Name at birth: Laszlo Loewenstein
Peter Lorre was a squat, bug-eyed movie star known for playing villains and lackeys, as in the films M, The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca. Raised in Hungary, Austria and Germany, he started his stage career in Zurich and Vienna in the 1920s. He was little known until Fritz Lang cast him as the lead in 1931's M. Playing a sinister, pathetic child killer made Lorre an international star and set him up to play similar roles throughout his career. During the 1930s, he was in Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) and The Secret Agent (1936), as well as Mad Love (1935), Crime and Punishment (1935) and a string of detective movies as Mr. Moto, a Japanese sleuth. His high points during the 1940s included The Maltese Falcon (1941, as an inept punk getting pushed around by Humphrey Bogart), Casablanca (1943, as an obsequious lackey getting pushed around by Humphrey Bogart) and, showing his comic side, Arsenic and Old Lace (1944). Frustrated with Hollywood, Lorre returned to Germany and directed his own movie, 1951's Der Verlorene (The Lost One), but returned to the U.S. for the last part of his career. His other films include Around the World in Eighty Days (1956), Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961) and Roger Corman's The Raven (1963).
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