TOD SLAUGHTER d1956. English film & stage actor best known for playing over the top maniacs in macabre film adaptations of Victorian melodramas. In 1925, he adopted the stage name of Tod Slaughter and appeared in many major theatre productions often in leading heroic roles. He finally found his true calling in 1931 at the New Theatre London playing Long John Silver in Treasure Island (during the day) and then body snatcher William Hare in The Crimes of Burke and Hare (at night). Publicised as "Mr Murder", he lapped up his new-found notoriety by boasting he committed "15 murders each day" for the duration of the run. Shortly afterwards, he played "Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street" for the first of 2,000 times on stage. Actor and role had finally found each other (much in the same way as Bela Lugosi as Dracula) and the seal was set on Slaughter's subsequent career. In 1934 (aged 49), he began in films, usually cast as a villain. His first film was Maria Marten (1935), a Victorian melodrama filmed cheaply with Slaughter as the obvious evil-doer. His next and defining film role was as Sweeney Todd in the classic "Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (1936), directed and produced by George King whose partnership with Slaughter was continued in subsequent shockers : The Crimes of Stephen Hawke (1936) / It's Never Too Late to Mend (1937) / The Ticket of Leave Man (1938) / The Face at The Window (1939) and Crimes at The Dark House (1940). He was busy on stage during WW2 in Jack the Ripper / Landru and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. After the war, he resumed his melodramatic roles and starred in The Curse of the Wraydrons (1946) in which Bruce Seton played the legendary Victorian bogeyman Spring-Heeled Jack. During the early 1950s, he appeared as the villain in two crime films King of The Underworld (1952) and Murder at Scotland Yard (1953) and still regularly toured the provinces and London suburbs. However, times had changed and the public's appetite for melodrama seemed to have abated and he went bankrupt in 1953 owing to a downturn in his touring income. He continued to perform on the stage almost to the very end. He died aged 70 on 19th February 1956 of coronary thrombosis following a performance of Maria Marten in Derby .........
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