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He Casts A Long Shadow (Or DOES He?) [Happy Birthday Bela Lugosi!

 Born on October 20th 1882, Hungarian actor Bela Lugosi started his career like many of his era with stage roles, eventually landing the role that would cement his place in history.

In 1927 he was approached to play the immortal Bram Stoker vampire Dracula, and played him to great success. Despite that, he was on the bottom of the list of Carl Laemmle's potential choices to play The Count. However, destiny was fulfilled and the rest is history.

There are many a great actor who have played Count Dracula. But Lugosi's image as Count Dracula has been imbedded into the culture and his place in horror history is as secure as an earthquake proof building.

Sadly he was never able to get out of that casting (though he played some very interesting parts afterwards, including Ygor in "Son Of Frankenstein, Boris Karloff's final performance as the Frankenstein monster) and fell victim to bad habits before passing away on August 16th 1956 at 73. Like many typecast actors of the day, there was little room to show his range as an actor. 

Having said that, he lives on in film. More so than many of his era or since. And that's something I believe many an actor and actress want for their own career.

I grew up with the image of Dracula. He is the image of Dracula. Despite the marvelous performances of Sir Christopher Lee, Frank Langella, Gary Oldman, and others, his 'shadow' is long and unshakable. Very few can deny that. Not many actors have such a stranglehold on a role as he does. And the part was already an immortal creation thanks to Bram Stoker's novel. What an accomplishment! 

Happy birthday to the great Bela Lugosi!








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