Ilona Massey

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Ilona Massey
Hajmássy Ilona.JPG
Massey in 1941
Ilona Hajmássy

(1910-06-16)June 16, 1910
DiedAugust 20, 1974(1974-08-20) (aged 64)
Resting placeArlington National Cemetery
Years active1935–1959
Nick Szavazd
(m. 1935; div. 1936)
(m. 1941; div. 1942)
Charles Walker
(m. 1952; div. 1954)
(m. 1955)

Ilona Massey (born Ilona Hajmássy, June 16, 1910 – August 20, 1974[1]) was a Hungarian-American film, stage and radio performer.

Early life and career[edit]

She was born in Budapest, Kingdom of Hungary (now in Hungary). Billed as "the new Dietrich", she acted in three films with Nelson Eddy, including Rosalie (1937), and with Lon Chaney Jr. in Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943) as Baroness Frankenstein. In 1943, she appeared in the Ziegfeld Follies.

In 1947, she starred with Eddy in Northwest Outpost, a musical film composed by Rudolf Friml.[citation needed] In 1949, she starred in Love Happy with the Marx Brothers. She played Madame Egelichi, a femme fatale spy, and her performance inspired Milton Caniff in the creation of his femme fatale spy, Madame Lynx, in the comic strip "Steve Canyon". Caniff hired Massey to pose for him.[2]

In 1950, Massey was one of the stars of the NBC spy show Top Secret on radio.[3] In 1952 she began starring in Rendezvous on ABC television. The program was described in a magazine article as "a mystery-drama with plenty of glamour thrown in."[4]

Beginning on November 1, 1954, she hosted DuMont's The Ilona Massey Show, a weekly musical variety show in which she sang songs with guests in a nightclub set, with music provided by the Irving Fields Trio.[5] The series ended January 3, 1955, after 10 episodes.


Massey has a star at 1623 Vine Street on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was dedicated February 8, 1960.[6]


Becoming an American citizen in 1946, she remained strongly anti-communist for what she saw as the destruction of her native country, at one point picketing the United Nations during the 1959 visit of Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev. A registered Republican, she supported the campaign of Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 1952 presidential election.[7]


Massey died of cancer in Bethesda, Maryland, and is buried in Virginia's Arlington National Cemetery near her last husband, Donald Dawson, who had served in the United States Air Force Reserve as a major general.


  1. ^ However her date of birth has also been cited as July 5, 1912 and her date of death as August 10 or 12, 1974. This article uses the dates on her gravestone, on the assumption that they are the most accurate.
  2. ^ Pageant May 1953, V8 n11
  3. ^ "Radio and Television Listings". Toronto Telegram. July 6, 1950. p. 13.
  4. ^ Warren, Jill (April 1952). "What's New from Coast to Coast" (PDF). Radio-TV Mirror. 17 (5): 13. Retrieved December 1, 2014.
  5. ^ Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7. P. 496.
  6. ^ "Ilona Massey". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved July 15, 2016.
  7. ^ Motion Picture and Television Magazine, November 1952, page 34, Ideal Publishers


Year Title Role Notes
1935 Heaven on Earth Operettendiva Fioritta
1935 Circus Saran Eine Sängerin
1937 Rosalie Brenda
1939 Balalaika Lydia Pavlovna Marakova
1941 The Great Awakening Anna
1941 International Lady Carla Nillson
1942 Invisible Agent Maria Sorenson
1943 Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man Baroness Elsa Frankenstein
1946 Holiday in Mexico Countess Toni Karpathy
1947 Northwest Outpost Natalia Alanova
1948 The Plunderers Lin Connor
1949 Love Happy Madame Egelichi
1959 Jet Over the Atlantic Mme. Galli-Cazetti
1967 The Cool Ones Toni Karpathy Uncredited, (final film role)

External links[edit]