aka Bela Ferenc Dezso Blasko (or Bela Lugosi Blasko)
Born October 22, 1882 in Lugos, Hungary*. Died August 16, 1956 in Los Angeles, California. Was trained at the Budapest Academy of Fine Arts and his study was specialized in the dramatic arts. Was member number 28 of the Screen Actors Guild. Trained in Shakespeare in his native Hungary, but was reduced to type roles following the success of the 1931 Dracula film.
He once was quoted as saying
"In Hungary acting is a career for which one fits himself as earnestly and studiously as one studies for a degree in medicine, law or philosophy. In Hungary, acting is a profession."
He appeared on Broadway for the 1927 stage production of Dracula* before taking the titular role in the Tod Browning film of 1931 which consequently made Lugosi a film star but typecast him for the rest of his career (for example he appeared in a 6-month run of Dracula while in England for 6 months).
Lugosi's morphine addiction
Lugosi began receiving morphine treatments for physical pain in his legs around the time of the making of the 1935 Mark of the Vampire.
"Methadone treatment, with its heinous side-effects, was virtually unknown throughout most of the world until the 1960s; but it had been developed in England during the late thirties, and something was known there of its effect in treating addiction. Bela had journeyed to England in 1938, anxious for a methadone cure. He later said, "I smuggled a box of it back. I guess I bought a pound." Treating himself under methadone in the privacy of his home, Lugosi eventually realized to his despair that he had traded one drug problem for another. He said "I didn't eat. I got sicker and sicker." From Heroes of the Horrors, by Calvin Beck. Page 101. MacMillan Publishing, 1975.
* Sometimes Bela Lugosi's birth year is reported as 1880, 1882, and 1889.
Bela and Poe
Bela Lugosi in the Edgar Allan Poe adaptation of The Raven from Universal Pictures in 1934. The film itself had very little to do with the Poe poem, and though it utilized some elements from other Poe stories, was instead a portrait of a madman obsessed with the famous American mystery & horror writer.
More about Poe at eeweems.com
Bela Lugosi is shepherd Ygor who rescues the monster (Lon Chaney) from a sulfur pit. Dr. Frankenstein's other son (Cedric Hardwicke) is on hand, and everything gets complicated quickly once the plot starts whirring.
All of the Bela Lugosi Films
1917 | Masked Ball | Role: René (Bela credited under the name of Olt Arisztid) (original title Alarcosbal i.e., Masquerade Ball) Phoenix Films, Budapest, Hungary Released March 11, 1918
1917 | Leoni Leo | Role: Leoni Leo (Bela credited under the name of Olt Arisztid)
1918 | Lili | Role: Plinchard / General (as Arisztid Olt) Released January 7, 1918
1918 | Der Fluch der bosen Tat | (Bela credited under the name of Olt Arisztid)
1918 | Kuzdelem a Letert | Role: Orlay Pal (Bela credited under the name of Olt Arisztid)
1918 | 99 | Role: Kurt Lingner (credited as Albert Lugesi) (Note: This film was directed by Michael Curtiz, who began his career in Hungary in 1912 using his native Hungarian name of Mihály Kertész) Released Sepetember 2, 1918
1918 | Lulu | (Bela credited under the name of Olt Arisztid) (Note: This film was directed by Michael Curtiz)
1918 | The Colonel | Role: Ezredes (Bela credited under the name of Olt Arisztid) Released December 18, 1918 (Note: This film was directed by Michael Curtiz)
1918 | Tavaszi vihar ("Spring Tempest") | Role: Renner the landlord, the husband (Bela credited under the name of Olt Arisztid) Released on April 22, 1918
1918 | A Regiseggyujto ("The Antiques Collector") | Role: Unknown (Bela credited under the name of Olt Arisztid) Released March 6, 1918
1918 | Naszdal ("The Wedding Song") | Role: Bertram, a violinist (Bela credited under the name of Olt Arisztid) Released April 8, 1918
1918 | Az elet kiralya ("King of Life," or "Struggle of Life") | Role: Lord Henry Wotton (Bela credited under the name of Olt Arisztid). This is listed as an adaptation of the Oscar Wilde story The Picture of Dorian Gray. Released July 1, 1918. (The Bela Lugosi web site seems to conflate this film with the another 1918 film The Leopard, that leopard, advertised in Hungarian film trade publications, may in fact have been a different title for this film Az elet kiralya).
