Biographic by Steve McGarry for September 08, 2013
Biographic Steven McGarry DRACULA One of the most eagerly anticipated shows of the 2013 fall TV season stars Golden Globe winner Johathan Rhys Meyers as "Dracula." Published in 1897, Bram Stoker's Classic Vampire Novel, "Dracula," was first brought to the screen under the titel "Nosteratu" in 1922. The movie borrowed heavily form the origianal tale, and Stoker's widow successfully sued for infringement of copyright. "Dracula" was subsequently adapted for the stage, with classically trained Hungarian actor Bela Lugosi in the title role. "Dracula" was finally debuted on the silver screen in 1931, catapulting Bela Lugosi to stardom. For a time, he was second only to Boris Karloff as film's top boogeyman. During the 1940s, Count Dracula was portrayed by Lon Chaney Jr. and John Carradine. in 1948, with his career in decline, Lugosi reprsied the role in the comedy "Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein." Lugosi died of a heart attack in 1956. A renowned eccentric, he was buried wearing his Dracula cape. Christopher Lee, a distant cousin of James Bond creator Ian Fleming, first portrayed Dracula in a 1958 production by Britain's Hammer Films, Reprising the role several times over the next two decades. Other actors who portrayed Dracula during that period include Jack Palance, Louis Jouran and Frank Langella. The legend spawned many spoofs, with everyone from Marty Feldman to David Niven donning fake fangs, and inspired such movies as 1979's "Love at First Bite," with George Hamilton, and 1995's "Dracula: Dead and Loving it," which starred Leslie Nielsen. Francis Ford Coppola directed Gary Oldman in 1992's "Bram Stoker's Dracula," Christopher Atkins took the lead in 1993's "Dracula Rising," and director Wes Craven tackled the tale in 2000. In 2004's "Van Helsing," Hugh Jackman played the title role, locked in combat with Richard Roxburgh as the count. Adam Sandler voiced Dracula in the 2012 animated hit "Hotel Transylvania." Following at 2006 BBC TV adaptation, Starring Marc Warren, that aired on PBS in the U.S., the tale returns to the small screen this fall, with Rhys Meyers, star of "The Tudors."