Happy Halloween! The Daughter of Boris Karloff Recalls Her Father’s Struggles Before ‘Frankenstein’

It’s Halloween, and I’m sure you’ve seen at least one image of Frankenstein as you’ve geared up for the holiday.  Chances are that the Frankenstein that you saw was based on the bolt neck, flat-headed lumbering portrayal of Frankenstein’s Monster made famous by Boris Karloff in the Universal Frankenstein film series.  Karloff played The Monster in the original 1931 film and the first two sequels, Bride of Frankenstein (1935) and Son of Frankenstein (1939), and also appeared as a mad scientist in 1944’s House of Frankenstein and as Baron Von Frankenstein in the non-Universal film Frankenstein 1970 (1958).  

Many would assume that an actor who portrayed one of the greatest monsters in film history so many times would have a dark side as well, but according to his only child, daughter Sara Karloff, “He was kind, he was gentle and wise, and a good listener.”  Sara Karloff appeared at New York City’s Museum of the Moving Image on October 30 for a screening of Frankenstein and her family home movies and also to talk about her father’s legendary career in depth.  

A little known fact about Karloff is that he was in his forties and had appeared in over eighty movies when he finally found fame as Frankenstein’s Monster after a long period of struggling.  Sara confirms this about her father, pointing out that her father was “a starving actor for 20 years,” adding “It was hardly an overnight success.” Born in England, Karloff began as an English theatrical actor before moving to Hollywood, but spend most of his pre-Frankestein life earning money from physical labor.  He only received the role of a lifetime after being spotted by director James Whale in the commissary at Universal Pictures after fellow horror icon Bela Lugosi turned down the role for not having any lines (and not wanting to wear the creature’s makeup).  Karloff was happy to take the part, but the seventy-pound costume turned out to take a physical toll on his body, with Sara commenting, “My father lost 20 pounds during the making of that film, and he’d already had a bad back!”

Sara Karloff also recounts her cherished childhood memories of her father to the New York Post, including many key life lessons.  However, perhaps most touchingly she recalls that out of her father’s fans, it was children that truly appreciate his Frankenstein films.  She says, “My father always said that kids got it — they weren’t afraid of the monster. They understood that he was the victim, not the perpetrator.”

Leave a Reply

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Linnea-Berthelsen-Stranger-Things.jpg
Linnea Berthelse on Her ‘Stranger Things’ Audition and Keeping Her Role a Secret for a Year
“Sometimes when actors don’t get the part, it’s not always about an actor being a bad actor; it’s about connecting to the material.” – Linnea Berthelsen Stranger Things is back on our screens with its second season, something fans have been waiting for ever since season one arrived on Netflix in 2016. Returning to the […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/jonathan-groff-hamilton.jpg
Jonathan Groff on Playing King George III in ‘Hamilton’: “I rehearsed for about a day, and then went into the show”
Can you even imagine stepping into a role in one of the biggest Broadway hits of all time with barely any time to prepare?
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/lina-esco-swat.jpg
Lina Esco on Playing the Only Female Officer on ‘S.W.AT.’: “I have to portray her as someone equal to all of the guys on her team”
"The important thing for me when I read scripts is how much respect I have for the character and how far I can take her" - Lina Esco
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/sam-rockwell-three-billboards.jpg
Sam Rockwell on Typecasting and One of His Worst Auditions
"I’m kind of a workhorse. It takes a toll" - Sam Rockwell
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/rachel-bloom-crazy-ex-girlfriend.jpg
Rachel Bloom: “The way that I learned comedy was not rigid, but this very specific technique taught by the Upright Citizens Brigade”
"I went from being a person who was doing moderately successful videos online and working as a moderately successful TV writer and aspiring to do this to having a Golden Globe." - Rachel Bloom