Bella Darvi (Bajla Węgier)

Bella Darvi

Bella Darvi was born Bajla Węgier to Jewish parents Chajm Węgier, a baker, and his wife, Chaja (née Zygelbaum). She had three brothers, Robert, Jacques, and Jean-Isidore, and a sister, Sura. Robert died in a concentration camp. Jailed by the Nazis during World War II, she was released in 1943. She married a businessman, Alban Cavalcade, on October 7, 1950[7] and traveled with him to Monaco. She was discovered in Paris by the wife of mogul Darryl F. Zanuck. In 1952, she divorced Cavalcade, and moved into the Zanuck home. She signed a contract in August 1953 with Zanuck, who changed her name to Bella Darvi, Darvi is a combination of the first names of Zanuck and his wife, Virginia. Eventually, she became Zanuck’s mistress, although she reportedly dated other men including Robert Stack and Brad Dexter. She was Richard Widmark’s love interest in Sam Fuller’s film Hell and High Water (1954) as well as that of Kirk Douglas in The Racers (1955), but is probably best remembered for the role of Nefer, the seductive Babylonian courtesan, in The Egyptian (1954). She received the role because her lover, Zanuck, preferred her over Marilyn Monroe. According to Ephraim Katz, her “three disappointing Hollywood films” were followed by a “number of undistinguished French and Italian productions”. In Hollywood she was well-known for her strong and recognizable Polish accent. Zanuck left his wife for Bella Darvi, but left her when he discovered that she was bisexual. Bella Darvi later very publicly dated women, as well as men. Despite liaisons with extremely wealthy men, she was unable to establish a permanent relationship or to curb her gambling habit. Zanuck was still paying off her debts as late as 1970. On November 13, 1960, Bella Darvi married Claude Rouas, a restaurant waiter, in Las Vegas; the marriage was annulled less than a year later. Bella Darvi committed suicide, after several failed attempts, in Monte Carlo by gas. Her body remained undiscovered for more than a week.

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Born

  • October, 23, 1928
  • Sosnowiec, Poland

Died

  • September, 11, 1971
  • Monte Carlo, Monaco

Cause of Death

  • committed suicide, after several failed attempts, in Monte Carlo by gas.

Cemetery

  • Cimètiere de Bagneux
  • Bagneux, France

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