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Birth name Béla Ferenc Dezső BlaskóNationality USABirth 20 october 1882Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó (20 October 1882 – 16 August 1956), better known as Bela Lugosi, was a Hungarian-American actor, famous for portraying Count Dracula in the original 1931 film and for his roles in various other horror films.
at Lugoj (Roumanie
)Death 16 august 1956
(at 73 years) at Los Angeles (USA
He had been playing small parts on the stage in his native Hungary before making his first film in 1917, but had to leave the country after the failed Hungarian Revolution. He had roles in several films in Weimar Germany before arriving in America as a seaman on a merchant ship.
In 1927, he appeared as Count Dracula in a Broadway adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel, where he was talent-spotted as a character actor for the new Hollywood talkies. He later appeared in the classic 1931 film Dracula by Universal Pictures. Through the 1930s, he occupied an important niche in popular horror films, with their East European setting, but his Hungarian accent limited his repertoire, and he tried unsuccessfully to avoid typecasting.
Meanwhile, he was often paired with Boris Karloff, who was able to demand top billing. To his frustration, Lugosi was increasingly restricted to minor parts, kept employed by the studio principally for the sake of his name on the posters. Among his pairings with Karloff, only in The Black Cat (1934), The Raven (1935), and Son of Frankenstein (1939) did he perform major roles again, and, even in The Raven, Karloff received top billing despite Lugosi performing the lead role.
By this time, Lugosi had been receiving regular medication for sciatic neuritis, and he became addicted to morphine and methadone. This drug dependence was noted by producers, and the offers eventually dwindled down to a few parts in Ed Wood's low-budget movies, most notably Plan 9 from Outer Space.
Lugosi was married five times, and had one son, Bela George Lugosi.
Bela Lugosi was a charter member of the American Screen Actors Guild.
In 1917, Lugosi married Ilona Szmik. The couple divorced in 1920, reputedly over political differences with her parents.
In 1929, Lugosi took his place in Hollywood society and scandal when he married wealthy San Francisco widow Beatrice Weeks, but she filed for divorce four months later. Weeks cited actress Clara Bow as the "other woman".
In 1933 he married 19-year-old Lillian Arch, the daughter of Hungarian immigrants. They had a child, Bela G. Lugosi, in 1938.
Lillian and Bela, as well as his mother, vacationed on their lake property in the Southern California community of Lake Elsinore (then called Elsinore) on two lots between 1944 and 1953. Bela Lugosi Jr., attended the Elsinore Naval & Military School in Lake Elsinore. Lillian and Béla divorced in 1953, 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 — Lillian eventually did marry Brian Donlevy, in 1966.
Lugosi married Hope Lininger, his fifth wife, in 1955. She had been a fan of his, writing letters to him when he was in the hospital recovering from addiction to Demerol. She would sign her letters 'A dash of Hope'. She was his widow, and died in 1997 at age 77.