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Who Was Bela Lugosi?

Béla Lugosi (pronounced Bay'la Loo'-go-shee) was born with the name Béla Ferenc Dezso Blaskó on October 20, 1882 in Lugos, Hungary (now part of Romania).

He was a natural for the part of Dracula, having grown up not far from where the legendary Vlad the Impaler lived. Strangely, he is one of Hungary's most-famous exports, but only because of the many horror movies he made. From the defining "Dracula" to some awful B-movies made by Ed Wood, Lugosi is part of that strange, campy, American pop-culture, right there with Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio, Michael Jackson, Michael Jordan and Elvis. 

His life started with great success, but quickly he became labeled and stereotyped, and later shunned as a suspected Communist. His home life was a tragedy, filled with divorce and unhappiness.

Facts

  • Béla was youngest of four children.
  • During WWI, volunteered and was commissioned as an infantry lieutenant.
  • Married Ilona Szmik (1917-1920)
  • His first picture was A Leopárd.
  • Arrived in New York City in December, 1921.
  • Married Ilona von Montágh
  • Married Beatrice Woodruff Weeks (1927-1929) (divorced)
  • Married Lilian Arch (1931-1951) (divorced); one child: Béla Lugosi, Jr., January 5th, 1938
  • Married Hope Lininger (1955)
  • Paid just $3,500 for the lead in "Dracula". $5,000 for "Mother Riley Meets the Vampire" (1952). $800 for "White Zombie" (1932).
  • Became an American citizen 1931
  • Father of Bela Lugosi Jr. (b. 1938), a lawyer in California
  • Helped found the Screen Actors Guild in the 1930s
  • Died of a heart attack August 16, 1956.
  • Buried in his full Dracula costume, including a cape. Interred at Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California (travel CA: California (Eyewitness Travel Guides), USA. Specific Interment Location: Grotto, L120, 1.