Actor. He began his career in show business as a Shakespearean dramatic actor doing considerable stage work in classic drama with appearances on Broadway. The money was in Hollywood and beginning in 1930, he found success, taking the stage name John Carradine, then appeared in literally hundreds of "B" movies and horror films. He had some outstanding performances in John Ford productions as a supporting actor..."Stagecoach" "Drums Along the Mohawk" "Captains Courageous" "Jesse James" "The Hound of the Baskervilles" "The Grapes of Wrath" and "The Ten Commandments." After World War II service in the navy, he entered the mainly "B" phase of his career, taking leads in horror films, often as a demented scientist or a mainstay Dracula..."House of Frankenstein" "House of Dracula" "Billy the Kid versus Dracula" and "Nocturna," but a few. John kept busy but hit the bottom with his movies after 1970 making dubious quality and low budget films. He had a second career in television beginning with its early pioneer days in 1948 through 1986 as a prolific character actor. Notable TV guest appearances...(only a mini-list list with more then one cameo appearance) "Gunsmoke" "Matinee Theatre" "The Rifleman" "Wagon Train" "Branded" "My Friend Irma" (CBS mini series) and "The Munsters." He began with TV movies in 1969 with "Daughter of the Mind" (ABC) and perhaps his most memorable work as Father Hale in the 1976 NBC miniseries "Captains and Kings." He was born Peter Richmond Carradine in New York City, to William Reed an attorney and Genevieve Winifred Carradine a surgeon, but grew up in Poughkeepsie, New York attending Christ School. He showed no interest in pursuing a traditional profession but liked painting, acting and the arts. His parents respected his wishes providing him with an extensive education in Philadelphia and New York studying painting, sculpturing and graphic arts. Finding no success or direction with his art, he worked his way around the country doing portrait sketches. He tried his hand at acting in New Orleans in 1925, making his debut in a production of "Camille," then joined a Shakespearean stock company working his way to the west coast finding employment, because of a deep baritone voice, with Cecil B. DeMile as a voice actor. His career had begun and John Carradine would virtually work non-stop in a show business career lasting over fifty years until his death. He had been on location filming in Africa and on the return trip to California, stopped in Milan, Italy to view the sculptures and works of art at historic Milan Cathedral. The elevator used to take tourist to the top of the structure was out of order and he proceeded to walk the stairs which resulted in a heart attack. He passed away at age 82 after being taken to Milan Fatebenefratelli Hospital. John was returned home and after services at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Hollywood was buried at sea, with full naval military honors, off the California coast. Legacy...He was an accomplished sculptor and his works often appeared at various art shows and exhibits. However, his first love was the Shakespearean theatre and to fund his various stage projects which included his own Shakespearean troupe, all which were expensive and lost money, he accepted any film work which was mostly low budget. For his contribution to the motion picture industry, he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2003, he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, because of his appearances in many Western movies. Carradine was the father of actors David, Keith, Robert and Bruce Carradine. John appeared with his son David in the pilot episode of Kung Fu. His granddaughter is actress Ever Carradine.
Bio by: Donald Greyfield
William Reed Carradine