Talk:Boris Karloff

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I'm looking for the film that was I believe on PBS Channel 4 in Idaho. Boris Karloff narrated it. It was about meat-eating plants. Do you know where I can get a copy of it. I would like a copy for myself and possibly a copy for our commmunity library (Ada Community Library) in Boise,ID. Any information you can get for me would be appreciated. My regular mailing address is Mary Grover P.O.Box 79 Kuna, ID 83634 or my E-Mail address is Thank-You very Much!! I really enjoyed looking at your web-site.

  • I vaguely remember Karloff's voice on this one. Try going thru PBS -- #255 "Death Trap". Meat-eating plants. 60 min. WBardwin 10:03, 29 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You're a Mean One (Mr. Grinch)[edit]

The actual singer of the Christmas classic "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" was actually Thurl Ravenscroft of Tony the Tiger fame, "They're grrrreat!" [unsigned]

Disambiguation needed?[edit]

There was also a famous Boris Karloff, who was a Balkan accordionist of considerable fame... [unsigned]


Any other relatives out there???? He was like my great uncle or something. But shout out to Sarah Karloff- Hey I didn't know i was related to you. well, i guess you learn something new everyday. Yesterday it was to not eat dairy afraid im a bit lactosintolerant(i think i spelt that wrong...oh well) -Jenna Pratt

Jenna, this is not a forum to openly invite to discuss with other fans. You're not a relative of his: there are millions of Pratts. Everyone who finds out his real last name claims to be related to him. You're most likely not. Just like there are millions of Smiths and they're not related at all. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:48, 31 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Having him in the Eurasian category is stretching things somewhat, after all his mother's mother's mother's mother was Bengali from Calcutta but the rest of his family was English - as such he was only 1/16 East Indian, Anna Leonowens his Great Aunt could just about be described as Eurasian being a 1/4 East Indian (both her name and Boris Karloff's name were invented and not their actual names), anything less than a 1/4 and I think it's stretching things somewhat to describe them as Eurasian. --Lord of the Isles 21:44, 6 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Anglo-Indian does not necessarily mean Indian blood. The family could be considered Anglo-Indian with 1/16th Indian blood or even less. But if they did not so consider themselves there is no point in trying to rewrite history. I myself might have a 1/16th Irish ancestry, that does not make me Irish. (talk) 21:27, 1 June 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"the 8 movies to pair Karloff & Lugosi"[edit]

Apparently there were 8 movies to star both Messrs Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff. This was mentioned in the The Black Cat (1934 film) article. Can someone list these 8 movies, if they are indeed 8? --h_a 23:36, 5 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

From the top of my head, I can remember

The Black Cat (1934 film), The Raven (film), The Body Snatcher (film) and The Invisible Ray. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:09, 31 May 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Add Son of Frankenstein, Gift of Gab, You'll Find Out and Black Friday (they had no scenes together in this one). CFLeon (talk) 23:35, 8 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Per debate and discussion re: assessment of the approximate 100 top priority articles of the project, this article has been included as a top priority article. Wildhartlivie (talk) 07:07, 1 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi[edit]

This article claims that Karloff took Frankenstein's monster role upon Béla Lugosi's refusal. The wikipedia article on Lugosi points out that this might actually be incorrect, based on Lugosi documents and other records.

Jcgdelgado (talk) 14:35, 4 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There is a discrepancy in the articles on Boris Karloff and Béla Lugosi as indicated by Jcgdelgado. The well documented Lugosi article states: “It is an erroneous popular belief that Lugosi declined the offer to appear in Frankenstein. Lugosi may not have been happy with the onerous makeup job and lack of dialogue, but was still willing to play the part. Nonetheless, James Whale, the film's director, replaced Lugosi and would do this again in Bride of Frankenstein (Lugosi was supposed to play the role of Dr. Pretorius). Cinematographer Paul Ivano, who shot test footage of Lugosi for the role of the monster, said that Lugosi was happy with the role, and had given him a box of cigars. Ivano and Robert Florey both noted that Lugosi's performance was not dissimilar to that of his replacement, Boris Karloff.” This is in stark contrast to the non-documented Karloff article which repeats the popular belief: “Karloff gave a string of lauded performances in 1930s Universal horror movies, including several with his main rival for heir to the horror throne of Lon Chaney, Sr.: Béla Lugosi, whose refusal to play the monster in Frankenstein made Karloff's subsequent career possible.” I have too much respect for both actors to attempt any changes to either article. There may certainly have been reasons why James Whale was dissatisfied with Lugosi on two occasions -- reasons he may not have wished to become public. However, this is far different from Lugosi’s purported “refusal”. Editors should correct this discrepancy. Wikipedia should be about facts, not popular beliefs. (talk) 11:34, 1 May 2010 (UTC)ArgusReply[reply]

Considering that there is no citation for the statement about the refusal, I am going to remove it. Tkech (talk) 05:42, 12 May 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Lugosi would've played the Monster if he had been forced to, but he was dead set against taking such a non-speaking role in which his face was so obscured by makeup. He even threatened his agent that he would feign illness if he had to, so he definitely objected to playing the part.

