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Bela Lugosi in his cape

Bela Lugosi was not buried in his Dracula cape

Bela Lugosi was buried in his Dracula cape

Night night

Most people over a certain age know Bela Lugosi played Dracula in the famous black and white movie of the early 1930's, but when asked if he was buried actually wearing his Dracula cape are sure that's an urban myth, if they've heard of it at all.

It turns out to have a strange origin, but the story is true - he was buried in it.

He was born Bela Ferenc Dezso Blasko in 1882, in Lugos, Hungary which was not far from Transylvania. When he died in 1956, he was buried in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California, wearing a Dracula cape at the request of his wife and son who said it would have been what he wanted.

Rise and Fall

He'd already played Dracula on Broadway when the movie was being put together, so naturally thought he was a shoe-in for the role. However he wasn't, and it took a great deal of letter-writing and lobbying to get him there. The movie was a roaring success and made him an international star. Other roles came thick and fast, and Hollywood wanted to capitalize on the horror craze so turned their attention to Shelley's Frankenstein. Lugosi was offered the lead role, but on hearing he would be mute and heavily made-up, so he's be largely unrecognisable, turned down the role. A relatively unknown actor called Boris Karloff then took it, and it turned out to be an even bigger hit than Dracula. Bram's blunder was to be his undoing. He became typecast, despite taking some minor "regular" roles, but he slid slowly out of the limelight as he became overlooked again and again. He ultimately ended up in what has been described as "The worst Movie Ever Made" - Ed Wood's. Plan 9 From Outer Space.