• 15 July 1914
  •  Baden, Switzerland

Howard Vernon


Swiss-born actor Howard Vernon (né Mario Lippert) would make his infamous claim to fame as a stock lead player for the lowgrade, campy horror features of notorious director Jesús Franco, starring as Dr. Orloff, Dracula, and other terrorizers, most of them produced in Spain or France. Born in 1914 the son of a Swiss father and American mother, Howard received his dramatic training in both Berlin and Paris and was originally a stage and radio player (from 1945) before arriving in post-war French films. He articulated and personified a number of nefarious Nazis and sinister criminals in his five-decade career, although he could grab a sympathetic role from time such as in the French film Le Silence de la Mer (1949), which remains one of his best. Occasionally a still photographer, he forged a long, non-creative association beginning in the early 1960s with cult director Jess Franco following his good showing for Fritz Lang in _Tausend Augen des Dr. Mabuse, Die (1960)_ [The 1,000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse]. With his piercing gaze and gravely-voiced he entered into an enduring alliance with Franco, albeit in dreadful schlock. It began promisingly enough with the horror classic The Awful Dr. Orlof (1962) [The Awful Dr. Orloff] in which he portrayed the creepy title role with a slightly sympathetic countenance, but his appearances quickly degenerated into cheap exploitation, void of deserving artistic merit. He died in Paris shortly after his 82nd birthday.