1918 | A Leopard | Role: Cox, an architect (Bela credited under the name of Olt Arisztid) (Note: Apparently adapted by Jozsef Pakots from works by French Novelist Alphonse Daudet who lived 1840–1897, and had a work titled "The Struggle of Life")
1919 | Casanova | Role: Casanova - - This film is disputed by Bela Lugosi Jr as being a film his father appeared in. He says that though trade advertisements showed promotional material for Bela to appear in the role of Casanova, Alfred Deesy actually is listed in the film credits in the role, and Bela Lugosi is not included in those credits at all.
Films in German
1920 | Hypnosis aka Sklaven fremden Willens ("Slaves of an alien will") | Role: Professor Mors. Released January 3, 1920.
1919 | Nachenschnur des tot (i.e, Necklace of the Dead, or Necklace of Death) | Role:
1920 | Der Fluch der Menschheit ("The Curse of Mankind" Released in two parts, first being titled Die Tochter der Arbeit (The Daughter of Work) | Role: Andrew Fleurot
1920 | Der Fluch der Menschheit Part 2 - aka Im Rausche der Milliarden (Intoxicated by Billions).
1920 | Die Teufelsanbeter ("The Devil Worshipers") | Note: The Bela Lugosi website says there's no information about what part Bela played in this production.
1920 | Caravan of Death | Role: Scheik
1920 | Lederstrumpf, 2. Teil: Der Letzte der Mohikaner | Role: Chingachook
1920 | Die Frau im Delphin, oder 30 Tage auf dem Meeresgrund | Role: Tom Bill
1920 | Auf den Trümmern des Paradieses | Role:
1920 | Das ganze Sein ist flammend Leid ("Flaming Sorrow of existence") | Released September 1920.
1920 | Lederstrumpf I ("Leatherstocking" Part 1, adaptation of Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper) | Role: Chingachgook. Released November 10, 1920. (Also titled at IMDB as Lederstrumpf, 1. Teil: Der Letzte der Mohikaner)
1920 | Die Sklavenhalter von Kansas-City ("The Slave Owner of Kansas City") | Role: George Corvin. Released August 6, 1920.
1920 | Nat Pinkerton im Kampf,1. Teil - Das Ende des Artisten Bartolini | Role: Gang Leader. Released August 7, 1920.
1920 | Lederstrumpf II ("Leatherstocking") | Role: Chingachgook. Released November 10, 1920. (Also titled at IMDB as Lederstrumpf, 2. Teil: Der Letzte der Mohikaner)
1920 | Schrecken aka The Head of Janus ("The Terror") | Role: Dr. Warren’s Diener. Released December 26, 1920.
1921 | Apachenrache, 3. Teil - Die verschwundene Million | Role:
1922 | Ihre Hoheit die Tänzerin | Role:
1923 | The Silent Command | Role: Hisston (credits list him as Belo Lugosi)
1924 | He Who Gets Slapped | Role: Clown (uncredited - Bela Lugosi Jr has doubts whether Bela appeared in the film, though there are images that show Bela on the set visiting Lon Chaney.)
1924 | The Rejected Woman | Role: Jean Gagnon
1925 | Daughters Who Pay | Role: Serge Romonsky
1925 | The Midnight Girl | Role: Nicholas Harmon
1926 | Punchinello (Short) | Role: Harlequin
1928 | How to Handle Women | Role: Diplomat Aide
1929 | The Thirteenth Chair | Role: Inspector Delzante
1929 | The Last Performance | Role: Erik’s Screen Voice in the Hungarian Version
1929 | Prisoners | Role: Brottos - Nightclub Owner
1929 | The Veiled Woman | Role: Murdered Suitor
1930 | Oh, for a Man! | Role: Frescatti
1930 | Viennese Nights | Role: Count von Ratz - Hungarian Ambassador
1930 | Renegades | Role: The Marabout - the Sheik Muhammed Halid
1930 | Wild Company | Role: Felix Brown
1930 | King of Jazz | Role: Emcee - Hungarian Version
1930 | Such Men Are Dangerous | Role: Dr. Goodman
1931 | Broadminded | Role: Pancho Arango
1931 | The Black Camel | Role: Tarneverro
1931 | Women of All Nations | Role: Prince Hassan
