John Carradine (February 5, 1906 – November 27, 1988) was an American actor, perhaps best known for his roles in horror films and Westerns.
Carradine was born Richmond Reed Carradine in New York City, the son of Genevieve Winifred (née Richmond), a surgeon, and William Reed Carradine, a correspondent for the Associated Press. He attended the Episcopal Academy in Merion, Pennsylvania and originally planned a career as a painter and sculptor. He began his career in show business as a Shakespearean dramatic actor and made his cinematic debut in 1930 under the name Peter Richmond. He adopted the stage name "John Carradine" in 1935, and legally took the name as his own two years later.
Beginning with The Prisoner of Shark Island (1934) Carradine appeared in ten John Ford productions, including The Grapes of Wrath (1940) and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962). He also portrayed the Biblical hero Aaron in The Ten Commandments (1956). He did considerable stage work, much of which provided his only opportunity to work in a classic drama context. He toured with his own Shakespearean company in the 1940s, playing Hamlet and Macbeth. His Broadway roles included Ferdinand in a 1946 production of John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi, the Ragpicker in a 13-month run of Jean Giraudoux's The Madwoman of Chaillot, Lycus in a 15-month run of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and DeLacey in the expensive one-night flop Frankenstein in 1981. He also toured in road companies of such shows as Tobacco Road and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in which he was properly emaciated as the cancer-ridden Big Daddy.