Carla Laemmle

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Carla Laemmle
CarlaLaemmle Dracula.png
Laemmle in Dracula (1931)
Born Rebekah Isabelle Laemmle[1]
(1909-10-20)October 20, 1909
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Died June 12, 2014(2014-06-12) (aged 104)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1925–1939; 2001; 2010–2014

Rebekah Isabelle Laemmle (October 20, 1909 – June 12, 2014), professionally known by screen name Carla Laemmle, was 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 one of the longest surviving actors of the silent film era.[1] Her career in motion pictures was also one of the longest on record, spanning 1925 to 2014.[2][3]


Laemmle entered films in 1925, as "Carla Laemmle", in an uncredited role as a ballet dancer in the original silent film version of The Phantom of the Opera (1925) and later had a small role in the early talkie version of Dracula (1931). In that classic film, she portrayed (again uncredited) a bespectacled passenger riding in a bumpy horse-drawn carriage with Renfield as he is traveling to Dracula's castle, and had the first spoken line of dialogue in the film.[4] 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).

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.[5] 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.[6]

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 recited her opening lines from Dracula.[7]

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.[8]


Laemmle died at her home in Los Angeles at the age of 104 on June 12, 2014. She never married and had no children. Her closest survivors are a great-niece, Rosemary Hilb,[9] and great-grandnieces, Antonia Carlotta and Cassandra Shaw [10]


Year Title Role Notes
1925 The Phantom of the Opera Meg Giry 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 Ballet Dancer Uncredited
2001 The Vampire Hunters Club Elder Vampire Direct-to-video release
2010 Pooltime Zelda
2013 A Sad State of Affairs Connie
2015 Mansion of Blood Maribelle Scenes filmed in 2014
2017 The Extra Minnie Scenes filmed in 2014


  1. ^ a b Biodata (with correct birthname) Archived January 9, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.,; accessed June 25, 2014.
  2. ^ "Carla Laemmle". IMDb. 
  3. ^ Holman, Jordyn (June 13, 2014). "Carla Laemmle Dead: Silent Film Actress Niece of Universal Founder Dies at 104". Variety. 
  4. ^ DVD Documentary The Road to Dracula, produced by David J. Skal, included in the 2-DVD set Dracula: The Legacy Collection (2004), Universal Home Entertainment release # 24455.
  5. ^ "Growing up with Monsters". Growing up with Monsters. Archived from the original on February 2, 2011. Retrieved October 24, 2010. 
  6. ^ Tarpinian, John King. "Carla Laemmle Celebrates 100", File 770 (online version), October 23, 2009.
  7. ^ "Four Programmes – A History of Horror with Mark Gatiss". BBC. October 11, 2010. Retrieved October 24, 2010. 
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ Barnes, Mike. "Carla Laemmle, Actress and Niece of Universal Studios Founder, Dies at 104". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 13, 2014. 
  10. ^ Hilb, Rosemary. "The New Generation". The Official Laemmle Family Website. Archived from the original on May 19, 2015. Retrieved January 15, 2015. 

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