Lugosi was born Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó in Lugos, Austria-Hungary, ironically, not far from the western border of Transylvania. At the age of 12 he left home to pursue an acting career and by the time he was in his 20's he had become the number 1 ranked actor in Hungarian theater, touring with the National Theater of Budapest.
Forced to flee Hungary after the 1919 Revolution, he immigrated to the United States in December 1920, landing in New Orleans but eventually making his way to Ellis Island in March 1921. He became a naturalized citizen in 1931.
Over the course of his acting career, Lugosi made 100+ films from 1917-1959 and appeared in 180+ stage productions from 1902-1956. His best known role, was of course, Count Dracula, which he was first approachd to play on Broadway in 1927. The production was hugely successful, running for 500 performances before going on the road for two years as a touring show. In 1931, due to the unexpected death of Lon Chaney, Lugosi put his cape back on and stepped into the lead role for Universal Studios in their movie release of Dracula.
As Lugosi himself once put it, playing Dracula was "a living, but also a
curse" and he never did shake the typecasting that came with the role. He passed away in 1956 at the age of 73 and was buried in his cape.
A partial list of Lugosi movies include such horror classics as Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Raven, Son of Frankenstein, The White Zombie, Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman, The Body Snatcher, Zombies on Broadway and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.