Boris Karloff was born William Henry Pratt in Dulwich England, on 23 November 1887. He was the youngest of nine children. Unable to enlist in the Foreign Service, he left England for Canada in 1909 to become an actor. Before accepting his first acting job there, Pratt changed his name to Boris Karloff. Karloff attempted to enlist in the military to fight in World War I, but was rejected because of his heart. However, no other doctor ever verified this doctor's diagnosis. Karloff moved to Hollywood, California soon after and began appearing in films. He is most renowned for his work for Universal, particularly as Frankenstein's Monster and Imhotep in The Mummy, and for providing the voice of the Grinch. He also brought Sax Rohmer's villainous Fu Manchu to life on the screen. He died, also in the UK, at the age of 81 in 1969. In his lifetime, Karloff appeared in 161 movies, four of them appearing posthumously. He is buried in England at St. Paul's Covent Garden, a plaque over his grave reading, "He nothing common did or mean upon that memorable scene."
Karloff was a pioneer in film, a visual medium; it is hardly surprising the impact he had on another--comics--his film roles influencing publishers like Forest J. Ackerman, artists like Mike Ploog and Bernie Wrightson, and fans all over the world.