathan Brewster (written specifically for him) in Arsenic and Old Lace, and he received a percentage of the profits. The film rights were sold to Warner Bros, who wanted Karloff to reprise his stage role, but he rightly thought appearing in the movie would hurt the play (and his profits) so he refused (which was a sound business decision, but robbed us of a great film portrayal!). The movie was filmed in late 1941, but the studio had agreed not to release it until the play finished its run, so it was not released until 1944 when the play finally ended after over 1,400 performances! Karloff is also well remembered for his great narration of Chuck Jones' great animated version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. He passed away in 1969 at the age of 81.
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