Famous Hungarians

famous Hungarians
famous Hungarians
When Nobel Laureate, Enrico Fermi, nuclear physicist, was asked if he believed in extraterrestrials, he replied – „They are already here…they are called Hungarians!” Fermi’s Martians called Hungarians enriched the world with over a hundred thousand inventions, not to mention their countless scientific discoveries.

 So here i collected and posted the list  of hungarians who contributed some good ideas to our civilisations. Sadly most of them succseed abroad, but have been aducatedin Hungary. My idea is: Hungarians are very inventive because of our language. Mind represent the structure of language, and vica versa.. so here we are:

Hungarian Inventors

Vandorboy - The most famouse hungarian traveler :)
Vandorboy – The most famouse hungarian traveler 🙂
ASBÓTH OSZKÁR (1891 – 1960)  Invention: HELICOPTER   Oszkár Asbóth was born in Pankota and died in Budapest. He finished his studies at Arad and became an engineer. He was a student of Tódor von Kármán, the Father of Supersonic Flight.

In 1917, during World War I, Oszkár Asbóth, Tódor von Kármán, István Petróczy and Vilmos Zurovetz worked together on designing the helicopter. After many years of experimentation following the war, he built the Asbóth-helicopter. On September 9, 1928, witnessed by many foreign experts, his model “AH 1” helicopter ascended from a standing position vertically to a great height for the FIRST TIME IN THE WORLD.

Liptrot from the British Air Ministry, who travelled on the helicopter, wrote in a Journal of the Aeronautical Society in 1931: the Asboth-helicopter ascends vertically with a remarkable speed… to any height where it can hover stationary for some time. It can be perfectly navigated. But the most remarkable is that, unlike other tested helicopters, this one remains absolutely stable around all axes…

BÁNKI DÓNÁT (1859 – 1922)  Invention: BÁNKI-CSONKA PETROL ENGINE, CARBURETOR, FRONTWHEEL RUNNING CAR, WATER TURBINE  With JÁNOS CSONKA, creator of Hungarian automobile manufacturing

Dónát Bánki was born in Bánk and died in Budapest. He studied mechanical engineering in Budapest. From 1899 to his death he taught at the Technical University in Budapest. In 1892, before Diesel, Dónát Bánki created the first great compression, low consumption gasoline engine, the Bánki-motor.

In 1892, Dónát Bánki and János Csonka invented the carburetor for their gasoline engine. Even though their invention went through some changes as time passed, every modification was based on this invention.

In 1917, Bánki invented the water turbine, which was useful for utilizing the energy of small and medium sized waterfalls.


(1900 – 1992)



Zoltán Bay was born in Gyulavár and died in Washington D.C. He studied in Debrecen, at the Pázmány Péter University of Sciences in Budapest, where he received his Ph.D. degree, and in Berlin. In 1930 he became professor of physics at the University of Szeged.

Zoltán Bay, the world renown physicist, was the first to perform the following experiment, as a research engineer of the Standard Factory in Budapest, in 1943: he sent ultra-short radio waves to the moon, which, reflected from there worked as a radar, and could be used to measure distance, as well as to study the moon.

He was engaged in the development of television as early as 1936.

In 1948, he left Hungary, and became professor of the Physics Department at the George Washington University in Washington. After he retired, he continued his research activity till the end of his life. It is unbelievable, that this great scientist didn’t receive a Nobel prize.

Two years before he died, he wrote his autobiography, titled Az élet erösebb (Life Is Stronger). His remains were buried in Gyulavár, the place of his birth.


(1899 – 1985)



more than 30 internationally recognized inventions

József László Bíró was born in Budapest and died in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He first studied medicine, but Biró was a many sided person. Between 1921 and 1938, he was a journalist, sculptor, painter, art critic, stock broker, hypnotizer, race-car driver, car salesman and of course an inventor.

József László Biró’s most famous invention was the ballpoint pen. By 1938, he had patented it in over 100 countries. Finally in 1948 the Parker Company bought his patent. In the USA it became known as the BIRÓ PEN.

His other important invention was the automatic gear shift. In 1932, he traveled with his engineer friend Rigó fromBudapest toBerlin (more than 1000 km = 625 mi) on a motorcycle with a sealed gear shift. General Motors bought his patent, just so the competition wouldn’t be able to buy it.


