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John Carradine Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (4) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (28) | Personal Quotes (14) | Salary (31)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 5 February 1906New York City, New York, USA
Date of Death 27 November 1988Milan, Lombardy, Italy  (natural causes)
Birth NameRichmond Reed Carradine
Nicknames The Bard of Boulevard
The Voice
Height 6' (1.83 m)

Mini Bio (1)

John Carradine, the son of a reporter/artist and a surgeon, grew up in Poughkeepsie, New York. He attended Christ Church School and Graphic Art School, studying sculpture, and afterward roamed the South selling sketches. He made his acting debut in "Camille" in a New Orleans theatre in 1925. Arriving in Los Angeles in 1927, he worked in local theatre. He applied for a job as as scenic designer to Cecil B. DeMille, who rejected his designs but gave him voice work in several films. His on-screen debut was in Tol'able David (1930), billed as Peter Richmond. A protégé and close friend of John Barrymore, Carradine was an extremely prolific film character actor while simultaneously maintaining a stage career in classic leading roles such as Hamlet and Malvolio. In his later years he was typed as a horror star, putting in appearances in many low- and ultra-low-budget horror films. He was a member of the group of actors often used by director John Ford that became known as "The John Ford Stock Company". John Carradine died at age 82 of natural causes on November 27, 1988.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Spouse (4)

Emily Cisneros (3 July 1975 - 27 November 1988) (his death)
Doris Rich (30 August 1957 - 10 December 1964) (divorced)
Sonia Sorel (13 August 1944 - 6 March 1957) (divorced) (3 children)
Ardanelle McCool (31 December 1935 - 14 March 1944) (divorced) (1 child)

Trade Mark (1)

Deep baritone voice

Trivia (28)

He was of English, with more distant Irish and Dutch, ancestry. John was sometimes said to have Italian or Spanish roots, from the surname "Carradine", but his last traceable patrilineal ancestor, a man named Parker Carradine, was born, c. 1755, in the state of Georgia, and had no evident Spanish or Italian origins.
Always ranked his performance in Bluebeard (1944) high among his career favorites.
Inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 2003.
Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume Two, 1986-1990, pages 165-167. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1999.
Claimed near the end of his life to have appeared in more movies than any other actor, surpassing the record set by Donald Crisp, the Oscar-winning actor and director who had started in silent movies and had appeared in numerous one- and two-reel films, many of them lost. The title for actor who appeared in most films likely is a contest between Carradine (more than 300 films) and Crisp (at least 170 known films). Of the contemporary generation, Christopher Lee, who has acted in more films than his peers (over 200), does not come close to matching Carradine's prolific output.
In later life, he suffered from crippling arthritis, but continued to work.
Had the word "HAM" in his license plates on his Mercedes-Benz when he lived in Santa Barbara, California.
According to oldest son David Carradine in "Hollywood and Whine", "... we carted the coffin over to our house and opened it up. I looked down at him, and the undertaker had put a demonic, artificial grin on his face--like nothing I had ever seen him do in real life, except in a horror film. I reached out and, using the sculptural skills I had learned from him, I remodeled his face to be more naturally like him. Then I poured half a bottle of J&B scotch, his favorite, down his throat, and we had a wake".
Made his stage debut in 1925 in "Camille" in New Orleans, Louisiana.
His first co-starring role with Boris Karloff came in 1929 during a ten-week run of "Window Panes" in Figueroa, California. Carradine played a dimwit and Karloff played a Grigory Rasputin-like character.
Officially changed his name from John Peter Richmond to John Carradine in early 1935.
His own touring productions of "The Merchant of Venice", "Hamlet" and "Othello" outgrossed Maurice Evans' celebrated 1940 version of "Hamlet". During the San Francisco run, Carradine always had a memorial seat reserved for his close friend, the late John Barrymore.
Jailed briefly in 1953 on contempt of court charges for falling behind on his alimony payments.
According to Jim Beaver's career article on Carradine for the October 1979 issue of "Films in Review", writer Tennessee Williams wrote the role of Big Daddy in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" with Carradine in mind, although other commitments kept him out of the Broadway production in favor of Burl Ives. However, Carradine did play the role in a 1977 Los Angeles production.
He made guest appearances on both The Twilight Zone (1959) and The Twilight Zone (1985).
Whispering Ghosts (1942) was his last film under his long-term Fox contract.
He hitchhiked to California, earning his way as a quick-sketch artist.
After a family dispute, he left home to become an assistant to renowned Philadelphia sculptor Daniel Chester French.
He played Count Dracula in four films: House of Frankenstein (1944), House of Dracula (1945), Billy the Kid Versus Dracula (1966) and Nocturna (1979).
He appeared with Vincent Price in seven films: Brigham Young (1940), Casanova's Big Night (1954), The Ten Commandments (1956), The Story of Mankind (1957), The Trouble with Girls (1969), The Monster Club (1981) and House of the Long Shadows (1983).
He had two roles in common with his The McMasters (1970) co-star Jack Palance: (1) Carradine played Count Dracula in House of Frankenstein (1944), House of Dracula (1945), Billy the Kid Versus Dracula (1966) and Nocturna (1979) while Palance played him in Dracula (1974) and (2) Carradine played Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol (1947) while Palance played him in Ebenezer (1998).
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6240 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on February 8, 1960.
Although he played Martha Scott's son in The Ten Commandments (1956), he was six years her senior in real life.