1931 | 50 Million Frenchmen | Role: Orizon - a Magician
1931 | Dracula | Role: Count Dracula
1932 | Island of Lost Souls | Role: Sayer of the Law
1932 | The Death Kiss | Role: Joseph Steiner
1932 | Chandu the Magician | Role: Roxor the Magician
1932 | White Zombie | Role: ‘Murder’ Legendre
1932 | Murders in the Rue Morgue | Role: Dr. Mirakle
1933 | The Devil’s in Love | Role: Military Prosecutor
1933 | International House | Role: General Nicholas Branovsky Petronovich
1933 | Night of Terror | Role: Degar
1933 | The Whispering Shadow | Role: Professor Adam Anton Strang
1933 | Hollywood on Parade No. A-8 | Role: Dracula (Note: A film short)
1934 | The Mysterious Mr. Wong | Role: Mr. Fu Wong aka Li See (listed as Béla Lugosi)
1934 | The Return of Chandu | Role: Frank Chandler - Chandu
1934 | Gift of Gab | Role: French Apache Dancer
1934 | The Black Cat | Role: Dr. Vitus Werdegast
1935 | Phantom Ship | Role: Anton Lorenzen / A. Gottlieb
1935 | Murder by Television | Role: Dr. Arthur Perry / Edwin Perry
1935 | Chandu on the Magic Island | Role: Frank Chandler - Chandu
1935 | The Raven | Role: Dr. Richard Vollin
1935 | Mark of the Vampire | Role: Count Mora
1935 | The Best Man Wins | Role: Doc Boehm
1936 | I Shadow of Chinatown | Role: Victor Poten
1936 | Postal Inspector | Role: Gregory Benez
1936 | The Invisible Ray | Role: Dr. Felix Benet
1937 | SOS Coast Guard | Role: Boroff
1939 | Ninotchka | Role: Administrator Razinin
1939 | The Human Monster | Role: Dr. Feodor Orloff
1939 | The Gorilla | Role: Peters
1939 | Son of Frankenstein | Role: Ygor the Hunchback
1939 | The Phantom Creeps | Role: Dr. Alex Zorka
1940 | You’ll Find Out | Role: Prince Saliano
1940 | Fantasia | Segment: Night on Bald Mountain (Lugosi had the uncredited role as the artist model for the devil appearing in the segment)
1940 | The Devil Bat | Role: Dr. Paul Carruthers
1940 | Black Friday | Role: Eric Marnay
1940 | The Saint’s Double Trouble | Role: The Partner
1941 | The Wolf Man | Role: Bela the Gypsy
1941 | Spooks Run Wild | Role: Nardo
1941 | The Black Cat | Role: Eduardo Vigos
1941 | Invisible Ghost | Role: Charles Kessler
1942 | Bowery at Midnight | Role: Professor Brenner aka Karl Wagner
1942 | Night Monster | Role: Rolf
1942 | The Corpse Vanishes | Role: Dr. George Lorenz
1942 | The Ghost of Frankenstein | Role: Ygor the Hunchback
1942 | Black Dragons | Role: Dr. Melcher aka Monsieur Colomb a Prisoner
1943 | The Return of the Vampire | Role: Armand Tesla / Dr. Hugo Bruckner
1943 | Ghosts on the Loose | Role: Emil
1943 | Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man | Role: The Frankenstein Monster
1943 | The Ape Man | Role: Dr. James Brewster
1944 | One Body Too Many | Role: Merkil
1944 | Return of the Ape Man | Role: Prof. Dexter
1944 | Voodoo Man | Role: Dr. Marlowe
1945 | Zombies on Broadway | Role: Professor Paul Renault
1945 | The Body Snatcher | Role: Joseph
1946 | Genius at Work | Role: Stone
1947 | Scared to Death | Role: Prof. Leonide
1948 | Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein | Role: Count Dracula
1949 | Suspense (TV Show) | Role: Fortunato in A Cask of Amontillado (1949)
1950 | The Paul Winchell Show (TV Series) | Role: Count Dracula - broadcast October 2, 1950
1952 | Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla | Role: Dr. Zabor
1952 | Vampire Over London | Role: The Vampire
1953 | Glen or Glenda | Role: Scientist
1955 | Bride of the Monster | Role: Dr. Eric Vornoff
1956 | The Black Sleep | Role: Casimir
More Bela Links:
Official Bela Lugosi Web Site (Run by Bela Lugosi, Jr)
Bela Lugosi, the Ultimate Dracula - article at Far Out Magazine UK
Original page May 2009 | Updated March 2018