Born Laszlo Lowenstein, 26 June, 1904. Died 23 March, 1964. In between, there was a whole lotta living.

Born in Austria-Hungary, he began acting at age seventeen. He first found success onstage, working with Creator/BertoltBrecht. His [[StarMakingRole breakout role]] came in 1931 when Creator/FritzLang cast him as the child killer in ''Film/{{M}}''. Against all odds Lorre made the character quite sympathetic (if not admirable), marking the first of many sad monsters he would play throughout his career. Lorre appeared in several more German movies, mostly comedies, before fleeing Germany after UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler took power in 1933.

Lorre initially relocated to Paris, then London. He faked his way through an interview with Creator/AlfredHitchcock by watching him closely, and laughing hysterically whenever he thought that Hitch had told the punchline of a joke, as Peter didn't speak English yet. He was then cast in ''The Man Who Knew Too Much'', and learned his part phonetically. Lorre soon moved to Hollywood, where despite his initially limited English, he became widely respected for both his talent and playful sense of humor.

Throughout his career, Lorre battled typecasting. Hollywood predictably wanted him to play villains and varying shades of {{Woobie}}, epitomized not only by Lorre's best-known films like ''Film/TheMalteseFalcon'' and ''Film/{{Casablanca}}'' but many lesser works. Lorre especially disliked appearing in horror movies, a genre he had little respect for. That said, Lorre did have [[SelfDeprecation a sense of humor]] about his typecasting: he once quipped that "with occasional interruptions, I've been killing my way through life." Filming ''Film/TwentyThousandLeaguesUnderTheSea'', Lorre expressed surprise that a mechanical squid played the role usually reserved for him!

Lorre did however occasionally play heroic roles, notably in the ''Mr. Moto'' films and ''Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea'', comedic characters in ''Film/ArsenicAndOldLace'' and ''Film/SilkStockings'', even a romantic lead in ''Three Strangers'' (1946). In 1951 he made his only directorial effort, ''Der Verlorene'' or ''The Lost One'', produced in West Germany. Though Lorre's performance (as a guilt-ridden Nazi scientist) received acclaim, the film drew mixed reviews and flopped at the box office.

Sadly, Lorre spent much of his life battling a morphine addiction, which he never kicked despite repeated attempts to quit. In the late '50s he gained a huge amount of weight and suffered a massive decline in health. Onscreen, Lorre was reduced to television appearances and self-lampooning roles in B movies, though his collaborations with Creator/RogerCorman and Creator/VincentPrice on ''Tales of Terror'' (1962) and ''[[TheRaven1963 The Raven]]'' (1963) became well-regarded. In 1964 he died of a stroke.

He was married three times. His first wife, and lifelong best friend, was Celia Lovsky, a classically trained actress who is probably best remembered as T'Pau in the ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' episode "Amok Time". She had worked with Fritz Lang on several projects, and brought Lorre to Lang's attention for ''M''.

He was close friends and occasionally co-starred with Creator/VincentPrice, who read the eulogy at his funeral.[[note]]It was once rumored that the two attended the funeral of fellow horror icon Creator/BelaLugosi, where Lorre asked Price if they should "[[Film/{{Dracula}} drive a stake through [Lugosi]'s heart just to be safe,]]" but this turned out to be false.[[/note]] Counseled Creator/HumphreyBogart to marry Creator/LaurenBacall, despite their age difference, by telling him "five good years are better than none!"

The speech pattern of Ren C. Hoek from ''WesternAnimation/TheRenAndStimpyShow'' is a ShoutOut to Lorre, as is Creator/TheFiresignTheatre's Rocky Rococo, likewise Agent X Two Zero in Creator/GerryAnderson's ''Series/{{Stingray 1964}}'', and [[Creator/RobinWilliams the Genie]] briefly impersonates him when he transforms into a [[EverythingsDeaderWithZombies zombie]] in ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}''. The Creator/WoodyAllen GagDub spy movie ''Film/WhatsUpTigerLily'' gives a Lorre voice to a villain, who at one point complains that "this Peter Lorre impression is ''keeeeling'' my throat!" Music/SpikeJones's spoof version of the song "My Old Flame" features a vocal parody that Jones wanted to call "Peter Gory" until the record company vetoed the idea. The ''VideoGame/QuestForGlory'' series of computer games has Ugarte, Lorre's character in ''Casablanca'', as a minor recurring character alongside Creator/SydneyGreenstreet's Signor Ferrari. Lorre's life and career are the subject of ''Addicted to Bad Ideas'', a musical by Music/TheWorldInfernoFriendshipSociety. Music/AlStewart mentions him in the first verse of "Year of the Cat." Lastly, Music/TomSmith has a song dedicated to him named "I Want to Be Peter Lorre".

In Creator/KimNewman's ''Literature/{{Drachenfels}}'', an eerie actor cast to play the eponymous villain is named... Laszlo Lowenstein.

!!Starred in (among other movies):
* ''Film/{{M}}'' (1931)
* ''Film/TheManWhoKnewTooMuch'' (1934)
* ''Film/MadLove'' (1935)
* The ''Mr. Moto'' series (1937-1939)
* ''Film/StrangeCargo'' (1940)
* ''Film/TheMalteseFalcon'' (1941)
* ''Film/{{Casablanca}}'' (1942)
* ''Film/TheConstantNymph'' (1943)
* ''Theatre/ArsenicAndOldLace'' (1944)
* ''Film/BeatTheDevil'' (1953)
* ''Film/TwentyThousandLeaguesUnderTheSea'' (1954)
* ''Film/SilkStockings'' (1957)
* ''[[Film/TheRaven1963 The Raven]]'' (1963)

!!!Peter Lorre displays examples of:
* CampStraight: He was clearly attracted to women, but had an effete acting style which got him cast as AmbiguouslyGay in ''Film/{{Casablanca}}'' and ''Film/TheMalteseFalcon''.
** [[Film/{{Casablanca}} Ugarte]] was supposed to be gay? Well, with Peter Lorre's characters it's often hard to tell. In any case, "The Mask of Dimitrios" is considered by some viewers to practically revolve around gay subtext.
* IneffectualSympatheticVillain: He was typecast as this, after his breakout performance in ''Film/{{M}}''. In Jean Negulesco's 1946 noir ''Three Strangers'', he even played the romantic lead.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: He's a very popular subject for cartoon parodies, from countless ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'', to the hanging lamp in ''WesternAnimation/TheBraveLittleToaster'', to Maggot in ''WesternAnimation/CorpseBride'', to name a few.
** PopCultureOsmosis: An unfortunate side effect is that more modern audiences recognize the caricature than the man himself. Creator/TimBurton even admitted that he didn't even know Lorre by name when he wrote the above-mentioned ''WesternAnimation/CorpseBride'' character.
* TheWoobie: [[invoked]]He was typecast as this, probably due to his "sad eyes." Usually a Villain Woobie, or a WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds.