Meet the Frankensteins
"When I was 9 I played the demon king in Cinderella and it launched me on a long happy life playing a monster.” Boris Karloff
Like Lon Chaney, Karloff started his film career in the silent film industry. After nearly 20 years and 80 films, Karloff became an overnight sensation at age 44 with his portrayal of Frankenstein’s monster, even though the opening credits simply listed Karloff as “?”. A slim man standing 5’11”, Karloff wore lifts and padding to portray the monster. Karloff also played the monster in the sequels Bride of Frankenstein (1935) and Son of Frankenstein (1939).
A founding member of the Screen Actors Guild, Karloff’s diverse career included stage, films, radio, television and recordings. Much later he would give the Grinch his voice and narrated the tale ultimately winning a spoken word Grammy for the recording.
“There is no such thing as a person that nothing has happened to and each person is as different as his fingertips.” Elsa Lanchester
Though she played a variety of roles throughout her long career including, Peter Pan at London’s Palladium and a match-making witch in “Bell, Book and Candle”, Elsa Lanchester is most recognized as the Bride of Frankenstein. Lanchester played dual roles in the film, author Mary Shelley and the monster’s bride. While she was named in the credits as Mary Shelley, consistent with the previous movie, as the monster’s bride Lanchester was simply listed as “?”. Despite the “anonymous” billing, Lanchester had a successful film career including two Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actress.