Lorre_PeterPeter Lorre was born Ladislav Loewenstein on June 26, 1904 in Rozsahegy, Hungary.  In the late 1920s, the young 5 foot 5 inch actor moved to Berlin where he worked with German playwright, Bertolt Brecht.
Lorre appeared on the stage and had several small film roles in Europe before coming to international attention in 1931 in Fritz Lang's M. Lorre's performance as the child-murderer remains one of the greatest in the history of cinema.

When the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933, Lorre took refuge first in Paris and then London where Alfred Hitchcock cast him as the head of a ring of kidnappers in The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934). Two years later Hitchcock cast him in a similar role in Secret Agent. Although psychopaths were Lorre's stock-in-trade, he never gave the same performance twice. Each of his villains was a singular creation born out of distinctive character psychology and motivations. Between 1937 and 1939 Lorre stepped into a more conventional role, playing the Japanese detective Mr. Moto in eight films for 20th Century-Fox. Later, in the 1940s, Lorre was cast in numerous supporting roles, such as Joel Cairo in The Maltese Falcon (1941) and Ugarte, the obsequious black marketeer, in Casablanca (1942).

By the end of the decade, Lorre's face had become so recognizable that he even successfully parodied his "image" in films like Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) and My Favorite Brunette (1947).

In the following decade, health problems forced Lorre to take fewer roles and he eventually died in 1964, at the age of 60.