William Henry Pratt, better known by his stage name Boris Karloff, is a well-known English actor adored by the public for his portrayal of the grim monster Frankenstein in Frankenstein (1931), Bride of Frankenstein (1935), Son of Frankenstein (1939), and the voice of the grumpy Grinch in Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
In his successful 60-year old career, Karloff starred in over 90 movies and made countless television appearances.
He gained an immense popularity portraying heartless monsters and “bad guys” and was on several occasions dubbed as “The King of Monsters.”
In contrast to his on-screen persona, in private life, Karloff was by every account a shy, sweet and generous person.
He was fortunate enough to own two holidays: Halloween as Frankenstein and Christmas as Grinch.
While onscreen he was stealing Christmas, in his private life he was practically the “Spirit of Christmas.”
Opposed to his role as Grinch, from December 1940 Karloff initiated a little charity cause, which by all means was in the “Christmas spirit.” Every Chrismas, Karloff would dress as Santa Claus and hand out presents to the physically disabled children in the Baltimore hospital.
Karloff was particularly fond of children, and besides his extensive involvement and influence in the Horror genre, he made a lot of records for the children’s market.
Some of the most famous recordings were: Three Little Pigs and Other Fairy Stories, Tales of the Frightened (volume 1 and 2), Rudyard Kipling‘s Just So Stories with Cyril Ritchard and Celeste Holm, Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes, and Lewis Carroll‘s The Hunting of the Snark.
He had his own weekly children’s radio show on WNEW, New York, in 1950. He played children’s music, told stories and riddles. While the program was meant for children, Karloff attracted many adult listeners as well.