John Carradine - Actors and Actresses





Nationality: American. Born: Richmond Reed Carradine in New York City, 5 February 1906. Education: Christ Church School, Kingston, New York; Graphic Art School; Episcopal Academy, Philadelphia. Family: Married 1) Ardanelle Cosner, 1935 (divorced 1944), sons: Bruce John and the actor John Arthur (David); 2) Sonia Sorel, 1945 (divorced 1955), sons: Christopher, John, and the actors Keith Ian and Robert Reed; 3) Doris Rich, 1957 (died 1971); 4) Emily Cisneros, 1975. Career: Pre-1925—traveled throughout the South working as sketch artist; 1925—stage debut in Camille in New Orleans; then joined Shakespearean stock company; 1927–30—appeared in stage productions in Los Angeles; 1930—film debut using professional name Peter Richmond in Tol'able David ; also appeared as John Peter Richmond until 1935; 1936—changed name to John Carradine after signing contract with 20th Century-Fox; c. 1930s-60s—acted on stage between film assignments; 1940s—began freelancing for various studios; 1950—host of TV series The Trap ; 1953–54—in TV series My Friend Irma ; 1964–66—appeared occasionally as Mr. Gateman on TV series The Munsters ; 1978—in TV mini-series Greatest Heroes of the Bible . Died: In Milan, 27 November 1988.


Films as Actor:

1930

Tol'able David (Blystone) (as Buzzard)

1931

Heaven on Earth (Mack) (as Chicken Sam); Bright Lights (Curtiz)

1932

The Sign of the Cross (DeMille); Forgotten Commandments (Gasnier and Schorr)

1933

The Invisible Man (Whale); This Day and Age (DeMille); The Story of Temple Drake (Roberts) (as trial spectator); To the Last Man (Hathaway) (as Pete Garon)

1934

The Black Cat (Ulmer) (as member of cult); Cleopatra (DeMille) (as Roman citizen); The Meanest Gal in Town (Mack)

1935

The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo (Roberts); Alias Mary Dow (Neumann); Les Miserables (Boleslawski); The Crusades (DeMille); The Bride of Frankenstein (Whale) (as Woodsman); Clive of India (Boleslawski); She Gets Her Man (Nigh); Cardinal Richelieu (Lee); Bad Boy (Blystone); Transient Lady ( False Witness ) (Buzzell)

1936

Anything Goes ( Tops Is the Limit ) (Milestone); Captain January (Butler); The Prisoner of Shark Island (John Ford) (as Sgt. Rankin); Under Two Flags (Lloyd) (as Cafard); White Fang (Butler) (as Beauty Smith); Ramona (King) (as Jim Farrar); Dimples (Seiter) (as Richards); Mary of Scotland (John Ford) (as David Rizzio); Daniel Boone (Howard) (as Simon Girty); Winterset (Santell) (as Romagna); The Garden of Allah (Boleslawski); A Message to Garcia (Marshall) (as voice of President McKinley); Half Angel (Lanfield); Laughing at Trouble ( Laughing at Death ) (Strayer)

1937

Nancy Steele Is Missing (Marshall) (as Harry Wilkins); Danger—Love at Work (Preminger) (as Herbert Pemberton); This Is My Affair ( His Affair ) (Seiter) (as Ed); Love under Fire (Marshall) (as Captain Delmar); Thank You, Mr. Moto (Foster) (as Pereira); Captains Courageous (Fleming) (as Long Jack); The Last Gangster (Ludwig) (as Caspar); The Hurricane (John Ford); Ali Baba Goes to Town (Butler) (as Ishak)

1938

International Settlement (Forde) (as Murdock); Four Men and a Prayer (John Ford) (as Gen. Adolfo Arturo Sebastian); I'll Give a Million (Walter Lang) (as Kopelpeck); Kentucky Moonshine ( Four Men and a Girl ) (Butler) (as Reef Hatfield); Kidnapped (Werker) (as Gordon); Alexander's Ragtime Band (King) (as cabbie); Gateway (Werker); Submarine Patrol (Ford) (as McAllison); Of Human Hearts (Brown) (as Abraham Lincoln)

1939

Jesse James (King) (as Bob Ford); The Hound of the Baskervilles (Lanfield) (as Barryman); Frontier Marshal (Dwan) (as Ben Carter); Drums along the Mohawk (John Ford) (as Caldwell); The Three Musketeers ( The Singing Musketeer ) (Dwan) (as Naveau); Stagecoach (John Ford) (as Hatfield); Captain Fury (Roach) (as Coughy); Five Came Back (Farrow) (as Crimp); Mr. Moto's Last Warning (Foster) (as Danforth)

