When appearing in Hungarian silent films, he used the stage name Arisztid Olt. [2] He took the name "Lugosi" in 1903 to honor his birthplace,[7] and eventually travelled to New Orleans, Louisiana as a crewman aboard a merchant ship.[2]. In 1917, Lugosi married Ilona Szmik (1898-1991). in 1960 and LL.B. He was awarded the Wound Medal for wounds he suffered while serving on the Russian front. The studio then rehired Lugosi to star in new films. Universal changed management in 1936 and, because of a British ban on horror films[citation needed], dropped them from their production schedule; Lugosi found himself consigned to Universal's non-horror B-film unit, at times in small roles where he was obviously used for "name value" only. [3] Most documents and interviews with other Wood associates in Nightmare of Ecstasy suggest that Wood and Lugosi were friends and that Wood helped Lugosi through the worst days of his depression and drug addiction. Following his treatment, Lugosi made one final film, in late 1955, The Black Sleep, for Bel-Air Pictures, which was released in the summer of 1956 through United Artists with a promotional campaign that included several personal appearances. He was 73. After moving to Budapest in 1911, he played dozens of roles with the National Theatre of Hungary between 1913–19. Bela … He made his way to New York and was inspected by immigration officers at Ellis Island in March 1921. Lugosi married Hope Lininger, his fifth wife, in 1955; they remained married until his death. Throughout the 1930s, Lugosi, experiencing a severe career decline despite popularity with audiences (Universal executives always preferred his rival Karloff), accepted many leading roles from independent producers like Nat Levine, Sol Lesser, and Sam Katzman. In spite of his cinematic association with the dark side and portraying miscellaneous evil-doing characters, Lugosi was a Catholic and, as such, was buried at the Holy Cross, a Catholic cemetery in Culver City, California. Bela Lugosi was born Béla Ferenc Dezsö Blaskó on October 20, 1882, Lugos, Hungary, Austria-Hungary (now Lugoj, Romania), to Paula de Vojnich and István Blaskó, a banker. Contrary to popular misconception, he did not wear a hair piece to create one in. [3] He later based his last name on his hometown. Therefore, I must be a heavy. Lugosi remained in California where he resumed his film work under contract with Fox, appearing in early talkies often as a heavy or an "exotic sheik". [46], Péter Müller's theatrical play Lugosi - the Shadow of the Vampire (Hungarian: Lugosi - a vámpír árnyéka) is based on Lugosi's life, telling the story of his life as he became typecast as Dracula and as his drug addiction worsened. Lugosi's first film appearance was in the movie Az ezredes (The Colonel, 1917). Is the model for the Disney demon Chernabog, in. After being wounded three times, he was discharged while apparently feigning concussion-caused insanity. The same year saw Lugosi making a rare appearance in an A-list motion picture: he was a stern Soviet commissar in the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer romantic comedy Ninotchka, starring Greta Garbo and directed by Ernst Lubitsch. Lugosi's parents were István Blaskó and Paula de Vojnich. Privately, Bela Lugosi struggled with his dependency upon morphine, a drug he was given to deal with leg pain from his war injuries. |  Despite the relative size of their roles, Lugosi inevitably received second billing, below Karloff. [32] Bela had four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. For the remainder of his life he appeared — less and less frequently — in obscure, forgettable, low-budget features. [citation needed], California Supreme Court decision on personality rights. His early days of stardom in the likes of "Dracula" and "The Black Cat" had rendered the actor typecast. One of them is the White Zombie Chardonnay. Wasn't fond of "schmoozing" and for that reason, did not attend Hollywood parties. His parents names were Stephen Blasko and Paula Von Vojnics. She had been a fan, writing letters to him when he was in the hospital, recovering from addiction to Demerol. Blasko". [29] Mason was noticeably taller and thinner than Lugosi, and had the lower half of his face covered with his cape in every shot, as Lugosi sometimes did in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. These low-budget thrillers indicate that Lugosi was much less discriminating than Karloff in selecting screen vehicles, but the exposure helped Lugosi financially if not artistically. Bela Lugosi Jr. attended the Elsinore Naval & Military School in Lake Elsinore. Several more silent roles followed, villains and continental types, all in productions made in the New York area. Although it has been claimed that, in his early days of stardom, his horror films had typecast him, facts have emerged from different sources, including era newspaper articles, that all point more to Lugosi being sabotaged by his number one rival due to Bela's critical acclaim for his stellar performance in their join venture, Biographers have claimed that Bela couldn't drive, yet he is clearly seen driving an open convertible automobile in many scenes of, Did not have a natural widow's peak. Though at first he was treated with benign pain remedies such as asparagus juice, doctors increased the medication to opiates. Instead, Lugosi preferred to get together in intimate small gatherings at his home, with Hungarian artisans and working crew from his films, whom he often invited to dinner. Universal cast Lugosi in Son of Frankenstein (1939), appearing in the character role of Ygor, a mad blacksmith with a broken neck, in heavy makeup and beard. His brothers' and sister's names were Vilma, Hajos & Laszlo. [2] He went first to Vienna before settling in Berlin (in the Langestrasse), where he continued acting. No. Lugosi's birthplace of Lugos was in Hungary when he was born, and belonged to the Austro-Hungarian empire; it is currently part of Timis County, Romania, and called "Lugoj" in Romanian. Lugosi addressed his plea to be cast in non-horror roles directly to casting directors through his listing in the 1937 Players Directory, published by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, in which he (or his agent) calls the idea that he is only fit for horror films "an error."