The Most Famous

ACTORS from Hungary

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This page contains a list of the greatest Hungarian Actors. The pantheon dataset contains 13,578 Actors, 28 of which were born in Hungary. This makes Hungary the birth place of the 28th most number of Actors behind Pakistan, and South Africa.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Hungarian Actors of all time. This list of famous Hungarian Actors is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Hungarian Actors.

Photo of Zsa Zsa Gabor

1. Zsa Zsa Gabor (1917 - 2016)

With an HPI of 64.49, Zsa Zsa Gabor is the most famous Hungarian Actor.  Her biography has been translated into 59 different languages on wikipedia.

Zsa Zsa Gabor (, Hungarian: [ˈɡaːbor ˈʒɒʒɒ]; born Sári Gábor [ˈɡaːbor ˈʃaːri]; February 6, 1917 – December 18, 2016) was a Hungarian-American socialite and actress. Her sisters were socialites and actresses Eva Gabor and Magda Gabor. Gabor competed in the 1933 Miss Hungary pageant, where she placed as second runner-up, and began her stage career in Vienna the following year. She emigrated from Hungary to the United States in 1941, and became a sought-after actress with "European flair and style." She was considered to have a personality that "exuded charm and grace". Her first film role was a supporting role in Lovely to Look At, released in 1952. The same year, she appeared in We're Not Married!, and played one of her few leading roles in Moulin Rouge, directed by John Huston. Huston later described Gabor as a "creditable" actress. Outside her acting career, Gabor was known for her extravagant Hollywood lifestyle, her glamorous personality, and her many marriages. In total, Gabor had nine husbands, including hotel magnate Conrad Hilton and actor George Sanders. She once stated, "Men have always liked me and I have always liked men. But I like a mannish man, a man who knows how to talk to and treat a woman—not just a man with muscles."

Photo of Cornel Wilde

2. Cornel Wilde (1912 - 1989)

With an HPI of 61.76, Cornel Wilde is the 2nd most famous Hungarian Actor.  His biography has been translated into 32 different languages.

Cornel Wilde (born Kornél Lajos Weisz; October 13, 1912 – October 16, 1989) was a Hungarian-American actor and filmmaker. Wilde's acting career began in 1935, when he made his debut on Broadway. In 1936 he began making small, uncredited appearances in films. By the 1940s he had signed a contract with 20th Century Fox, and by the mid-1940s he was a major leading man. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in 1945's A Song to Remember. In the 1950s he moved to writing, producing and directing films, and still continued his career as an actor. He also went into songwriting during his career.

Photo of Michu Meszaros

3. Michu Meszaros (1939 - 2016)

With an HPI of 57.13, Michu Meszaros is the 3rd most famous Hungarian Actor.  His biography has been translated into 15 different languages.

Mihaly "Michu" Meszaros (Hungarian: Mészáros Mihály; 1 October 1939 – 12 June 2016) was a Hungarian and American actor, circus performer/entertainer, and stuntman. He was 2 feet 9 inches (0.84 m) tall and weighed 25 pounds. He was best remembered as a performer with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and for his role in the NBC sitcom ALF in 1986. He appeared in several films in the late 1980s and early 1990s and also appeared opposite pop singer Michael Jackson in a Pepsi commercial in 1992. His last appearance was in Death to Cupid in 2015.

Photo of Paul Lukas

4. Paul Lukas (1894 - 1971)

With an HPI of 55.93, Paul Lukas is the 4th most famous Hungarian Actor.  His biography has been translated into 48 different languages.

Paul Lukas (born Pál Lukács; 26 May 1894 – 15 August 1971) was a Hungarian actor. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor, and the first Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama, for his performance in the film Watch on the Rhine (1943), reprising the role he created on the Broadway stage.

Photo of Marta Eggerth

5. Marta Eggerth (1912 - 2013)

With an HPI of 55.56, Marta Eggerth is the 5th most famous Hungarian Actor.  Her biography has been translated into 25 different languages.