1940

The Grapes of Wrath (John Ford) (as Jim Casey); The Return of Frank James (Fritz Lang) (as Bob Ford); Brigham Young—Frontiersman ( Brigham Young ) (Hathaway) (as Porter Rockwell); Chad Hanna (King) (as Bisbee)

1941

Western Union (Fritz Lang) (as Murdoch); Blood and Sand (Mamoulian) (as El Nacional); Man Hunt (Fritz Lang) (as Mr. Jones); Swamp Water ( The Man Who Came Back ) (Renoir) (as Jesse Wick)

1942

Whispering Ghosts (Werker) (as "Long Jack"/"Norbert"); Son of Fury (Cromwell) (as Caleb Green); Northwest Rangers (Newman) (as Martin Caswell); Reunion ( Reunion in France ; Mademoiselle France ) (Dassin) (as Ulrich Windler); Information Please no. 5 (short) (as guest panelist)

1943

Silver Spurs (Kane); Captive Wild Woman (Dmytryk) (as Dr. Walters); Hitler's Madman ( Hitler's Hangman ) (Sirk) (as Heydrich); I Escaped from the Gestapo ( No Escape ) (Young); The Isle of Forgotten Sins (Ulmer)

1944

The Mummy's Ghost (LeBorg); Barbary Coast Gent (Del Ruth) (as Duke Cleat); The Adventures of Mark Twain (Rapper) (as Bret Harte); The Black Parachute (Landers); The Invisible Man's Revenge (Beebe) (as Dr. Drury); The Return of the Ape Man (Rosen); Voodoo Man (Beaudine) (as Job); Alaska (Archainbaud); House of Frankenstein (Kenton) (as Dracula); Waterfront (Sekely); Gangway for Tomorrow (Auer); Revenge of the Zombies ( The Corpse Vanished ) (Sekely); Bluebeard (Ulmer) (title role)

1945

House of Dracula (Kenton) (as Dracula); Fallen Angel (Preminger); Captain Kidd (Lee) (as Orange Povey); It's in the Bag ( The Fifth Chair ) (Wallace) (as Pike)

1946

Down Missouri Way (Berne) (as Thorndyke Dunning); The Face of Marble (Beaudine)

1947

The Private Affairs of Bel Ami (Lewin) (as Charles Forestier)

1949

C-Man (Lerner) (as Doc Spencer)

1954

Thunder Pass (McDonald) (as Bergstron); Casanova's Big Night (McLeod) (as Foressi); Johnny Guitar (Nicholas Ray) (as Old Tom); The Egyptian (Curtiz)

1955

Stranger on Horseback (Jacques Tourneur); Desert Sands (Selander) (as Arab Jala); The Kentuckian (Lancaster) (as Fletcher)

1956

The Female Jungle (Ve Sota); The Black Sheep ( Dr. Cadman's Secret ) (LeBorg) (as Borg); The Ten Commandments (DeMille) (as Aaron); Around the World in Eighty Days (Anderson) (as Col. Proctor Stamp); Hidden Guns (Gannaway) (as Snipe Harding); The Court Jester (Panama and Frank); Dark Venture (Trevlac, i.e. John Calvert)

1957

The Unearthly (Peters); Half Human ( Jujin Yukiotoko ) (Honda and Crane); Hell Ship Mutiny (Sholem and Williams) (as Malone); The True Story of Jesse James (Nicholas Ray) (as Rev. Bailey); The Story of Mankind (Allen) (as Pharaoh Khufu)

1958

The Proud Rebel (Curtiz); The Last Hurrah (Ford) (as Amos Force); Showdown at Boot Hill (Fowler, Jr.) (as Doc Weber)

1959

The Oregon Trail (Fowler, Jr.) (as Zachariah); The Cosmic Man (Greene); Invisible Invaders (Cahn)

1960

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Curtiz); Tarzan the Magnificent (Day); Sex Kittens Go to College (Zugsmith); The Incredible Petrified World (Warren)

1962

Invasion of the Animal People ( Terror in the Midnight Sun ) (Vogel and Warren); The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (Ford) (as Major Cassius Starbuckle)

1964

The Patsy (Lewis) (as Bruce Alden); Cheyenne Autumn (John Ford) (as Major Jeff Blair); Curse of the Stone Hand (Warren and Schlieppe)

