Thursday, July 30, 2009

The virginal brides file past his tomb…

Bela Lugosi, the iconic actor best known as Dracula, was a serial monogamist. He was married 5 times in his life; the shortest marriage lasted four months, the longest spanned twenty years.

Please cut me some slack on this one because it is very difficult to find exact details and wedding pictures from 1922!

Bela’s first marriage was in 1917 to Ilona “Baby” Szmick. He was 34, she was 16 (ew), and part of a very wealthy family.

I don’t know if this is a wedding photo, but they are both dressed very nicely and I LOVE her dress. I love all the soft layers around the shoulders and the simple jewelry. It is thought that her family supported him as he struggled through his early years of acting. In 1920, after Bela moved to Germany to pursue better roles, Baby’s wealthy, upstanding father pushed the divorce through the courts. Bela did not protest.

In 1921, Bela married his second Ilona – Ilona von Montagh de Nagybanyhegyes. The two met shortly after he moved to New York.

This is the only picture I could find of her – none of the couple. They were married for only two and a half years before she filed for divorce on the grounds of adultery.

After a five-year marriage hiatus, Bela married Beatrice Weeks on July 27, 1929. She was a wealthy widow, and like his first marriage, rumors of his gold-digging emerged.

The two lived together for just a few days before Beatrice left him, and four months after they were wed, she filed for divorce. Rumor alert! He was supposedly cheating on her with the infamously wild Clara Bow.

On January 31, 1933 Bela and Lillian Arch entered into his longest marriage. Lillian was Bela’s 19-year-old secretary. They married a year after they met.

The two were married for twenty years and had one child – Bela George. She was a patient woman, but eventually his strict work ethic began to wear on his family. She became unhappy. He quit his vices – alcohol and drugs – in an attempt to re-kindle the relationship, but she eventually left him and asked for nothing.

After twenty years, he was alone, and broken-hearted. [sniff]

Bela's final marriage was to Hope Lininger in 1955.

An actual wedding picture! Sadly, he looks high and she looks a little...crazy.
They really didn’t know much about each other – she was an admirer that had supposedly sent him numerous fan letters. The description from The Immortal Count makes her seem a bit like a fanatical Lugosi stan that flattered Bela into marriage. It was a rocky relationship, but the two stayed married until his death in 1956.

I only skimmed this book, but I definitely plan to go back and thoroughly read The Immortal Count. It has a ton of information about Bela Lugosi and his many, many wives.

Thank you very much to this site for all the photographs.



  1. AWESOME!!! I love this. Bela is the best. Well, maybe not the best to be married to, sounds like. Yikes!

  2. Yeah, I certainly wouldn't have wanted to know the guy, but his life was very interesting.



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