Marta Eggerth (17 April 1912 – 26 December 2013) was a Hungarian actress and singer from "The Silver Age of Operetta". Many of the 20th century's most famous operetta composers, including Franz Lehár, Fritz Kreisler, Robert Stolz, Oscar Straus, and Paul Abraham, composed works especially for her. Eggerth was born in Budapest, the daughter of Tilly (née Herzog, or Herzegh), a dramatic coloratura soprano, and Paul Eggerth, a bank director. Eggerth began singing during her early childhood. Her mother dedicated herself to her daughter, who was called a "Wunderkind" at the age of 11 making her theatrical debut in the operetta Mannequins. It was during this time and the years that followed that Eggerth began singing the most demanding coloratura repertoire by composers including Rossini, Meyerbeer, Offenbach and Johann Strauss II. While still a teenager, Eggerth embarked on a tour of Denmark, Holland and Sweden before arriving in Vienna at the invitation of Emmerich Kálmán. Kálmán invited her to Vienna to understudy Adele Kern, the famous coloratura of the Vienna State Opera, in his operetta Das Veilchen vom Montmartre (The Violet of Montmartre). Eggerth eventually took over the title role to great critical acclaim after Kern suddenly became indisposed. Subsequently, Eggerth performed the role of Adele in Max Reinhardt's famous 1929 Hamburg production of Die Fledermaus at the age of 17. During the early 1930s, Eggerth was discovered by the film industry, and her career took off resulting in international fame. She made more than 40 films in five languages: Hungarian, English, German, French and Italian. Among the highlights were, Where is this Lady (1932); Ein Lied, ein Kuss, ein Mädel (Berlin 1932, music Robert Stolz); The Csardas Princess (1934); The Blonde Carmen (Berlin 1935); Casta Diva, the story of Bellini (Rome 1935); Das Hofkonzert (1936); Zauber der Bohème, with Jan Kiepura (Vienna 1936, music Robert Stolz); as well as two films written especially for her by Franz Lehár, Es war einmal ein Walzer (1932) and Die ganze Welt dreht sich um Liebe (Vienna 1935). It was on the set of the 1934 film Mein Herz ruft immer nach dir (My Heart is Calling You, music Robert Stolz) that she met and fell in love with the young Polish tenor, Jan Kiepura. They were married in 1936 and together became known as Europe's Liebespaar (Love Pair) causing a sensation wherever they appeared. On February 10, 1938, Jan Kiepura made his debut at New York's Metropolitan Opera, singing the role of Rodolfo in Puccini's La bohème. He went on to sing leading roles in Tosca, Rigoletto, Carmen, Manon, and Aida, as well as performing up to 80 concerts a year throughout the United States and Canada. While Kiepura toured the United States, Eggerth was signed by the Shubert Theatre on Broadway to appear in Richard Rodgers' musical Higher and Higher. She subsequently signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in Hollywood and, during the early 1940s, made two movies with Judy Garland: For Me and My Gal in 1942 (also Gene Kelly's first major film role) and Presenting Lily Mars in 1943. In Chicago, Eggerth and Kiepura performed together on the operatic stage in La bohème to rave reviews. In 1943, they starred together on Broadway at the Majestic Theater in a revised production of Lehár's The Merry Widow, with Robert Stolz conducting and choreography by George Balanchine. They would eventually perform The Merry Widow more than 2,000 times, in five languages throughout Europe and America. In 1945, they were back on Broadway together in the musical Polonaise. After World War II, they returned to France touring and making films, such as Valse Brillante (1949) and The Land of Smiles (1952), before bringing The Merry Widow to London's Palace Theatre in 1954. Throughout her career, Eggerth maintained active recital tours throughout Europe, Canada and the United States, combining her extensive repertoire of lieder, opera, film songs, and especially Viennese operetta. Kiepura's equally active recital schedule often meant that the couple would be temporarily separated. But the couple's international tours often brought them together in the same city, where they would perform to delighted crowds. In London, they gave two sold-out concerts in one week at the Royal Albert Hall in 1956. The couple continued singing throughout the 1950s and 1960s with more productions of The Merry Widow in the United States, concerts and other productions in Europe. In 1965 they brought The Merry Widow back to Berlin for yet another successful run. Kiepura died in 1966. Eggerth stopped singing at this time for several years. Finally, persuaded by her mother, she decided to revive her career. In the 1970s she began to make regular television appearances, and to actively perform concerts in Europe. In 1982, she returned to the American stage to co-star in the Tom Jones/Harvey Schmidt musical Colette opposite Diana Rigg in Seattle and Denver, and later in Stephen Sondheim's Follies in Pittsburgh. In 1999, at the age of 87, she sang on the stage of the Vienna State Opera in a special televised matinée concert hosted by opera impresario and historian Marcel Prawy, to mark that opera house's first production of Lehár's The Merry Widow. She sang a medley from the operetta in four languages and received a spontaneous standing ovation. She repeated this medley in 2000, at a gala to mark the 200th anniversary of Vienna's Theater an der Wien. In 2001, Eggerth returned to London for "An Interview-in-Concert" at an absolutely sold-out Wigmore Hall, accompanied by conductor-pianist Alexander Frey and hosted by British author and critic, Brendon Carroll. She also sang at the annual Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation concerts at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall to much fanfare. She was seen in Austria on a popular television detective series, Tatort, playing the role of an ageing diva suspected in a murder case. Highlights in 2006/2007 have included two concerts with interviews at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; sold-out shows at the Café Sabarsky in Neue Galerie entertaining audiences with her great pre-war Viennese/Berlin cabaret style of wit, artistry and song; a concert and discussion held as part of New York University's Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes; an appearance at the Austrian Cultural Forum as part of their Mostly Operetta series; operetta master classes at the Manhattan School of Music; as well as an appearance at the Jewish Association for Services for the Aged (JASA). Her last performance was at age 99 in 2011. Eggerth was awarded many major artistic decorations from Austria, Germany, Poland, and Italy in recognition of her accomplishments in operetta, theatre and film. Her final recognitions included the Knights Cross of the Order of the Merit of the Republic of Poland, Knights Cross of the Order of the Merit of the Republic of Hungary, her native land's highest honour, and the Erwin Piscator Life Achievement Award for her legendary achievements. In 2003, Patria Music released a retrospective double CD of her songs entitled My Life My Song. Eggerth was married to the Polish tenor Jan Kiepura. Eggerth died on 26 December 2013 in Rye, New York. She was 101 years old. Marta Eggerth at IMDb Marta Eggerth at the Internet Broadway Database Photographs and literature Marta Eggerth on PatriaMusic "Evening Music" segment, May 4, 2007, WNYC

