HOLLYWOOD, March 23--Peter Lorre, on screen a master of horror but off screen one of the gentlest and funniest of men, was found dead today of an apparent stroke.
The body of the 59-year-old Hungarian-born actor was found beside his bed by his housekeeper, who had come to clean his apartment. Lorre had suffered from high blood pressure for years.
One of Hollywood's best story tellers, Lorre was a favorite on movie sets. Stars, electricians and bystanders would group around him as he told of escapades with Humphrey Bogart, Sidney Greenstreet and John Huston--the "unholy four" of warner Bros. Who made the memorable "Maltese Falcon."
Lorre was one of the original members of Bogart's "Holmby Hills Rat Pack," a group that usually met every night at the cocktail hour and broke up hours--or days--later.