The Grave of Claude Rains
Who would ever believe that Hollywood's Invisible Man (1933), the screen father of Larry (Lon Chaney, Jr.) Talbot in The Wolf Man (1941), and the Phantom of the Opera himself (in the 1943 version) would be buried in a windswept rural cemetery in America's New England? Claude Rains, born in London on Nov. 10, 1889, was cast as the lead in James Whale's film version of the H. G. Wells novel mainly because of his compelling, distinctive voice. After all, he'd spend 99% of his screen time covered in bandages! Later, he'd appear in a string of film classics, including Hitchcock's Notorious, Casablanca, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Lawrence of Arabia, The Adventures of Robin Hood and Mr. Skeffington. In the Universal classic, The Wolf Man, he played Sir John Talbot, whose son Larry (Chaney, Jr.) is bitten by a werewolf (Bela Lugosi), subsequently becoming one himself. Rains' Phantom was a gentle, sympathetic portrayal in a film sabotaged by too much singing by its operatic stars. In the 1950's, he played the Mayor of Hamlin in a musical TV version of The Pied Piper. In 1961 he played his last genre role as a scientist in the Italian scifi film Battle of the Worlds. At the time of his death on May 30, 1967, he was living in New Hampshire, where he had shared a home with his sixth wife. He is buried beside her beneath a distinctive smooth, black monument of his own design.