Photo of Mickey Hargitay

6. Mickey Hargitay (1926 - 2006)

With an HPI of 53.58, Mickey Hargitay is the 6th most famous Hungarian Actor.  His biography has been translated into 21 different languages.

Miklós Karoly Hargitay (January 6, 1926 – September 14, 2006), was a Hungarian-American actor and the 1955 Mr. Universe. Born in Budapest, Hargitay moved to the United States in 1947 and eventually became a U.S. citizen. He was married to actress Jayne Mansfield and is the father of actress Mariska Hargitay. During their marriage, Hargitay and Mansfield made four movies together: Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957), The Loves of Hercules (1960), Promises! Promises! (1963), and Primitive Love (1964).

Photo of Catherine Schell

7. Catherine Schell (b. 1944)

With an HPI of 52.89, Catherine Schell is the 7th most famous Hungarian Actor.  Her biography has been translated into 17 different languages.

Catherine Schell (born Katherina Freiin Schell von Bauschlott, 17 July 1944) is a Hungarian-born British actress who came to prominence in British film and television productions from the 1960s. Her notable roles include the Bond girl Nancy in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), Lady Claudine Litton in The Return of the Pink Panther (1975), Countess Scarlioni in the Doctor Who serial City of Death (1979), and a regular role as Maya in Series Two of the television series Space: 1999 (1975).

Photo of Julio Baghy

8. Julio Baghy (1891 - 1967)

With an HPI of 52.36, Julio Baghy is the 8th most famous Hungarian Actor.  His biography has been translated into 21 different languages.

Julio Baghy (13 January 1891, Szeged – 18 March 1967, Budapest; in Hungarian Baghy Gyula) was a Hungarian actor and one of the leading authors of the Esperanto movement. He is the author of several famous novels but it is particularly in the field of poetry that he proved his mastery of Esperanto.

Photo of Vilma Bánky

9. Vilma Bánky (1901 - 1991)

With an HPI of 52.21, Vilma Bánky is the 9th most famous Hungarian Actor.  Her biography has been translated into 23 different languages.

