Bela Lugosi's Funeral

The Hungarian actor Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó, better known as Bela Lugosi, died in his sleep on Thursday, August 16th, 1956 at the age of 73. The cause of death was recorded as a “coronary occlusion with myocardial fibrosis”.

Ironically, the man so well known to play the part of the undead Dracula, was afraid to die. Hope, his fifth wife, told the press, “He was terrified of death. Towards the end, he was very weary, but he was still afraid of death. Three nights before he died he was sitting on the edge of the bed. I asked him if he were still afraid to die. He told me that he was.”

His funeral service was held on Saturday August 18th at the Utter-McKinley Mortuary Chapel on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. Before the service, his body lay in state in full Dracula garb. Although Hope told the press that “it was his wish” to be buried in his famous Dracula costume, it was actually the decision of Lugosi’s fourth wife Lillian and their son Bela Jr. However, Bela Lugosi’s final will disproves the claim that he wished to be buried in his Dracula costume. He was buried at the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, Los Angeles.

Photos by David Katzman, Bela’s longtime friend.