Lugosi at age 18 Lugosi, the youngest of four children, was born Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó in Lugos, Kingdom of Hungary (now Lugoj, Romania) to Hungarian father István Blaskó, a banker, and Serbian -born mother Paula de Vojnich. He later based his last name on his hometown. He and his sister Vilma were raised in a Roman Catholic family.
BELA LUGOSI'S LEGACY. Bela Lugosi played a pivotal role in the modern mythology and rich legend of the iconic Count Dracula. Read about the man and his life on stage and screen as his legacy continues today.
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. He was the youngest of four children. During WWI, he volunteered and was commissioned as an infantry lieutenant, and was wounded three times.
- Acting career
- Early career
- Later career
- Early years
By the early 1900s, Dad was an established actor in Hungary. By 1913, he became a member of the National Theater of Budapest where he was highly regarded for his versatility. Here, the man that would become known for his role as the devils disciple, was also heralded for playing the role, among others, of Jesus Christ.
Still intent on continuing his career of acting, he found his opportunity in the American theater. Not knowing the English language proved only a small obstacle - he simply formed a Hungarian stock company and surrounded himself with expatriates. His first English-speaking play, The Red Poppy, brought him rave reviews. Unknown to the reviewers at the time, Dad had memorized the entire part phonetically, an amazing task in itself. In the twenties, he worked in both theater and film gaining a reputation for his versatility. He played classic character roles in Europe and America, including everything from Shakespeare to romantic leads. His big break came in 1927 when he landed the lead role in the Broadway production of none other than Dracula. The show ran for 33 weeks on Broadway and was followed by two years of touring. By 1927, Dad had relocated to Hollywood.
Dads performance in The Thirteenth Chair brought him to Universal Studios attention, and because of the death of Hollywood horror great, Lon Chaney, Bela Lugosi was chosen for the title role in the 1931 release of Universals screen version of Dracula.
In 1931, most people were not aware of vampire lore. It was horrific to think of vampires walking among us, drinking the blood of their victims and turning them into the undead as well. People were just learning about the characteristics of the vampire that have become cliché today - their avoiding sunlight and only coming out at night, their ability to transform into bats and wolves, casting no reflection in a mirror, repulsed by the crucifix and by garlic - and most importantly, that the vampire could be destroyed by putting a wooden stake through its heart. All that changed when in 1931 the unknown nobleman uttered his menacing welcome on film. The pauses and intonation, the graceful and slow hand, the aristocratic bearing, the formal white tie, coat and tails, and raised collar cape now define what everyone sees in his or her mind as Dracula Bela Lugosis Dracula. He was the film personification of dark evil.
With the worldwide success of Dracula, Universal Studios teamed my dad with actor Boris Karloff. They were embraced by the United States as their favorite Monster Men. Although Dad longed to break away from the typecast of horror roles, it was not to be. He went on to play many horror roles, including Dr. Mirakle in Murders In The Rue Morgue (1932); Murder Legendre in White Zombie (1932); Sayer of the Law in Island of Lost Souls (1933); and Ygor in Son of Frankenstein (1939). In 1943, Dad notably played the Frankenstein Monster in Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, the role Boris Karloff originated in the 1931 film after my father had turned down the part because it had no speaking lines.
The 1931 Dracula film made Bela Lugosi a horror film star, and one of the most copied characters in cinema history. His face and the character are now indistinguishable. Bela Lugosi sculpted our imagination of how a vampire should look and behave. His influence extends to every subsequent film vampire. His slicked hair and widows peak, clean-shaven and handsome face, burning eyes, heavy accent and courtly manner are the appearance of what Dracula will forever be. He is Dracula. One of my fondest memories is the time he took me to watch the shooting of the film Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. He seemed very happy to have me there. Everyone treated Dad with such great deference that he virtually took over the entire set whenever he was present. I have a vivid memory of the experience of getting refreshments from the commissary cart with Lon Chaney, Jr. and Glenn Strange in full monster makeup.