(1860 – 1938)



Ottó Titusz Bláthy, mechanical engineer, was born in Tata, and died in Budapest. He graduated from the Technical University in Vienna.

He invented the transformer with Miksa Déri and Károly Zipernowsky. At Blathy’s suggestion they constructed it with a closed iron core. At that time the transformer was the most important invention in electronics.

Bláthy had more than 100 inventions. He was the first to join the thermal power plant with the hydraulic power plant.

Another important invention of his was the Watt Meter, which was named after him. Many similar mechanisms existed, but only Bláthy’s worked. All Watt meters used today are based on his invention.


(1852 – 1939)



Creator of the Hungarian automobile industry

János Csonka, inventor, was born in Szeged and died in Budapest. From 1875 he was head of the training shop at the Technical University in Budapest.

In 1879 he constructed a four-cycle gas engine according to his own ideas, which was the first Hungarian combustion engine.

During 1892 and 1893 János Csonka and Dónát Bánki invented the carburetor for the Bánki-Csonka engine. Csonka and Bánki made new headways with the engines they constructed. They made Hungary independent from the solutions of foreign factories, which still struggled with ways inherited from steam engines.

Csonka’s main expertise was engine manufacturing. Among many things, he invented the regulating mechanism for the inner combustion engines, a mechanism for forced automatic settings of the ignition for combustion engines. He also patented a portable chain saw equipment which could be disassembled for easy transportation.


(1854 – 1938)



Miksa Déri was born in Bács and died in Merano. He acquired his diploma in mechanical engineering in Vienna.

Miksa Déri, together with Ottó Bláthy and Károly Zipernowszky became world famous with the invention of the alternating electric transformer system. This system made it possible to send electric energy to great distances and divide it over large areas. Today, there is hardly any large energy producer, which isn’t based on this system. The experimentation was mainly done by Déri.

He had many other inventions also. The Déri-repulsion motor is one of them. With it, elevators could be safely used. This had not been achieved by any other type of motor until then.


(1848 – 1919)



The University of Science in Budapest was named after Baron Lóránd Eötvös.

Dr. Baron Loránd Eötvös, physicist, professor, minister of education, was born in Buda and died in Budapest. He completed his education in Heidelberg, Germany.

The Torsion or Eötvös balance, designed by Baron Eötvös, is a sensitive instrument for measuring the density of underlying rock strata. The device measures not only the direction of force of gravity, but the change in the force of gravity’s extent in horizontal plane. It determines the distribution of masses in the earth’s crust. The Eötvös torsion balance, an important instrument of geodesy and geophysics throughout the whole world, studies the Earth’s physical properties. It is used for mine exploration, and also in the search for minerals, such as oil, coal and ores.

Eötvös’ law of capillarity served as a basis for Einstein’s theory of relativity.

(Capillarity: the property or exertion of capillary attraction of repulsion, a force that is the resultant of adhesion, cohesion, and surface tension in liquids which are in contact with solids, causing the liquid surface to rise – or be depressed…)


(1881 – 1972)



Dr. Albert Fonó was born and died in Budapest. He studied mechanical engineering at the József Technical University in Budapest and continued his studies abroad with a scholarship.

His theoretical work was many-sided, his main field was energetics.

His first invention – in 1915 – was an aerial torpedo which worked with jet propulsion and would have increased the effectiveness of artillery. Its significance was not recognized and understood by his time.

In 1923 he patented a new prototype of the gas boiler (furnace) and in 1928 an air compressor for mines.

His most important invention was a jet propulsion engine for supersonic aircrafts. After four years of preliminary examination, it was patented in Germany in 1932. With his invention he proved himself ahead of his time.

He became a corresponding member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 1954; from 1965 he was a corresponding member of the International Academy of Astronautics.


(1881 – 1955)




József Galamb was born in Makó Hungary and died in Detroit. He graduated in Budapest in mechanical engineering.

József Galamb, as the employee of the Ford Company, designed the famous Model-T car. He invented the planetary gearbox and the electrical ignition system (spark plug). At the same time, he designed the mass production of cars. The small Ford Company became a huge factory. In 19 years, they made 15 ½ million Model-T cars.