Personal Quotes (14)

I've made some of the greatest films ever made - and a lot of crap, too.
[his last words before passing away in Milan, Italy] Milan. What a beautiful place to die.
As for making movies, who can act at eight o'clock in the morning? Let's face it!
Directors never direct me. They just turn me loose.
[on Darryl F. Zanuck] Nobody liked working for Zanuck, the little goddamn Napoleon, always walking around with his polo mallet. Nobody had any respect for him except as an executive. And he was a good editor at one time, but he fancied himself a writer, and he was not a good writer.
[on Cecil B. DeMille] I was very fond of him. I never saw him direct an actor; his specialty was the camera. He simply hired the best actors he could get and let them do their job. He didn't interfere with them unless something was drastically wrong. DeMille's specialty was the camera, the pageantry.
[on John Ford] Oh, Ford was a peculiar man. You had to know how to handle him. Actors were terrified of him because he liked to terrify them. He was a sadist.
I am a ham! And the ham in an actor is what makes him interesting.
Lionel Barrymore then had hands like mine are now--arthritic talons.
Never do anything you wouldn't want to be caught dead doing.
[In 1972] I still have an awful load to carry. I've been carrying a heavy load for thirty years. My youngest son is only 16; my next boy is 22. I've got a ways to go before I can call my life my own.
[In 1973] I know, of course, that no self estimate is sure, but I think I'm better at acting than I am at dairy farming.
[on Bela Lugosi] Oh, he was a charming man. He always had a bucket of red wine on the set which he pulled out gracefully all day long. He never forgot his line... he never lost his affability. He was a very affable man.
[on Cedric Hardwicke] He had a wonderful quality that I noticed even before I ever met him. A wonderful quality of stillness in his face. Not a muscle ever moved, yet he conveyed wonderful things.

Salary (31)

Tol'able David (1930) $100 per week
Thank You, Mr. Moto (1937) $300 per week
Four Men and a Prayer (1938) $500 per week
Kentucky Moonshine (1938) $500 per week
Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938) $500 per week
Kidnapped (1938) $500 per week
Stagecoach (1939) $3,600
The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939) $600 per week
The Grapes of Wrath (1940) $600 per week
Whispering Ghosts (1942) $1,300 per week
Northwest Rangers (1942) $2,500 per week
Reunion in France (1942) $2,500 per week
I Escaped from the Gestapo (1943) $25,000
Gangway for Tomorrow (1943) $2,500 per week
Voodoo Man (1944) $3,000 per week
The Black Parachute (1944) $3,500
Barbary Coast Gent (1944) $3,500
Alaska (1944) $3,750
House of Frankenstein (1944) $3,500 per week
Information Please (1944) $2,500 per week
House of Dracula (1945) $4,500 per week
Hollywood Screen Test (1948) $125
The Story of Mankind (1957) $2,500
The Incredible Petrified World (1957) $100 per day
Night Train to Mundo Fine (1966) $600
Gallery of Horror (1967) $300
Five Bloody Graves (1969) $2,000 per week
The Mummy and the Curse of the Jackals (1969) $1,000 per day
Boxcar Bertha (1972) $3,000
Shadow House (1973) $100
Shock Waves (1977) $5,000

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