Lionel Atwill (
March 1, 1885 – April 22, 1946) was an English stage and film actor born in Croydon, London, England.
He began his stage career in 1905 in England, and had become a star in
Broadway theatreby 1918, ["The Rise of Lionel Atwill", "The New York Times", April 14, 1918, p. X6.] but was most famous for his horror roles in the 1930s. His two most memorable parts were as the crazed, disfigured sculptor in " Mystery of the Wax Museum" ( Warner Brothers, 1933), and as Inspector Krogh in " Son of Frankenstein" (1939), memorably sent up by Kenneth Marsin Mel Brooks's " Young Frankenstein" (1974).
When he was not cast in macabre roles, Atwill often appeared in the 1930s as righteous-minded authority figures. For example, in 1937's less memorable, but still appealing "
The Wrong Road" for RKO, investigator Atwill persuades a young, bank-robbing ingenue played by Helen Mackand her boyfriend Richard Cromwell to return their ill-gotten $100,000 and give up a life of crime. Two of Atwill's other notable non-horror roles were opposite his contemporary Basil Rathbonein film adaptations of Arthur Conan Doyle's character Sherlock Holmes, including a role as Dr. James Mortimer in 20th Century Fox's 1939 film rendition of the Conan Doyle novel " The Hound of the Baskervilles", and the 1942 Universal Studiosfilm " Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon", in which he played Holmes' archenemy and super-villain, Professor Moriarty. [http://lionelatwillfanclub.tripod.com/ Official Lionel Atwill - Web Site & Fan Club ] ]
Atwill remained a stalwart of the Universal horror films until his career flagged in the 1940s because of a widely publicized sex scandal in 1941, during the investigation of which he was charged in 1942 with
perjuryat a rape trial. ["Lionel Atwill Indicted", "The New York Times", July 1, 1942, p. 28.] The Hays Office had him blacklisted, and he later returned to the theatre. He married four times: firstly to Phyllis Ralph in 1913, secondly in 1919 to actress and aviator Elsie Mackayaka Poppy Wyndham, [http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6808080 Poppy Wyndham at 'Find a Grave'] ] thirdly to Louise Stoltesbury Cromwell Brooks in 1930, and finally in 1944 to Mary Paula Shilstone [http://lionelatwillfanclub.tripod.com/id17.html Official Lionel Atwill - Web Site & Fan Club] ] who carried his only living child, Lionel Anthony Atwill. In 1941 Atwill's son, John Arthur Atwill, was killed in action.cite news | title = Actor Lionel Atwill's Son Killed in British Air Action | work = Chicago Tribune| date = 29/04/1941 [http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2436252 CWGC record] . ] His third wife, Louise Cromwell Brooks, had previously been married to Douglas MacArthur.
His son Tony is a retired writer.
* [http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6807943 Lionel Atwill] at Find-A-Grave
* [http://lionelatwillfanclub.tripod.com/ Official Lionel Atwill - Web Site & Fan Club ] at lionelatwillfanclub.tripod.com
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