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: 03/30/1922 in Vienna, , AT


Actor (22)

The Visitor 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)


VR.5 1994 - 1997 (TV Show)


Murder, She Wrote 1993 - 1995 (Tv Show)


SeaQuest DSV 1993 - 1994 (Tv Show)


Healer 1993 (Movie)

Igor Vostovich (Actor)

Dragon Seed 1944 (Movie)


The Climax 1944 (Movie)


A Night in Paradise (Movie)

Aesop "Jason" (Actor)

A Yank on the Burma Road (Movie)


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)


White Savage (Movie)

Tamara (Actor)


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.


Walter Meyer

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

Lana Turner Actor

Reportedly had romance in 1940s


Pasadena Playhouse

Pasadena , California

Ben Bard's School of Dramatic Arts

Los Angeles , California



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


Final film appearance, "Virtual Combat"


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


Returned to Hollywood; resumed acting career


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


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


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


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


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


Played storyteller Aesop in "Night in Paradise"


Loaned out to MGM for "Dragon Seed"


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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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