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Eva Bartok Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (5) | Trivia (5)

Overview (4)

Born in Budapest, Hungary
Died in London, England, UK  (heart failure)
Birth NameEva Ivanova Szöke
Height 5' 4" (1.63 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Eva Bartok was both a beautiful lady and a talented actor whose roots were in classical theater. Her first and only film in Hungary, Mezei próféta (1947) ("Prophet of the Fields"), was banned by communist censorship. Actually her life up to that point had been marked by confusion and tragedy. Her father,a Jew who had married a Catholic lady, disappeared without a trace during the rise of Nazism in Europe and Eva, herself, was forced to marry a Nazi officer at age 15 in order to avoid being sent to a concentration camp.

Having survived the horrors of Nazism and World War II, she found her vocation in acting but was soon threatened and persecuted by the new Communist regime. Hollywood-based producer Alexander Paal helped her escape from Hungary by marrying her and taking her to England, where she made her screen debut in Paal's production of A Tale of Five Women (1951), filmed in 1948 but shelved for several years due to financial difficulties. After divorcing Paal, Eva received valuable support from film mogul and fellow Hungarian expatriate,Alexander Korda, who was then president of MGM-England. He placed her under contract to London Films which provided a small salary, an English language coach and the opportunity to audition for developing film projects at the studio.

In spite of this, Eva spent months without finding real work and was becoming quite desperate. William Wordsworth, a public relations man who became her third husband, suggested that she attend as many premieres and theater opening nights as possible in order to bring attention to herself. Unable to buy the proper wardrobe and accessories to make a decent showing at these social events, Eva began designing and making her own gowns and hats from pieces of cheap materials. Soon the media took notice of this beautiful brunette dressed in weird costumes and Eva Bartok became a local celebrity most notable for her hats.

The publicity caught the eye of an Italian promoter who offered Eva a contract to perform in a vaudeville show. With Korda's permission, Eva flew to Italy and had great success reciting monologues on the stages of Milan, Florence and Rome. Meanwhile, in England, the film, A Tale of Five Women (1951) had finally reached movie houses and was seen by producer-actor Burt Lancaster, who was looking for a leading lady for his next film, The Crimson Pirate (1952). Impressed by Eva's beauty and talent, he wired her in Italy and she accepted promptly, sensing the importance of the project.

Thanks to the publicity and worldwide distribution of this film, Eva was perceived as a real movie queen but her next vehicles were not what you would expect from a rising superstar. It is understandable that Eva was a young woman marked by the horrendous experiences of her early years which might explain that, over time, she would become more concerned with spirituality than with the quality of the projects she took on all over Europe. Somehow, she became more famous for her off-camera antics than for her screen work. Eva's long lasting affair with David Michael Mountbatten, 3rd Marquess of Milford Haven and related to the Royal Family, made headlines everywhere especially when David's wife, the Machioness, filed for divorce and named Eva Bartok as the culprit in her failed marriage. For a long time, the actress seemed to be divided between her image as a glamorous carefree playgirl among the European rich and a real human in desperate need to find the meaning of her own existence.

Her filmography in the 1950s is prolific both in England and in West Germany but it includes lots of low-budget turkeys (now "cult classics"), some decent vehicles and a few top productions. She also made a series of films that paired her with popular actor-director, Curd Jürgens, who became her fourth husband. Besides her work in movies, she appeared on London stages and on television in the UK and in the US. After turning down a Hollywood contract in 1956, Miss Bartok faced a serious health crisis when she was diagnosed with an ovarian tumor and was found pregnant at the same time. An Indonesian mystic helped her out of this predicament with a new spirituality called Subud. Eva reported later that she had been healed and was successful in giving birth to a "miraculous" baby girl in 1957. (see 'Deana Jürgens').

From then on, she was totally committed to Subud although she made half a dozen more films before retiring from movies altogether in 1967 at age 40. In later years, she revealed that daughter Deana had been fathered by Frank Sinatra but the claim went ignored by Sinatra and family. She continued her Subud activities during residencies in Indonesia, Hawaii, San Francisco, Los Angeles and London where she died quietly in 1998.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Mark Martin

Spouse (5)

Dag Molin (1980 - 1983) (divorced)
Curd Jürgens (13 August 1955 - 1956) (divorced)
William "Bill" Wordsworth (1951 - 1955) (divorced)
Alexander Paal (1948 - 1950) (divorced)
Geza Kovacs (1941 - 1942) (annulled)

Trivia (5)

Mother of Deana Jurgens. Some three decades later, Bartok claimed that Deana, born in 1957, was actually fathered by Frank Sinatra during a brief affair that Bartok and Sinatra had in 1956.
Was coerced into marrying a Nazi officer to avoid being sent to a concentration camp. After the war, the marriage was annulled on the grounds of coercion of a minor.
Had a publicized affair with Britain's Marquess of Milford Haven for several years.
Born at 1:00pm-CET.
Her last years were spent as a permanent paying guest in a small London hotel; she had very little money and had not acted in several years. According to several of her obituary-writers, she would describe her career to other guests, only for them to assume that she was mildly delusional.

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