George Zucco (11 January 1886 – 27 May 1960) was an English character actor who appeared, almost always in supporting roles, in 96 films during a career spanning two decades, from 1931 to 1951. In his horror films, he often played a suave villain or a mad doctor.
Zucco in Fog Island (1945)
|Died||27 May 1960 74) (aged|
Hollywood, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills)|
(m. 1930; his death 1960)
Early life and family
Zucco was born in Manchester, Lancashire, on 11 January 1886. His mother Marian (née Rintoul) ran a dressmaking business; it is claimed she was a former lady-in-waiting to Queen Victoria - but this is untrue as the honour was only accessible to titled ladies of high rank (duchesses, marchionesses, countesses, viscountesses, and baronesses). His father, George De Sylla Zucco, was a Greek merchant.
Zucco debuted on the Canadian stage in 1908 in a stock theater company. In 1910, he entered the United States for the first time from Canada, bound for Seattle, Washington, where he soon appeared in plays such as The Melting Pot and The White Sister. He and his wife Frances toured the American vaudeville circuit during the 1910s, their satirical sketch about suffragettes earning them renown.
He returned to the UK and served as a lieutenant in the British Army's West Yorkshire Regiment during the First World War. He lost the use of two fingers when he was shot in the right arm in France. When the war ended, he studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and later taught there.
He played Professor Moriarty in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939), opposite Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson. Zucco earned a reputation as a bespectacled, nefarious character in films such as After the Thin Man, Fast Company, Arrest Bulldog Drummond, Charlie Chan in Honolulu, The Cat and the Canary, and My Favorite Blonde.
During the 1940s, he took every role he was offered, landing himself in B-films and Universal horror films, including The Mummy's Hand (1940), The Mummy's Tomb (1942), The Mad Monster (1942), The Mad Ghoul (1943), Dead Men Walk (1943), The Mummy's Ghost (1944), House of Frankenstein (1944), and Tarzan and the Mermaids (1948). He was reunited with Basil Rathbone in another Sherlock Holmes adventure, Sherlock Holmes in Washington, this time playing not Moriarty, but a Nazi spy.
Last years and death
He retired due to illness, after playing a bit part in David and Bathsheba (1951). Zucco was to have played in The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel, but his health issues resulted in his being replaced by Cedric Hardwicke.
Zucco suffered from dementia throughout the 1950s, and he died on 27 May 1960 from pneumonia in an assisted-living facility at the age of 74.
He and his wife, Stella Francis, had a daughter, Frances (1931-1962), who died of throat cancer at age 30, and a grandson, George Zucco (né Canto). Stella Zucco died from natural causes in 1999 (aged 99).
- Dreyfus (1931) as Cavaignac
- There Goes the Bride (1932) as Prosecutor (uncredited)
- The Midshipmaid (1932) as Lord Dore
- The Good Companions (1933) as Fauntley
- The Roof (1933) as James Renton
- The Man from Toronto (1933) as Squire
- Autumn Crocus (1934) as Reverend Mayne
- Something Always Happens (1934) as Proprietor of the Maison de Paris (uncredited)
- The Lady Is Willing (1934) as Man from Reclamation Agent (uncredited)
- What Happened Then? (1934) as Inspector Hull
- What's in a Name? (1934) as Foot
- Road House (1934) as Hotel Manager (uncredited)
- Abdul the Damned (1935) as Officer of the Firing Squad
- It's a Bet (1935) as Convict (uncredited)
- The Common Round (1936, short) as Dr. Pyke
- The Man Who Could Work Miracles (1936) as The Colonel's Butler
- Sinner Take All (1936) as Bascomb
- After the Thin Man (1936) as Dr. Kammer
- Parnell (1937) as Sir Charles Russell
- Saratoga (1937) as Dr. Harmsworth Bierd
- London by Night (1937) as Inspector Jefferson
- Souls at Sea (1937) as Barton Woodley
- The Firefly (1937) as Secret Service Chief
- Madame X (1937) as Dr. LaFarge
- The Bride Wore Red (1937) as Count Armalia
- Conquest (1937) as Sen. Malachowski (uncredited)
- Rosalie (1937) as General Maroff
