Leo G. Carroll (Leo G. Carroll)

Leo G. Carroll

Actor. He is best remembered for his roles of Alexander Waverly on the 1960s television series, “The Man from UNCLE” (1964 to 1968) and as the title character in the 1950s comedy sitcom “Topper”(1953 to 1956). Born Leo Grattan Carroll in Weedon, England, the son of a wealthy Catholic army officer, he was named for the then current Pope, Leo XIII.  He became an apprentice wine merchant at age 15, but caught the acting bug, making his stage debut in 1912.  Initially, he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps as a professional soldier.  During World War I, he served in the British infantry, and fought in France, Greece and Palestine, where he was wounded and hospitalized for two years.  His wartime experiences ended any thought of a military career, and after the war, he returned to the stage.  He played in both London and New York, until he moved to Hollywood in 1934, to begin a film career.  His first movie role was as Finnegan Philps, in the film “Sadie McKee” (1934).  He was often selected to play roles of authority figures, such as doctors or business leaders; other roles were supporting roles, such as a dignified English butler.  His role as Jacob Marley’s ghost in “A Christmas Carol” (1938) was considered noteworthy, and he would most often play Britishers due to his slight British accent and gentlemanly mannerisms, which became less noticable among American audiences as time went by and he became more acclimized to the United States. He was a favorite actor to director Alfred Hitchcock, and was cast in six of Hitchcock’s films, “Rebecca” (1940), “Suspicion” (1941), “Spellbound” (1947), “The Paradine Case” (1947), “Strangers on a Train” (1951), and “North by Northwest” (1959).  He was considered delightful in the television comedy series “Topper,” playing befuddled banker Cosmo Topper, paired with an equally ditzy wife, Henrietta, played by actress Lee Patrick.  In the story, Topper purchases a house haunted by the ghosts of its fun-loving former owners, George and Marion Kerby, who only Topper can see.  In 1964, he took on the role of spy-chief Alexander Waverly, running a fictional international law enforcement agency in the television series “The Man From UNCLE” and reprised the role in the spinoff series “The Girl From UNCLE” (1966), becoming one of the first actors to appear as the same character in two different television series.  Co-stars Robert Vaughn and David McCallum were the principal secret agents in “The Man From UNCLE” series, while actress Stefanie Powers played the “Girl From UNCLE.”   He died in Hollywood, California, from pneumonia as a complication to cancer. (bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson)  Family links:  Spouse:  Edith Nancy De Silva Carroll (1893 – 1972)* *Calculated relationship


  • October, 25, 1886
  • England


  • October, 10, 1972
  • USA


  • Grand View Memorial Park
  • California
  • USA

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