In 1927 a theatrical adaptation of Dracula written by Hamilton Deane and John L., Balderston became a huge hit on Broadway. This play would star the Hungarian born actor Bela Lugosi who didnt speak a word of English. Lugosi learned all his lines phonetically, which produced the famous speech pattern that Dracula (and most vampires) would become associated with.
Bela Lugosi (Bela Ferenc Dezso Blasco) came to America in the 1920s to pursue an acting career. Even though the actor had starred in several small roles prior, he would always be remembered for portraying Dracula, both on stage and in numerous films. After Dracula became a huge hit the actor was offered the part of The Monster in Frankenstein, which he turned down. Boris Karloff would become famous for the part, and Lugosis short term as the King of Horror would end as quickly as it started. Lugosi would go on to play Dracula and other various vampires throughout his career. The actor managed to beat a drug addiction, but ended his career in low budget features such as the infamous Plan 9 From Outer Space which would be his last film. He passed away while it was still in production. Despite all of his stage and film roles the actor died in poverty.
Carl Laemmle Jr. had a vision for a big screen adaptation of Dracula for Universal that would have been in the same league as The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Phantom of the Opera. Laemmle was also very insistent that Lon Chaney, play the vampire in his picture and set out to lure him away from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Unfortunately Lon Cheney passed away from throat cancer before production was set to begin.