Dracula was invented by Bram Stoker. He took one bloody Romanian emperor, Vlad the Impaler and one gloomy Castle in the region of Transylvania, central Romania and made a best seller. Dracula became a symbol and put Romania on the world map and we could have turn this into huge profit.
But of course we didn’t, we aren’t and probably we will never will, even though, basically, the job is half done. I mean, I have seen a Dracula’s haunted castle at Niagara Falls, in Canada, so apparently, who doesn’t have a Dracula castle, builds one. We have the emperor, we have the castle, what we don’t have is someone to do the promoting job for us…Whatever…
What many people don’t know is that even the actor in the first Dracula movie with sound, Bela Lugosi, was born in Lugoj, Romania and when he became an actor, he chose the name of his birth place as a last name. Back then, Lugoj city was under Austrian-Hungarian occupation. Romania had always been under one occupation or another, since Roman times.
Romania has a strategic position on the map, so we were in the middle of things or on someone’s way to things. It is a miracle we still exist as a nation, despite of everyone fucking us up continuously.
Moving on, do you, guys, remember Tarzan? Tarzan was played by Johnny Weissmuller, born somewhere near Timișoara, city in Western Romania, also under Austrian-Hungarian occupation at the time.
And do you know Elsa Pataki from Fast Five and Fast Six? Her mother is Romanian, from my town actually. She immigrated to Spain, where she met her husband and had this beautiful daughter that later on became model/actress and made it from Spain to Hollywood. I should totally see these movies.
Another guy from my town that made it to Hollywood was Jean Negulesco. Negulesco’s first feature film as director was Singapore Woman (1941). In 1948 he was nominated for an Academy Award for Directing for Johnny Belinda. In 1955, he won the BAFTA Award for Best Film for How to Marry a Millionaire. His 1959 movie, The Best of Everything, was on Entertainment Weekly’s Top 50 Cult Films of All-Time list.
My very favorite Romanian at Hollywood is Dustin Hoffman. His father was Ukrainian and his mother was Romanian. They immigrated from Romania to the USA before Dustin was born and I am glad they did it, because Dustin couldn’t have become such an amazing actor here.
Harvey Keitel’s mother was born near Braila, a town in South-East Romania. In 2008, at a fund raising gala for poor people in Romania, a journalist asked him why is he attending and he simply said: “My mother told me to.”
And then there is Natalie Portman. Her grandmother was Romanian. “She spied for the British, traveling through Europe,” Portman says. “She was blond, so she could totally pass as a non-Jew. Men, they would always try and pick her up because she was a gorgeous young woman… I’ll show you.”
Portman pulls out a wallet, and from inside that an old photograph of two women: “This is a picture of her taken in Romania with her best friend. A couple of years younger than me…” This is from an interview she did for Rolling Stones magazine.
Bottom line, I have no excuse not to become a New York Time’s Best Seller writer, right?
I will continue next week with the Hollywood stars that have Romanian heritage because yes, there are more!
By the way, Gerard Butler is dating a Romanian model now. She lives in Italy though, because we pretty much don’t have a fashion industry here. Any kind of industry, in fact.
P.S. Is it just me or Romanians made it big after they had left the country?