biography

Born Turhan Selahettin Schultavy on March 30, 1922, in Vienna, Austria (some sources cite 1919 and 1920 as his year of birth), Turhan Bey was born the son of a Turkish diplomat. Following his parents' divorce, Bey and his mother relocated to the U.S. in the late 1930s, finally settling in California. Soon afterward, he began training as an actor. In 1940, Bey landed a contract with Warner Bros., where he was cast in his first film, the mystery Shadows on the Stairs (1941; with Paul Cavanagh and Heather Angel). After two films at Warner Bros., he moved on to Universal in 1941 where his exotic looks got him cast in a number of adventure films, such as Burma Convoy (1941; with Charles Bickford and Evelyn Ankers) and Raiders of the Desert (1941; with Richard Arlen and Maria Montez). After several more adventures and crime dramas, Bey was cast in the Technicolor swashbuckler Arabian Nights (1942; with Jon Hall and Maria Montez).

Turhan BeyTurhan Bey

LEFT: Turhan Bey sifts through his mail with the assistance of Universal Studios office staff in the early 1940s. RIGHT: Universal Studios portrait

In addition to feature films, Bey acted in several serials, such as the twelve-chapter Junior G-Men of the Air (1942; with Lionel Atwill and Huntz Hall) and the thirteen-chapter Adventures of Smilin' Jack (1943; with Marjorie Lord and Sidney Toler). During his days at Universal, he was romantically linked to Merle Oberon, Ava Gardner, and Lana Turner, among other actresses.

the films of turhan bey

Burma Convoy (1941)

Evelyn Ankers, Keye Luke, Turhan Bey, and C. Montague ShawEvelyn Ankers and Turhan Bey

From the low-budget Universal adventure Burma Convoy. LEFT: With Evelyn Ankers, Keye Luke, and C. Montague Shaw. RIGHT: Bey romances Evelyn Ankers

The Mummy's Tomb (1942)

Lon Chaney Jr. and Turhan Bey

Lon Chaney Jr. portrays the title character opposite Bey as Mehemet Bey in Universal's The Mummy's Tomb

Background to Danger (1943)

Turhan Bey and George Raft

With George Raft in the Warner Bros. wartime thriller Background to Danger

The Mad Ghoul (1943)

Evelyn Ankers and Turhan BeyEvelyn Ankers and Turhan Bey

From the fun Universal science fiction/horror film The Mad Ghoul with Evelyn Ankers

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1944)

Maria Montez and Turhan Bey

From Universal's escapist adventure Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves with Maria Montez

Dragon Seed (1944)

Turhan Bey and Katharine Hepburn

With Katharine Hepburn in the MGM historical drama Dragon Seed

Frisco Sal (1945)

Andy Devine and Turhan BeyTurhan BeyAlan Curtis and Turhan Bey

From the Universal western Frisco Sal. LEFT: With Andy Devine. CENTER: Bey as Dude Forante. RIGHT: With Alan Curtis

Night in Paradise (1946)

Merle Oberon and Turhan Bey

From the Universal comedy costume flick Night in Paradise with Merle Oberon

Out of the Blue (1947)

Virginia Mayo and Turhan Bey

With Virginia Mayo in the Eagle-Lion comedy Out of the Blue

Parole, Inc. (1948)

Turhan Bey

Lobby card from the Eagle-Lion film noir thriller Parole, Inc.

Prisoners of the Casbah (1953)

Turhan Bey, Gloria Grahame, and Cesar RomeroTurhan Bey

From Columbia's low-budget adventure flick Prisoners of the Casbah. LEFT: With Gloria Grahame and Cesar Romero. RIGHT: Bey swashbuckling in his last film before a 40-year break from acting

later years

The swashbuckling, escapist films in which Bey had been starring fell out of favor following the end of World War II. In 1946, Bey was drafted into the army for a two-year hitch, which stole momentum from his acting career. Upon his release, Universal sold his contract to Eagle-Lion, where he starred in a few films, including Out of the Blue (1947; with George Brent and Virginia Mayo) and The Amazing Mr. X (1948; with Lynn Bari, Richard Carlson, and Cathy O'Donnell). Following the release of Columbia's Song of India (1949; with Sabu and Gail Russell), Bey acted in just once more film, the adventure Prisoners of the Casbah (1953; with Gloria Grahame and Cesar Romero) before retiring from acting. Later in 1953 Bey returned to Austria and produced the film Stolen Identity (1953; with Francis Lederer). He remained in his native country for a number of years and became a respected photographer. After his return to the U.S., Bey took another stab at acting, with great success, beginning with a guest appearance on the television series SeaQuest DSV in September 1993. Bey continued to act in films and on television through the late 1990s. After a fight against Parkinson’s disease, Turhan Bey died in Austria on September 30, 2012, at the age of 90. He left no immediate surviving family.

