Bela Lugosi (1882-1956; born Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó) was a Hungarian-born stage and screen actor mostly known for his work in horror movies, in particular the title role in the 1931 version of Dracula. Following this film's success, he suffered severely from type-casting and the limitations of his heavy native accent, and spent the vast bulk of his career eking out a living in various low-budget productions, culminating (if that is the word) in his work with director Ed Wood.
He worked on several occasions with/was overshadowed by Boris Karloff. He managed to make a sort of comeback in death, however, when Martin Landau won an Oscar for his brilliant potrayal of Lugosi in Tim Burton's 1994 film Ed Wood.
Other notable or infamous movies in which he appeared: White Zombie, Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Wolf Man, Son of Frankenstein (as Ygor, generally regarded as one of his best performances), The Ghost of Frankenstein, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, Glen or Glenda and Plan 9 from Outer Space. He also had a supporting role in the classic Greta Garbo comedy Ninotchka, and many Mystery Science Theater 3000 fans will also remember him from the serial The Phantom Creeps ("Zees vill zimplify everytink!"), as well as the movie Bride of the Monster ("He tampered in God's domain").
Also rather well known for being dead.
Bela Lugosi is known for these tropes:
- All in the Eyes: Multiple movies would make good use out of an illuminated close-up of Lugosi's. Dracula aside, both White Zombie and its sequel (which Béla wasn't actually in, funny enough) used this effect.
- Many people say that Bela wasn't that great of an actor, but pretty much everyone agrees that those eyes of his... those eyes... eyes that pierce you to your very soul. There is no escaping them... Uh. That is to say: Most people agree that he could use his eyes to amazing effect.
- Badass Cape
- Black Cloak: Buried with one, too, at his request.
- Catch Phrase:
- "I never drink.... wine."
- "Pull the strings!"
- Classical Movie Vampire: He was the original.
- Compelling Voice
- Creator Backlash: Lugosi and Dracula. In his own words, Dracula ended up being both "a curse and a blessing".
- Dramatic Pause: Somewhat justified in the fact that English is quite different from Hungarian (so different that the heavy accent it leaves when transitioning to English probably made his English sound worse than it actually did to most people. He was actually a very good speaker!) In fact, in 1934's The Black Cat, he has a small bit of dialogue in Hungarian, and naturally, the delivery of it flows like melted butter.
- Gallows Humor: It's been attributed, to quite a few people, that someone said at Lugosi's funeral; "Should we put a stake through him...just in case?"
- Gosh Dang It to Heck: Bela Lugosi did not swear (not much, anyway), but Ed Wood made him give a whole lot of it.
- I Do Not Drink Wine: Dracula didn't, but Béla? It's said he was quite a fan.
- The Igor: His role in Son of Frankenstein helped codify this trope. He's the original Ygor!
- Large Ham: He made it work, though.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: The man's name, and most of his characters.
- Stage Name: He was born Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó, and took the name Lugosi from his hometown of Lugos, Hungary (which is now Lugoj, Romania).
- Typecasting: The posterboy of the trope, sadly.
- Lugosi before Dracula had been a romantic lead in European, mostly Hungarian, films during the Silent Era. The only time he managed to get such a role in the United States was in Ninotchka.
- Playing Against Type - Lugosi played the title hero in the serial "The Return of Chandu" (A sequel to the serial where Lugosi played Chandu's nemesis.).
- Universal Horror: The genre in which he did his most famous work.
- Vampires Are Sex Gods
- Vampire Vords: Ironically enough, he had no problems pronouncing his W's.
- White Dwarf Starlet