Victor Varconi

Active - 1922 - 1960  |   Born - Mar 31, 1891   |   Died - Jun 16, 1976   |   Genres - Drama, Adventure, Crime, Romance

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Born on the Hungarian/Rumanian border, actor Victor Varconi began his career in Transylvania, then played leads with the Hungarian National Theatre in Budapest. He made his first film, the Hungarian Sarga Csiko, in 1913. The ever-shifting political climate of Europe convinced Varconi to try his luck in America. He was signed by Cecil B. DeMille's company on the strength of his performance in the German-made Sodom und Gomorra (1922). Under DeMille's direction, the smoothly handsome Varconi played a wealthy American tin factory manager om Triumph (1924); had a character role as a bookkeeper in the Afterworld in Feet of Clay (1924); was a Russian prince in The Volga Boatmen; and finally, a disgruntled Pontius Pilate in The King of Kings (1929). His last major silent role was as Lord Nelson in 1929's The Divine Lady. The microphone revealed that Varconi had a pleasant but pronounced Hungarian accent, which limited his range of portrayals in talkies. He played many a continental adventurer and rogueish gigolo during his sound career, and also starred in English-language versions of Anglo/German co-productions. World War II resulted in a boost for Varconi, permitting him to play a variety of Axis agents. Varconi scaled down his workload after 1949; one of his last roles was as Lord of Ashrod in Samson in Delilah (1949), directed by his old boss Cecil B. DeMille. Just before his death in 1976, Victor Varconi published his memoirs, It's Not Enough to Be Hungarian.

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