Leo G. Carroll

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Leo G. Carroll
Carroll in 1951
Leo Gratten Carroll

(1886-10-25)25 October 1886
Died16 October 1972(1972-10-16) (aged 85)
Resting placeGrand View Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California
Other namesLeo Carroll
Years active1912–1970
Edith Nancy de Silva Carroll
(m. 1926)

Leo Gratten Carroll (25 October 1886 – 16 October 1972) was an English actor.[1] 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..

Early life[edit]

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".

Stage career[edit]

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.[2] Carroll saw action in France, Salonika, and Palestine during the war; he was badly wounded while serving in the latter.[2] After his recovery and discharge, he again took up acting in December 1919.[2]

He then performed in London and on Broadway.[1] His American stage debut came in The Vortex.[3] 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"[3] Trump in the Broadway play The Green Bay Tree[4] (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.[citation needed]

After the production closed, he starred in the title role in John P. Marquand's The Late George Apley.[3] In 1947 he starred in John Van Druten's The Druid Circle at the Morosco Theatre.

Films and television[edit]

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 as Alexander Waverly on The Man from U.N.C.L.E., with guest star Diana Hyland.

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).

Carroll had a central role in the highly rated movie We're No Angels (1955) with Humphrey Bogart, Peter Ustinov and Basil Rathbone, among others.

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.[5]: 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.[5] Carroll subsequently starred as spymaster Alexander Waverly on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964–1968).[5]: 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.[5]: 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 1972, Carroll died in Hollywood of cancer-induced pneumonia. He is interred at the Grand View Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.[6]

In popular culture[edit]

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.[7]

Selected filmography[edit]

Year Film Role Director Notes
1934 Sadie McKee Phelps Finnegan Clarence Brown
1934 Stamboul Quest Kruger, #117 aka Bertram Church Sam Wood
Jack Conway (uncredited)
1934 The Barretts of Wimpole Street Dr. Ford-Waterlow Sidney Franklin
1934 Outcast Lady Dr. Masters Robert Z. Leonard
1935 Clive of India Mr. Manning Richard Boleslawski
1935 The Right to Live Dr. Harvester William Keighley
1935 Murder on a Honeymoon Joseph B. Tate Lloyd Corrigan
1935 The Casino Murder Case Smith Edwin L. Marin
1936 The Man I Marry Mr. Furthermore, Ralph Murphy uncredited
1937 Captains Courageous Burns Victor Fleming uncredited
1937 London by Night Correy Wilhelm Thiele
1938 A Christmas Carol Marley's Ghost Edwin L. Marin
1939 Bulldog Drummond's Secret Police Henry Seaton James P. Hogan
1939 Wuthering Heights Joseph William Wyler
1939 The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex Sir Edward Coke Michael Curtiz
1939 Tower of London Lord Hastings Rowland V. Lee
1939 Charlie Chan in City in Darkness Louis Santelle Herbert I. Leeds
1940 Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise Professor Gordon Eugene Forde
1940 Waterloo Bridge Policeman Mervyn LeRoy uncredited
1940 Rebecca Dr. Baker Alfred Hitchcock
1941 Scotland Yard Craven Norman Foster
1941 This Woman Is Mine Angus 'Sandy' McKay Frank Lloyd
1941 Bahama Passage Delbridge Edward H. Griffith
1941 Suspicion Captain Melbeck Alfred Hitchcock
1945 The House on 92nd Street Col. Hammersohn Henry Hathaway
1945 Spellbound Dr. Murchison Alfred Hitchcock
1947 Time Out of Mind Capt. Fortune Robert Siodmak
1947 Song of Love Professor Wieck Clarence Brown
1947 The Paradine Case Sir Joseph Alfred Hitchcock
1947 Forever Amber Matt Goodgroome Otto Preminger
1948 So Evil My Love Jarvis Lewis Allen
1948 Enchantment Proutie Irving Reis
1950 Father of the Bride Mr. Massoula Vincente Minnelli
1950 The Happy Years The Old Roman William Wellman
1951 The First Legion Father Rector Paul Duquesne Douglas Sirk
1951 The Desert Fox Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt Henry Hathaway
1951 Strangers on a Train Sen. Morton Alfred Hitchcock
1952 The Snows of Kilimanjaro Uncle Bill Henry King
1952 The Bad and the Beautiful Henry Whitfield Vincente Minnelli
1953 Treasure of the Golden Condor Raoul Dondel Delmer Daves
1953 Rogue's March Col. Henry Lenbridge Geoffrey Barkas
1953 Young Bess Mr. Mums George Sidney
1955 We're No Angels Felix Ducotel Michael Curtiz
1955 Tarantula Prof. Gerald Deemer Jack Arnold
1956 The Swan Caesar Charles Vidor
1959 North by Northwest the Professor Alfred Hitchcock
1961 The Parent Trap Rev. Dr. Mosby David Swift
1961 One Plus One Professor Logan
1963 The Prize Count Bertil Jacobsson Mark Robson
1965 That Funny Feeling O'Shea Richard Thorpe
1968 From Nashville with Music Arnold

As Alexander Waverly (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.)[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Leo G. Carroll, Actor, 80, Dead". The New York Times. 19 October 1972. p. 70. Retrieved 8 December 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "Mr. Cyril Maude's Late Leading Lady for Orpheum Stock". The Montreal Star. Montreal, Canada. 25 February 1925. p. 6 – via Newspapers.com.
  3. ^ a b c "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.
  4. ^ "Leo G. Carroll". Internet Broadway Database. Archived from the original on 20 February 2019. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d Terrace, Vincent (10 January 2014). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co. p. 176. ISBN 978-0786486410.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ 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.

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