In 1956, which actor was buried in a 'Dracula' costume?
Hungarian actor Bela Lugosi (1882-1956) is best known for playing the role of Count Dracula in the 1931 film 'Dracula'. Despite starring in other films, he was mostly remembered as the man who played Dracula, which he initially resented. Yet, after his death, he was buried wearing a replica of Dracula's cape. The original cape he wore on screen was given to his son.
Due to his role as Dracula, Bela Lugosi was hailed as the 'King of Horror', a legacy that remained long after his death. He set the precedent for the accepted portrayal the vampire, why many actors and directors have tried to replicate ever since.
The film 'Dracula' was based upon the book of the same name by Bram Stoker (1847-1912). Written as a series of letters and diary entries, the novel concerns the movements of a vampire, who arrives overseas in the English seaside town of Whitby, Yorkshire. A group led by Abraham Van Helsing are determined to hunt Dracula down and eventually kill him.
Lugosi first performed the role of Dracula on stage, which persuaded Universal Studios to hire him for the film adaptation. Lugosi was a relatively unknown actor at the time. The success of the film made Lugosi an international star.
Bela Lugosi died of a heart attack in 1956 and was buried in his full Dracula costume in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California. Contrary to popular belief, Lugosi did not request to be buried in the cape; it was his son's idea.