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Peter Laszlo Lorre (Löwenstein)

Also Known As: "Peter Lorre"
Birthdate: (59)
Birthplace: Rózsahegy - Ružomberok, Liptó vármegye (present Zsolnai kerület - Žilina Region), Magyarország - Hungary (present Slovakia)
Death: March 23, 1964 (59)
Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Alois Lajos Löwenstein and Elvira Löwenstein
Husband of Anne Marie Lorre
Ex-husband of Celia Lovsky and Kaaren Verne
Father of Catherine Baker
Brother of Ferenc Löwenstein and Andreas Andrew Bundy Lorre
Half brother of Liesl Löwenstein and Hugo Löwenstein

Managed by: Randy Schoenberg
Last Updated:

About Peter Lorre

Peter Lorre (26 June 1904 – 23 March 1964) was an Austrian-American actor frequently typecast as a sinister foreigner. He caused an international sensation in 1931 with his portrayal of a serial killer who preys on little girls in the German film M. Later he became a popular featured player in Hollywood crime films and mysteries, notably alongside Humphrey Bogart and Sydney Greenstreet, and as the star of the successful Mr. Moto detective series.


Lorre was born as László Löwenstein into a Jewish family in Rózsahegy (Hungarian), Rosenberg (German), Kingdom of Hungary, part of Austria-Hungary, now Ružomberok, Slovakia. His parents were Alois Loewenstein and Elvira Freischberger. When he was a child his family moved to Vienna where Lorre attended school. He began acting on stage in Vienna at the age of 17, where he worked with Richard Teschner, then moved to Breslau, and Zürich. In the late 1920s, the young 5 ft 5 in (165 cm) actor moved to Berlin where he worked with German playwright Bertolt Brecht, most notably in his Mann ist Mann. He also appeared as Dr. Nakamura in the musical Happy End by Brecht and composer Kurt Weill, alongside Brecht's wife Helene Weigel and co-stars Carola Neher, Oskar Homolka and Kurt Gerron. The German-speaking actor became famous when Fritz Lang cast him as a child killer in his 1931 film M. In 1932 he appeared alongside Hans Albers in the science fiction film F.P.1 antwortet nicht about an artificial island in the mid-Atlantic. When the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933, Lorre took refuge first in Paris and then London, where he was noticed by Ivor Montagu, Alfred Hitchcock's associate producer for The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), who reminded the director about Lorre's performance in M. They first considered him to play the assassin in the film, but wanted to use him in a larger role, despite his limited command of English,[1] which Lorre overcame by learning much of his part phonetically. He also was featured in Hitchcock's Secret Agent, in 1935. Eventually, Lorre went to Hollywood, where he specialized in playing sinister foreigners, beginning with Mad Love (1935), directed by Karl Freund. He starred in a series of Mr. Moto movies, a parallel to the better known Charlie Chan series, in which he played John P. Marquand's seminal character, a Japanese detective and spy. He did not enjoy these films — and twisted his shoulder during a stunt in Mr. Moto Takes a Vacation — but they were lucrative for the studio and gained Lorre many new fans. In 1939, he was picked to play the role that would eventually go to Basil Rathbone in Son of Frankenstein; Lorre had to decline the part due to illness. In 1940, Lorre co-starred with fellow horror actors Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff in the Kay Kyser movie You'll Find Out. Lorre enjoyed considerable popularity as a featured player in Warner Bros. suspense and adventure films. Lorre played the role of Joel Cairo in The Maltese Falcon (1941) and portrayed the character Ugarte in the film classic Casablanca (1942).[2] Lorre branched out into comedy with the role of Dr. Einstein in Arsenic and Old Lace (filmed in 1941, released 1944). In 1946 he starred with Sydney Greenstreet and Geraldine Fitzgerald in Three Strangers, a suspense film about three people who are joint partners on a winning lottery ticket. In 1941, Peter Lorre became a naturalized citizen of the United States. After World War II, Lorre's acting career in Hollywood experienced a downturn, whereupon he concentrated on radio and stage work. In Germany he co-wrote, directed and starred in Der Verlorene (The Lost One) (1951), a critically acclaimed art film in the film noir style. He then returned to the United States where he appeared as a character actor in television and feature films, often spoofing his "creepy" image. In 1954, he had the distinction of becoming the first actor to play a James Bond villain when he portrayed Le Chiffre in a television adaptation of Casino Royale, opposite Barry Nelson as an American James Bond. (In the spoof-film version of Casino Royale, Ronnie Corbett comments that SMERSH includes among its agents not only Le Chiffre, but also "Peter Lorre and Bela Lugosi".) Also in 1954, Lorre starred alongside Kirk Douglas and James Mason in 20,000 Leagues under the Sea. A famous story is told in Hollywood that in 1956, both Lorre and Vincent Price attended Bela Lugosi's funeral. According to Price, Lorre asked him "Do you think we should drive a stake through his heart just in case?"[3] However, according to Lugosi biographers Arthur Lennig and Gary Don Rhodes, neither actor attended Lugosi's funeral.[4][5] In 1959, Lorre appeared in NBC's espionage drama Five Fingers, starring David Hedison, in the episode "Thin Ice". In the early 1960s he worked with Roger Corman on several low-budgeted, tongue-in-cheek, and very popular films. He appeared in a supporting role in the 1961 film, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. In 1961, he was interviewed on the NBC program Here's Hollywood. [edit]Marriages and family

