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Leo G. Carroll
Leo Gratten Carroll
25 October 1886
|Died||16 October 1972 (aged 85)|
Hollywood, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Grand View Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California|
|Other names||Leo Carroll|
Edith Nancy de Silva Carroll
Leo Gratten Carroll (25 October 1886 – 16 October 1972) was an English actor. In a career of more than 40 years, he appeared in six Hitchcock films including Spellbound, Strangers on a Train and North by Northwest and in three television series, Topper, Going My Way, and The Man from U.N.C.L.E..
Carroll was born in Weedon Bec, Northamptonshire, to William and Catherine Carroll. His Roman Catholic parents named him after then-Pope Leo XIII. In 1897, his family lived in York, where his Irish-born father was a foreman in an ordnance store. In the 1901 census for West Ham, Essex, his occupation is listed as "wine trade clerk". In the 1911 census, he is living at the same address and described as a "dramatic agent".
Carroll made his stage debut in 1912. His acting career was on hold during the First World War, when he served in the British Army. Carroll saw action in France, Salonika, and Palestine during the war; he was badly wounded while serving in the latter. After his recovery and discharge, he again took up acting in December 1919.
He then performed in London and on Broadway. His American stage debut came in The Vortex. In 1933, he was a member of the Manhattan Theatre Repertory Company in the inaugural season of the Ogunquit Playhouse in Ogunquit, Maine.
During 1933–34 Carroll had the role of "impeccable valet" Trump in the Broadway play The Green Bay Tree (which has no relation to the novel by Louis Bromfield apart from the shared title), and in 1941 starred with Vincent Price and Judith Evelyn in Patrick Hamilton's Angel Street (better known as Gaslight), which ran for three years at the Golden Theatre on West 45th Street in New York City.
Films and television
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Carroll, who had moved to Hollywood, made his film debut in Sadie McKee (1934). He often played doctors or butlers, but he made appearances as Marley's ghost in A Christmas Carol (1938) and as Joseph in Wuthering Heights (1939). He appeared in two Charlie Chan films, City in Darkness (1939) as a shady French locksmith, followed by a role in Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise (1940) as a passenger on a ship. In the original version of Father of the Bride (1950), he played an unctuous wedding caterer. In the 1951 film The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel he played a sympathetic German field marshal, Gerd von Rundstedt, presenting him as a tragic, resigned figure completely disillusioned with Hitler.
Carroll is perhaps best known for his roles in six Alfred Hitchcock films: Rebecca (1940), Suspicion (1941), Spellbound (1945), The Paradine Case (1947), Strangers on a Train (1951) and North by Northwest (1959). He appeared in more Hitchcock films than anyone other than Clare Greet (1871–1939) (who appeared in seven) and Hitchcock himself, whose cameos were a trademark. As with earlier roles, he was often cast as doctors or other authority figures (such as the spymaster "Professor" in North by Northwest). Carroll eventually played a character based on Hitchcock himself in The Bad and the Beautiful (1952).
In addition to appearing as Rev. Mosby with actress Hayley Mills in The Parent Trap (1961), Carroll is remembered for his role as the frustrated banker haunted by the ghosts of George and Marion Kerby in the television series Topper (1953–1956), with co-stars Anne Jeffreys, Robert Sterling and Lee Patrick.: 1097–1098 He appeared as the older Father Fitzgibbon from 1962 to 1963 in ABC's Going My Way, a series about two Roman Catholic priests at St. Dominic's parish in New York City. In 1963–1964, he portrayed John Miller in Channing on ABC. Carroll subsequently starred as spymaster Alexander Waverly on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964–1968).: 650 Several U.N.C.L.E. films were derived from the series, and a spin-off television series, The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. in 1966.: 393 He was one of the first actors to appear in two different television series as the same character.
Carroll appeared in spots on the first two regular episodes of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, the series that replaced U.N.C.L.E., and in fact appears as Mr. Waverly in the very first episode party scene where he is seen using a pen communicator to call Kuryakin to report that he believes he has found THRUSH headquarters.
In popular culture
Carroll was posthumously referenced in the lyrics of "Science Fiction/Double Feature", the opening song of the musical stage production The Rocky Horror Show and its 1975 film adaptation. The song refers to Carroll in connection with his role in the film Tarantula.
- "Leo G. Carroll, Actor, 80, Dead". The New York Times. 19 October 1972. p. 70. Retrieved 8 December 2020.
- "Mr. Cyril Maude's Late Leading Lady for Orpheum Stock". The Montreal Star. Montreal, Canada. 25 February 1925. p. 6 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Leo G. Carroll Still Acting Role He Made Famous in 'The Late George Apley'". The Boston Globe. 23 December 1945. p. 4. Retrieved 20 February 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Leo G. Carroll". Internet Broadway Database. Archived from the original on 20 February 2019. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
- Terrace, Vincent (10 January 2014). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co. p. 176. ISBN 978-0786486410.
- Ellenberger, Allan R. (1 May 2001). Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co. p. 103. ISBN 978-0786409839; "Mass Slated Today for Actor Leo G. Carroll". Valley News. 19 October 1972. p. 35.
- Sokol, Tony (26 September 2019). "Rocky Horror Picture Show: The Movies And References Behind Science Fiction Double Feature". Den of Geek. Retrieved 4 September 2021.