Carla Laemmle was the niece of the co-founder of Universal Studios, Carl Laemmle. She was an actress and dancer whose career goes all the way back to the days of the silent film era for Universal Studios. She died Thursday night at her home in Los Angeles, she was 104. Part of Carla’s legacy includes portraying a dancer in the silent film classic The Phantom of the Opera in 1925 starring Lon Chaney Sr. She also has the distinction of speaking the first line in the original 1931 Dracula starring Bela Lugosi. She played a passenger on the stagecoach that picked up Renfield and took him to Borgo Pass.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Laemmle, one of the few surviving actors of the silent-film era, appeared as the prima ballerina in the 1925 Universal production of The Phantom of the Opera and played a secretary who delivers the first line of dialogue in another Universal classic: Dracula (1931). She told her fellow coach passengers: “Among the rugged peaks that frown down upon the Borgo Pass are found crumbling castles of a bygone age…”
Born Oct. 20, 1909, in Chicago, she came to Los Angeles in January 1921 after her father, Joseph, received a letter from his brother Carl, inviting him and his family to relocate to Southern California. (The studio was founded in 1912.)
Laemmle also appeared in such films as Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1927), The Broadway Melody (1929), Mystery of Edwin Drood (1935), His Last Fling (1935), The Adventures of Frank Merriwell (1936) and as a ballet dancer in On Your Toes (1939).
Her next movie credit came more than 70 years later in Pooltime (2010), and she has a role in Mansion of Blood, a horror film starring Gary Busey that is in postproduction, according to IMDb. In between, she worked at dance clubs.
Laemmle never married but had a long relationship with writer-actor Ray Cannon. Survivors include her great niece, Rosemary Hilb.
Carla was one of the few links to the bygone silent film era and her contributions to the horror genre and film in general is immeasurable. She will be missed.
Everyone here at Horror Society would like to offer our sincere condolences to Ms. Laemmle’s friends and family.
Watch Carla’s scene in the original Universal Studio’s classic Dracula here,
Source: The Hollywood Reporter