Lionel Atwill

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 theatre by 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 Mars in 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 Mack and 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 Rathbone in 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 Studios film "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 perjury at 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 Mackay aka 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.

References

External links

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* [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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