József Galamb also designed the elegant Model-A car.

During World War I, he designed the Fordson tractor. The English government ordered 7000 pieces of this model. The farmers were very fond of this tractor because it was lighter than the other available tractors and handling it was also much easier. In 1925, more than half of the tractors made in theUSA were manufactured by the Ford Company.


(1817 – 1895)



János Irinyi, a chemist, was born in Nagyléta and died in Vértes. He completed his education in Vienna and in Hohenheim, Germany.

Many experimented with the lighting of fire, but they only came up with complicated and dangerous solutions. In 1836, Irinyi invented a match, which was neither dangerous, nor unhealthy.

He dissolved phosphorus in water and shook it in a glass foil, until it became granulated. He mixed the phosphorus with lead and gumiarabicum, poured the paste-like mass into a jar, and dipped the pine sticks into the mixture and let them dry. When he tried them that evening, all of them lighted evenly.

He had invented the MATCH!

István Rómer, a rich Hungarian pharmacist living inVienna, bought the invention and production rights from Irinyi, the poor student, for 60 Forint. The production of matches began, and everybody was happy throughout the world. István Rómer became rich off Irinyi’s invention, but Irinyi himself died poor and abandoned in Vértes.


(1800 – 1895)



Dr. Ányos Jedlik, a Benedictine monk, scientist and inventor, was born in Szimö and died in Györ. He completed his education in Györ and Pest.

In 1828, 18 years before Siemens, Ányos Jedlik constructed the first electromotor in Györ. He invented the dynamo in 1861. He did not patent his inventions, nor did he sell them. He was satisfied with knowing that his machines worked. He taught his theories and inventions at the university in Hungary. However, the world didn’t know about them. Several years later, Siemens invented both of these machines, and both were named after him.

The first electromotor, built in 1828, and Jedlik’s operating instructions are kept at theMuseum ofApplied Arts inBudapest. The motor still works perfectly today.


(1869 – 1931)



Kálmán Kandó was born in Buda and died in Budapest. He studied mechanical engineering at the Technical University of Budapest. He was the pioneer of railway-electrification.

Kandó’s main invention is, that three-phase alternating current can be used for the hauling of large trains.

His most marvelous invention is the phase-changing electric locomotive, which was named Kandó-locomotive after him. The Kandó-locomotives are used in many countries of the world. This revolutionary invention transforms standard public utility (single-phase) current into three-phase alternating current in the locomotive and therefore makes it capable of hauling.

The electric railways in Northern Italy and the section of the Hungarian State Railways betweenBudapest-Hegyeshalom- Vienna (1929) were built based on Kandó’s invention.


(1881 – 1963)



Tódor von Kármán, a leading theoretician in aerodynamics, was born in Budapest and died in Aachen, Germany. After graduating in mechanical engineering at the Technical University in Budapest, he went to study in Göttingen on a scholarship. He received there his Ph.D. degree and became a professor till 1912.

During World War I. he was chief of research in the aviation corps of the Austro-Hungarian army. There, with his colleagues he developed the world’s first military vehicle with rotating blades, the PKZ-type helicopter. After the war he was one of the founders of the German Luftwaffe and adviser to the Junkers airplane company.

In 1929, he was invited to the United States, and in 1930, became director of the Guggenheim Aeronautics Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. After World War II. he was one of the founders of the JET Propulsion Laboratory for space research. He was a scientific advisor worldwide in the fields of aerodynamics, aeroplane design, aeronautics, astronautic and space flight. Kármán had a leading role in the development of the B-36, B-47 and B-52 aircrafts, the Atlas, Titan and Minuteman rockets.

As recognition for his work craters on the Moon and Mars were named after him.


(1734 – 1804)


SPEAKING MACHINE recorded and imitated human speech; TYPEWRITER for the blind; STEAM TURBINE; ELEVATOR FOR PEOPLE for the palace of Schönbrunn; SELF-REGULATING PUMP for the fountains of Schönbrunn; CHESS AUTOMATON

This was his most peculiar invention, with which he astonished everyone. This machine defeated all the chess players of the world. Nobody could solve its secret. The chess playing machine was destroyed by fire in Philadelphia, and the way it worked remained a mystery forever.