[22]. To his frustration, Lugosi, a charter member of the American Screen Actors Guild, was increasingly restricted to minor parts, kept employed by the studio principally so that they could put his name on the posters. Universal cast Lugosi in Son of Frankenstein (1939), appearing in the character role of Ygor, a mad blacksmith with a broken neck, in heavy makeup and beard. Privacy | He added an "i" to the end of the name of Lugos, the town he was born. Bela Lugosi Jr. was born on January 5, 1938 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Bela George Lugosi. At Universal, he often received star billing for what amounted to a supporting part. Dracula never ends. By then, Lugosi and original director, Robert Florey had moved on to doing. Publicity Listings [citation needed], California Supreme Court decision on personality rights. I don't know if I should call it a fortune or a curse, but it never ends. Lugosi took over the role of Jonathan Brewster from Boris Karloff for Arsenic and Old Lace. "United States Census, 1930," database with images, FamilySearch (, the failed Hungarian Communist Revolution of 1919, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Learn how and when to remove this template message, "From the Archives: Actor Bela Lugosi, Dracula of Screen, Succumbs After Heart Attack at 73", https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XCJB-Z61, "15 Intriguing Halloween-Related Factoids! The biggest misconception about my father, really, is in the focus of everyone's knowledge and attention about him, in the later years of his life. I'd like to quit the supernatural roles and play just an interesting, down-to-earth person. Following the collapse of Béla Kun's Hungarian Soviet Republic in 1919, leftists and trade unionists became vulnerable. Publicity Listings Thus classically trained, he subsequently joined the film business, in 1917, and, early on, used the pseudonym Arisztid Olt. He had to leave the country after the failed Hungarian Communist Revolution of 1919 because of his socialist activism. Lugosi was married five times and had one son, Bela George. ", Bela Lugosi premieres in Buffalo, New York, "Biography (TV Series): Bela Lugosi: Hollywood's Dark Prince", "Friedemann O'Brien Goldberg & Zarian Names Bela G. Lugosi Of Counsel", "Lugosi v. Universal Pictures, 603 P.2d 425 (Cal. There are contradictory reports of Lugosi's attitude toward Karloff, some claiming that he was openly resentful of Karloff's long-term success and ability to gain good roles beyond the horror arena, while others suggested the two actors were — for a time, at least — good friends. She had been a fan, writing letters to him when he was in the hospital, recovering from addiction to Demerol. As film offers declined, he became more and more dependent on live venues to support his family. My dad was I think a proud dad, and a great dad... generous to a fault. [21] Karloff also insinuated that his rival could not act, claiming Lugosi had "never learned his trade". I'll be truthful. [5] He went on to perform in Shakespeare's plays. Famously turned down Frankenstein (1931), but---contrary to commonly believed---not the legendary role as seen in the finalized Karloff movie. During World War I, Lugosi served in the infantry and ski patrol of the Austro-Hungarian Army. According to the biography, The Immortal Count: The Life and Films of Bela Lugosi, Lugosi's father, Itsvan, was a prosperous man who left the baking profession in 1883 to set up, with the help of a few partners, a small savings bank in the town of Lugos. Circumstances made me the theatrical personality I am, which many people believe is also a part of my personal life. This was one of several projects proposed by Wood, including The Phantom Ghoul and Dr. Acula. Born Bela Ferenc Dezso Blasko in Lugos, Banat, Austria-Hungary (now Lugoj, Romania), he was the youngest of four children of a banker. In 1920 he emigrated to the US and made a living as a character actor, shooting to fame when he played Count Dracula in the legendary 1927 Broadway stage adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel. Born in Lugos, Hungary (now Lugoj, Romania), from which he derived his eventual professional surname. The court ruled that under California law any rights of publicity, including the right to his image, terminated with Lugosi's death. Lillian and Béla divorced in 1953,[33] at least partially because of Béla's jealousy over Lillian taking a full-time job as an assistant to Brian Donlevy on the sets and studios for Donlevy's radio and television series Dangerous Assignment[34] – Lillian eventually did marry Donlevy in 1966. All rights reserved. This was one of several projects proposed by Wood, including The Phantom Ghoul and Dr. Acula. During an impromptu interview upon his exit from the treatment center in 1955, Lugosi stated that he was about to go to work on a new Ed Wood film, The Ghoul Goes West. This drug dependence was known to producers, and the offers eventually dwindled to a few parts in Ed Wood's low-budget films—including a brief appearance in Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959).

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