Frankenstein’s John Boles Hailed from Greenville

This Time of Year


John Boles, a matinee idol who spanned silent film and "talkies," was born October 28, 1895, in Greenville, Texas, to parents John Monroe and Mary Jane Boles.

After he graduated from the University of Texas in 1917, he returned to Greenville, where he was one of many "locals" selected by an out-of-town producer to act in an opera at the King Opera House. This experience convinced him that he preferred music and the stage to the preference of his parents, a medical degree and a doctor's practice. 

But first came World War I. Boles served as a spy in Bulgaria, Germany, and Turkey during the war. Afterwards he moved to New York in the 1920s to study music, but ended up working on Broadway and was known for his beautiful baritone voice.  

Throughout his time on Broadway, Boles played in musicals like Little Jesse James, Mercenary Mary and Kitty’s Kisses. He was discovered by an actress Gloria Swanson, who offered him the leading role in her 1927 silent film The Love of Sunya (1926).

He played opposite Barbara Stanwyck in Stella Dallas (1937), Rosalind Russell in Craig's Wife (1936), and Shirley Temple in Curley Top (1935), Littlest Rebel (1935), and Stand Up and Cheer (1934).

Boles went on to play in multiple other films, silent and talkies alike, appearing in more than 50. He is best known for his role in Frankenstein as Victor Moritz, Dr. Henry Frankenstein’s dear friend.

In 1952, Boles decided to retire from Hollywood and move back to Texas. Eight years later, in 1960, he was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame and got his own star on Hollywood Boulevard. He then went into the oil business and ended up dying of a heart attack in 1969, at the age of 73 years old in San Angelo, Texas. 

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