On a personal note, it is difficult for me to believe that Dad has been gone for so many years. My memory is still very clear of the sound of his voice, the look of his eyes, his long stride when he was walking, his interest in me, and the magnitude of his feelingsof elation, depression, joy, and sorrow. People recognized him, even walking on a dark street, just by the sound of his voice. Even as a young person, I sensed that Dad was anything but an average man. His road was one that few could have traveled. People have often asked me to describe Dads real character, but this is impossible because he was such a complicated personality: devil, angel, king, pauper, political activist, humanitarian, wise man, counselor and, above all, a man who loved everything life had to offer. He put a personal stamp on everything he did from carving a roast beef to playing a character on the stage. I remember other characteristics about Dad. He usually called me son and prefaced his remarks to me with that word. His hands and motions were fascinating to watch because he did everything with such grace, as if it were a ritual. His eyes were all that he needed to use when I was bad. He would just look at me, and it would scare me into behaving. Because I thought of him as my father, I was not frightened of him as a horror man in the theatrical sense (although all my young friends would hide behind the theater seats when we went to see his movies). I spent time with my dad when I reached my early teens, but by then he was already sixty-eight years old. I realized that he did not have the ability to do the things with me that a younger father would have, but he compensated for this by giving me something only a man his age could offer: a more experienced perspective on life. He was not the type of person to brag about his past, but he would mention bits and pieces when he felt they could help me in my own life. As a young teenager, I remember him telling me, (and by his own actions showing me) that I should set my sights on certain goals and then pursue those goals relentlessly until I had achieved them. We did not really have father-and-son talks, but on one occasion he told me about the time when he was struggling to become a star in Europe. He felt that his lack of education was a handicap in talking to people with more education. He decided he should read everything, from science to religion to music to politics, so that he could speak their language. He wanted to be a generalist who could talk intelligently about a wide variety of topicsand read is what he did every day of his life right up to his death. I could sense that he wanted his son to be an achiever. During the summers while I was in military and junior high school, I lived with my grandparents while Dad and Mom traveled east for Summer Stock. With my grandparents, I got a taste of a more frugal way of life. Whereas my father had taught me very well how to spend (and to distinguish and appreciate the finest), my grandparents went to the other extreme. They taught me practical lessons, instilled moral values, and brought me down to reality after living with a man who believed that tomorrow would always take care of itself. The summer when I was 13, I went east with my parents for Summer Stock. Even though Dad was busy with rehearsals, performances, and reading scripts continually, he was as interested in teaching me as he himself was interested in learning. He taught me the fundamentals of canoeing on a lake in New Jersey where we stayed because he thought it was important for me. During the drive east, he spent a good part of the time in the car trying to improve my understanding of things around us. He would talk about the local geology, the strata of rocks, the history of towns we passed through, or any one of the many things that came into his mind. As a young boy, I failed to appreciate this wealth of experience my father was offering me, although now I do; and I know what a remarkable man he was. Dad was above all a family man who placed my mother and me at the top of his list. I cannot remember his being in a bad mood around the house, although there were difficult times shortly before the divorce in 1953. The divorce was catastrophic to my fathers spirit, and he never recovered from that trauma. With the passage of time, I have come to know a much greater part of the manand respect him all the more because I realize that the things he had taught me were not just idle preaching. He practiced what he preached and was able to overcome obstacles in his life which few men could conquer.
My first specific memories go back to the Dracula house on Whipple Street in North Hollywood where I spent some of my early childhood. That was a perfect house for a small boy. It was surrounded by a tall fence, tall trees, and shrubbery. In the huge enclosed front yard there were paths, ponds, and plenty of places for a boy to get into mischief. Inside, there were large, comfortable leather chairs and a double bed covered with a Persian rug that I loved to jump on. Dad always had people over to the houseHungarian friends, not very many movie peoplefor happy parties with gypsy music, often live, that played through the night. He was a captivating entertainer, as I found out when I was older, and always managed to be the center of attention. When I was older, I loved to watch the reactions of people around him because, however clichéd the phrase might be, he was a man with charisma, real personal magnetism. When he entered a room, heads turned. As soon as I ventured beyond that huge fence on Whipple Street, I found that not everyones father was as famous as mine, and I got my first taste of celebrity. Because my parents were on the road doing theater and making personal appearances, I boarded at the Lake Elsinore Naval and Military School from kindergarten through the sixth grade. I cannot say that at the time I liked either military school or celebrity very much. Like most boys, I wanted to blend in, but with a name like Bela Lugosi, Jr., that was not likely. Dad was just the opposite; he loved the limelight. The military school held a parade every Sunday afternoon for the parents, and Dad would always put on a one-man show. He and my mother would arrive in a large, black limousine or, later, a sporty blue roadster. Everyone would know that Dad had arrived: Bela Lugosi and family were the center of attention.
Dad liked to go to the mountains or to his home at Lake Elsinore. There he visited, whenever possible, the nearby Glen Ivy Hot Springs baths.
Bela Lugosi, a pioneer in American film and a legend of classic horror roles, died at the age of 73 in the summer of 1956, and was buried most fittingly in one of his Dracula capes.
Bela Lugosi, original name Blasko Béla Ferenc Dezső, (born October 20, 1882, Lugos, Hungary [now Lugoj, Romania]—died August 16, 1956, Los Angeles, California, U.S.), Hungarian-born motion-picture actor who was most famous for his sinister portrayal of the elegantly mannered vampire Count Dracula.
Oct 18, 2019 · The Hungarian actor Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó, better known as Bela Lugosi, became known to many as the face of Dracula after his iconic appearance as the famous vampire in the 1931 film adaptation of Bram Stoker's classic novel. It turned out to be both a blessing and a curse.
- Bela Lugosi worked with the National Theater of Hungary. To the chagrin of his biographers, the details concerning Bela Lugosi’s youth have been clouded in mystery.
- Bela Lugosi fought in World War I.
- When Bela Lugosi made his Broadway debut in 1922, he barely knew any English. In December 1920, Lugosi boarded a cargo boat and emigrated to the United States.
- Universal didn't want to cast Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula. The year 1927 saw Bela Lugosi sink his teeth into the role of a lifetime. A play based on the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker had opened in London in 1924.
May 07, 2019 · Before he was Bela Lugosi, horror film actor, he was Bela Ferenc Dezso Blasko. Born in 1882 in Hungary, Lugosi had his eyes set on the stage since he was a young boy. He took to the theater in his home country before becoming a stage actor in Germany and changing his name to “Lugos.”
Legendary stage and screen actor of the 1910s through 1950s. He is most widely identified with his title role in the movie “Dracula” (1931). Born Bela Ferenc Dezso Blasko in Lugos, Banat, Austria-Hungary (now Lugoj, Romania), he was the youngest of four children of a banker. Bela began his acting career on the stage in...
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Bela George Lugosi (born January 5, 1938) is an American attorney and the son of actor Béla Lugosi. His legal actions in Lugosi v. Universal Pictures led to the creation of the California Celebrities Rights Act.
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