Bela Lugosi - Rotten Tomatoes

Bela Lugosi

Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Lugos, Austria-Hungary. [now Lugoj, Romania]
At the peak of his career in the early '30s, actor Bela Lugosi was the screen's most notorious personification of evil; the most famous and enduring Dracula, he helped usher in an era of new popularity for the horror genre, only to see his own fame quickly evaporate. Béla Ferenc Dezsõ Blaskó was born in Lugos, Hungary, on October 20, 1882. After seeing a touring repertory company as they passed through town, he became fascinated by acting, and began spending all of his time mounting his own dramatic productions with the aid of other children. Upon the death of his father in 1894, Lugosi apprenticed as a miner, later working on the railroad. His first professional theatrical job was as a chorus boy in an operetta, followed by a stint at the Budapest Academy of Theatrical Arts. By 1901, he was a leading actor with Hungary's Royal National Theatre, and around 1917 began appearing in films (sometimes under the name Arisztid Olt) beginning with A Régiséggyüjtö. Lugosi was also intensely active in politics, and he organized an actors' union following the 1918 collapse of the Hungarian monarchy; however, when the leftist forces were defeated a year later he fled to Germany, where he resumed his prolific film career with 1920's Der Wildtöter und Chingachgook. Lugosi remained in Germany through 1921, when he emigrated to the United States. He made his American film debut in 1923's The Silent Command, but struggled to find further work, cast primarily in exotic bit roles on stage and screen. His grasp of English was virtually non-existent, and he learned his lines phonetically, resulting in an accented, resonant baritone which made his readings among the most distinctive and imitated in performing history. In 1924, Lugosi signed on to direct a drama titled The Right to Dream, but unable to communicate with his cast and crew he was quickly fired; he sued the producers, but was found by the court to be unable to helm a theatrical production and was ordered to pay fines totalling close to 70 dollars. When he refused, the contents of his apartment were auctioned off to pay his court costs -- an inauspicious beginning to his life in America, indeed. Lugosi's future remained grim, but in 1927 he was miraculously cast to play the title character in the Broadway adaptation of the Bram Stoker vampire tale Dracula; reviews were poor, but the production was a hit, and he spent three years in the role. In 1929, Lugosi married a wealthy San Francisco widow named Beatrice Weeks, a union which lasted all of three days; their divorce, which named Clara Bow as the other woman, was a media sensation, and it launched him to national notoriety. After a series of subsequent films, however, Lugosi again faded from view until 1931, when he was tapped to reprise his Dracula portrayal on the big screen. He was Universal executives' last choice for the role -- they wanted Lon Chaney Sr., but he was suffering from cancer -- while director Tod Browning insisted upon casting an unknown. When no other suitable choice arose, however, only Lugosi met with mutual, if grudging, agreement. Much to the shock of all involved, Dracula was a massive hit. Despite considerable studio re-editing, it was moody and atmospheric, and remains among the most influential films in American cinema. Dracula also rocketed Lugosi to international fame, and he was immediately offered the role of the monster in James Whale's Frankenstein; he refused -- in order to attach himself to a picture titled Quasimodo -- and the part instead went to Boris Karloff. The project never went beyond the planning stages, however, and in a sense Lugosi's career never righted itself; he remained a prolific screen presence, but the enduring fame which appeared within his reach was lost forever. Moreover, he was eternally typecast: Throughout the remainder of the decade and well into the 1940s, he appeared in a prolific string of horror films, some good (1932's Island of Lost Souls and 1934's The Black Cat, the

