Celebrity Birthday of the Day – October 20

Yesterday was Tor Johnson’s birthday, and today is the birthday of another star of Plan 9 From Outer Space – albeit one who was sort of tacked onto Plan 9 – Bela Lugosi! Odds are, when you think of Dracula, you think of Dracula as portrayed by Bela Lugosi. Lugosi began acting at an early age and continued the craft throughout his life, even as he served in World War 1. He acted in a few Hungarian silent films before heading to America and acting in stageplays. In 1927, Lugosi played Dracula on the Broadway stage, and was later called upon to play the role in the classic Universal horror film about the famous vampire (rumour has it Universal wanted Lon Chaney to play Dracula, but after Chaney’s death they chose Lugosi). The role of Dracula would come to follow Lugosi for the rest of his career and, much to his chagrin, he wound up playing the villain in loads of b-horror movies such as Son of Frankenstein, Murders at the Rue Morgue, and White Zombie. In his later years, Lugosi struggled with drug addiction and, after making a few films with notorious director Ed Wood, checked himself into rehab, becoming one of the first Hollywood celebrities to do so publicly. Lugosi died of a heart attack in 1956 at the age of 73, leaving behind the most iconic portrayal of Count Dracula ever to be captured on film.

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