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Ilona Massey, 1941
(1910-06-16)June 16, 1910
Budapest, Austria-Hungary (now Budapest, Hungary)
|Died||August 20, 1974(1974-08-20) (aged 64)|
Bethesda, Maryland, USA
(m.1955-1974; her death)
Ilona Massey, born Ilona Hajmássy, (June 16, 1910 – August 20, 1974) was a film, stage and radio performer.
Early life and career
She was born in Budapest, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Hungary). Billed as "the new Dietrich", she starred in three films with Nelson Eddy, including Rosalie (1937), and with Lon Chaney, Jr. in Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943) as Baroness Frankenstein. In 1943, she appeared in the Ziegfeld Follies.
In 1947, she starred with Eddy in Northwest Outpost, a musical film composed by Rudolf Friml. In 1949, she starred in Love Happy with the Marx Brothers. She played Madame Egelichi, a femme fatale spy, and her performance inspired Milton Caniff in the creation of his femme fatale spy, Madame Lynx, in the comic strip "Steve Canyon". Caniff hired Massey to pose for him.
Beginning on November 1, 1954, she hosted DuMont's The Ilona Massey Show, a weekly musical variety show in which she sang songs with guests in a nightclub set, with music provided by the Irving Fields Trio. The series ended January 3, 1955 after 10 episodes.
Becoming an American citizen in 1946, she remained strongly anti-communist for what she saw as the destruction of her native country, at one point picketing the United Nations during the 1956 visit of Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev.
Ilona Massey died of cancer in Bethesda, Maryland and was buried in Virginia's Arlington National Cemetery near her last husband, Donald Dawson, who had served in the United States Air Force Reserve as a Major General.
- However her date of birth has also been cited as July 5, 1912 and her date of death as August 10 or 12, 1974. This article uses the dates on her gravestone, on the assumption that they are the most accurate.
- Northwest Outpost at the IMDB database, accessed June 23, 2010
- Pageant May 1953, V8 n11
- Ilona Massey at the Internet Movie Database
- Ilona Massey at the Internet Broadway Database
- Ilona Massey at Find a Grave
* * *
Evidently someone thought Ilona Massey in LOVE HAPPY needed censoring,
because they superimposed a shadow over her bosom.
Iolna Massey with Harpo Marx
With Groucho, in scene seen in the foreign version unseen in the US.
Somebody thought the comic strip version needed censorship, too.
Madame Lynx by Caniff.
Today, LOVE HAPPY is better known for being a Marilyn Monroe movie.
Because she was in it, LOVE HAPPY was run here more often than the other movies the Marx Brothers made.
Marilyn had only a brief scene in the movie where she comes into Detective Groucho's office and complains about a man who has been following her. But you see a lot of publicity photos of her from this movie.
Including some with her on the roof, although she wasn't actually in that part of the movie.
Milt Caniff later had another character that was supposed to have been inspired by Marilyn Monroe, "Miss Mizzou".
Dumont Television Network: