On June 30, 1912, a then-unknown Karloff had taken some time off to canoe while touring around the city of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. When he came back to the city, he returned to find his accommodation had been destroyed by a tornado that killed 28. He organized a concert that raised some much needed funds for the city.
A photograph of Karloff in his Frankenstein (1931) monster makeup appears on one stamp of a sheet of 10 USA 37¢ commemorative postage stamps, issued 25 February 2003, celebrating American Filmmaking: Behind the Scenes. The stamp, which honors makeup artists, shows Jack P. Pierce and an unidentified assistant applying the monster makeup.
Considered a late bloomer in Hollywood. Frankenstein (1931) premiered when he was 44 years old.
Appeared in 80 films before his breakthrough role in Frankenstein (1931).
During the production of Frankenstein (1931) there was some concern that seven-year-old Marilyn Harris, who played Maria, the little girl thrown into the lake by the creature, would be overly frightened by the sight of Karloff in costume and make-up when it came time to shoot the scene. When the cast was assembled to travel to the location, Marilyn ran from her car directly up to Karloff, who was in full make-up and costume, took his hand and asked "May I drive with you?" Delighted, and in typical Karloff fashion, he responded, "Would you, darling?" She then rode to the location with "The Monster.".
Although he will forever be linked to Frankenstein's Monster, Karloff actually played Frankenstein's creation only three times--once in the original Frankenstein (1931), again in Bride of Frankenstein (1935) and finally in Son of Frankenstein (1939). He played Dr. Frankenstein only once, in Frankenstein - 1970 (1958).
Pictured on two of a set of five 32¢ US commemorative postage stamps, issued 30 September 1997, celebrating "Famous Movie Monsters". He is shown on one stamp as the title character in The Mummy (1932) and on the other as the monster in Frankenstein (1931). Other actors honored in this set of stamps, and the classic monsters they portray, are Lon Chaney as The Phantom of the Opera (1925); Bela Lugosi as Dracula (1931); and Lon Chaney Jr. as The Wolf Man (1941).
When he traveled to England to shoot The Ghoul (1933), it was the first time in nearly 25 years that he returned to his home country and reunited with the surviving members of his family,
Almost 25 years after his death, he appeared in archive footage taken from Bride of Frankenstein (1935) in the opening credits of "Weird Science" (1994). The same is true of Ernest Thesiger.
He celebrated his 51st birthday during the production of Son of Frankenstein (1939) and remarked that he received the best birthday present ever: the birth of his daughter Sara Karloff. He reportedly rushed from the set to the hospital in full makeup and costume.
He was the biggest star to lend his voice to a sound effect. Universal added his anguished scream over the dead Ygor from Son of Frankenstein (1939) to its stock sound effects library and used it for subsequent films, including House of Frankenstein (1944) (the cry when Daniel the hunchback falls from the roof).
Refused to reprise his role as the Frankenstein Monster in Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948), because he felt spoofs wouldn't sell to the audience. He did agree to do publicity for the film and posed for pictures of himself going to see the film.
The mad scientist character in the Bugs Bunny short Water, Water Every Hare (1952) is patterned after Boris right down to his slight lisp and heavy eyebrows.
1956: He was a celebrity contestant on "The $64,000 Question" (1955). The category he chose was children's fairy tales. He won the $32,000 level and quit due to tax considerations.
Received a Tony nomination in 1956 for his dramatic role in 'The Lark.'
His favorite author was Joseph Conrad. In the 1950s he was cast as Kurtz in a production of Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" on "Playhouse 90" (1956).
Is portrayed by Jack Betts in Gods and Monsters (1998)
A photo of him keeping wicket while C. Aubrey Smith was batting was included in a display in the Long Room at Lord's cricket ground in 2004. The display was to celebrate Sussex (the oldest county side) winning the County Championship for the first time and the photo was included because Smith had been a captain of Sussex CCC.