Bela Lugosi’s marriage to his third wife, Beatrice Weeks, a wealthy, widowed heiress, was as fiery as it was spectacularly short. In late July 1929, Bela Lugosi arrived in San Francisco with a touring company of Dracula. Within 10 days the couple wed and separated. Their divorce was made final in December. With their break-up linked to a torrid affair with screen siren Clara Bow, the story was splashed all over the tabloids.
Having long suffered from pulmonary disease, Beatrice Weeks died, age 34, in May 1931 in Colon, Panama from a swollen brain.
Beatrice Woodruff Weeks
Riverside Daily Press, July 24, 1929
Architect’s Widow Will Marry Star of Weird Mystery Play
REDWOOD CITY, July 24 (UP) – Mrs. Beatrice Woodruff Weeks, widow of San Francisco’s noted architect, will marry Bela Lugosi, who plays the leading role in Bram Stoker’s weird mystery play “Count Dracula,” it was learned today when the couple applied for a license.
Lugosi gave his address as Hollywood. The marriage will be a quiet one. The couple met in San Francisco last year when Lugosi had an engagement at one of the theatres.
The Oakland Post Enquirer, July 24, 1929
‘Dracula’ Star to Wed S.F. Woman
SAN FRANCISCO, July 24 (PCNS) – Driving to Redwood City before today’s performance of “Dracula,” Bela Lugosi, Hungarian stage star, and Mrs. Beatrice Woodruff Weeks, San Francisco society woman, applied for a marriage license at Redwood City. The wedding is scheduled for Saturday.
San Francisco Chronicle, July 24, 1929
The Oakland Post Enquirer, July 24, 1929
‘Dracula” Star to Wed S.F. Woman
San Francisco, July 24 (PCNS) – Driving to Redwood City before today’s performance of “Dracula,” Bela Lugosi, Hungarian stage star, and Mrs. Beatrice Woodruff Weeks, San Francisco society woman, applied for a marriage license at Redwood City. The wedding is scheduled for Saturday.
San Francisco Call-Post, July 24, 1929
Marriage Plans Of Actor Lugosi, Mrs. Weeks Bared
San Francisco’s rialto is buzzing with comment on a new romance in its midst today – a romance that will unite the star of a current mystery thriller and the widow of one of San Francisco’s noted architects.
The latest to join stagedom’s list of engaged couples are Bela Lugosi, Hungarian actor who is appearing in “Dracula” here, and Mrs. Beatrice Woodruff Weeks, widow of Charles Peter Weeks.
The forthcoming marriage of the pair was revealed yesterday when they applied for a marriage license at Redwood City. Lugosi met Mrs. Weeks a year ago, when “Dracula” came here for the first time. He lives in Hollywood.
The Los Angeles Herald, July 27, 1929
Lugosi, Star of ‘Dracula,’ Is Wed To Bay City Widow
By Pacific Coast News Service
REDWOOD CITY, Cal., July 27. – Bela Lugosi, 46, Hungarian star of the weird stage play, “Dracula,” and Mrs. Beatrice Woodruff Weeks, 32, widow of a distinguished San Francisco architect, were married here today by Justice of the Peace Edward I. McAuliffe.
They plan to go to Hollywood at the close of Lugosi’s present engagement in San Francisco.
San Francisco Examiner, July 28, 1929
Hungarian Stage Star Weds Widow Of S.F. Architect
REDWOOD CITY, July 27. – Bela Lugposi, Hungarian star of the stage play, “Dracula,” and Mrs. Beatrice Woodruff Weeks, widow of a distinguished San Francisco architect, were married here today.
The ceremony, which took place in the courtroom of Justice of the Peace Edward I. McAuliffe, drew the attention of many local townspeople who waited outside for the bridal couple.
The couple plan to make their residence at Lugosi’s Holltwood home, following the completion of the actor’s San Francisco engagement, it was announced.
Lugosi gave his age as 46, and Mrs. Weeks, 32.
San Francisco Chronicle, July 28, 1929
San Francisco Examiner, July 28, 1929
‘DRACULA’ FOUND OUT; SECRET OF LUGOSI REVEALED
By Ada Hanifin
Bela Lugosi’s reflection in the mirror was taking on a Mephistophelian cunning. With deft touches of grease, chalk and paint, he was fast evoking the likeness of “Dracula.” In a few moments, he would doff his smile and ingenious manner. Werewolves move with a sinister suavity…
It was after 8, when the man reputed to be Hungary’s greatest actor entered his dressing room backstage at the Columbia. Mystery had cloaked his movements during the day. He had disappeared with Dracula-like proclivity. No one could find him. Now that he was late he offered no explanation.
