Beyond Boris and Bela: Universal horror's supporting players
By Susan King
Photos from the collection of Universal/Jack Pierce historian Scott Essman with special contributions by cinema historian Eric L. Hoffman
Full story: Universal horror: 'Essential' Blu-ray spotlights classic actors
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Basil Rathbone (1892-1967)( Scott Essman and Eric Hoffman Collections )
Basil Rathbone and Lionel Atwill in "Son of Frankenstein."
Before the horror: The tall, aristocratic South Africa-born British actor earned supporting actor Oscar nominations for 1936's "Romeo and Juliet" and 1938's "If I Were King." Although he excelled at villain roles, Rathbone is best known as Arthur Conan Doyle's brilliant, complex detective Sherlock Holmes opposite Nigel Bruce's Dr. Watson in a series of popular mysteries, first at 20th Century Fox and then at Universal.
Iconic Universal roles: Rathbone made a strong impression as Baron Wolf von Frankenstein, Dr. Frankenstein's offspring, who makes the mistake of following in his father's footsteps in 1939's "Son of Frankenstein."
Memorable quote: "It appears that my father thought that he could extract from lightning some super-violet ray of life-giving properties." ("Son of Frankenstein")