Monday, March 12, 2007


I've always been intrigued with celebrities, but not in the way that most people find flattering. Achievements and awards reveal little other than occupational talents. No, what I find most interesting is when we get a rare glimpse into a celebrities' life struggles. Only a fool would believe the Hollywood machine hype that a successful actor lives the "good life" 24/7. It's in these personal moments of strife and disappointment, when I can finally begin to appreciate the "celebrity" as a real life individual. I become interested in them in a more genuine way other than just being a "big fan" of their movies.

For the sake of staying on topic with classic horror, let's take a look at the infamous struggle that Bela Lugosi experienced late in his life. Yes, we all know that Bela was a wonderful actor who's role in Dracula is forever sealed as the last word on Dracula. There can be be no doubt; Bela was, and still is Dracula. There will never be another performance as convincing as his. But was his entering a sanitarium for drug addiction a performance too? I think not. Maybe if it had been the year 2007 where it's now considered chic to enter into a drug rehab. After all, celebrities often enter rehab nowadays just to get some good press right before one of their pictures opens up at the box office. Singers who are releasing albums are no exception to this rule either. Whether you have a therapist, or you go straight into rehab, it's now considered as common and as acceptable as getting your nails done.

But Bela had decided to enter the sanitarium (as it was called back then) in the year 1955 (not 2007) for an addiction to methadone. Methadone is an opiate that was prescribed by Lugosi's doctors to alleviate chronic pain due to injuries received during military service. Entering into rehab for a drug addiction was not a "cool thing to do" in the year 1955. In fact, it could be the kiss of death for a celebrities career. It was still somewhat taboo and it had had a stigma that couldn't be easily shaken. There was nothing cavalier about admitting one's self into a sanitarium in the year 1955. That is unless you had no career left worth saving. Maybe Bela was ahead of his time. It has been said many times before that this was Bela's way of getting some attention as well as getting back at his ex wife Lillian for leaving him. I believe there's more than a sliver of truth to that! But I believe, as many do, that Lugosi was also a full blown drug addict who was desperately in need of help. If this was a performance, it was method acting at it's finest, and I'm sure it came easy for Bela.

Here is a rare glimpse of Bela leaving the sanitarium after a three month treatment and recovery. In the video, he claims he's fully recovered and is a new man who's ready to go back to work! Sadly enough, this is one of Bela's performances that isn't too convincing for me. After having viewed this footage it appears to me that this whole moment of Bela leaving the sanitarium was indeed staged. Not that I doubt that Bela was in need of some serious medical help, but his ego was also reaching out to anyone who would give him some more attention even if it meant exploiting his own demons for the sake of more camera time. Perhaps he killed two birds with one stone?

BTW, Britney Spears has nothing on Bela Lugosi. Lugosi still had his talent upon leaving rehab whereas Britney was left with only a bald head. I guess you had to have talent before you could loose it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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3:28 AM  

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