As he donned his mask with urgent rapidity, he talked volubly. He would be entertaining at any cost. There was a charm in his accent, but in his eyes! Conflicting emotions welled in their depths. Restless, evasive looks fenced with a persistent twinkle, and then gave way to a dreamy aspect that belied that mirrored wickedness of the 500-year-old arch villain.
Fellow Reporter Interrupts
Our speculative musings were unceremoniously interrupted by an unexpected knock at the door. A youth from The Examiner wanted to speak with the man in front of the glass.
Lugosi paused in the process of his make-up, leaving an eyebrow at a devilish angle. But the eyes beneath challenged his outward calm and nonchalant manner, and set his heart a beat faster.
“Name the woman,” came the command of the man on information bent. “Your secret is out. You’re to be sentenced for life. You can’t get away with anything like that. You may as well confess everything. You stole away to Redwood City today and applied for a marriage license…”
Lugosi’s make melted into a wide smile of resignation. He shrugged his shoulders. He was found out. It was “imposseeble” to hide from the all-inclusive eye of the American newspaper! He apologized and drew the curtain to seek refuge in the satanic garb of Count Dracula.
“Is she a blonde or a brunette—the bride to be?” We queried.
“Oooooooooooo,” came the lilted response. “I do not know.”
“You do not know,” was our surprised retort.
“No. You see, it is like this. The eyes got in the way. You understand…”
“It is a true romance,” he continued.
“Love is a divine thing. Sacred. I fell in love with Beatrice Weeks at first sight.”
“Are you going to drop your accent some day,” we ventured.
“Some tell me in Hollywood, ‘You lose your accent, you have many parts.’ Others say to me, ‘You lose your accent and you will be without a part.’ I do not know what to do. Then I meet my fiancée. She love the accent. So, I will keep it.”
“Marriage and a career?” He reiterated. “No, the Hungarians believe that the man should take care of the woman. Her divine profession is motherhood.”
San Francisco Chronicle, July 30, 1929
The Hollywood Citizen, August 7, 1929
Pair Will Reside Here For Short Time
Mr. and Mrs. Bela Lugosi(Beatrice Woodruff Weeks), whose marriage took place a short time ago at Redwood City, Calif., plan to make their home in Hollywood as soon as Mr. Lugosi is free to leave San Francisco after his professional engagement there. Their marriage was a quiet one, and was performed by Justice of the Peace Edward I. McAuliffe. The couple met a year ago at a reception at the Mare Island Navy Yard in Vallejo, and were introduced by Luigi Stilliti, Italian Consul-General in San Francisco.
The Toledo Blade, August 15, 1929
The film colony lost another attractive bachelor last week when word was received from San Francisco that Bela Lugosi, the Hungarian actor, had married Mrs. Beatrice Weeks in that city. While the picture business was tied up by Equity, Bela staved off the wolf by accepting a stage engagement in the northern city. He met Mrs. Weeks and it was a case of love at first sight. They will come back to Hollywood to a beautiful new home which Bela has just finished furnishing.
San Francisco Chronicle, August 23, 1929
Star of ‘Dracula’ Faces Divorce Suit
Bela Lugosi has the lead in the play “Dracula,” now at an Oakland theater,but he will play no lead part in the divorce action now confronting him in Reno.
“No doubt it is for the best,” he said last night in commenting on the departure of his wife for the Nevada city. “I am a Hungarian and my ideas as to what position a wife should have in the family are quite different from hers,”
They married in Redwood City July 27 and separated after four days.
Mrs. Lugosi was the widow of Charles Peter Weeks, San Francisco architect. She is the daughter of Lieutenant Commander John S. Woodruff.
San Francisco Chronicle, August 25, 1929
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, November 5, 1929
Clara Bow’s Engagement To Count Surprise to Kin
News of Clara Bow’s reported engagement to Count Bela Lugosi, the Hungarian actor, who took the leading role in “Dracula,” came as a surprise today to the screen actress’ relatives in Brooklyn.
Mrs. Eurilla Bow Decker of 37 Halsey st., an aunt, was inclined to consider the rumor as “just another story.”
“Of course you can’t tell what they’ll do in Hollywood,” she said. “But I haven’t heard anything about the engagement, either from Clara or from our relatives who are on the coast with her.