1965

House of the Black Death ( Blood of the Man Devil ; Night of the Beast ) (Daniels and LeBorg); The Wizard of Mars (Hewitt); Something for Mrs. Gibbs (Van Praag—advertising short)

1966

Billy the Kid vs. Dracula (Beaudine) (as Dracula); Night Train to Mundo Fine (Francis); Broken Sabre (McEveety); Munster, Go Home! (Bellamy) (as Cruikshank); The Emperor's New Clothes (Clark—unreleased)

1967

The Hostage (Doughten) (as Otis Lovelace); Hillbillys in a Haunted House (Yarbrough); Dr. Terror's Gallery of Horrors ( The Blood Suckers ; Gallery of Horror ; Return from the Past ) (Hewitt) (as narrator and warlock in one ep.); La Senora Muerte ( Mrs. Death ; The Death Woman ) (Salvador)

1968

They Ran for Their Lives (Payne) (as Laslow); Pacto diabolico ( Pact with the Devil ) (Salvador); The Astro-Zombies (Mikels); Autopsia de un fantasma ( Autopsy on a Ghost ) (Rodriguez) (as Satan); The Helicopter Spies (Sagal—for TV); Genesis ( Genesis I ) (organized by R. B. Childs—compilation film) (as narrator)

1969

Blood of Dracula's Castle (Adamson and Hewitt) (as George); The Good Guys and the Bad Guys (Kennedy); The Trouble with Girls (Tewksbury); Daughter of the Mind (Grauman—for TV); Dracula vs. Frankenstein ( The Blood Seekers ; Blood of Frankenstein ) (Adamson); Las vampiras ( The Vampires ) (Curiel)

1970

The McMasters (Kjellin); Myra Breckinridge (Sarne); Hell's Bloody Devils ( The Fakers ; Swastika Savages ; Operation M ; Smashing the Crime Syndicate ) (Adamson); Crowhaven Farm (Grauman—for TV); Cain's Cutthroats ( Cain's Way ; Justice Cain ) (Osborne) (as Preacher Sims); Blood of the Iron Maiden ( Trip to Terror ; Is This Trip Really Necessary? ) (Benoit); Horror of the Blood Monsters ( The Flesh Creatures ; Flesh Creatures of the Red Planet ; Creatures of the Prehistoric Planet ; Creatures of the Red Planet ; Vampire Men of the Lost Planet ) (Adamson); Five Bloody Graves ( The Lonely Man ; Five Bloody Days to Tombstone ; Gun Riders ) (Adamson)

1971

Shinbone Alley (Wilson and Detiege—animated feature) (as voice); The Seven Minutes (Meyer)

1972

Richard (Yerby and Hurwitz); Boxcar Bertha (Scorsese); Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex but Were Afraid to Ask (Allen); Blood of Ghastly Horror ( The Fiend with the Electronic Brain ; Psycho a Go-Go! ; The Love Maniac ; Man with the Synthetic Brain ) (Adamson—produced 1969); Portnoy's Complaint (Lehman) (as voice of judge); Shadow House (short); Decisions! Decisions! (Segal—TV pilot); The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (animated short) (as narrator)

1973

Silent Night, Bloody Night ( Zora ; Night of the Full Dark Moon ) (Gershuny); Terror in the Wax Museum (Fenady); Bad Charleston Charlie (Nagy); Hex (Garen); Superchick (Forsyth) (as Igor Smith); House of Dracula's Daughter (Hessler); One Million A.D. (Baron—unreleased); The Cat Creature (Harrington—for TV); The Night Strangler (Curtis—for TV); Legacy of Blood (Monson); The Gatling Gun (Gordon—produced 1969 as King Gun ); Bigfoot (Slatzer)

1974

The House of the Seven Corpses (Harrison); Moonchild (Gadney—produced 1972) (as "The Walker")

1975

Mary, Mary, Bloody Mary (Moctezuma); Stowaway to the Moon (McLaglen—for TV) (as Jacob Avril)

1976

Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood (Winner); Crash (Band); The Killer Inside Me (Kennedy); The Shootist (Siegel) (as Hezekiah Beckum); The Last Tycoon (Kazan) (as studio tour guide); Death at Love House ( The Shrine of Lorna Love ) (Swackhamer—for TV) (as Conan Carroll)

1977

The Sentinel (Winner); Shock Waves ( Death Corps ; Almost Human ) (Weiderhorn); The White Buffalo (Thompson) (as Amos Briggs); Golden Rendezvous (Lazarus); Tail Gunner Joe (Taylor—for TV); The Christmas Coal Mine Miracle ( Christmas Miracle in Caufield, U.S.A. ) (Taylor—for TV); Satan's Cheerleaders (Clark); Journey into the Beyond (Olsen) (as narrator); The Lady and the Lynchings ; Frankenstein Island (Warren) (as Dr. Frankenstein)