Farkas Kempelen, counsellor of the royal chancellery, mechanic, scientist, inventor, was born in Pozsony and died inVienna. He studied law and philosophy in Györ andVienna. His talents were extraordinarily versatile.




(1807 – 1891)



József Miksa Petzval was born in Szepesbéla and died in Vienna. He became an engineer at the Institutum Geometricum in Pest and later received a Ph.D. degree in mathematics. He taught mathematics and mechanics at the Universities of Pest and Vienna.

In Petzval’s time, two French scientists invented photography. The luminosity of the optical lens was so weak that taking pictures of persons was impossible because it took at least 30 minutes. In 1840 Petzval designed a double lens, that reduced the time of taking a picture to seconds. The first lens was cut by Voigtländer, a German optician, according to the calculations and directions of Petzval. This lens made portrait photography possible and became the basis of the photographic industry.

A large camera factory under the name of Voigtländer is still operating in Germany. Nobody mentions the name of Petzval. The same thing happened to him as to Ányos Jedlik.

Petzval built the first dark room.


(1844 – 1893)


Tivadar Puskás was born in Pest and died in Budapest. He studied in Vienna. According to Edison “Tivadar Puskás was the first man in the world, who thought about a telephone exchange”.

In 1878, he built the first telephone exchange in Boston, then he built one in Paris and Budapest. On Bell’s telephone one person could talk to one other person only. Tivadar Puskás invented the multiple switch box, which made any number of phone users’ connection or disconnection possible.

The telephonograph (speaking newspaper) transmitted news and music programs, using the telephone network. From 1893, 20 years before the invention of the radio, people could listen to news and music inBudapest daily. They could enjoy direct broadcastings from the Opera house.


(1818 – 1865)



Doctor Ignác Semmelweis was born in Buda and died in Vienna. He studied in Pest and Vienna.

InVienna, he worked in the maternity ward and saw in dismay how many mothers and children die during birth. He soon realized that the cause was infection, which the doctors spread from one mother to the next. He discovered that this could be stopped if doctors wash their hands with chlorinated water before they touch the mothers. The doctors working around him ridiculed him. In 1850 he went back toBudapest, where he became head physician of the maternity ward of theRokusHospital. By using his methods – hygiene – puerperal fever was almost completely eliminated in his clinic inPest.

“After an autopsy, we must wash our hands, otherwise we spread poisonous death.” Dr. Ignác Semmelweis





(1893 – 1986)


Albert Szent-Györgyi was born in Budapest and died in Woods Hole, MA, USA. He completed his studies in Hungary, Germany, Holland and England. He received his doctorate in medicine at the University of Science in Budapest and his second Ph.D. in chemistry in Cambridge. From 1930 to 1945 he was professor of medicinal chemistry at the University of Szeged.

Albert Szent-Györgyi won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1937 for his discoveries in connection with the biological combustion process, especially in reference to vitamin C and the catalyst of fumaric acid. Szent-Györgyi discovered that vitamin C is abundant not only in citrus fruits but in Hungarian paprika as well.

Vitamin C has an important role in maintaining good health, such as strengthening the immune system, in the prevention of heart disease, certain forms of cancer, allergic symptoms, colds and influenza, etc.

From 1947 until his death Szent-Györgyi lived and worked in theUnited States. He researched the biochemistry of muscular action and the causes of cell division. He also took active part in cancer research.


(1853 – 1942)


Károly Zipernowsky was born in Vienna and died in Budapest. He started as a pharmacist. Later he graduated as a mechanical engineer in Budapest.

He invented the transformer together with Ottó Bláthy and Miksa Déri. They also developed the alternating current distribution system based on the transformer connected in parallel.

The coherer (radio conductor) was a vital component of the old radio. Coherer means: waves having a constant phase relationship.

He was fascinated with electrotechnology. As a student, he gave many lectures in this field. At age 25 he was invited by the CEO of the Ganz factory to organize the electrical department. Under his leadership, Ganz Villamossági Müvek became Europe’s first large-scale electrical factory, and soon after, it was recognized worldwide.

Zipernowsky was a many-sided inventor. He wrote a book: Saját és másokkal szabadalmaztatott találmányaim (My own and jointly patented inventions). In this book he describes 40 of his inventions.


