George Desylla Zucco was born in Manchester, England on January 11, 1886. He was born to a Greek merchant father and an English mother who was a former lady-in-waiting to Queen Victoria.
George debuted in 1908 on the Canadian Stage. He married in the 1910's to a young lady named Frances Hawke. In the following decarde he would perform in an American vaudeville tour with his young wife, Frances, in a routine called 'The Suffragette.'
In the 1920's they returned to England and he became a leading stage actor. His stage career was interrupted when he joined he Army in World War I. George was in the Yorkshire Regiment during World War I and gain the rank of lieutenant. While in the War he suffered an injury to his right arm due to gunfire damage. The surgery actually hurt him more by hindered the use of two fingers and a thumb.
After the war he resumed his stage work and enjoyed success. He had divorced Francis and on July 12, 1930 he married his second wife Stella Francis. In 1931 George made his film Debute playing Eugene Godefroy Cavaignac in 'The Dreyfus Case' (a re-telling of 'The Dreyfus Affair'). On May 30, 1931 his daughter Frances Zucco was born (She would pass away on March 14, 1962)
George returned to the United Sate in 1935 to play Benjamin Disraeli alongside Helen Hayes and Vincent Price in 'Victoria Regina', which ran from December 1935 to June 1936.
George appeared in many B-movies. He was in 'Charlie Chan in Honolulu' (1938), 'Arrest Bulldog Drummond' (1939), one of his best known film roles was that of Professor Moriarty in 'The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' (1939), opposite Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes. Also that same year, he played the dark clerical heavy in the classic 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' (1939). He would play the role of a lawyer named Mr. Crosby in the Paramont production, the remake of the old dark house comedy-thriller The Cat And The Canary (1939).
During the 1940s, he would appear in many B-movies and Universal Horror films, he played Andoheb the High Priest of Karnak in 'The Mummy's Hand' (1940), and comes back again as Andoheb in 'The Mummy's Tomb' (1942), although these were fairly major film from Universal Studies, George would often play roles in the horror genre for Producers Releasing Corp. (PRC). He also appeared in 'The Mad Monster' (1942), 'The Black Raven' (1943), 'The Mad Ghoul' (1943), 'Dead Men Walk' (1943). He would reunite with Basil Rathbone, this time not as Moriarty, but a Nazi spy 'Sherlock Holmes in Washington' (1943). George turned down a roll in 'Return of the Ape Man' (1944) because he thought it was ludicrous although he was still credited as being in the movie. He would appear in 'The Mummy's Ghost' (1944), 'House of Frankenstein' (1944) (unfortunatly he was killed off about 10 minutes into the film). George Zucco played Leo Grainger and was here to for revenge in 'Fog Island' (PRC, 1945), he appeared in the film 'Midnight Manhunt' (Paramount, 1945), he played Professor Andrew Forbes in 'The Flying Serpent' (PRC, 1946), he would co-star with Bela Lugosi in 'Scared to Death' (Golden Gate Pictures, 1947) (this film was in Cinecolor). Also in 1947 he would team with Lucille Ball, George Sanders and Boris Karloff in 'Lured' (UA, 1947) and 'Tarzan and the Mermaids' (1948) (the last of the 'Tarzan' films with Johnny Weissmuller).
After playing a bit part in 'David and Bathsheba' (1951). George suffered a stroke on the set of 'The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel' (1951) and retired from acting. After recovering some of his health back, George was offered the role of the mad scientist in 'Voodoo Woman' (1957) but he did not do it probably due to his declining health. George lived his final years in the Monterey Sanitarium, an assisted-living facility.
Geoarge Zucco passed away on May 28, 1960 at the age of 74 of Pneumonia in Hollywood, CA. He was cremated and his remains are located in Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, Hollywood Hills, CA.
During his days at Universal Studios he was called 'One Take Zucco'. He was in real life an engaging personality and was also known as a very dependable actor. He was a quiet-spoken man, and an avid dog lover who owned several German Shephards. His career is still looked at by fans and film historians. His presence in films showed the quality of acting. His smooth deep voice, dark eyes, and Old World Charm and ere of sophistication were wonderful qualities that he had. Due to his work some of the films that he made, some are concidered classics. His career and what he gave to the fans should never be forgotten. Put on one of his films and just watch him and you will be hooked on him.