Bela Lugosi photographed by Roman Freulich in the 1930s.
The Film Daily October 20, 1930
Filmograph, Hollywood, California, November 15, 1930
BELA LUGOSI BOOSTS CIVIC THEATRE IDEA
In a letter to notable actors and artists now in Hollywood, Bela Lugosi is urging their cooperation in the civic theatre movement in Los Angeles. Although Lugosi is not officially associated with the repertory theatre here, his interest in it comes from experience he has had with similar enterprises in Europe. His letter expresses the opinion that the future of drama in America is closely dependent upon these civic theatre movements.
Although he is now engaged in the screen production of Dracula at Universal, a role he had played several thousand times on the stage, he has volunteered his services to the civic theatre group to the extent of his ability.
The Republic, Phoenix, Arizona, December 16, 1930
POLTICAL UPHEAVAL IN HUGARY TOSSES
ACTOR INTO HOLLYWOOD
Bela Lugosi is a Versatile Actor
by Dan Thomas
Hollywood, Dec 15—A political upheaval in Hungary plus a pretty American girl equals Bela Lugosi, film star.
After being forced out of his native country back in 1921, Lugosi got a job on a tramp streamer bound for New Orleans. There he left the ship, and according to the law, was entitled to remain in this country for three months to look for another job. But he had no intention of following the sea. So, he went to New York to see the immigration authorities instead.
After explaining his status in his native land to them, the actor, who for several years had been a star of the Hungarian stage, prevailed upon them to let him remain here and become a citizen of the United States. But he couldn’t speak any English. So he organized a Hungarian dramatic company, of which he was the star, and toured cities which have a large enough Hungarian population to support his plays.
Fell in Love
Then the girl entered the picture. It was a case of love at first sight with both of them, despite the fact that neither could speak the other’s language.
“You know there is a language that is universal and it doesn’t require word to express it,” Lugosi remarked. “For a number of weeks that mutual understanding was our language. But she started to teach me English and in six months I could speak it well enough to get a role in an American play. I had to play the role of a foreigner, as I still had quite an accent, but I got by very well.”
Although Lugosi enjoyed considerable success in New York in all of his shows, it was playing the title role in Dracula that brought him the fame which now is his. That show was one of the most successful ever put on Broadway and brought Lugosi much personal acclaim. So when Universal started making the film version, they engaged Lugosi to play the role which he created behind the footlights. And he did so well that he was handed a five-year contract.
“Of course, it’s one of those contracts where the studio can keep me for five years if it wants to or I can let me go at any time,” said the actor. “That’s the way all contracts are written out here. The studios always have the best of things.”
Hollywood Puzzles Him
“I can’t say what I am going to do now that Dracula is finished. I have heard rumors that I am to make this and that picture, but I don’t know for sure. It seems that a person who is going to do something always is the last one to find out about it out here. I might even go back on the stage again sometime, but I’m not certain about that. I would like to stay in pictures at least long enough to live down the reputation I earned in Dracula.
“Things are so funny in this country. The minute an actor makes a particularly big hit in a certain role he is stamped as that type and I don’t want to be stamped. I am a character actor and want to prove to the producers and audiences that I can do more than one type of role.”
Lugosi s one of the interesting men and most finished actors we have run across in the film racket in some time. He knows his profession forward and backward. But his knowledge doesn’t end there. He can talk intelligently on almost any subject, although his pet pastime is studying human nature. Perhaps that explains his ability as an actor. Having studied all types and classes of persons he can inject realism into any part for which he is cast.