He was married three times: Celia Lovsky (1934 – 13 March 1945, divorced); Kaaren Verne (25 May 1945 – 1950, divorced) and Anne Marie Brenning (21 July 1953 – 23 March 1964, his death). In 1953, Anne Marie bore his only child, Catharine. His daughter Catharine made headlines after Hillside Strangler serial killer Kenneth Bianchi confessed to police investigators after his arrest that he and his cousin and partner in crime Angelo Buono had stopped Catharine Lorre disguised as police officers with the intent of abducting and murdering her in 1977, but after learning that she was the daughter of Peter Lorre, the pair let her go. It was only after Bianchi was arrested that Catharine Lorre realized whom she had met.[6] Catharine died in 1985 of complications arising from diabetes. [7] In 1963 an actor named Eugene Weingand, who was unrelated to Lorre, attempted to trade on his slight resemblance to the actor by changing his name to "Peter Lorie", but his petition was rejected by the courts. After Lorre's death, however, he referred to himself as Lorre's son.[8] [edit]Health and death

Peter Lorre's crypt at Hollywood Forever Cemetery Lorre had suffered for years from chronic gallbladder troubles, for which doctors had prescribed morphine. Lorre became trapped between the constant pain and addiction to morphine to ease the problem. It was during the period of the Moto films that Lorre struggled and overcame his addiction.[9] Overweight and never fully recovered from his addiction to morphine, Lorre suffered many personal and career disappointments in his later years. He died in 1964 of a stroke. Lorre's body was cremated and his ashes interred at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood. Vincent Price read the eulogy at his funeral.[10] [edit]Legacy and mimicry

Lorre has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 6619 Hollywood Boulevard. Lorre's distinctive accent and large-eyed face became a favorite target of comedians and cartoonists. For example, several Warner Bros. cartoons used a caricature of Lorre's face with an impression by Mel Blanc, including Birth of a Notion, Hair-Raising Hare and Racketeer Rabbit.[11] [edit]Books and comics In the early 1940s, the adventures of Batman and Robin appeared in daily newspapers. One story, The Two-Bit Dictator of Twin Mills, drawn by Batman co-creator Bob Kane, featured a hitman called Jojo who was, according to writer Al Schwartz, made to look like Lorre.[12] [edit]Films, television, and music Musician and filker Tom Smith won a Pegasus award for Best Classic Filk Song in 2006 entitled "I Want to be Peter Lorre" which appears on his filk album "Homecoming: MarCon 2005", which includes his vocal impersonation of the actor.[13] The Jazz Butcher's song "Peter Lorre" was first featured on the group's Conspiracy album, which was released in May 1986.[14] The stop motion film Corpse Bride features "The Maggot", a small green worm who lives inside the title's character head. His features and voice (provided by Enn Reitel) are caricatures of Peter Lorre. "From the very beginning Tim wanted the Maggot to be a Peter Lorre-esque character, and we had a good time working with that and it went through various design changes," said co-director Mike Johnson in the book Tim Burton's Corpse Bride: An Invitation to the Wedding. On September 11, 2007 Brooklyn-based punk band The World/Inferno Friendship Society released a full-length album about Lorre called Addicted to Bad Ideas: Peter Lorre's Twentieth Century, which traces Lorre's film career, drug addiction, and death. It has been performed at the Famous Spiegeltent. The album was subsequently adapted into a multi-media stage production directed by Jay Scheib, which premiered at Webster Hall in New York City on January 9, 2009, and went on to play major arts festivals around the world, including Spoleto Festival USA (Charleston, SC), Luminato Festival (Toronto), Noorderzon Festival (Groningen, Holland) and Theaterformen (Hanover, Germany). [edit]Filmography

