World Loses Gentle Monster
The world became a lot darker on February 2, 1969 with the death of master actor Boris Karloff. The definitive monster of Frankenstein was born William Henry Pratt on November 23, 1887 in London, England then moved to Canada while in his 20s. Boris was an actor who did not hit it big until the 1931 debut of Frankenstein in motion picture houses.
Gentle Eyes Betray This Monster
Sympathy for a monster? Heavy makeup may have hid everything else about Boris but it could not hide his gentle eyes. Those eyes allowed audiences to have a deep sympathy for the screen monster no matter what he did. Boris was a Karloff long before one-name wonders such as Prince, Madonna and so on.
Monster Has Famous Relative
His grandmother was sister of Anna Leonowens. Tales by the latter tales about life in the royal court of Siam became the basis of the musical The King and I. Her grandmother was of East Indian origin from Calcutta in Bengal, India.
Monster Loses Mother At Early Age
Boris was raised by older brothers and sisters after the death of his mother. Boris changed his name in 1909. He actually performed in an opera house above a hardware store in Minot, North Dakota. Boris was not healthy enough to fight in World War I.
True Horror Actors Disappear
Boris was a true master of his craft. Others who have also left us include Lon Chaney, Lon Chaney Jr, Peter Lorre, Vincent Price and Bela Lugosi. No one has stepped to the forefront to replace them with the possible exception of Christopher Lee who I greatly admire.
Boris Never Turned Back On Monster
Many actors grow to despise being remembered for certain roles. Boris never turned his back on the monster of Frankenstein, his fans or his profession. When people think of Frankenstein they think of Boris much as Bela is mentioned with Dracula.