21 December 2011

Frida Gombaszögi

During her long and impressive career, Hungarian stage actress Frida Gombaszögi (1890 – 1961) appeared only in two, silent films. She was the first Hungarian actress who represented the modern acting style in plays by Molnar, Chekhov and Gorky.

Frida Gombaszögi
Hungarian postcard. Publisher: Globus, Budapest. Photo: Angelo Photos. Collection: Didier Hanson.

Enchanted Prince
Frida Gombaszögi was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1890. In 1909 she started her stage career after the completion of the Színiakadémián (Hungarian Theatre Academy). Between 1916 and 1933 she was a member of the Vígszínház (Comedy Theatre). During that period she played in two silent Hungarian films. In 1918, she appeared in Vorrei morir/I Want to Die (1918, Károly Lajthay). The film starred Károly Mihályfi, and Gombaszögi only played a supporting part in it. Her other film was Tláni, az elvarázsolt hercegasszony/False, he is an enchanted prince (1920, Károly Lajthay). In this film she played the female lead opposite Pál Lukács, who would later become a renowned, Oscar winning Hollywood star under the name Paul Lukas. Why she did not appear in more films is not clear. Her sister Ella Gombaszögi would become a well known film actress during the 1930’s.

Killed by a Bomb
Frida Gombaszögi was married twice. Her first husband was actor Rajnai Gábor. After their marriage, they soon divorced but they would stay friends during her whole life. In 1933 her second husband, publisher Miklós Andornak was killed by a bomb. Frida Gombaszögi retired from the stage and became the president and CEO of the Atheneum Publishing company. After the war she worked again for the Vígszínház and also for the prestigious Nemzeti Színház (National Theatre). She also worked as a drama teacher at the Színművészeti Főiskola between 1953 and 1956. Her career was again interrupted by the political maneuvers of the communist regime and she had to leave Budapest and work in a provincial theater. At the end of her life she also worked for television. Frida Gombaszögi died in 1961 in Budapest.

Sources: Takács István (szineszkonyvtar.hu) (Hungarian), Stop.hu (Hungarian) and IMDb.

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