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23 April 2012

Bela Lugosi - Legend Of Horror


As requested, a post about horror movie legendary actor Bela Lugosi. 




Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó (20 October 1882 – 16 August 1956), commonly known as Bela Lugosi, was a Hungarianactor of stage and screen. He was best known for having played Count Dracula in the Broadway play and subsequent film version, as well as having starred in several of *Ed Wood's low budget films in the last years of his career. 


Lugosi, the youngest of four children, was born in Lugos (at the time part of Austria–Hungary, now Lugoj in Romania). He later based his last name on his hometown. He and his sister Vilma were raised in a Roman Catholic family. At the age of 12, Lugosi dropped out of school. He began his acting career probably in 1901 or 1902. His earliest known performances are from provincial theaters in the 1903–1904 season, playing small roles in several plays and operettas. He went on to Shakespeare plays and other major roles.


During World War I, he served as an infantry lieutenant in the Austro-Hungarian Army from 1914 to 1916. There he rose to the rank of captain in the ski patrol and was awarded a medal for being wounded at the Russian front.


Due to his activism in the actors union in Hungary during the time of the Hungarian Revolution of 1919, he was forced to flee his homeland. He first went to Vienna, Austria, and then settled in Berlin, Germany, in the Langestrasse where he continued acting. Eventually, he traveled to New Orleans, United States as a crewman aboard a merchant ship.


Lugosi was approached in the summer of 1927 to star in a Broadway production of Dracula adapted by Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston from Bram Stoker'snovel. The Horace Liveright production was successful, running 261 performances before touring. 






Through his association with Dracula (in which he appeared with minimal makeup, using his natural, heavily accented voice), Lugosi found himself typecast as a horror villain in such movies as Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Raven, and Son of Frankenstein for Universal, and the independent White Zombie. His accent, while a part of his image, limited the roles he could play. 




Lugosi died of a heart attack on August 16, 1956, while lying on a couch in his Los Angeles home. He was 73. The rumor that Lugosi was clutching the script for The Final Curtain, a planned Ed Wood * project, at the time of his death is not true.

Lugosi was buried wearing one of the Dracula Cape costumes, per the request of his son and fourth wife, in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California. Contrary to popular belief, Lugosi never requested to be buried in his cloak; Bela G. Lugosi (his son) confirmed on numerous occasions that he and his mother, Lillian, actually made the decision but believed that it is what his father would have wanted.



Goth rock band Bauhaus composed a song dedicated to Lugosi called "Bela Lugosi's Dead"





*Edward Davis "Ed" Wood, Jr. (October 10, 1924 – December 10, 1978) was an American screenwriter, director, producer,actor, author, and editor, who often performed many of these functions simultaneously. In the 1950s, Wood made a number of low-budget genre films, now notable for their technical errors, unsophisticated special effects, large amounts of ill-fittingstock footage, idiosyncratic dialogue, eccentric casts and outlandish plot elements, although his flair for showmanship gave his projects at least a modicum of critical success.

Wood's popularity waned soon after his biggest name star Bela Lugosi died (in August 1956). He was able to salvage a saleable feature from Lugosi's last moments on film, but his career declined thereafter.

Tim Burton did a tribute movie called "Ed Wood" with Johnny Depp starring as the director.


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