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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:||Cast ... actor|
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.
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