John Carradine (deceased)

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About John Carradine

American actor John Carradine is best known for his roles in horror films and Westerns as well as Shakespearean theater. He was one of the most prolific character actors in Hollywood history and the patriarch of an acting dynasty that includes four of his sons and four of his grandchildren.

Born Richmond Reed Carradine on February 5, 1906 in New York City. Considered one of Hollywood's most prolific character actors, Carradine grew up in Peekskill and Kingston, New York, and attended Christ Church School. He worked as a painter and sculptor in the South before making his acting debut in a production of Camille in New Orleans in 1925.

Ready to try his luck as an actor, he moved to Hollywood in 1927, but didn't make his screen debut until 1930 in Tol'able David. In 1935, he signed with Fox, changed his name from John Peter Richmond to John Carradine, and began a non-stop career both vast and varied. Early in his career, he appeared in ten films by director John Ford, including the The Prisoner of Shark Island in 1936.

Though he turned in fine performances in numerous character roles throughout the 1930s and 1940s, he took on an increasing number of parts in cheap horror flicks, eventually appearing in more films of that genre than virtually any other actor. In addition, he toured in one-man Shakespeare productions and continued to play every imaginable role, including Dracula, Presidents and Nazis. His unusual credits and booming presence earned him a reputation as an eccentric, and he became known as the "Bard of the Boulevard" because he often recited Shakespeare while strolling the Hollywood streets.

In 1988, Carradine died in Milan, Italy. He is survived by his three sons, also actors, David, Keith, and Robert.