Vilma Bánky (born Vilma Koncsics; 9 January 1901 – 18 March 1991) was a Hungarian-American silent film actress. Although her acting career began in Budapest, and she later worked in France, Austria, and Germany, Bánky was best known for her roles in the American films The Eagle and The Son of the Sheik with Rudolph Valentino, and for several romantic teamings with Ronald Colman. Bánky was born on 9 January 1901 (although some sources give her birth year as 1898) to János Bánky Koncsics and Katalin Ulbert, in Nagydorog, Austria-Hungary. Her father was a bureau chief in Franz Joseph's Austro-Hungarian Empire. Shortly after her birth, her father, a police sergeant, was transferred to Budapest, and the family relocated. She had two siblings – an older brother, Gyula, and a younger sister, Gizella. After graduation from secondary school, Bánky (as she would later be known) took courses to work as a stenographer, but was offered a role in a film. She was hailed as "The Hungarian Rhapsody" and was an immediate hit with American audiences. The New York Times remarked in its review of her first American film, The Dark Angel (1925), that she "is a young person of rare beauty ... so exquisite that one is not in the least surprised that she is never forgotten by Hillary Trent" (the movie's leading male character who decides to allow his family and fiancee to believe him dead rather than place what he perceives as the burden on them of a life caring for a blinded war veteran). She appeared opposite silent film star Rudolph Valentino in The Eagle (1925) and The Son of the Sheik (1926). Valentino reportedly was fascinated by Vilma, and chose her as the leading lady in the films. She also appeared opposite Ronald Colman in a series of love stories, including The Dark Angel and The Winning of Barbara Worth. It is commonly believed that her thick Hungarian accent led, with the advent of sound, to her career being cut short; however, she began losing interest in films and wanted to settle down with Rod La Rocque and simply be his wife. In 1930, she announced her retirement. Of her 24 films, eight exist in their entirety (Hotel Potemkin, Der Zirkuskönig (The King of the Circus) with Max Linder, The Son of the Sheik, The Eagle, The Winning of Barbara Worth, The Night of Love, A Lady to Love, and The Rebel), and three exist in fragments (Tavaszi szerelem in scattered bits, the first five reels of The Magic Flame, and an incomplete copy of Two Lovers). She married actor Rod La Rocque in 1927; they remained married until his death in 1969. The couple had no children. Bánky died on 18 March 1991, from cardiopulmonary failure, aged 90, but notice of her death was not made public until the following year. She was reportedly upset that no one had come to visit her in her last years, and directed her lawyer to make no mention of her death. Her ashes were scattered at sea where her husband's had been consigned. For her contributions to the film industry, Bánky received a motion pictures star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960. Her star is located at 7021 Hollywood Boulevard. Bánky is mentioned by Mr. Burns in The Simpsons episode "Homer Defined". William Holden's character Joe Gillis references Bánky in the film Sunset Boulevard. Schildgen, Rachel A. More Than a Dream: Rediscovering the Life & Films of Vilma Banky; ISBN 978-0-9827709-2-4. Vilma Bánky at IMDb Vilma Bánky at AllMovie Vilma Bánky: Hungarian Rhapsody, vilma-banky.com Archived 2021-06-21 at the Wayback Machine Information on Vilma Bánky, szineszkonyvtar.hu Archived 2015-09-24 at the Wayback Machine Photographs of Vilma Bánky, film.virtual-history.com "Vilma Bánky profile". NYPL Digital Gallery.

Photo of Eva Gabor

10. Eva Gabor (1919 - 1995)

With an HPI of 51.82, Eva Gabor is the 10th most famous Hungarian Actor.  Her biography has been translated into 35 different languages.

Eva Gabor ( AY-və gə-BOR, -⁠ GAH-bor; February 11, 1919 – July 4, 1995) was a Hungarian-American actress and socialite. Gabor voiced Duchess and Miss Bianca in the Disney animations The Aristocats (1970), The Rescuers (1977), and The Rescuers Down Under (1990). She was popular in her role on the 1965–1971 television sitcom Green Acres as Lisa Douglas, the wife of Eddie Albert's character Oliver Wendell Douglas. Gabor was an actress in film, on Broadway, and on television. She was also a businesswoman, marketing wigs, clothing, and beauty products. Her elder sisters, Zsa Zsa and Magda Gabor, were also actresses and socialites.

People

Pantheon has 31 people classified as Hungarian actors born between 1883 and 1982. Of these 31, 6 (19.35%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living Hungarian actors include Catherine Schell, László Szabó, and Eva Henger. The most famous deceased Hungarian actors include Zsa Zsa Gabor, Cornel Wilde, and Michu Meszaros. As of April 2024, 4 new Hungarian actors have been added to Pantheon including Zoltán Latinovits, Franciska Gaal, and Violetta Ferrari.

Living Hungarian Actors

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Deceased Hungarian Actors

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Newly Added Hungarian Actors (2024)

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Overlapping Lives

Which Actors were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Actors since 1700.