Historical records matching Lionel Alfred William Atwill
About Lionel Alfred William Atwill
English stage and film actor born in Croydon, London, England.
Atwill was born in Croydon, London, England. He studied architecture before his stage debut at the Garrick Theatre, London, in 1904.
He became a star in Broadway theatre by 1918 and made his screen debut in 1919.
He acted on the stage in Australia before becoming involved in U.S. horror film roles in the 1930s, such as the crazed, disfigured sculptor in Mystery of the Wax Museum (Warner Brothers, 1933), and as Inspector Krogh in Son of Frankenstein (1939).
His other roles include The Wrong Road (1937) for RKO and Dr. James Mortimer in 20th Century Fox's film version of The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939), and Professor Moriarty in the Universal Studios film Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (1943).
Personal life He married four times. His first wife was Phyllis Ralph; the couple married in 1913 and divorced in 1919. In 1941 their son, John Arthur Atwill (born 1914), was killed in action aged 26. Atwill married the American actress Elsie Mackay in 1920, and Louise Cromwell Brooks in 1930; they divorced in 1943. She had previously been married to Douglas MacArthur. Atwill's fourth and final wife was Mary Paula Shilstone (d. 2002) in 1944 for the remainder of his life; She gave birth to his only surviving child, Lionel Anthony Atwill, now a retired writer.
In 1942, he was indicted for perjury by a jury investigating the 1941 proceeding of a grand jury relative to the alleged occurrence of a sex orgy at his home.
Atwill died on 22 April 1946 of cancer and pneumonia at his Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles home.
At the time of his death, he was filming the serial Lost City of the Jungle and playing the mastermind villain, Sir Eric Hazarias, a foreign spy chief. Universal could not afford to throw out the footage already filmed, so they were forced to adapt the serial. First, another villain (Malborn, played by John Mylong, who was originally just a servant of Sir Eric) was introduced as the boss of Atwill's character to take over most of the villain requirements of the film. Secondly, a double of Atwill was used to complete his remaining scenes. The double was filmed from behind and remained silent. The villain's henchmen were filmed repeating their orders back to the silent double and stock footage of Atwill was edited in to show a response. The director skipped ahead and filmed the last chapter out of order, while Atwill was still alive, because they knew he was dying.