According to his biography ("The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre," by Steven D. Youngkin), Peter Lorre's treatment as a Jew in early Nazi Germany (which he soon fled) lead him to take actions that caused several Crowning Moments of Awesome:
- Lorre was Adolf Hitler's favourite actor, largely on the strength of his performance in M, although he himself despised the Nazis. At one point, someone (some say Hitler, but Peter Lorre's biography says it was simply someone else associated with the Nazis) invited him to return to Germany as its greatest living actor. Lorre replied that he felt that Germany had room for only one mass murderer of their talents.
- At the New York Colony Club, Peter noticed a group of customers who stood waiting behind a barrier, while plenty of tables stood empty. Peter was told by a worker, "They're only tourists...we want to seat more important people, like yourself, Mr. Lorre." Peter responded by taking down the barrier, personally seating the tourists himself, and telling the worker, "I know how it feels to be kept out."
- In New Hampshire, he visited a hotel, and was told (by a worker who didn't know he was Jewish) that this was an up-scale hotel that didn't allow Jews. Peter then "accidentally" spilled ink on the counter and left, and later purchased a three-year subscription of the magazine Jewish Daily Forward for the hotel.
- In an action not quite related to this, there's a story that when he was promised a role and then turned down, he got the part by just staring at the producer until those eyes overwhelmed the guy.