- Arsène Lupin Returns (1938) as Prefect of Police
- Three Comrades (1938) as Dr. Plauten (uncredited)
- Lord Jeff (1938) as James 'Jim' Hampstead
- Fast Company (1938) as Otto Brockler
- Marie Antoinette (1938) as Governor of Conciergerie (uncredited)
- Vacation from Love (1938) as Dr. Waxton
- Suez (1938) as Prime Minister
- Arrest Bulldog Drummond (1938) as Rolf Alferson
- Charlie Chan in Honolulu (1938) as Dr. Cardigan
- Captain Fury (1939) as Arnold Trist
- The Magnificent Fraud (1939) as Dr. Luis Virgo
- The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939) as Professor Moriarty
- Here I Am a Stranger (1939) as James K. Spaulding
- The Cat and the Canary (1939) as Lawyer Crosby
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) as Procurator
- New Moon (1940) as Vicomte Ribaud
- The Mummy's Hand (1940) as Andoheb
- Arise, My Love (1940) as Prison Governor
- Dark Streets of Cairo (1940) as Abbadi
- The Monster and the Girl (1941) as Dr. Parry
- Topper Returns (1941) as Dr. Jeris
- A Woman's Face (1941) as Defense Attorney
- International Lady (1941) as Webster
- Ellery Queen and the Murder Ring (1941) as Dr. Edwin L. Jannery
- My Favorite Blonde (1942) as Dr. Hugo Streger
- The Mad Monster (1942) as Dr. Cameron
- Halfway to Shanghai (1942) as Peter van Hoost
- Dr. Renault's Secret (1942) as Dr. Robert Renault
- The Mummy's Tomb (1942) as Andoheb
- The Black Swan (1942) as Lord Denby
- Dead Men Walk (1943) as Dr. Lloyd Clayton / Dr. Elwyn Clayton
- Sherlock Holmes in Washington (1943) as Stanley
- The Black Raven (1943) as Amos Bradford aka The Raven
- Holy Matrimony (1943) as Mr. Crepitude
- The Mad Ghoul (1943) as Dr. Alfred Morris
- Never a Dull Moment (1943) as Tony Rocco
- Voodoo Man (1944) as Nicholas
- The Mummy's Ghost (1944) as High Priest
- Return of the Ape Man (1944) (credited, but uncertain) as Ape Man
- The Seventh Cross (1944) as Fahrenburg
- Shadows in the Night (1944) as Frank Swift
- House of Frankenstein (1944) as Professor Bruno Lampini
- Fog Island (1945) as Leo Grainger
- Having Wonderful Crime (1945) as King aka The Great Movel
- Sudan (1945) as Horadef
- Midnight Manhunt (1945) as Jelke
- Week-End at the Waldorf (1945) as Bey of Aribajan
- Confidential Agent (1945) as Detective Geddes
- Hold That Blonde (1945) as Dr. Pavel Storasky
- The Flying Serpent (1946) as Prof. Andrew Forbes
- Scared to Death (1947) as Dr. Joseph Van Ee
- The Imperfect Lady (1947) as Mr. Mallam
- Moss Rose (1947) as Craxton - the butler
- Lured (1947) as Officer H. R. Barrett
- Desire Me (1947) as Father Donnard
- Where There's Life (1947) as Paul Stertorius
- Captain from Castile (1947) as Marquis De Carvajal
- Tarzan and the Mermaids (1948) as Palanth - The High Priest
- Who Killed Doc Robbin (1948) as Doc Hugo Robbin
- The Pirate (1948) as The Viceroy
- Secret Service Investigator (1948) as Otto Dagoff
- Joan of Arc (1948) as Constable of Clervaux
- The Secret Garden (1949) as Dr. Fortescue
- The Barkleys of Broadway (1949) as The Judge
- Madame Bovary (1949) as DuBocage
- Harbor of Lost Men (1950) as H.G. Danziger
- Let's Dance (1950) as Judge Mackenzie
- Flame of Stamboul (1951) as The Voice
- The First Legion (1951) as Father Robert Stuart
- David and Bathsheba (1951) as Egyptian Ambassador (uncredited)
- "George Zucco, 74, Film Actor, Dead". New York Times. 29 May 1960.
- Feramisco, Thomas M. (2003). The Mummy Unwrapped. McFarland. p. 164. ISBN 0786413689.
- Parker, John (1916). Who's who in the Theatre. Pitman. p. 1492. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
- Richards, Brad (October 2017). "George Zucco: Hollywood Madman". Classic Images (508): 6–14.
- Ancestry.com. British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920 [database on-line]. Provo, Utah, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2008.
- "George Zucco". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on 2 November 2017. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
- Lentz, Harris M. III (2000). Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 1999: Film, Television, Radio, Theatre, Dance, Music, Cartoons and Pop Culture. McFarland. p. 244. ISBN 9780786409198. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to George Zucco.|