Undead King Of Vampires Undead No More
There are vampires and there are vampires. The definitive motion picture vampire, with apologies to Christopher Lee, was Bela Lugosi. One of the great horror actors of the ages was lost with the passing of Bela.
Hungary Performer Will Never Be Forgotten
Bela was born Bela Ferenc Dezso Blasko on October 20, 1882 in Lugos, Hungary. The immortal vampire left this world from a heart attack on August 16, 1956 in Los Angeles, CA. He was laid to final rest in a Drracula cape. It is difficult to believe that his stage rendition of the count appeared in 1927 over eight decades ago. The definitive Dracula was well versed in Shakespeare. Arisztid Olt was his stage name in silent motion pictures.
First Cinema Appearance Not Memorable
Bela appeared in the 1917 motion picture The Colonel. It was one of a dozen such film efforts within a year. Bela appeared in the 1923 Silent Command for his first foray in American movies. His rendition of Dracula on stage was a hit with audiences.
Universal Snubs Hungarian Actor
Universal was not falling all over itself to offer the role of Dracula to Bela when plans called for a celluloid vampire film. Apparently Lon “Man Of 1,000 Faces” Chaney was first choice for the role. The untimely death of that lengendary actor removed him from consideration. MGM was not enthusiastic about allowing contract performer Lon to be Dracula for Universal anyway. Rumors have swirled that even Conrad Veidt was preferred over Bela. It was meant to be Bela or no one. Bela won out!
Forever Married To Role
Bela was Dracula in the minds of fans. The vampire king almost appeared with Boris Karloff in Frankenstein although that was not meant to be. How about Bela as Victor Von Frankenstein? Interesting. Bela and Boris did appear together in Black Cat, Raven and Son of Frankenstein.
Career Rebounds Thanks To Frankenstein
Bela was Ygor in the 1939 Son Of Frankenstein. The non-horror comedy Ninotchka displayed the diverse acting ability of Bela. Years at Monogram Pictures were not memorable ones. Bela was the monster in the 1943 Frankenstein Meets Wolfman. He donned the Dracula cape for the 1948 Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein. Bela was cast in Plan 9 from Outer Space. Test footage of the actor was inserted into the motion picture after Bela passed. So Bela actually returned from the grave in finest vampire fashion for his final role.