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filmography

FILM
Virtual Combat (1996) with Don 'The Dragon' Wilson, Stella Stevens, and Rip Taylor
The Skateboard Kid II (1995) with Dee Wallace, Bruce Davison, Andrew Stevens, and Kin Shriner
Possessed by the Night (1994) with Shannon Tweed, Sandahl Bergman, Chad McQueen, Henry Silva, and Fred Olen Ray
Healer (1994) with Tyrone Power Jr., David McCallum, Lee Patterson, and Tobey Maguire
Prisoners of the Casbah (1953) with Gloria Grahame, Cesar Romero, and Nestor Paiva
Song of India (1949) with Sabu, Gail Russell, and Anthony Caruso
Parole, Inc. (1948) with Michael O'Shea, Evelyn Ankers, Lyle Talbot, and Michael Whalen
The Amazing Mr. X (1948) with Lynn Bari, Cathy O'Donnell, Richard Carlson, Donald Curtis, and Virginia Gregg
Adventures of Casanova (1948) with Arturo de Cordova, Lucille Bremer, John Sutton, George Tobias, Noreen Nash, and Nestor Paiva
Out of the Blue (1947) with George Brent, Virginia Mayo, Ann Dvorak, and Carole Landis
A Night in Paradise (1946) with Merle Oberon, Gale Sondergaard, Ray Collins, George Dolenz, John Litel, and Jerome Cowan
Sudan (1945) with Maria Montez, Jon Hall, Andy Devine, and George Zucco
Frisco Sal (1945) with Susanna Foster, Alan Curtis, Andy Devine, and Fuzzy Knight
Bowery to Broadway (1944) with Maria Montez, Jack Oakie, Susanna Foster, Ann Blyth, Louise Allbritton, Rosemary DeCamp, Leo Carrillo, Andy Devine, Evelyn Ankers, and George Dolenz
The Climax (1944) with Boris Karloff, Susanna Foster, Gale Sondergaard, June Vincent, and George Dolenz
Dragon Seed (1944) with Katharine Hepburn, Walter Huston, Akim Tamiroff, J. Carrol Naish, and Agnes Moorehead
Follow the Boys (1944) with George Raft, Regis Toomey, and George Macready
Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1944) with Maria Montez, Jon Hall, and Andy Devine
The Mad Ghoul (1943) with David Bruce, Evelyn Ankers, George Zucco, Robert Armstrong, and Milburn Stone
Background to Danger (1943) with George Raft, Brenda Marshall, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, and Osa Massen
White Savage (1943) with Maria Montez, Jon Hall, Sabu, and Sidney Toler
Adventures of Smilin' Jack (1943) with Marjorie Lord, Keye Luke, and Sidney Toler
Arabian Nights (1942) with Sabu, Jon Hall, Maria Montez, Leif Erickson, Billy Gilbert, and Shemp Howard
The Mummy's Tomb (1942) with Lon Chaney Jr., Dick Foran, John Hubbard, Elyse Knox, George Zucco, and Wallace Ford
Destination Unknown (1942) with William Gargan, Irene Hervey, Sam Levene, Keye Luke, and Edward Van Sloan
Drums of the Congo (1942) with Ona Munson, Stuart Erwin, Peggy Moran, Don Terry, and Dorothy Dandridge
Danger in the Pacific (1942) with Don Terry, Leo Carrillo, Andy Devine, and Louise Allbritton
Junior G-Men of the Air (1942) with Billy Halop, Lionel Atwill, Frank Albertson, Huntz Hall, and Frankie Darro
Unseen Enemy (1942) with Irene Hervey, Don Terry, Leo Carrillo, and Andy Devine
Bombay Clipper (1942) with William Gargan, Irene Hervey, Maria Montez, and Lloyd Corrigan
The Gay Falcon (1941) with George Sanders, Wendy Barrie, and Gladys Cooper
Burma Convoy (1941) with Charles Bickford, Evelyn Ankers, Frank Albertson, Cecil Kellaway, and Keye Luke
Raiders of the Desert (1941) with Richard Arlen, Andy Devine, and Maria Montez
Footsteps in the Dark (1941) with Errol Flynn, Brenda Marshall, Ralph Bellamy, Alan Hale, William Frawley, and Roscoe Karns
Shadows on the Stairs (1941) with Frieda Inescort, Paul Cavanagh, and Heather Angel

TELEVISION GUEST APPEARANCES
Babylon 5, episode Learning Curve, originally aired February 18, 1998
The Visitor, episode The Black Box, originally aired October 24, 1997
VR.5, episode Reunion, originally aired May 12, 1995
Babylon 5, episode The Coming of Shadows, originally aired February 1, 1995
Murder, She Wrote episode Death 'N Denial, originally aired January 22, 1995
SeaQuest DSV, episode Treasure of the Mind, originally aired September 26, 1993

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Watch Turhan Bey's 1948 thriller The Amazing Mr. X

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