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Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
61% Extraordinary Tales
  • Narrator: The Tell-Tale Heart (archive footage)
2015
No Score Yet White Zombie
  • Actor
2014
No Score Yet RiffTrax: Plan 9 from Outer Space: LIVE! Nashville 2009
  • Actor
2009
No Score Yet Voodoo Man
  • Dr. Richard Marlowe
2009
100% Spine Tingler: The William Castle Story
  • Actor
2007
No Score Yet Terror in the Pharaoh's Tomb
  • Actor
2007
No Score Yet Apartment 51: The Devil Bat
  • Actor
2004
No Score Yet Heroes of Horror
  • Actor
2001
No Score Yet Ghosts On The Loose
  • Actor
2000
No Score Yet The Return of Chandu (Chandu's Return) (The Return of Chandu the Magician)
  • Actor
2000
No Score Yet Black Dragons
  • Actor
1999
No Score Yet Lugosi - Hollywood's Dracula
  • Actor
1997
No Score Yet The Haunted World of Edward D. Wood Jr.
  • Actor
1996
No Score Yet Ed Wood: Look Back in Angora
  • Actor
1994
41% Innocent Blood
  • Count Dracula
1992
No Score Yet Bela Lugosi: The Forgotten King
  • Actor
1988
No Score Yet Monsters and Maniacs
  • Actor
1988
No Score Yet Mondo Lugosi: A Vampire's Scrapbook
  • Actor
1986
41% Into the Night
  • Count Dracula
1985
57% Terror in the Aisles
  • Actor
1984
20% Murders in the Rue Morgue
  • Actor
1971
67% Plan 9 from Outer Space
  • Ghoul Man
1959
No Score Yet The Black Sleep
  • Casimir
1956
45% Bride of the Monster
  • Dr. Eric Vornoff
1955
35% Glen or Glenda?
  • Scientist
1953
No Score Yet My Son, the Vampire
  • Von Housen
1952
No Score Yet Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla
  • Dr. Zabor
1952
88% Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein
  • Count Dracula
1948
No Score Yet Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome (Dick Tracy Meets Karloff)(Dick Tracy's Amazing Adventure)
  • Actor
1947
63% Scared to Death
  • Prof. Leonide
1947
81% The Body Snatcher
  • Joseph
1945
No Score Yet One Body Too Many
  • Merkil
1944
60% The Return of the Vampire
  • Armand Tesla
1944
No Score Yet Return of the Ape Man
  • Prof. Dexter
1944
No Score Yet Zombies on Broadway
  • Dr. Paul Renault
1944
No Score Yet Ghosts on the Loose
  • Emil
1943
25% Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man
  • The Monster
1943
No Score Yet The Ape Man
  • Dr. James Brewster
1943
75% Ghost of Frankenstein
  • Ygor
1942
40% Bowery at Midnight
  • Prof. Frederick Brenner, alias Karl Wagner
1942
No Score Yet Night Monster (House of Mystery)
  • Rolf the Butler
1942
No Score Yet Black Dragons
  • Dr. Melcher/Monsieur Colomb
1942
No Score Yet The Corpse Vanishes
  • Dr. George Lorenz
1942
94% The Wolf Man
  • Bela
1941
No Score Yet The Black Cat
  • Eduardo
1941
No Score Yet Spooks Run Wild
  • Nardo
1941
No Score Yet Invisible Ghost
  • Dr. Charles Kessler
1941
55% The Devil Bat
  • Dr. Paul Carruthers
1940
96% Fantasia
  • Model for Tchernabog
1940
No Score Yet You'll Find Out (Here Come the Boogie Men)
  • Prince Saliano
1940
No Score Yet The Dark Eyes of London (Dead Eyes of London) (The Human Monster) (Dr. Orloff)
  • Dr. Orloff
1940
No Score Yet The Saint's Double Trouble
  • Partner
1940
97% Ninotchka
  • Commissar Razinin
1939
No Score Yet The Gorilla
  • Peters
1939
No Score Yet Mystery of Mr. Wong
  • Actor
1939
91% Son of Frankenstein
  • Ygor
1939
No Score Yet The Phantom Creeps
  • Zorka
1939
No Score Yet S.O.S. Coast Guard
  • Boroff
1937
No Score Yet Phantom Ship
  • Anton Lorenzen / A. Gottlieb
1936
No Score Yet Shadow of Chinatown
  • Actor
1936
No Score Yet Postal Inspector
  • Gregory Benez
1936
46% Dracula's Daughter
  • Doctor's Assistant (masked)
1936
63% The Invisible Ray
  • Dr. Felix Benet
1936
No Score Yet Murder by Television
  • Dr. Arthur Perry / Edwin Perry
1935
100% The Raven
  • Dr. Richard Vollin
1935
79% Mark of the Vampire
  • Count Mora
1935
No Score Yet Chandu on the Magic Island
  • Actor
1934
No Score Yet Mysterious Mr. Wong
  • Mr. Fu Wong/Li See
1934
No Score Yet Black Friday
  • Actor
1934
No Score Yet Gift of Gab
  • Man in closet
1934
No Score Yet The Return of Chandu
  • Chandu
1934
87% The Black Cat
  • Dr. Vitus Verdegast
1934
No Score Yet Night of Terror
  • Degar
1933
No Score Yet International House
  • General Nicholas Branovsky Petronovich
1933
96% Island of Lost Souls
  • Sayer of the Law
1933
No Score Yet The Death Kiss
  • Joseph Steiner
1932
No Score Yet Chandu the Magician
  • Roxor
1932
89% White Zombie
  • Murder Legendre
1932
83% Murders in the Rue Morgue
  • Dr. Mirakle
1932
No Score Yet Charlie Chan in the Black Camel
  • Arthur Mayo
1931
91% Dracula
  • Count Dracula
1931
No Score Yet The Thirteenth Chair
  • Inspector Delzante
1929
No Score Yet Daughters Who Pay
  • Serge Oumansky
1925
No Score Yet The Midnight Girl
  • Nicholas Schuyler
1925
No Score Yet Deerslayer and Chingachgook
  • Chingachgook
1920
No Score Yet Der Januskopf (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) (The Head of Janus)
  • Actor
1920
No Score Yet Daughter of the Night
  • Actor
1920

Quotes from Bela Lugosi's Characters