“I never believed Clara would marry Harry Richman, but the most she would say about it was “Wait and see,” she added.
The red-haired actress, who grew up in Brooklyn with her aunt, will go to Europe some time this month for a rest, Mrs. Decker said.
The Film Weekly, November 25, 1929
The Los Angeles Times, December 10, 1929
‘Dracula’ Star Same at Home
RENO, Dec. 9. – Bela Lugosi, star of “Dracula,” a play which has had long runs where it has been shown, carried his temperament into the home and was unable to cast aside his irascible part of the role when he entered his home, his wife, Beatrice W. Lugosi, testified in the divorce court here to substantiate her plea for divorce.
Lugosi, foreign and of noble birth, his wife testified, was temperamental to the extreme. His part in “Dracula” called for the display of a vicious disposition and Mrs. Lugosi indicated that he had a violent temper which he displayed towards her and the servants.
San Francisco Chronicle, December 10, 1929
San Francisco Chronicle, December 11, 1929
Hollywood News, December 11, 1929
Star of Stage Hit ‘Dracula,’ Divorced
Cruelty Is Charged
Count Bela Lugosi, famous star of the stage hit, “Dracula,” played the same roles in life that he did on the stage, his wife, Mrs. Beatrice Woodruff Lugosi stated in San Francisco.
Mrs. Lugosi, widow of Charles Peter Weeks, noted San Francisco architect, married the Hungarian actor while he was playing on the stage in that city in “Dracula.”
They were married at Redwood City, Calif., she testified, but they lived together but five days. Divorde was granted on grounds of cruelty. Lugosi lives in Hollywood.
The San Diego Union, December 11, 1929
SAYS ACTOR BROUGHT ‘MEAN’ PART INTO HOME
RENO, Dec. 10 (A.P.) – Bela Lugosi, star of the weird play “Dracula” which has had long runs where it has been shown, carried his temperament into the home and was unable to cast aside his irascible part of the role when he entered his home, his wife, Beatrice W. Lugosi testified in the divorce court here to substantiate her plea for a divorce.
San Francisco Call Bulletin, 1929
Bela Lugosi, star of “Dracula,” has returned to Hollywood to resume flick activities. Whilst playing in San Francisco some weeks ago Lugosi sprang surprise when he married Mrs. Beatrice Weeks. Four days later they separated, and Mrs. Lugosi is now in Reno waiting for her freedom.
The San Francisco Examiner, December 11, 1929
Former Mrs. Weeks Wins Name Petition
RENO (Nev), Dec. 10 -(AP) – Mrs. Beatrice Lugosi, who was granted a divorce here yesterday from Bela Lugosi, actor, was given permission to resume the name of Beatrice Weeks. She was the former wife of the late Charles Peter Weeks, San Francisco architect, who designed the Mark Hopkins Hotel and other prominent buildings.
Boston Herald, December 12, 1929
The New York Review, December 21. 1929
MRS. BELA LUGOSI GIVEN A DIVORCE
Wife of Star of “Dracula” Charges That He Was Cruel To Her
(Special to The New York Review)
Los Angeles, Dec. 19. – Count Bela Lugosi, star of the stage hit, “Dracula,” played the same roles in his life that he did on the stage, his wife, Mrs. Beatrice Woodruff Lugosi stated in San Francisco this week. Mrs. Lugosi, widow of Charles Peter Weeks, San Francisco architect, married the Hungarian actor while he was playing on the stage in that city in “Dracula.” They were married at Redwood City, Cal., she testified, but they lived together only five days. Divorce was granted on grounds of cruelty.
The Portland Journal, December 22, 1929
Bela Lugosi Loses Wife in Reno Court
Reno, Nev. – UP – Bela Lugosi, Hungarian actor who played the role of the “vampire” in the stage success, “Dracula,” retained the role in private life, charged Mrs. Beatrice Weeks, who obtained a divorce here from Lugosi on the grounds of extreme cruelty. Mrs. Weeks is the widow of Charles Peter Weeks, San Francisco architect, and the daughter of the late Lieutenant Commander John A. Woodruff of the bureau of law, United States shipping board, Washington D.C. They were married at Redwood City, Cal., July 27, and lived together only five days. Mrs. Weeks was allowed to maintain the name of her first husband.
Read more about Beatrice Weeks and her short-lived marriage to Bela Lugosi: