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09 December 2011

Irén Biller

Hungarian stage actress Irén Biller (1897 - 1989) had a brief film career in Hungary and Hollywood during the early 1930’s.

Irén Biller
Hungarian postcard. Publisher: Globus, Budapest. Photo: Angelo Photos. Collection: Didier Hanson.

The Man Who Dared
Irén Biller was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1897. Her parents were Lajos Biller and Klara Eger Biller. Biller became a stage actress in Hungary and in 1929 she probably made her film debut in the silent film Mulat (1929, Hans Pebal) with Sandor Pethes. (Of the film remains only a poster which says: Biller Irén Mulat). In 1930 she had a great success on stage in Vienna, Austria. She moved to the USA and according to IMDb, she appeared there in two films. The first was the Fox production The Man Who Dared (1933, Hamilton MacFadden). An ‘imaginative biography’of Anton Cermak (Preston Forster), mayor of Chicago and son of East European immigrants, who was killed in the line of fire during an assassination attempt on President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt in Miami in 1933. Biller played Cermak’s sister Tereza, a logical choice seen her Hungarian background. However her accent probably did not help her to continue a career in Hollywood. She only made one more American film, As Husbands Go (1934, Hamilton MacFadden) in which she had an uncredited part as a singer. She also played on stage at the Pasadena playhouse in Los Angeles between 1934 and 1938. During those years she probably made two films in Hungary, according to family member Charles Biller at the site Find A Grave. IMDb only mentions the comedy Lila akác/Purple Lilacs (1934, Steve Sekely), in which she played the female lead opposite Sándor Pethes. (Maybe Charles Biller refers also to Mulat, which IMDb does not mention). She married Ashton Alberger Stanley and stayed in the US. Irén Biller Stanley died in 1989 in Monterey County, California.

Sources: C.J. Biller (Find A Grave), CITWF, and IMDb.

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