Oct 10, 2012

Turhan Bey (1922 - 2012)

ABOVE: Turhan Bey (right) in The Amazing Mr. X

Actor Turhan Bey, a matinee idol in cinema's golden age, has passed away on September 30, a few months after his ninetieth birthday. His exotic good looks caused him to be dubbed "The Turkish Delight" in fan magazines.


Born Turhan Gilbert Selahattin Sahultavy in Vienna, Austria, on March 30, 1922, as the son of a Turkish diplomat and a Czechoslovakian Jewish mother, and emigrated to the U.S. after fleeing the Nazis' annexation of Austria. He landed a contract at Warner Brothers in 1940, but soon moved over to Universal, where his exotic features kept him busy in costume dramas (seven of them with Maria Montez), adventure movies and thrillers.  He is also well-remembered in some of Universal's horror cycle of films, co-starring with Lon Chaney Jr. in The Mummy's Tomb (1942), George Zucco in The Mad Ghoul (1943), and Boris Karloff in The Climax (1944). He was also memorable in the stunningly shot suspense film, The Amazing Mr. X.

Once his costume pictures fell out of favour, Turhan Bey retired from the screen, and returned to Europe to work as a photographer and stage director. Forty years later, however, he briefly returned to Hollywood for appearances in television and low-budget features; he was even Emmy-nominated for his guest shot in Babylon 5. (During this time he also appeared in episodes of Murder She Wrote and Seaquest DSV.)

His was a commanding screen presence, even in light roles, and often brought dignity to even the breeziest of projects. In 2002, he was the subject of a German television documentary, Vom Gl├╝ck verfolgt. Wien - Hollywood - Retour. Five decades after his retirement from the Golden Age of Hollywood, Turhan Bey was still fondly remembered by his fans.

For more on Turhan Bey, here is a review of The Amazing Mr. X.

Films:

Shadows on the Stairs (1941)
Footsteps in the Dark (1941)
Raiders of the Desert (1941)
Burma Convoy (1941)
The Gay Falcon (1941)
Bombay Clipper (1942)
Unseen Enemy (1942)
The Falcon Takes Over (1942)
Danger in the Pacific (1942)
Junior G-Men of the Air (1942)
Drums of the Congo (1942)
Destination Unknown (1942)
The Mummy's Tomb (1942)
Arabian Nights (1942)
The Adventures of Smilin' Jack (1943)
White Savage (1943)
Captive Wild Woman (1943) (voice)
Background to Danger (1943)
Crazy House (1943) (as himself)
The Mad Ghoul (1943)
Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1944)
Follow the Boys (1944) (as himself)
Dragon Seed (1944)
The Climax (1944)
Bowery to Broadway (1944)
Frisco Sal (1945)
Sudan (1945)
Night in Paradise (1946)
Out of the Blue (1947)
Adventures of Casanova (1948)
The Amazing Mr. X (1948)
Parole, Inc. (1948)
Song of India (1949)
Stolen Identity (1953) (producer only)
Prisoners of the Casbah (1953)
Healer (1994)
Possessed by the Night (1994)
The Skateboard Kid 2 (1995)
Virtual Combat (1995)

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