Sports - rugby and cricket[edit]

From my "Famous Ruggers" article at - this should be mentioned in the article, I think, perhaps under "Personal Life":

"...I know he played rugby, and it seems he also had a role in forming the Southern California RFU. When I asked his daughter Sarah, she wrote, "I know my father adored cricket and was a member of the Hollywood Cricket team. He played both rugby and cricket in school in England at Enfield and at Uppingham. I don't have any info on whether or not he was a member of the L.A. rugby football club. Hope this helps." On a later occasion, she wrote, “Thank you for your e-mail. I know my father was one of the founders of the Hollywood Cricket Club and played on the team with Sir Aubrey Smith. He may have played on the rugby team too, but I don't think he had a hand in starting it.” However, Tony Spinella, the historian of the Southern California Rugby Football Union writes, “The SCRFU was formed in 1937. The articles of formation have Boris Karloff on them. If I recall he was a member of the Hollywood Athletic Club rugby team at the time (as were other notables)."

- Wes Clark —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:44, 1 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Source concerning his time in Canada[edit]

British Columbia History, vol 39, no 1, p 16 has an article from 2006 by Greg Nesteroff entitled Boris Karloff in British Columbia. Lots of info. --KenWalker | Talk 02:08, 2 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A better link: — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:07, 23 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Early Years[edit]

That first paragraph about his ancestry is incredibly long winded and confusing. I would edit it myself, but I don't even understand what it's supposed to say - it seems to suggest that two lines of his ancestry were Indian, but I suspect this is just because it is badly written Melaena (talk) 20:54, 6 March 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I felt the same way when I read it. The identical paragraph is in the Anna Leonowens wikipedia article. I've edited the paragraph in the Karloff article as best as I can, stating the national heritage and the relationship to "Miss Anna". Hopefully it helps. Tkech (talk) 00:15, 17 March 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

An English actor who went to Canada…???[edit]

The way the first sentence is constructed, it makes it appear that his most significant action was to emigrate to Canada; this may be important, it may be an achievement, but does it need to to be mentioned in the very first sentence of the article? It’s not like he spent the greatest part of his life in Canada, or that he is most often mistaken for a Canadian, and this is an attempt at clarification. To me it makes about as much sense to have it there as to say he was an “English actor who was tall…” - yes it tells you something, but not anything that important. Jock123 (talk) 08:13, 14 June 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

TV career?[edit]

If what is in this article is all he really did on TV, how did get a star - for television appearances - on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:35, 10 July 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

One of his last television appearances was on the Jonathan Winters Show in 1968, which I remember watching. I believe it was their Halloween episode. See IMDB's list for him under performances as Self. (talk) 19:18, 19 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

His TV and Radio work has since been added to the article in detail.


The real name of Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is "William Pratt" does anyone know if Joss Whedon have ever said something about Spike's name is an homeage to Karloff?--coq87rouge —Preceding undated comment added 21:13, 8 April 2012 (UTC).Reply[reply]

Karloff name[edit]

"Boris" claimed that Karloff was a family name. Perhaps it was. His daughter Sara Karloff "publicly denied any knowledge of Slavic forebears, "Karloff" or otherwise". But who said Karloff was slavic? Notably she did not deny that Karloff was a family name. The name was probably invented, but could have been a family name. We do not know. Is anyone aware of any genealogical work on the Pratt family? (talk) 21:30, 1 June 2013 (UTC)\Reply[reply]

"Dear Boris: The Life of William Henry Pratt a.k.a. Boris Karloff" by Cynthia Lindsay has an appendix concerning the Pratt family genealogy. However, the copyright date is 1974, so it is probably dated. BK's mother's maiden name was 'Millard', and no Karloff could be found in the family tree. CFLeon (talk) 00:36, 12 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Six wives?[edit]

You say he married six times, but only five wives are listed. Valetude (talk) 14:00, 20 August 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Good catch! I found her. Ckruschke (talk) 03:30, 22 August 2013 (UTC)CkruschkeReply[reply]
Still only 5 wives listed. BK was very secretive about his private life- the 5 wives number seems to have come from an interview when he married Dorothy Stine where he just mentioned that he had been married 3 times before. Cynthia Lyndsay could not find any conformation of a newspaper report by a Olive de Wilton (born 1898 Mar 25; died c 1972) who claimed she had been married to him in the years in Canada, and her obituary did not mention a marriage to Karloff either as Karloff or Pratt. To complicate matters, CL did find a record of a marriage licence taken out by WHP aboard ship on 1909 May 07- no name given for the wife and no record of a marriage performed. CFLeon (talk) 00:33, 12 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Karloff married Olive de Wilton in Canada when they were both young, and soon after the marriage, he went on the road by himself appearing in plays all over Canada, leaving her at home feeling very neglected. They saw so little of each other, that they grew apart and each of them developed love interests with other people soon after, leading to a divorce. So he was married 6 times, not 5.

Olive de Wilton was married to Herbert Warren Cluff between 1915 and 1932, so even if she and Karloff went through any ceremonies, there was never a lawful marriage. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:05, 23 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

References link[edit]

The very first References link, #1, leads to an "error" page.

Someone needs to check this out and make whatever correction(s) are needed.

Thank you. 2600:8800:787:F500:C23F:D5FF:FEC5:89B6 (talk) 08:17, 29 May 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

place of birth?[edit]

Details box says "Born William Henry Pratt 23 November 1887 Camberwell, Surrey, England"

Early life paragraph says "Karloff was born William Henry Pratt on 23 November 1887, at 36 Forest Hill Road, Dulwich, Surrey (now London), England." And an English heritage plaque is shown.

So which one is it, or are these different names of the same place? Laugh Tough (talk) 17:22, 30 March 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Without looking it up myself (forbidden as "original research") I merely point out that the published indexes to the English registers of births show the location of the registry office, not the place of birth, for which you need to get (buy) a copy of the actual entry on the register. This is a common source of confusion. NRPanikker (talk) 00:51, 31 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think Camberwell is a division of Surrey. If so, they are the same place.