Howard Vernon was born Mario Lippert on July 15, 1914 in Baden, Switzerland to a Swiss father and an American mother and was fluent in German, English, and French. Originally a stage and radio actor, he worked primarily in France and became a well-known supporting actor after 1945 by playing villainous Nazi officers in French films. Jean-Pierre Melville's “Le Silence de la mer” (1949), in which he played a gentle anti-Nazi German officer, made him somewhat famous, but, in part due to his looks and Swiss accent, he was subsequently relegated to playing gangsters and heavies.
In the 1960s, he became a favorite actor of Spanish horror director Jesús Franco and began starring in many low-budget horror movies produced in Spain and France, often portraying the mad doctor "Dr. Orloff". He continued to make increasingly small appearances in high-profile movies while often getting top billing in many Grade-Z horror films. Horror fans consider his three greatest horror film roles to be “The Awful Dr. Orloff” (1961) which introduced Franco's famed mad doctor character, “Dracula vs Frankenstein” (1971) in which he played Count Dracula and “The Curse of Frankenstein” (1972) in which he played the insanely evil Count Cagliostro.
Vernon appeared in two Euro-westerns: “Welcome Padre Murray” (1964) and “The Mark of Zorro” (1974).
Vernon died in Paris, France on July 25, 1996.
Today we remember Howard Vernon on what would have been his 100th birthday.