George Zucco

Active - 1931 - 2015  |   Born - Jan 11, 1886   |   Died - May 28, 1960   |   Genres - Drama, Mystery, Romance, Comedy, Horror

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Born in England, George Zucco launched his theatrical career in Canada in 1908. During his first decade as a performer, Zucco toured in American vaudeville with his wife, Frances, in a sketch entitled "The Suffragette." He established himself as a leading actor in England in the 1920s, entering films with 1931's The Dreyfus Case. Zucco returned to the U.S. in 1935 to play Disraeli opposite Helen Hayes in Victoria Regina. He came to Hollywood to re-create his stage role in the film version of Autumn Crocus (1937), remaining to play mostly minor roles for the next two years. He finally found his villainous niche in the role of the erudite but deadly Professor Moriarity in 1939's The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Throughout the 1940s, Zucco apparently took every role that was offered him, playing mad scientists, master criminals, and occasional red herrings in films ranging from Universal's The Mad Ghoul (1943) to PRC's Fog Island (1945). He played the fanatical Egyptian priest Anhodeb in 1940's The Mummy's Hand, and, though supposedly killed in that film, showed up none the worse for wear in the 1942 sequel The Mummy's Tomb. His quirkiest horror role was as a gas station attendant who doubled as a kidnapper and voodoo drum-thumper in Monogram's incredible Voodoo Man (1944). When not scaring the daylights out of his audience, Zucco could be found playing roles requiring quiet whimsy, notably the detective in Lured (1947) and the judge in Let's Dance (1950). After completing his final, unbilled film assignment in David and Bathsheba (1951), George Zucco completely disappeared from view; seriously ill for many years, he died in a Hollywood sanitarium at the age of 74.

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