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Biofile Bela Lugosi

By Scoop Malinowski

Status: Film actor. [Note: Bela Lugosi Jr. did this Biofile about his famous father Bela Lugosi.]

DOB: October 20, 1886 in Lugos, Hungary. Died in 1956

Hobbies/Interests: “He liked snow skiing in Europe. He was a ski patrol soldier in World War I on the Russian front. He liked canoeing, hiking in the Hollywood Hills and Lake Arrowhead. Also he liked stamp collecting, wine tasting, music, dance, cigars and chess.”

Childhood Dream: “At a very young age he wanted to be an actor. His parents took him to see some of the traveling shows. Rebeling against an authoritative father (Istvan, a bank president), who wanted him to go to school to be a banker, he ran away at age 11 and went to work in a coal mine and a steel factory. Then he started hanging around backstage doors and gradually got himself into acting parts.”

Favorite Movies: “Marlon Brando films in the 1950s. He thought Brando was one of the best actors of the time.”

Favorite Meal: “Stuffed cabbage.”

Musical Tastes: “Hungarian and gypsy music.”

Greatest Career Moment: “When he played Dracula on stage. It ran for two years at The Fulton Theatre on Broadway (in 1927). That was before the movie was made by Universal (in 1931). Before that he was an actor on stage for the national theatre in Hungary. He was the number one rated actor in Hungary. Played all the classic parts on stage – Romeo in Romeo & Juliet, George the Prince in Richard III, Cyrano de Bergerac, The Tragedy of Man, Hamlet, MacBeth and Othello.”

Most Painful Moment: “He was a victim of the success of Dracula. He was typecast into horror roles. He had so much more to offer the public – non-horror, love story, musical, comedy. But he was never able to get cast in those parts once he was so successful in Dracula.”

Favorite Meal: “He liked to eat very healthy – fish, vegetables, yogurts and Hungarian meals like chicken paprikas.”

Favorite Breakfast Cereal: “Oatmeal with a raw egg.”

Funny Career Memory: “One Halloween he put on his cape and tux and treated the neighborhood kids to candy at the house in Hollywood.”

Favorite Books: “I know he loved encyclopedias. Once he became interested in a subject, he’d read all about it. A voracious reader, he was a self-educated man.”

Career Memory: “There was a ban on horror films in England in the early ’40s, which was a big consumer of American horror films. And after that ban, a theater in Los Angeles put a double bill of Dracula and Frankenstein. The lines were going around the block. That showed Hollywood producers that the genre of films was still very popular. And dad made a lot of horror films after that.”

Films Bela Was Most Proud Of: “‘Son of Frankenstein’, because his part (as Ygor) was more of a comedy, tongue-in-cheek part. He liked being able to get out of the mold and express himself more. ‘White Zombie’ was low-budget but did very well at the box office. He did some directing as well as acting in it. And ‘Dracula’ – he had that role down [smiles].”

Favorite Vacation Spot: “He liked the big cities – Johannesburg, San Francisco, New York, Vienna and I know he also enjoyed going to Hawaii.”

People Most Admired: “He was very well-read in subjects such as politics, medicine, architecture, geography, and the performing arts. He admired people who achieved success in all those disciplines.”

Career Accomplishments: Legendary film actor appeared in: Dracula, Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman, The Black Cat, Invisible Ray, Island of Lost Souls, Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein, among many others.

Check out the official Bela Lugosi web site

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