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Bela Lugosi

Bela Lugosi

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Also Known As: Bela Lugossy, Bela Ferenc Denzso Blasko, Arisztid Olt Died: August 16, 1956
Born: October 20, 1882 Cause of Death: heart attack
Birth Place: Hungary Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Though he achieved a great deal of fame for playing Count Dracula both on stage and on the screen, actor Bela Lugosi suffered a lifetime of being typecast as a horror villain or mad scientist - a problem that was only exacerbated by a serious morphine addiction later in his career. Lugosi started making movies in his native Hungary and moved on to German productions before finally landing in the United States. After a number of supporting roles, he was the lead in a highly successful stage production of "Dracula" (1927) in New York, which eventually led to him starring in the 1931 film adaptation. "Dracula" became a box office hit and propelled the thickly accented Lugosi into a number of horror movies, including "White Zombie" (1932), "The Black Cat" (1934) and "The Raven" (1935). Almost immediately, he recognized the danger of being typecast, but failed to break free of the confines of horror despite his best efforts. Even an acclaimed performance in the comedy "Ninotchka" (1939) written by Billy Wilder did nothing to shake convention. He spent the 1940s in a string of mediocre B-flicks while growing increasingly dependant on morphine, only to be briefly rescued from obscurity by notorious...

Though he achieved a great deal of fame for playing Count Dracula both on stage and on the screen, actor Bela Lugosi suffered a lifetime of being typecast as a horror villain or mad scientist - a problem that was only exacerbated by a serious morphine addiction later in his career. Lugosi started making movies in his native Hungary and moved on to German productions before finally landing in the United States. After a number of supporting roles, he was the lead in a highly successful stage production of "Dracula" (1927) in New York, which eventually led to him starring in the 1931 film adaptation. "Dracula" became a box office hit and propelled the thickly accented Lugosi into a number of horror movies, including "White Zombie" (1932), "The Black Cat" (1934) and "The Raven" (1935). Almost immediately, he recognized the danger of being typecast, but failed to break free of the confines of horror despite his best efforts. Even an acclaimed performance in the comedy "Ninotchka" (1939) written by Billy Wilder did nothing to shake convention. He spent the 1940s in a string of mediocre B-flicks while growing increasingly dependant on morphine, only to be briefly rescued from obscurity by notorious filmmaker, Ed Wood, who cast him in "Glen or Glenda" (1953) and "Bride of the Monster" (1955), widely cited as two of the worst movies ever made. Despite an ignominious end to his life and career, Lugosi was nonetheless instrumental in bringing the horror genre to prominence - an influence felt well into the next century.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Innocent Blood (1992) Count Dracula
2.
 Head (1968)
3.
 Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) Ghoul man
4.
 Bride of the Monster (1956) Dr. Eric Vornoff
5.
 The Black Sleep (1956) Casimir
6.
 Glen or Glenda? (1953) Scientist
7.
8.
10.
 Scared to Death (1947) Leonide
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1902:
Began acting on stage in Dera, Hungary, under the name Bela Lugossy
1911:
Appeared in stage productions in Hungary
:
Was a member of the National Theatre of Hungary
1917:
Screen debut (billed as Arisztid Olt) in "A Leopard"
1919:
To avoid political trouble in Hungary, moved to Germany
:
Worked in the German film industry as an actor
1921:
Immigrated to USA
1922:
Settled in NYC and formed the Hungarian Repertory Theatre
1922:
Made US stage debut in "The Red Poppy"
1923:
US film debut in "The Silent Command"
:
Starred in the Broadway play "Arabesque"
1927:
Enjoyed success on Broadway playing the title role in a stage adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel, "Dracula"
1931:
Achieved star status in films playing the title role in Tod Browning's film, "Dracula"
1934:
Appeared in the first of eight films which also featured noted horror star Boris Karloff, "The Black Cat"
:
Was prescribed morphine treatments for shooting pains in his legs in the late 1930s; became accidentally addicted to morphine and later methadone (which he first took as a cure for his first addiction) for over two decades
1939:
Had a cameo role in "Ninotchka"
:
Acted primarily in B films during the 1940s for Universal and such "poverty-row" studios as Monogram and PRC
1948:
Played the role of Dracula for a second and final time in "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein"
1953:
First of three films for director Edward D Wood Jr "Glen or Glenda?"
1956:
Last film, "Plan 9 from Outer Space", directed by Wood; died during production; a double, keeping his face partly covered with a cape, stood in for Lugosi in several scenes
1994:
Portrayed by Martin Landau (who won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar) in the biopic "Ed Wood"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Superior Hungarian State Gymnasium: -
Budapest Academy of Music and Arts: -

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Ilona Szmik. Married in 1917; divorced in 1920.
wife:
Ilona von Montagh. Actor. Married in 1921; divorced in 1924.
companion:
Clara Bow. Actor.
wife:
Beatrice Woodruff Weeks. Married and divorced in 1929.
wife:
Lillian Arch. Married in 1933; divorced in 1953; mother of Lugosi's son.
wife:
Hope Linniger. Married in 1955 until his death in 1956.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

son:
Bela G Lugosi. Attorney. Mother, Lillian Lugosi.

Bibliography close complete biography

"The Count" G.P. Putnam's Sons
"Karloff and Lugosi: The Story of a Haunting Collaboration" McFarland
"Vampire over London: Bela Lugosi in Britain" Cult Movie Press

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