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William Castle Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trade Mark (2)  | Trivia (15)  | Personal Quotes (1)  | Salary (1)

Overview (3)

Born in New York City, New York, USA
Died in Los Angeles, California, USA  (heart attack)
Birth NameWilliam Schloss

Mini Bio (1)

William Castle was born on April 24, 1914 in New York City, New York, USA as William Schloss. He was a producer and director, known for Homicidal (1961), Rosemary's Baby (1968) and House on Haunted Hill (1959). He was married to Ellen. He died on May 31, 1977 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

Spouse (1)

Ellen (21 March 1948 - 31 May 1977) ( his death) ( 2 children)

Trade Mark (2)

Directed low-budget B-movies, yet over-the-top gimmicks in both production and promotion.
Famous (infamous?) for gimmick-laden films, often with over-hyped effects, such as in The Tingler (1959) (a vibrating device attached to theater seats).

Trivia (15)

He derived his professional name by simply translating his real family name Schloss to Castle.
He purchased the film rights to Ira Levin's novel "Rosemary's Baby", but Paramount Pictures would give him the green light for the project only if he didn't direct--the studio feared that his reputation as a director of low-budget gimmick horror films would harm the project. Roman Polanski was finally selected to direct while Castle, as producer, was allowed to make a significant cameo appearance.
He emulated Alfred Hitchcock. This included the practice of appearing in the trailers, and even making cameo appearances in his films. He went so far as to create a trademark silhouette that showed him in a director's chair and in profile with a cigar. Hitchcock noticed the big grosses for Castle's low-budget House on Haunted Hill (1959), which led him to return the "favor" by taking a page from Castle and creating his own low-budget thriller--Psycho (1960).
He began his career as an actor on Broadway at the age of 15. He reportedly got his first role by passing himself off as the nephew of Samuel Goldwyn.
He began his directing career at the age of 18 with a stage production of "Dracula."
His daughter Terry Castle co-produced and consulted on the remakes of two of his films to make the plot even more frightening: House on Haunted Hill (1999) and Thir13en Ghosts (2001).
John Goodman's character in Matinee (1993) was based on Castle.
Worked as a dialogue director for Columbia in the 1940s.
Worked in radio with Orson Welles.
Under contract at Columbia, 1944-47, 1953-56 and 1959-63 and at Universal in 1949 and 1951.
His eldest daughter was Georgie Castle.
At the time of his death, he was at MGM producing a movie to be titled "200 Lakeview Drive." He was only 63.
He had seen the Pete Smith short "Murder in 3-D" (1941) which demonstrated the 3D process in motion pictures. In 1950, while at Universal, he proposed doing Jules Verne's "From the Earth to the Moon" with the gimmick of 3D to bring in the audiences. He was told that it would be too costly and that audiences wouldn't want to wear the required glasses for an entire feature and that there was no interest in science fiction. Two years later, Arch Oboler's "Bwana Devil" (1952) became a boxoffice sensation and launched a short lived craze for 3D films. Castle would direct at least 3 features in 3D for Columbia. Throughout the 1950s, Universal produced a string of very profitable science fiction films (some in 3D). RKO would produce "From the Earth to the Moon" (1958) as one of their final in-house productions.
Castle made his final on-screen appearance in a film he did not direct: He had a cameo role in John Schlesinger's Day of the Locust as a movie director dealing with the collapse of a set while filming a period war movie.
Castle often appeared at the beginning of his own films, "warning" movie-goers about the terrors they were about to experience. To ensure that audience reaction was maximized, Castle frequently resorted to "interactive gimmicks" - like theatre seats wired to slightly electrocute patrons during scary scenes (The Tingler) a 3-D skeleton that floated from the screen on wires (House on Haunted Hill) and cards handed out by ushers purportedly letting movie-goers determine how the movie would end (Mr. Sardonicus). Hoaky though they were, these promotional stunts worked - Castle's films rarely failed to turn a profit.

Personal Quotes (1)

We all have a common interest: bigger and more horrible monsters--and I'm just the monster to bring them to you.

Salary (1)

The Whistler (1944) $100 /week

See also

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