Béla Lugosi Signature on Autograph Album Page - 1944
Bold Pencil Signature with sentiment on autograph album page. Autograph comes from the collection of another actor of the same period.
Béla Lugosi (1882-1956) was a Hungarian-American actor of stage and screen, well known for playing Count Dracula in the Broadway play and subsequent film version. In the last years of his career he featured in several of Ed Wood’s low budget films.
Lugosi was approached in the summer of 1927 to star in a Broadway production of Dracula adapted by Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston from Bram Stoker’s novel. The Horace Liveright production was successful, running 261 performances before touring. He was soon called to Hollywood for character parts in early talkies.
Despite his critically acclaimed performance on stage, Lugosi was not Universal Pictures’ first choice for the role of Dracula when the company optioned the rights to the Deane play and began production in 1930. A persistent rumor asserts that director Tod Browning’s long-time collaborator Lon Chaney was Universal’s first choice for the role, and that Lugosi was chosen only due to Chaney’s death shortly before production. This is questionable, because Chaney had been under long-term contract to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer since 1925, and had negotiated a lucrative new contract just before his death. Following the success of Dracula, Lugosi received a studio contract with Universal.
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein was Bela Lugosi’s last “A” movie. For the remainder of his life he appeared-less and less frequently-in relatively obscure, low-budget features. Late in his life, Bela Lugosi again received star billing in movies when filmmaker Edward D. Wood, Jr., a fan of Lugosi, found him living in obscurity and near-poverty and offered him roles in his films, such as Glen or Glenda and as a Dr. Frankenstein-like mad scientist in Bride of the Monster. During post-production of the latter, Lugosi decided to seek treatment for his addiction, and the premiere of the film was said to be intended to help pay for his hospital expenses. According to Kitty Kelley’s biography of Frank Sinatra, when the entertainer heard of Lugosi’s problems, he helped with expenses and visited at the hospital. Lugosi would recall his amazement, since he didn’t even know Sinatra.
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