|Known aliases||Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó|
|Born|| 20 October 1882|
|Died|| 16 August 1956 (aged 73)|
Los Angeles, California, USA
Béla Lugosi (20 October 1882 – 16 August 1956) was a Hungarian actor born in Lugoj, Austria Hungary in 1882. He is best remembered for his portrayal of the vampire Dracula both in the 1926 play as well as the 1931 film by Universal Pictures. Dracula was the film that turned Lugosi into a horror film icon. Unfortunately, it also typecast him as a villain, and though he had a prolific career playing the heavy in many Universal pictures, his career never fully emerged beyond that archetype. Following the success of Dracula, Lugosi received a studio contract with Universal Pictures. For Dracula, Lugosi was paid $500 per week for a seven week shooting schedule. Under Universal, Lugosi often found himself paired up against contemporaries such as Boris Karloff (famous for being the first to portray the Frankenstein Monster) and Lon Chaney, Jr., the son of Lon Chaney, Sr., who was originally considered for the role of Dracula but for his untimely death in 1930. Many of the roles Lugosi received in the 30s were because of brand name recognition based upon the success of Dracula.
With the decline of the Universal Monsters franchise in the late 1940s, work became more difficult to come by for Lugosi. He appeared in several b-rated commercial films and even lampooned himself in the titular Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla.
In the 1950s, Lugosi worked on several projects for b-movie director Ed Wood including Glen or Glenda and Bride of the Monster. In 1956, Lugosi starred in The Black Sleep directed by Reginald Le Borg. Also featured in this film were actors Lon Chaney, Jr. and John Carradine, both of whom succeeded Lugosi in playing the role of Dracula in Son of Dracula and House of Dracula (respectively). This was Lugosi's last film while he was still alive. Lugosi's absolute final, albeit posthumous, film role was Ed Wood's Plan 9 from Outer Space. While most of the film was produced following Lugosi's death, Wood managed to incorporate stock footage of Lugosi wearing a black cape into the final cut.
Lugosi passed away from a heart attack at age 73 on August 16, 1956. He was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California. At the request of his family, he was buried wearing the costume and cape from his broadway Dracula show (although some sources cite that it was the costume from the film that he was buried in, not the play).
Body of Work Edit
- Actor Martin Landau won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Bela Lugosi in the 1994 biopic Ed Wood.