'The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre' by Stephen D. Youngkin

The Lost One:
A Life of
Peter Lorre



Chapter 3

Peter Lorre's
(A Sample)

Critics Are
Saying . . .

The Author

What's New!


Peter Lorre

Peter Lorre:
The Man,
The Actor


Photo Album

Poster Art



Radio Programs


Except where noted, all photos are from the collection of Stephen Youngkin.
For a larger image, click on the thumbnail. A new window will open.

Peter Lorre, 1932

Lorre loved dogs. The earliest photo of man and dog that I have discovered pictures Peter with a spaniel (mid-air) and a boxer, Berlin, 1932. In Santa Monica, he also kept an Airedale which he named Gogol. Later, at Mandeville Canyon, Peter and Karen owned an un-housebroken St. Bernard named Bum.

Peter Lorre, 1936

Lorre shares a snack with a canine friend during the filming of Secret Agent (Gaumont-British, 1936).

Cast and crew of 'F.P.1 antwortet nicht' (1931)

Cast and crew travel to Oie Island by Söhren-Rügen to make English, French and German film versions of Kurt Siodmak’s F.P.1. antwortet nicht (Floating Platform 1 Doesn’t Answer, 1931). Number 1 is Hans Albers, who co-starred with Lorre in F.P.1 antwortet nicht (1932). Conrad Veidt (number 2) starred in the English version, F.P. 1. Peter Lorre, in hat, is number 3, standing in front of Veidt. Shaved bald for his role in Der weisse D�mon, Peter wore a wig as “Foto-Johnny” in F.P.1 antwortet nicht.

Conrad Veidt and Peter Lorre, 1932

A close shot of Conrad Veidt and Peter Lorre en route to Oie Island to film F.P.1. antwortet nicht. Although the actors appeared in different versions of the film, they developed a close friendship during the three-month location shoot.

Sketch of Peter Lorre and Conrad Veidt playing Ping-Pong, 1932.

The height difference – exactly one foot – between Lorre and Conrad Veidt (of Dr. Caligari fame) made them the perfect Ping-Pong team. A sketch artist captured the fearsome Doppels-paar at one of their evening matches while Lorre was filming F.P.1 antwortet nicht (1932) and Veidt was starring in the English version, F.P.1.

Peter Lorre, 1935

Lorre kept his Ping-Pong skills sharp after coming to America. Santa Monica, 1935.

Peter Lorre, 1932

Peter Lorre during a lunch break on F.P.1 antwortet nicht, 1932. The actor’s joke-making – director Karl Hartl threatened to throw him into the water if he didn’t stop – carried over to the dinner table. With lightly nuanced stories and subtle facial expressions, he brought the house down. Without Peter, said screenwriter Walter Reisch, talking of the three-month shoot on the island of Greifswalder Oie in the Baltic Sea, it would have been gloomy.

Leslie Banks, Peter Lorre, and Alfred Hitchcock, 1934

Lorre came up with nicknames for many of his close friends and co-workers. Alfred Hitchcock soon became “Hitchy.” This relaxed moment on the set of The Man Who Knew Too Much (Gaumont-British, 1934) pictures “Hitchy,” Peter, and Leslie Banks.

Peter and Celia, 1934

Peter and Celia aboard the Cunard White Star Liner Majestic bound for New York, mid-July of 1934. Unlike most émigré artists, Lorre arrived with a film contract in hand and great expectations for the future.

Peter and Celia July 1934

On the way to Hollywood in July 1934, the Lorres changed trains in Chicago and, during the hour or so layover, took time to visit the 1933-34 World’s Fair. Here, Peter tries to light his cigarette from a snowman in the Black Forest Village while Celia looks on. The caption noted the Lorres were “thrilled with the fleeting glimpse they had of the Exposition and [planned] to return later in the season.” In the early hours of July 27, 1934, they boarded the Santa Fe Chief and continued their journey to California.

Peter and Celia, 1934

After arriving in America in July, 1934, Peter and Celia rented a house on 326 Adelaide Drive in Santa Monica. There, Columbia photographers captured the Lorres reveling in their new lifestyle.

Peter Lorre and Celia Lovsky, 1934

During his first idle months in this country, Lorre read widely. He kept Edgar Allan Poe’s collected works in German and also cited Edgar Wallace and Jack London as two of his favorite authors. When not enjoying an improving book, he hiked the Santa Monica hills and played badminton with Celia at their home on Adelaide Drive in Santa Monica.

Peter Lorre, 1935

While Harry Cohn looked for a screen vehicle to showcase his new contract player, Lorre had a lot of time – nearly nine months – on his hands. Always a voracious reader, he curled up with Jack London, Edgar Wallace and Edgar Allan Poe (in German) when he wasn’t hiking the Santa Monica Hills, working in the garden, and playing with his dogs.

Peter Lorre, 1935

Not sure how to sell its new property, Columbia publicists photographed the many sides of Peter Lorre, in this instance capturing a serious view of the actor studying a script.

Peter Lorre and Celia Lovsky, mid-1930s

For Peter, it was love at first sight. He later told Celia that he sat night after night watching her perform the part of “Desdemona” in Shakespeare’s Othello – and worshipped. Although the relationship eventually evolved into that of mother and son, with Celia playing a wide range of roles, it always preserved the essence of a storybook romance.

Peter and Celia, 1935

Peter and Celia taking a walk in the hills outside Santa Monica. His head was shaved for his role as “Dr. Gogol” in Mad Love (1935).

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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