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He was born Bela Ferenc Dezso Blasko on October 20, 1882, in Hungary. He joined Budapest's National Theater in 1913 and later appeared in several Hungarian films under the pseudonym Arisztid Olt. After World War I, he helped the Communist regime nationalize Hungary's film industry, but barely escaped arrest when the government was deposed, fleeing to the United States in 1920. As he became a star in American horror films in the 1930s and 1940s, publicists and fan magazines crafted outlandish stories to create a new history for Lugosi. The cinema's Dracula was transformed into one of Hollywood's most mysterious actors. This exhaustive account of Lugosi's work in film, radio, theater, vaudeville and television provides an extensive biographical look at the actor. The enormous merchandising industry built around him is also examined.

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