When Nobel Laureate, Enrico Fermi, nuclear physicist, was asked if he believed in extraterrestrials, he replied – „They are already here…they are called Hungarians!” Fermi’s Martians called Hungarians enriched the world with over a hundred thousand inventions, not to mention their countless scientific discoveries. Last year the Szent István Hungarian School published a booklet about a few Hungarian inventors and the list of Nobel Laureates of Hungarian descent as a class project. The booklet was so well received by the public that we decided to publish another one. The researched inventors and scientists included in this booklet do not even represent the tip of the iceberg, but we hope it will be informative and you will enjoy reading about them.

It was a difficult task for our 15 year old students to translate the complicated Hungarian texts into English. To do this, they had to master the Hungarian language, and this booklet proves that they passed the test remarkably well. And 15 year old Hungarians amaze us constantly. Gábor Bernáth, winner of the Philadelphia Science Olympics, invented the ScanGuru at age 15. This 3D scanner is able to copy stereoscopic forms into a computer and can be used in areas ranging from plastic surgery to shoe design. Two 15 year old Hungarian girls (mentioned in this booklet) are among the nine winners out of the 10,000 from 44 countries who participated in the Planetary Society’s competition… and the list goes on.

We are thankful to Andrea Veronika Benkö who did all the portrait drawings as a gift to the Hungarian School.

We are happy to serve our Hungarian Nation with this humble work in making people aware of a few of the many contributions the Hungarian genius gave to the world.

Passaic, May 15, 2001 Emese Kerkay


(1907 – 1997)






Béla Barényi, designing engineer, was born in Hirtenberg, Austria, and died in Sindelfingen, Germany. He studied in Hungary and Vienna. From 1939 he worked at Daimler Benz AG. He was the company’s head engineer from 1965 until his retirement in 1972.

In 1925, he designed the famous Volkswagen Beetle. Because Porsche was later credited with the invention (1938), Barényi took legal action. The German Courts and the State Patent Office in Mannheim acknowledged that Barényi had invented the concept and the main components of the Volkswagen. Barényi only asked for 1DM (one German Mark) as compensation.

The passive safety of cars was designed by Barényi as well. Out of his 2500 inventions for the automobile industry, dividing cars into three collision zones was the most significant one (1951). The rigid passenger cell is enclosed by deformable front and rear ends which absorb the impact of collision. In order to mass-produce his design he had to replace the rigid undercarriage with a floor plate, patented in 1943. Since 1959, Daimler Benz (and today every automobile company in the world) manufactures cars – acknowledged for their safety worldwide – based on Barényi’s design. Crash tests are also associated with his name.

Barényi’s inventions completely changed the world’s automobile production. In recognition of his achievements he was admitted to the Automotive Hall of Fame in Detroit, USA. With his ideas he has saved the lives of millions on the roads.


(1904 – 1993)

Scientific discoveries:



Madeleine Forró Barnóthy, astrophysicist and university professor, was born in Zsámbok, Hungary, and died in Chicago, Illinois, USA. She studied in Budapest and Göttingen, Germany. In 1928 she was the first woman to earn a doctorate in physics in Hungary. From 1928 to 1948 she was a physics professor at the Budapest University. In 1948 she settled in the USA with Jenö Barnóthy, her husband and fellow scientist. First she taught physics at the Barat College in Lake Forest, Illinois. In 1955 both Barnóthy’s were asked to lead a company which manufactured radiological research instruments. At the same time (1953-1959) Madeleine Forró Barnóthy was also teaching physics at the University of Illinois.

She specialized in cosmic radiation, astro- and nuclear physics and biomagnetism. She was the author of over 150 scientific papers and editor of the two-volume book Biological Effects of Magnetic Fields (1964). Already in 1964 Dr. Madeleine F. Barnóthy determined that the magnetic field will in due time develop into a powerful new analytic and therapeutic tool of medicine. Her last scientific article concerning astronomy (What is Time?), co-written with husband Jenö Barnóthy, was published in 1991, two years before her death. She was a member of numerous American and international scientific associations.

Forró Barnóthy was a pioneer in the research of the phenomena of cosmic radiation, a prerequisite for conquering the universe.


