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Turhan Bey

Turhan Bey

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Also Known As: Turhan Gilbert Selahettin Schultavey Died: September 30, 2012
Born: March 30, 1922 Cause of Death: Parkinson's Disease
Birth Place: Vienna, , AT Profession: actor, photographer, director, producer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

As was true of Indian actor Sabu and Dominican leading lady Maria Montez, the ethnic otherness of Turhan Bey allowed moviegoers in the Golden Age of Hollywood to project upon his inscrutable features their most resplendent fantasies and darkest fears. With his true lineage a Turkish-Czechoslovakian split, Bey was often cast as Chinese, Japanese, Arabian, Mexican, Egyptian, Indian and Slavic characters, with their occupations never ranging far beyond the circle of career criminals, Nazi henchmen and bogus psychics. Never an A-list actor, Bey was paired occasionally with leading ladies of higher star wattage, such as Katherine Hepburn in "Dragon Seed" (1944) and Merle Oberon in "Night in Paradise" (1946). The height of his popularity came with appearances in a run of Universal Studio's Arabian Nights-style films, including "White Savage" (1942) and "Arthur Lubin's "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves" (1944). His highly-publicized affair with Lana Turner at the peak of their respective sex symbol powers also kept him a Photoplay regular. A regime change at Universal after World War II sent Bey packing to the independent studio Eagle-Lion, for whom he appeared in a handful of films before fleeing for his...

As was true of Indian actor Sabu and Dominican leading lady Maria Montez, the ethnic otherness of Turhan Bey allowed moviegoers in the Golden Age of Hollywood to project upon his inscrutable features their most resplendent fantasies and darkest fears. With his true lineage a Turkish-Czechoslovakian split, Bey was often cast as Chinese, Japanese, Arabian, Mexican, Egyptian, Indian and Slavic characters, with their occupations never ranging far beyond the circle of career criminals, Nazi henchmen and bogus psychics. Never an A-list actor, Bey was paired occasionally with leading ladies of higher star wattage, such as Katherine Hepburn in "Dragon Seed" (1944) and Merle Oberon in "Night in Paradise" (1946). The height of his popularity came with appearances in a run of Universal Studio's Arabian Nights-style films, including "White Savage" (1942) and "Arthur Lubin's "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves" (1944). His highly-publicized affair with Lana Turner at the peak of their respective sex symbol powers also kept him a Photoplay regular. A regime change at Universal after World War II sent Bey packing to the independent studio Eagle-Lion, for whom he appeared in a handful of films before fleeing for his Austrian homeland. A late-life comeback proved the septuagenarian had lost none of his native charm, as a guest star on such popular TV series as "Murder, She Wrote" (CBS, 1984-1996) and "Babylon Five" (The WB, 1994-1998), and capped an eclectic career as one of Hollywood's most unforgettable men of mystery.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Universal Horror (1998) Interviewee
3.
 Healer (1994) Igor Vostovich
4.
 Prisoners of the Casbah (1953) Ahmed
5.
 Song of India (1949) Gopal, Maharajah of Hakwar
6.
 Parole, Inc. (1948) Barney Rodescu
7.
 The Spiritualist (1948) Alexis
8.
 Adventures of Casanova (1948) Lorenzo
9.
 Out of the Blue (1947) David Galleo
10.
 A Night in Paradise (1946) Aesop
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Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Vienna, Austria
1940:
After the annexation of Austria to Nazi Germany, family moved to Switzerland, then Paris, eventually heading to the U.S.
:
Moved to California to study acting and perfect English
1941:
Made U.S. film acting debut in "Footsteps in the Dark" and "Shadows on the Stairs"
:
Signed to an acting contract by Universal
1942:
Appeared in Universal war serial "Junior G-Men of the Air"
1942:
Played supporting role in horror film "The Mummy's Tomb"
1942:
First of four films with Maria Montez and Jon Hall, "Arabian Nights"
1943:
Acted in episodes of Universal action serial "The Adventures of Smilin' Jack"
1944:
Co-starred with Montez and Hall in "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves"
1944:
Loaned out to MGM for "Dragon Seed"
:
Drafted into U.S. Army; served 18 months
1946:
Played storyteller Aesop in "Night in Paradise"
1946:
After refusing a role, Universal put him on suspension and then sold his contract to Eagle-Lion Studios (date approximate)
1947:
First film under new contract, "Out of the Blue"
1949:
Last film for Eagle-Lion, "Song of India"
:
Moved back to Austria in the 1950s
1953:
Produced "Stolen Identity"; two different versions were shot, both starring Francis Lederer; one was an English-language version the other in German
1953:
Last film in over 40 years, "Prisoners of the Casbah"
:
Directed stage productions in Europe
:
Abandoned acting career to concentrate on photography
1989:
Returned to Hollywood; resumed acting career
1993:
Guest starred on an episode of "SeaQuest DSV" (NBC)
1995:
Appeared as the Centauri Emperor on syndicated adventures series "Babylon 5" (syndicated)
1995:
Final film appearance, "Virtual Combat"
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Education

Pasadena Playhouse: Pasadena , California -
Ben Bard's School of Dramatic Arts: Los Angeles , California -

Notes

On acting: "I still love it, and I will continue to perform when I am wanted." --Turhan Bey quoted in Classic Images, September 1999.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Lana Turner. Actor. Reportedly had romance in the 1940s.

Family close complete family listing

uncle:
Walter Meyer. Mathematician. Taught at Princeton University; was a colleague of Albert Einstein's.

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