Actor, Stage Director. He was born Turhan Gilbert Selahattin Sahultavy, the son of a Turkish diplomat and a Czechoslovakian Jewish mother. After the annexation of Austria to Nazi Germany and his parents' divorce, he and his mother emigrated to the U.S. in 1940, settling in Los Angeles, California. His original intention was to study science but it was soon replaced by acting, which he studied at the Pasadena Playhouse. After enrolling in classes to improve his English, he also was asked to play a role in a teacher's play. A talent scout from Warner Brothers was in the audience, was impressed with his performance and signed him to a contract, under the name of Turhan Bey. He was active in Hollywood from 1941 to 1953 and was often cast as wily, "foreign" villains, or romantic leads in thrillers and Arabian Nights fantasies, for which he was dubbed by fan magazines "The Turkish Delight." His first film was a British production "Shadow of the Stars" (1941) and his first principal role came in "The Mummy's Tomb" (1942, with Lon Chaney, Jr.). In the early years, he appeared as Japanese characters in several B war films with interchangeable titles such as "Burma Convoy", "Bombay Clipper", "Danger in the Pacific" and "Destination Unknown", as well as in the serial "Junior G-Men of the Air", in which he has to do battle with the Dead End Kids. He often appeared with Dominican Republic actress Maria Montez, appearing in such films as "Raiders of the Desert" (1941), "Arabian Nights" (1942), "White Savage" (1943), "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves" (1944), "Bowery to Broadway" (1944), "Follow the Boys" (1944), and "Sudan" (1945). He also had roles in "The Mad Ghoul" (1943, with Evelyn Ankers), "Dragon Seed" (1944, with Katharine Hepburn), "Night in Paradise" (1946, as Aesop), "Out of the Blue" (1947, with Virginia Mayo), "The Amazing Mr. X" (1948), and "The Song of India" (1949). By 1950 his career began to wane and his last movie was "Prisoners of the Casbah" (1953, with Cesar Romero) and he returned to Vienna, Austria where he became a successful photographer and directed plays at the marionette theater in Salzburg, Austria. In 1993 he returned to Los Angeles and had a brief renaissance with "Healer" (1994), and "Possessed by the Night" (1994). He also made appearances in the television series episodes "SeaQuest DSV," "Murder, She Wrote," "VR.5," "The Visitor," and "Babylon 5." He returned permanently to Vienna at the end of the 1990s and devoted himself to photography and theatrical direction. He died of complications from Parkinson's disease at the age of 90. During his acting career he appeared in over 35 films. A documentary film about him entitled "Vom Glück verfolgt. Wien-Hollywood-Retour" was made in 2002. (bio by: William Bjornstad)
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Thanks for all those wonderful Saturday Matinee movies I watched you in as I was growing up. God Bless & Comfort those you left behind who mourn your passing. Rest In Eternal Heavenly Peace. -
m.g. Added: Apr. 26, 2016