Die Verschwundene Frau (1929) (uncredited) Der weiße Teufel (1930) aka The White Devil Mann ist Mann (1931) aka A Man's a Man M (1931) Bomben auf Monte Carlo (1931) aka Bombs Over Monte Carlo Die Koffer des Herrn O.F. (1931) Fünf von der Jazzband (1932) Schuß im Morgengrauen (1932) Der weiße Dämon (1932) aka Dope Stupéfiants (1932) F.P.1 antwortet nicht (1932) Les Requins du pétrole (1933) Du haut en bas (1933) Was Frauen träumen (1933) Unsichtbare Gegner (1933) The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) Mad Love (1935) Crime and Punishment (1935) Secret Agent (1936) Crack-Up (1936) Nancy Steele Is Missing! (1937) Think Fast, Mr. Moto (1937) Lancer Spy (1937) Thank You, Mr. Moto (1937) Mr. Moto's Gamble (1938) Mr. Moto Takes a Chance (1938) I'll Give a Million (1938) Mysterious Mr. Moto (1938) Mr. Moto's Last Warning (1939) Mr. Moto in Danger Island (1939) Mr. Moto Takes a Vacation (1939) Strange Cargo (1940) I Was an Adventuress (1940) Island of Doomed Men (1940) Stranger on the Third Floor (1940) You'll Find Out (1940) Der Ewige Jude (1940) (archive footage) The Face Behind the Mask (1941) Mr. District Attorney (1941) They Met in Bombay (1941) The Maltese Falcon (1941) All Through the Night (1941) Invisible Agent (1942) The Boogie Man Will Get You (1942) Casablanca (1942) The Constant Nymph (1943) Background to Danger (1943) The Cross of Lorraine (1943) Passage to Marseille (1944) The Mask of Dimitrios (1944) Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) The Conspirators (1944) Hollywood Canteen (1944) Hotel Berlin (1945) Confidential Agent (1945) Three Strangers (1946) Black Angel (1946) The Chase (1946) The Verdict (1946) The Beast with Five Fingers (1946) My Favorite Brunette (1947) Casbah (1948) Rope of Sand (1949) Quicksand (1950) Double Confession (1950) Der Verlorene (1951) (also wrote and directed) Beat the Devil (1953) Casino Royale, a 1954 episode of the television series Climax! 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954) Around the World in Eighty Days (1956) Meet Me in Las Vegas (1956) (uncredited) Congo Crossing (1956) The Buster Keaton Story (1957) Silk Stockings (1957) The Story of Mankind (1957) The Sad Sack (1957) Hell Ship Mutiny (1957) The Big Circus (1959) Scent of Mystery (1960) Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961) Tales of Terror (1962) Five Weeks in a Balloon (1962) The Raven (1963) The Comedy of Terrors (1964) Muscle Beach Party (1964) The Patsy (1964) [edit]References

^ "The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)". Retrieved 2009-06-11. ^ Ugarte is a small part, but a crucial one: it is he who gives Rick the "Letters of Transit", taken from two German couriers, to hold. Rick assumes that Ugarte killed the couriers to get the letters, and tells Ugarte that he is "a little more impressed" with him. ^ Wallace, David. Exiles in Hollywood. Hal Leonard Corporation, 2006. ISBN 0879103299. ^ Gary Don Rhodes, Lugosi: His Life in Films, on Stage, and in the Hearts of Horror Lovers, McFarland, 1997, pp. 37–38, 351. ISBN 978-0786402571. ^ Arthur Lennig, The Immortal Count: The Life and Films of Bela Lugosi, University Press of Kentucky, 2003, p. 448. ISBN 978-0813122731. ^ Schwarz, Ted. The Hillside Strangler, p. 212. Quill Driver Books. 2004. ISBN 1884956378 ^ ^ Youngkin, Stephen D. (2005). The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre. University Press of Kentucky. p. 443. ISBN 0813123607. "After the actor's death, however, he brazenly began passing himself off as Lorre's son, repeatedly contradicting his earlier testimony." ^ [1] Classic Images past issues, 1998 ^ Youngkin, Stephen D. (2005). The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre. University Press of Kentucky. p. 448. ISBN 0813123607. ^ Costello, E. I. The Warner Bros. Cartoon Companion: L ^ Batman: The Dailies 1944-1945, ISBN 0878161309, ISBN 978-0878161300 ^ "Lyrics: I Want To Be Peter Lorre". Tom Smith Online. Retrieved 2009-06-11. ^ Conspiracy (album) – The Jazz Butcher (official website). [edit]Further reading

Peter Lorre. Midnight Marquee Press. 1999. ISBN 1-887-66430-0. Youngkin, Stephen D., James Bigwood, and Raymond Cabana (1982). The Films of Peter Lorre. Citadel Press. ISBN 0-8065-0789-6. Youngkin, Stephen D. (2005). The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-813-12360-7.

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Peter Lorre's Timeline

June 26, 1904
Rózsahegy - Ružomberok, Liptó vármegye (present Zsolnai kerület - Žilina Region), Magyarország - Hungary (present Slovakia)
June 22, 1953
Age 48
March 23, 1964
Age 59
Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, United States