PETER LORRE

Peter Lorre (1904-64), born Ladislav (László) Löwenstein, was an Austrian-American stage and screen actor best known for playing roles with sinister overtones in Hollywood crime films and mysteries. The German-speaking actor became famous when director Fritz Lang cast him as a child killer in his 1931 pre-noir, noir masterpiece M. When the Nazis came to power in Germany in '33, the Jewish Lorre took refuge in London where he played a charming villain in Alfred Hitchcock's THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (he learned his lines phonetically). Eventually, he went to Hollywood, learned English and specialized in playing wicked or wily foreigners. He starred in a series of MR. MOTO movies, a parallel to the better known Charlie Chan series, in which he played a Japanese detective and spy. Among his many other roles were Joel Cairo in THE MALTESE FALCON (1941), Ugarte in CASABLANCA (1942) and Dr. Einstein in ARSENIC AND OLD LACE. In 1954, he became the first actor to play a James Bond villain when he portrayed Le Chiffre in a TV adaptation of CASINO ROYALE, opposite Barry Nelson as an American James Bond

3 comments:

Lori Witzel said...

He learned his lines phonetically? OMG. What an actor, to have done that and pulled it off.

Cheryl said...

Peter Lorre did learn his lines phonetically while working on "The Man Who Knew Too Much" -- but he also studied English with a tutor during production. By the time he was ready to leave for the U.S., he could speak English fluently. Here's a book you might be interested in -- "The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre", by Stephen Youngkin. Official website; http://www.PeterLorreBook.com.

pogodog7 said...

Lorre was beloved by all and known to have been quite the practical joker.