Carla Laemmle

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Carla Laemmle
CarlaLaemmle Dracula.gif
Carla Laemmle in Dracula in 1931
Born Rebecca Isabelle Laemmle
(1909-10-20) October 20, 1909 (age 104)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Years active 1925–39; 2001; 2010–present

Rebecca Isabelle "Carla" Laemmle (born October 20, 1909) is an American actress of German Jewish descent, and the niece of Universal Pictures studio founder Carl Laemmle. She was a movie actress in the 1920s and 1930s, and is, along with Jean Darling, Baby Peggy, and Luise Rainer, one of the few surviving actors of the silent film era.


Laemmle entered films in 1925 playing an uncredited role as a ballet dancer in the original silent film version of The Phantom of the Opera (1925) and a small role in the early talkie version of Dracula (1931), and is the last surviving cast member of both classic films. Laemmle continued to appear in small roles until the late 1930s, when she disappeared from the movie screen. She briefly came out of retirement to play a vampire in The Vampire Hunters Club (2001).

She shared her reminiscences of appearing in a bit part in Dracula (1931) by hosting the original documentary The Road to Dracula (1999), a supplemental piece included on the 2004 DVD release, Dracula: The Legacy Collection. In that classic film, she portrayed a bespectacled passenger riding in a bumpy horse-drawn carriage with Renfield as he is traveling to Dracula's castle. In this documentary, Laemmle proudly states: "I had the privilege of speaking the first lines of dialogue in the first talking supernatural thriller".[1]

In 2009 the book Growing Up With Monsters: My Times at Universal Studios in Rhymes, co-authored by Carla Laemmle and Daniel Kinske, was released. The book details her life at Universal Studios from 1921 to 1937.[2] On October 20, 2009, she celebrated her 100th birthday with a guestlist which included Ray Bradbury, George Clayton Johnson, Bela Lugosi, Jr., Sara Karloff and Ron Chaney.[3]

On October 3, 2010 she appeared in BBC Four documentary A History of Horror with Mark Gatiss, sharing memories of her early film work with Lon Chaney and Bela Lugosi. She also recited her opening lines from Dracula.[4] In November 2010 she made an appearance in the documentary Moguls and Movie Stars: A History of Hollywood for Turner Classic Movies and in May 2011 she appeared in Paul Merton's Birth of Hollywood on the BBC. In March 2012, Turner Classic Movies presented a screening of Dracula, Laemmle appeared at the screening in connection with its Classic Movie Festival.[5]


Year Title Role Notes
1925 The Phantom of the Opera Prima Ballerina Uncredited
1927 Topsy and Eva Angel Uncredited
1927 Uncle Tom's Cabin Auction Spectator Angel
1928 The Gate Crasher Maid Credited as Beth Laemmle
1929 The Broadway Melody Oyster Shell Uncredited
1929 The Hollywood Revue of 1929 Chorus Girl Credited as Beth Laemmle
1930 King of Jazz Chorine Credited as Beth Laemmle
1931 Dracula Coach Passenger Uncredited
1935 The Mystery of Edwin Drood Schoolgirl Uncredited
1936 The Adventures of Frank Merriwell Carla Rogers
1939 On Your Toes
2001 The Vampire Hunters Club Elder Vampire Direct-to-video release
2010 Pooltime Zelda
2011 The Extra Minnie
2012 A Sad State of Affairs Connie
2012 Mansion of Blood Maribelle

See also[edit]


  1. ^ DVD Documentary The Road to Dracula, produced by David J. Skal, on 2-DVD set Dracula: The Legacy Collection (2004), Universal Home Entertainment release # 24455.
  2. ^ "Growing up with Monsters". Growing up with Monsters. Retrieved 2010-10-24. 
  3. ^ Tarpinian, John King. "Carla Laemmle Celebrates 100" File 770 (online version) October 23, 2009
  4. ^ "Four Programmes – A History of Horror with Mark Gatiss". BBC. 2010-10-11. Retrieved 2010-10-24. 
  5. ^ McCue, Michelle (March 28, 2012). "TCM Classic Film Festival Continues To Expand In Final Weeks Before April 12 Opening". We Are Movie Geeks. Retrieved April 4, 2012. 

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