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Leo G. Carroll 1886-1972

Country : Weedon, England
Profession : Actor
Date of birth : 1886-10-25
Date of death : 1972-10-16
Cause of Death : Cancer

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Leo Gratten Carroll (October 25, 1886October 16, 1972) was an English actor, best known for his roles in several Hitchcock films and The Man from U.N.C.L.E..

Life and career

He was born in Weedon Bec, Northamptonshire, to William and Catherine Carroll, who named him after the reigning pope Leo XIII. In the 1901 Census for West Ham, London he is a Wine Trade Clerk. In 1891 he is in York where his Irish born father is a foreman in an Ordnance Store. Carroll made his stage debut in 1912, and played in London and Broadway until he moved to Hollywood in 1934 to start a career in film. Once there he soon made his film debut in Sadie McKee (1934). During his early years he went under the name of just Leo Carroll.

More parts followed, often playing doctors or butlers, but with some variations from that norm. He made notable appearances as Marley's ghost in A Christmas Carol (1938) and as Joseph in Wuthering Heights (1939). In Father of the Bride, he played an unctuous wedding caterer. In the 1951 film The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel, he played a sympathetic Gerd von Rundstedt, presenting him as a tragic, resigned figure completely disillusioned with Hitler.

In the twenties, Carroll played the lead in a successful Broadway play, The Green Bay Tree, and in 1941 starred with Vincent Price and Judith Evelyn in the smash hit Angel Street, which ran for three years at the Golden Theatre on 45th Street. After that closed, he starred in the title role in J. P. Marquand's The Late George Apley.

Carroll is perhaps most well-known for his roles in six Alfred Hitchcock films: Rebecca (1940), Suspicion (1941), Spellbound (1945), The Paradine Case (1947), Strangers on a Train (1951), and North by Northwest (1959). As with earlier roles he was often cast as doctors or other figure of authority, such as the spymaster The Professor in North by Northwest. He is also remembered for his role as the frustrated banker haunted by the ghosts of George and Marion Kerby (sometimes erroneously spelled "Kirby"), in the 1950s television series Topper (1953–1956) which also starred Anne Jeffreys, Robert Sterling, and Lee Patrick. He later starred as spymaster Alexander Waverly on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964–1968), echoing his earlier work for Hitchcock. Several U.N.C.L.E. films followed, and a spin-off The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. (1966). He was one of the first actors to appear in two different television series as the same character.

In 1972, Carroll died in Hollywood of pneumonia brought on by cancer and was interred in the Grand View Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.

Carroll is mentioned in the song "Magdalena" from the 1972 Frank Zappa and the Mothers album Just Another Band from LA.

"the stars that say Jon Provost and Leo G. Carroll together"

Carroll is also mentioned in the song "Science Fiction/Double Feature" in Rocky Horror Picture Show with the lines "I knew Leo G. Carroll, was over a barrel, when Tarantula took to the hills."

Selected filmography

  • Clive of India (1935)
  • Murder on a Honeymoon (1935)
  • Captains Courageous (1937)
  • A Christmas Carol (1938)
  • Bulldog Drummond's Secret Police (1939)
  • The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)
  • Tower of London (1939)
  • Wuthering Heights (1939)
  • Scotland Yard (1941)
  • The House on 92nd Street (1945)
  • Forever Amber (1947)
  • The Paradine Case (1947)
  • Enchantment (1948)
  • Father of the Bride (1950)
  • The Desert Fox (1951)
  • The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952)
  • The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)
  • We're No Angels (1955)
  • Tarantula (1955)
  • The Swan (1956)
  • The Parent Trap (1961)
  • The Prize (1963)

With Alfred Hitchcock

  • Rebecca (1940)
  • Suspicion (1941)
  • Spellbound (1945)
  • The Paradine Case (1947)
  • Strangers on a Train (1951)
  • North by Northwest (1959).

As Alexander Waverly (Man from U.N.C.L.E.)

  • The Spy with My Face (1965)
  • One Spy Too Many (1966)
  • One of Our Spies Is Missing (1966)
  • The Spy in the Green Hat (1966)
  • The Karate Killers (1967)
  • The Helicopter Spies (1968)
  • How to Steal the World (1968)

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