Who was Béla Lugosi? Meet the main representative of terror

Who was Béla Lugosi?  Meet the main representative of terror

The gender horror is one of the broadest in contemporary cinema. With subgenres ranging from satire to gore, horror has big stars that represent it, the main one being the Hungarian actor Béla Lugosi.

Born in Be’la Ferenc Dezsõ Blasko, in 1882, in the then Austro-Hungarian Empire, Béla Lugosi ran away from home at the age of 11 after his father disapproved of his desire to be an actor. He left school and started to work as a miner and driver.

As a teenager, he started working in theater companies and, at the age of 20, got his first role. The following year, he decided to adopt the surname Lugosi, in honor of the city of Lugoj, where he was born.

Béla Lugosi

In 1911, he moved to Budapest. For Hungary, he offered to fight in the First World War. After facing enemies in different battles, in which he was wounded three times (causing him to depend on morphine), he was released from military service in 1916.

During the last two years of the war, Lugosi continued to act, but he had to leave his country in 1919, as he was accused of having formed a union and supporting the opposition to the Hungarian government. On that occasion, he left for the United States.

Life in the USA: Stardom and Fame

After fleeing, Béla Lugosi ended up stopping, clandestinely, in New Orleans. The actor had already made appearances in cinema, as in Germany, where he participated in films by director Karl May, but, in the United States, he started in manual labor before entering the American theater industry.

After a time acting only for immigrants, Lugosi got his first Broadway role in the 1922 play. Due to the successes of his appearances, he debuted in his first North American film, the melodrama and, five years later, starred in a Broadway production. do, by Bram Stoker. After another success in his career, he started to play the character in theaters, being immortalized in that role.

Béla Lugosi as Dracula

Following the positive result of his interpretation of the great vampire, he continued to star in horror films, such as (1935) and (1939).

After a long struggle, Lugosi finally managed to get out of the horror movies for a while, but Universal Studios insisted on the quality of his characterization as a vampire.

However, in 1936, with a change in command at Universal and due to the ban on horror films from the UK, the demand for that genre declined. As a result, Lugosi was downgraded to studio B films.


With his “demotion” to B films (his last film A was, in 1948), Lugosi’s career became increasingly difficult, mainly due to the scarcity of good roles. In addition, at the time, he began to suffer from some pain caused by the consequences of his participation in the First War.

He returned to the theater, still participating as Dracula, still participating in comedy films as the vampire, but he was no longer the same “Cinema Vampire”.

Ed Wood

Although forgotten, Béla Lugosi was found by Ed Wood, a B-film director and recognized as one of the worst directors of all time. With Wood, the actor participated in films like, from 1953, and from 1955.

With drug-related problems, Lugosi had his treatment paid for by the 1955 film crew and, in the same year, started a new project with Ed Wood,. Still as Dracula, Lugosi participated in scenes without a defined script, which resulted in the film, in which a good part was shot after the actor’s death on August 16, 1956.


Currently, Béla Lugosi has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and her story has inspired several musical and cinematographic productions, such as the song, by the band Bauhaus, and, mainly, the film (1994), by director Tim Burton.

Martin Landau as Béla Lugosi