Turhan Bey

Actor, Photographer, Director
As was true of Indian actor Sabu and Dominican leading lady Maria Montez, the ethnic otherness of Turhan Bey allowed moviegoers in the Golden Age of Hollywood to project upon his inscrutable features their most ... Read more »
Born: 03/29/1922 in Vienna, , AT

Filmography

Actor (22)

The Visitor 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

VR.5 1994 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

Murder, She Wrote 1993 - 1995 (Tv Show)

Actor

SeaQuest DSV 1993 - 1994 (Tv Show)

Actor

Healer 1993 (Movie)

Igor Vostovich (Actor)

Dragon Seed 1944 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Climax 1944 (Movie)

(Actor)

A Night in Paradise (Movie)

Aesop "Jason" (Actor)

A Yank on the Burma Road (Movie)

(Actor)

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (Movie)

Jamiel (Actor)

Background to Danger (Movie)

Hassan (Actor)

Burma Convoy (Movie)

Mr. Yuchau (Actor)

Footsteps in the Dark (Movie)

Ahmed (Actor)

Shadows on the Stairs (Movie)

Ram Singh (Actor)

Song of India (Movie)

Gopal (Actor)

Sudan (Movie)

Herua (Actor)

The Falcon Takes Over (Movie)

Jules Amthor (Actor)

The Gay Falcon (Movie)

Retana (Actor)

The Mad Ghoul (Movie)

Eric Iverson (Actor)

Universal Horror (TV Show)

Actor

White Savage (Movie)

Tamara (Actor)

Biography

As was true of Indian actor Sabu and Dominican leading lady Maria Montez, the ethnic otherness of Turhan Bey allowed moviegoers in the Golden Age of Hollywood to project upon his inscrutable features their most resplendent fantasies and darkest fears. With his true lineage a Turkish-Czechoslovakian split, Bey was often cast as Chinese, Japanese, Arabian, Mexican, Egyptian, Indian and Slavic characters, with their occupations never ranging far beyond the circle of career criminals, Nazi henchmen and bogus psychics. Never an A-list actor, Bey was paired occasionally with leading ladies of higher star wattage, such as Katherine Hepburn in "Dragon Seed" (1944) and Merle Oberon in "Night in Paradise" (1946). The height of his popularity came with appearances in a run of Universal Studio's Arabian Nights-style films, including "White Savage" (1942) and "Arthur Lubin's "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves" (1944). His highly-publicized affair with Lana Turner at the peak of their respective sex symbol powers also kept him a Photoplay regular. A regime change at Universal after World War II sent Bey packing to the independent studio Eagle-Lion, for whom he appeared in a handful of films before fleeing for his Austrian homeland. A late-life comeback proved the septuagenarian had lost none of his native charm, as a guest star on such popular TV series as "Murder, She Wrote" (CBS, 1984-1996) and "Babylon Five" (The WB, 1994-1998), and capped an eclectic career as one of Hollywood's most unforgettable men of mystery.

Relationships

Walter Meyer

Uncle
Taught at Princeton University; was a colleague of Albert Einstein's

Lana Turner Actor

Companion
Reportedly had romance in 1940s

EDUCATION

Pasadena Playhouse

Pasadena , California

Ben Bard's School of Dramatic Arts

Los Angeles , California

Milestones

1995

Appeared as the Centauri Emperor on syndicated adventures series "Babylon 5" (syndicated)

1995

Final film appearance, "Virtual Combat"

1993

Guest starred on an episode of "SeaQuest DSV" (NBC)

1989

Returned to Hollywood; resumed acting career

1953

Produced "Stolen Identity"; two different versions were shot, both starring Francis Lederer; one was an English-language version the other in German

1953

Last film in over 40 years, "Prisoners of the Casbah"

1949

Last film for Eagle-Lion, "Song of India"

1947

First film under new contract, "Out of the Blue"

1946

After refusing a role, Universal put him on suspension and then sold his contract to Eagle-Lion Studios (date approximate)

1946

Played storyteller Aesop in "Night in Paradise"

1943

Loaned out to MGM for "Dragon Seed"

1943

Co-starred with Montez and Hall in "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves"

1942

Acted in episodes of Universal action serial "The Adventures of Smilin' Jack"

1941

Appeared in Universal war serial "Junior G-Men of the Air"

1941

Played supporting role in horror film "The Mummy's Tomb"

1941

First of four films with Maria Montez and Jon Hall, "Arabian Nights"

1940

Made U.S. film acting debut in "Footsteps in the Dark" and "Shadows on the Stairs"

1940

After the annexation of Austria to Nazi Germany, family moved to Switzerland, then Paris, eventually heading to the U.S.

Moved to California to study acting and perfect English

Signed to an acting contract by Universal

Raised in Vienna, Austria

Directed stage productions in Europe

Drafted into U.S. Army; served 18 months

Moved back to Austria in the 1950s

Abandoned acting career to concentrate on photography

Bonus Trivia

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Bey on acting: "I still love it, and I will continue to perform when I am wanted." – quoted in Classic Images, September 1999

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