Lionel Atwill – Authority Figure to Accused Sex Fiend

Lionel Atwill

Lionel Atwill

Lionel Atwill

Lionel Atwill

Lionel Atwill was born March 1, 1885, in Croydon, United Kingdom. He studied architecture before his stage debut at the Garrick Theatre, London, in 1904 and soon after made his screen debut. He performed stage work in Australia before arriving in the US. Atwill came to America in 1915 and starred with Lily Langtry in “Mrs. Thompson.” He was in 25 productions on Broadway before beginning major film work in 1932.

He had a deep voice and bullying manner which severed him well in his roles as noblemen, mad doctors, military, and policemen. He usually wore a trademark thin mustache. His roles include Captain Blood (1935) and To Be or Not to Be (1942).

He was well adept at horror with roles like the crazed sculptor in Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933), and as Inspector Krogh in Son of Frankenstein (1939).

His other roles include The Wrong Road (1937) for RKO and Dr. James Mortimer in 20th Century Fox’s film version of The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939), and Professor Moriarty in the Universal Studios film Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (1943).

His career was ruined in 1943 after he was implicated in what was described as an “orgy” at his home that included, naked guests, pornographic films, and a rape occurred during the event.

Personal life

Lionel Atwill

Lionel Atwill

Atwill managed to get married four times. Phyllis Ralph was his first wife and they were married from 1913 to 1919. The couple had one son who was killed in action in 1941. His second wife was American actress Elsie Mackay. They were married in 1920. In 1930, he married Louise Cromwell Brooks. She had been previously married to Douglas MacArthur. Atwill and Brooks divorced in 1943. His last wife was Paula Pruter. This couple was married from 1944 until Atwill’s death in 1946. They had one son who was a writer and is now retired.

In 1942, Atwill was indicted for perjury by a jury investigating the 1941 proceeding of a grand jury relative to the alleged occurrence of a sex orgy at his home that included stag films and an alleged rape. A 16-year old girl named Sylvia Hamalaine claimed she was abused by several celebrities at the party. However, she turned out to be a less than credible witness.

Atwill was rebuilding his career after the orgy scandal and was film Lost City of the Jungle when he died of pneumonia on April 22, 1946, at his home in Los Angles. Some of the footage was used when the film was released later that year.

Selected Filmography

1918 Eve’s Daughter – Courtenay Urquhart
1918 For Sale – Undetermined Role
1919 The Marriage Price – Kenneth Gordon
1920 The Eternal Mother – Howard Hollister
1921 The Highest Bidder – Lester
1932 Doctor X – Dr. Jerry Xavier
1932 The Silent Witness – Sir Austin Howard
1933 Murders in the Zoo – Eric Gorman
1933 Mystery of the Wax Museum – Ivan Igor
1933 Secret of the Blue Room – Robert von Helldorf
1933 The Secret of Madame Blanche – Aubrey St. John
1933 The Solitaire Man – Wallace
1933 The Song of Songs – Baron von Merzbach
1933 The Sphinx – Jerome Breen
1933 The Vampire Bat – Dr. Otto von Niemann
1934 Beggars in Ermine – John ‘Flint’ Dawson aka John Daniels
1934 Nana – Colonel André Muffat
1934 One More River – Brough
1934 Stamboul Quest – Herr Von Sturm
1934 The Age of Innocence – Julius Beaufort
1934 The Firebird – John Pointer
1934 The Man Who Reclaimed His Head – Henry Dumont
Captain Blood (1935) – Colonel Bishop
Mark of the Vampire (1935) – Inspector Neumann
1935 Rendezvous – William Brennan
1935 The Devil Is a Woman – Capt. Don Pasqual ‘Pasqualito’ Costelar

Lionel Atwill

Lionel Atwill

1935 The Murder Man – Captain Cole
1936 Absolute Quiet – G.A. Axton
1936 Lady of Secrets – Mr. Whittaker
1936 Till We Meet Again – Ludwig
1937 Lancer Spy – Col. Fenwick
1937 The Great Garrick – Beaumarchais
1937 The High Command – Maj. Gen. Sir John Sangye, VC
1937 The Last Train from Madrid – Col. Vigo
1937 The Road Back – Prosecutor
1937 The Wrong Road – Mike Roberts
1938 The Great Waltz – Count Hohenfried
1938 Three Comrades – Breuer
1939 Balalaika – Prof. Marakov
1939 Mr. Moto Takes a Vacation – Prof. Roger Chauncey Hildebrand
Son of Frankenstein (1939) – Inspector Krogh
1939 The Gorilla – Walter Stevens
1939 The Hound of the Baskervilles – James Mortimer M.D.
1939 The Mad Empress – General Bazaine
1939 The Secret of Dr. Kildare – Paul Messenger
1939 The Sun Never Sets – Zurof
1939 The Three Musketeers – De Rochefort
1940 Boom Town – Harry Compton
1940 Charlie Chan in Panama – Cliveden Compton
1940 Charlie Chan’s Murder Cruise – Dr. Suderman
1940 Girl in 313 – Russell aka Henry Woodruff
1940 Johnny Apollo – Jim McLaughlin
1940 The Great Profile – Dr. Bruce
1941 Man Made Monster – Dr. Paul Rigas
1942 Cairo – Teutonic Gentleman
1942 Junior G-Men of the Air – The Baron
1942 Night Monster – Dr. King
1942 Pardon My Sarong – Varnoff
1942 Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon – Moriarty (as Moriarity)
1942 The Ghost of Frankenstein – Doctor Theodore Bohmer
1942 The Mad Doctor of Market Street – Graham / Dr. Ralph Benson
1942 The Strange Case of Doctor Rx – Dr. Fish
1942 To Be or Not to Be – Rawitch
Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943) – Mayor
1944 Captain America – Cyrus Maldor
House of Frankenstein (1944) – Inspector Arnz
1944 Lady in the Death House – Charles Finch
1944 Raiders of Ghost City – Erich von Rugen, alias Alex Morel
1944 Secrets of Scotland Yard – Waterlow
1945 Crime, Inc. – Pat Coyle
1945 Fog Island – Alec Ritchfield
1945 House of Dracula – Police Inspector Holtz
1946 Genius at Work – Latimer Marsh / The Cobra
1946 Lost City of the Jungle – Sir Eric Hazarias


Lionel Atwill

Lionel Atwill

Lionel Atwill – Authority Figure to Disgraced Pervert

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I am a professional archaeologist, a bonsai guy, a classic movie reviewer, and database expert. Past exploits include Golden Gloves boxing, a 2nd Degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and an Eagle Scout badge.



  2. You had me a ‘sex fiend’!

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