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Birth Name Bela Ferenc Dezso Blasko
Birthplace Lugos, Hungary (now Romania)
Born 20 October 1882
Died 16 August 1956
Bela Lugosi shot to stardom in the title role of the 1931 film version of Bram Stoker's Dracula and set the standard for movie vampires. A successful stage actor in his native Hungary and in Germany, he emigrated to the United States in the 1920s and played various character roles until grabbing the lead in the stage production of Dracula in 1927. Lugosi's talent for playing a villain led to a career of playing monsters and mad scientists, and it's generally accepted that he made a lot of bad choices. Some of his more memorable movies include The Black Cat (1934), Ninotchka (1939, starring Greta Garbo), The Wolfman (1941), and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948).
In 1955, Lugosi committed himself to an institution, admitting an addiction to methadone. In his last years, his personal life and career were on the skids, but he still worked a little in television and low-budget films. During this time he became friends with Tor Johnson. He died while working on what has been called one of the worst movies ever made, Plan 9 From Outer Space (released in 1959). On a happier note, his works increased in popularity after his death and he is now immortalized as a legendary horror movie actor.
Earlier in his life, Lugosi was decorated for his service in World War One where he fought on behalf of Austria-Hungary; he was forced from Hungary because of activism in support of actor's unions.2