The Lost One:
A Life of
Except where noted, all photos are from the collection
of Stephen Youngkin.
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Director Robert Florey, actress Andrea King and Peter
Lorre enjoy the latest issue of Vogue on the set of The Beast
With Five Fingers (1946). Co-worker John Alvin remembered Lorre as a
“practical joker of the first water.” Clearly frustrated with
the assignment, the actor was not on his best behavior during filming. At
the time, Florey thought him “talented, but always sarcastic, with
a good sense of humor.” Some thirty-odd years later, the director
described Lorre as a charming conversationalist and an intelligent man.
Robert Florey directs Andrea King and Peter Lorre on the
set of The Beast with Five Fingers (1946). Seeing M for
the first time, good friend Andrea King was struck by Lorre’s
performance: “It was such a mysterious performance. He never gave
everything totally away. You were in another world. You wanted to meet
this beautiful actor and hoped he would come to America one day and do
Just because your name appears on the same cast sheet
doesn’t mean you were friends. Yvonne DeCarlo and Joan Fontaine
both admitted they never got to know Lorre, although they shared a scene
or two with him. Likewise, Dorothy Lamour appeared in My Favorite
Brunette (1947) and even ran across Lorre in Germany several years
later. Still, she referred to him as “just an acquaintance.”
Nonetheless, like many others who worked with the actor only briefly,
she expressed her great admiration for the actor.
Lorre and Bob Hope not only shared the screen but the
radio microphone. Peter performed on The Pepsodent Show, hosted
by Hope, on May 31, 1947. However much fun they had behind-the-scenes,
Hope and Lorre never became good friends. Here, according to a press
release, the “Hero” and the “Menace” (n his
gardener’s costume) get together for a few friendly words between
shots on My Favorite Brunette (Paramount, 1947).
Script in hand, an animated Peter Lorre talks with
producer Lou Edelman and author Vicki Baum, whose novel Hotel
Berlin ‘43 formed the basis for the movie Hotel Berlin
(1945). The actor is possibly pointing out continuity problems created by
reducing his role.
A gag publicity photo taken in December 1948 during Peter
Lorre’s stop in Chicago on his House Act tour. According to the snipe,
Lorre learns that no seats had been held for him at the Joe Louis � Billy Conn
public exhibition boxing match in the Windy City on December 10 and
mock-menaces Chicago restaurateur and fight promoter Frank Harmon as he
phones for help from his two boxers. Lorre would perform a dramatic reading of
“The Tell-Tale Heart” at The Chicago, before moving on to The
Albee in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Fans often sent Lorre caricature sketches. One devotee
even made him a Joel Cairo (The Maltese Falcon) doll, which he
passed on to his daughter, Catharine.
Another one of the numerous caricature sketches sent
to Lorre by fans.
Peter Lorre in the screening room of Jungen Film Union,
in Bendesdorf, Germany, after watching the completed work print of
Der Verlorene (1951), the only film he directed, co-wrote, and
At a press conference for the premiere of Der
Verlorene in Frankfurt, Germany, Hessischer Rundfunk’s
Martin Jente von Lossow interviewed Peter Lorre, the film’s director
and lead actor. The broadcast aired September 18, 1951.
Peter Lorre and journalist Egon Jacobson attend the
premiere of Der Verlorene in Frankfurt, on September 18, 1951.
At the press conference, Lorre said he intended to return to the United
States and make an American version of Der Verlorene, then come
back to Germany in six months. Sadly, his dream of creating a
German-American film production team was never realized.
Peter Lorre poses with a Colonel and his wife at a
military social function hosted by the 899th Army Field Artillery
Headquarters at Nuremberg, February 1952. After Der
Verlorene’s disappointing run in German theaters in 1951,
Lorre accepted the offer of a free flight home in exchange for showings
of his film at U.S. Army bases in Italy, Greece and North Africa. Before
boarding a DC-4 Air Force transport out of Frankfurt’s Rhein Main
airport, the actor received a medical clearance at the 18th Field Hospital
at Nuremberg. Photo courtesy of Del Disney.
A Brenning family photo of Peter, Annemarie and a friend
identified only as Teddy, likely taken in Hamburg after Lorre’s
release from Wiggers Kurheim in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, 1949.
Peter Lorre moved his new family to a house on Rodeo
Drive in 1957. This photo was taken in the backyard, with little Cathy
(aged about four), Peter, and his third wife Annemarie.
Peter, Annemarie and daughter Cathy, in front of the
family car, a 1957 Ford Fairlane 500. It is rare to see the three of
them pictured together. It is even rarer to see Lorre smiling about it.
Catharine Lorre sitting on her father’s lap at his
apartment on 7655 Hollywood Blvd., circa 1962. Peter’s rather
disgruntled look belies the depth of his feelings for Cathy. He always
said, “She looks like me, but on her it looks good.” Indeed,
she bore a striking resemblance to her father.
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The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre (2005)
by Stephen Youngkin – now in its third printing and winner of the
Rondo Award for "Best Book of 2005" – is available in bookstores
everywhere, as well as these on-line merchants.
The Films of Peter Lorre (1982), also by
Youngkin, is out of print, but copies may be purchased through Amazon
and Barnes & Noble below. Interested in Lorre's radio and television
performances? Check out Radio Showcase and Movies Unlimited. Netflix has
Lorre movies for rent.
U.S. Amazon – Soft-bound
Amazon U.S. – Hard-Cover
Amazon Canada – Hard-Cover
Amazon Canada – Soft-bound
Amazon U.K. – Soft-bound
Amazon U.K. – Hard-Cover
University Press of Kentucky
Barnes & Noble – Nook and Hard-bound