1978

Sunset Cove ( Save Our Beach ) (Adamson) (as Judge Winslow); Vampire Hookers (Santiago); The Bees (Zacharias) (as Dr. Sigmund Hummel)

1979

Monster ( Monster: The Legend That Became a Terror ) (Hartford); The Seekers (Hayers—for TV); Teheran Incident ( Missile X ; The Neutron Bomb Incident ; Cruise Missile ) (Martinson); Phobia ( The Nesting ) (Weston); Nocturna ( Granddaughter of Dracula ) (Tampa, i.e. Harry Hurwitz) (as Dracula); The Mandate of Heaven

1980

Carradines in Concert (doc); The Monster Club (Baker); The Howling (Dante) (as Kenton); The Boogey Man (Lommel)

1982

The Secret of NIMH (Bluth) (as voice of Great Owl); The Scarecrow (Pillsbury)

1983

House of Long Shadows (Walker); The Ice Pirates (Raffill) (as Emperor)

1985

Evils of the Night (Rustam) (as Dr. Kozmar); The Vals (Polakof) (as Mr. Stanton)

1986

Peggy Sue Got Married (Coppola) (as Leo); Revenge (Lewis) (as Sen. Bradford); The Tomb (Olen Ray) (as Mr. Androheb)

1987

Evil Spawn ( Deadly Sting ; Alive by Night ) (Hall) (as Dr. Zeitman); Monster in the Closet (Dahlin) (as Old Joe)

1988

Star Slammer ( Prison Ship ) (Olen Ray) (as The Justice)



Publications


By CARRADINE: article—

Interview by S. Eyman in Films and Filming (London), December 1981.

On CARRADINE: book—

Young, Jordan R., Reel Characters: Great Movie Character Actors , Beverly Hills, 1986.

On CARRADINE: articles—

Bühler, W.-E., "John Carradine," in Filmkritik (Munich), January 1972.

Parrish, J. R., and M. R. Pitts, "The Good, the Bad, and the Most," in Focus on Film (London), Summer 1973.

Films in Review (New York), October 1979, corrections and additions to filmography in January 1980 issue.

L'Ecran Fantastique , no. 15, 1980 and nos. 45 and 46, 1984.

Parnum, J., and G.W. Marik, "House of Carradine: Why Isn't Lugosi in the House?," Midnight Marquee (Baltimore, Maryland), no. 49, Summer 1995.

Stanley, R. "John Carradine," Classic Images (Muscatine, Iowa), no. 250, April 1996.


* * *


The film career of John Carradine was one of the longest and most prolific in Hollywood. He claimed to have appeared in over 400 films and the range of his roles varies widely. Although he made a successful career for himself in films, Carradine's first love was always the theater, particularly Shakespeare. His training in theater is apparent in his film work, creating "larger than life" characters with exaggerated gestures and a booming voice.

Carradine began acting in films in the early 1930s using the name John Peter Richmond. He found fairly steady work as a bit player with such directors as Cecil B. DeMille ( The Sign of the Cross , This Day and Age , Cleopatra ) and James Whale ( The Bride of Frankenstein , The Invisible Man ). In 1936, using the name John Carradine, he became a Fox contract player. That same year Carradine appeared in John Ford's The Prisoner of Shark Island . (Carradine eventually appeared in ten films directed by John Ford, including Stagecoach , The Grapes of Wrath , and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance .) Carradine received excellent notices for his performance as a prison guard in The Prisoner of Shark Island , which led to villainous roles in other films.

In addition to his reputation as a film "bad guy" Carradine also became known for his roles in cheap horror pictures. These films were produced very quickly and so there are many of them among Carradine's credits. In 1945 he appeared in two low-budget films for Universal, House of Frankenstein and House of Dracula , which marked the first times that Carradine played a vampire. His subsequent horror films, with titles like The Incredible Petrified World and Billy the Kid vs. Dracula , did not carry much credibility, but this kind of film kept Carradine employed for a good number of years. Carradine became so well known for playing the "mad scientist" in low-budget horror films that he was enlisted to do a parody of himself in a segment of Woody Allen's Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex but Were Afraid to Ask . With such an amazingly diverse list of film credits, it is not greatly surprising that John Carradine became one of the most recognizable character actors on the American screen.

—Linda J. Obalil



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