Image of Vilma Banky

Vilma Banky

From Wikipedia Vilma Bánky (January 9, 1901 – March 18, 1991) was a Hungarian-born American silent film actress, although the early part of her acting career began in Budapest, spreading to France, Austria, and Germany. Banky was best known for her roles in The Eagle and The Son of the Sheik with Rudolph Valentino and several romantic teamings with Ronald Colman. She was hailed as "The Hungarian Rhapsody" and was an immediate hit with American audiences. The New York Times remarked in its review of her first American film, The Dark Angel, that she "is a young person of rare beauty ... so exquisite that one is not in the least surprised that she is never forgotten by Hillary Trent" (the movie's leading male character who decides to allow his family and fiancee to believe him dead rather than place what he perceives as the burden on them of a life caring for a blinded war veteran). She appeared opposite silent great Rudolph Valentino in The Eagle (1925) and The Son of the Sheik (1926) It is said that Valentino was fascinated by Vilma, and it was he who chose her as the first lady in the films and Ronald Colman in a series of love stories, including The Dark Angel and The Winning of Barbara Worth. It is commonly believed that her thick Hungarian accent cut her career short with the advent of sound; however, she began losing interest in films and wanted to settle down with Rod La Rocque and simply be his wife. By 1928, she had begun announcing her intention to retire in a few years. Of her twenty-four films, eight exist in their entirety (Hotel Potemkin, Der Zirkuskönig [aka The King of the Circus with Max Linder], The Son of the Sheik, The Eagle, The Winning of Barbara Worth, The Night of Love, A Lady to Love, and The Rebel), and three exist in fragments (Tavaszi szerelem in scattered bits, the first five reels of The Magic Flame, and an incomplete copy of Two Lovers). She married actor Rod La Rocque in 1927; they remained married until his death in 1969. They had no children. Vilma Bánky died on March 18, 1991, from cardiopulmonary failure, aged 90, but notice of her death was not made public until the following year. She was reportedly upset that no one had come to visit her in her last years, and directed her lawyer to make no mention of her death. Her ashes were scattered at sea where her husband's had been. For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Vilma Bánky has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame located at 7021 Hollywood Blvd.

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Jan 9, 1901 1901-01-09
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the movie King of the Circus 1924-05-23
Latest Project:
Movie Cinema Paradiso 1988-11-17
Known For
Poster of This Is Heaven
Poster of The Awakening
Poster of The Circus: Premiere
Poster of The Eagle
Movie Cinema Paradiso Yasmin (archive footage) (uncredited) 1988-11-17
Series The Beverly Hillbillies Unknown 1962-09-26
Movie The Golden Twenties Herself (archive footage) 1950-04-07
Series The Ed Sullivan Show Unknown 1948-06-20
Movie A Lady to Love Lena Shultz 1930-02-28
Movie This Is Heaven Eva Petrie 1929-06-22
Movie Two Lovers Donna Leonora de Vargas 1928-03-23
Movie The Awakening Marie Ducrot 1928-03-14
Movie The Circus: Premiere Herself 1928-01-13
Movie The Magic Flame Bianca, the Aerial Artist 1927-09-17
Movie The Night of Love Princess Marie 1927-01-22
Movie The Winning of Barbara Worth Barbara Worth 1926-10-14
Movie The Son of the Sheik Yasmin, André's Daughter 1926-09-05
Movie The Eagle Miss Mascha Troekouroff 1925-11-08
Movie The Dark Angel Kitty Vane 1925-09-27
Movie King of the Circus 1924-05-23