October 23, 1928
|Died||September 11, 1971
Monte Carlo, Monaco
Cause of death
|Spouse(s)||Alban Cavalade (1950–1952)
Claude Rouas (1960–1961)
Bajla Węgier (October 23, 1928 – September 11, 1971), better known as Bella Darvi, was a Polish film actress and stage performer that achieved great success both in France and the United States.
Darvi was born Bajla Węgier to Jewish parents Chajm Węgier, a baker, and his wife, Chaja (née Zygelbaum). She had three brothers, Robert, Jacques, and Jean-Isidore, and a sister, Sura. Robert died in a concentration camp.
Jailed by the Nazis during World War II, she was released in 1943. She married a businessman, Alban Cavalcade, on October 7, 1950 and traveled with him to Monaco. She was discovered in Paris by the wife of mogul Darryl F. Zanuck. In 1952, she divorced Cavalcade, and moved into the Zanuck home. In August 1953, she signed a contract with Zanuck, who changed her name to Bella Darvi, Darvi a combination of the first names of Zanuck and his wife, Virginia. Eventually, she became Zanuck's mistress, although she reportedly dated other men including Robert Stack and Brad Dexter.
She was Richard Widmark's love interest in Sam Fuller's 1954 film Hell and High Water as well as that of Kirk Douglas in 1955's The Racers, but is probably best known for the role of Nefer, the seductive Babylonian courtesan, in The Egyptian. She received the role because her lover, Zanuck, preferred her over blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe.
Zanuck left his wife for Darvi, but left her when he discovered that she was a bisexual. Darvi later very publicly dated women, as well as men. Despite liaisons with extremely wealthy men, she was unable to establish a permanent relationship or to curb her gambling habit. Zanuck was still paying off her debts as late as 1970. On November 13, 1960, Darvi married Claude Rouas, a restaurant waiter, in Las Vegas; the marriage was annulled less than a year later.
- Hell and High Water (1954)
- The Egyptian (1954) as "Nefer"
- The Racers (1955)
- Je suis un sentimental (1955)
- Je reviendrai à Kandara (1956)
- Rafles sur la ville (1958)
- Le Gorille vous salue bien (1958)
- Pia de' Tolomei (1958)
- La donna di Ghiaccio (1959)
- Enigme aux Folies-Bergère (1959)
- Le Pain des Jules (1959)
- Il rossetto (1960)
- L'Urlo dei bolidi (1961)
- Le bourgeois gentil mec (1969)
- Les Petites Filles modèles (1971) English title: Good Little Girls
- "Biography: Bella Darvi". lesgensducinema.com. Retrieved 2009-01-10.
- "The Private Life and Times of Bella Darvi". Glamour Girls of the Silver Screen. Archived from the original on 20 December 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-10.
- "Bella Darvi". Find a Grave. Retrieved October 24, 2010.
- Bella Darvi at the Internet Movie Database
- Bella Darvi at the TCM Movie Database
- Bella Darvi at AllMovie
- Bio on Darvi (French)
- Bella Darvi at Find a Grave