(1920 – )





Dr. József Béres, agro- and biochemist and cancer researcher was born in Záhony, Hungary. He completed his studies in Gödöllö, Keszthely and Budapest. In 1989 he founded the Béres RT (Corporation) and in 2000 the Béres Pharmaceutical Company. In 1992, he established the Béres Foundation for a Full Life, an organization helping the poor. Annually it distributes over 70 million Forints worth of products (1000 bottles of Béres Drops and other Béres products) to the needy.

József Béres invented the Béres Drops in the early 1970’s. This product is made of minerals, trace elements and organic nutrients, which strengthen the immune system and are essential to good health. His invention saved the lives of thousands of critically ill cancer patients. It eased the pain of those suffering from advanced forms of cancer and even cured malignant tumors. Since he wasn’t a licensed physician he didn’t accept any money for his Drops and soon became bankrupt. The communist government also harassed him, ransacking his laboratory and confiscating his research materials. But, because thousands of sick stood in line to obtain his medicine in Hungary, the government was forced to authorize the continuation of Béres’ research. Today millions take Beres Drops as a preventive medicine. According to Dr. Béres: “The progress and improvement of a sound world is unimaginable without the health of body and soul. We serve this purpose.

As of January 27, 2000, the Béres Drops is registered as a medicine. Besides the Béres Drops he has many other patented inventions.


(1775 – 1856)

Scientific discoveries and invention:




Farkas Bolyai, mathematician, was born in Bolya and died in Marosvásárhely (Transylvania), Hungary. He studied in Nagyenyed, Kolozsvár (Hungary), Jena and Göttingen (Germany). From 1804, he was a teacher at the Marosvásárhely College. He could fluently read, write and speak eight languages. At the age of ten, he was able to find the cube root of 14-digit numbers mentally. Besides being a mathematician, he was interested in painting, music, drama, poetry, literature, astronomy, forestry…

Because of his isolated life, the scientific world did not take notice of his numerous mathematical discoveries. In his most well-known book TENTAMEN (1832) written in Latin, he published these independent discoveries. Yet his discoveries were attributed to others, who published these new theories years later.

Bolyai’s best known theorem defines two areas of the plane equal, if they can be partioned into a finite number of paired congruent sections. The so-called Bolyai-algorithm calculates the asymptotic solution of the equation xm=a+x with a series of roots.

One of Bolyai’s important inventions was the heating and cooking (baking) furnace, famous in Transylvania. It was extremely efficient in the heating and ventillation of rooms and even utilized the heat of waste gases.


(1802 – 1860)


Scientific discoveries:



János Bolyai, military engineer, philosopher and the most ingeneous mathematician of all time, was born in Kolozsvár, and died in Marosvásárhely, Transylvania. He began his education under the tutorage of his father Farkas Bolyai, and studied in Marosvásárhely, Kolozsvár and at the Military Academy of Engineering in Vienna. He spoke nine languages, Chinese and Tibetan included. Bolyai was the Austro-Hungarian royal and imperial army’s primary mathematician, violin virtuoso, fencer and dancer.

In 1823 Bolyai already informed his father in a letter about his Theory of Absolute Space: Out of nothing I have created a whole new world. He rejected Euclid’s parallel postulate. Bolyai’s discoveries introduced a new age in the history of geometry. He had solved a 2000 year old problem! His world-famous discovery was published as “Appendix” in his father’s book, Tentamen… Albert Einstein must have studied Bolyai’s discoveries before developing his theory of relativity in 1905. Bolyai writes regarding the relationship between the gravitational force field and geometrical space: The theory of gravitational space is also in close connection and continuation with the size, being and quality of space. Tibor Toro, physics professor wrote a 1000 word thesis on this statement proving that Bolyai had determined, before Einstein, the basis of the theory of relativity.

The recent study of the over 20,000 pages of his unpublished manuscripts kept in the Teleki Téka in Marosvásárhely (Transylvania) discloses Bolyai’s true genius.


(1877 – 1952)




Jenö Fejes, automobile and motor designer, was born and died in Budapest. He completed his studies at the Technical School. He was the designing engineer of Westinghouse, France, from 1902-1909. From 1909 he lived and worked in Hungary. Fejes was instrumental in the development of the Hungarian automobile and airplane industry. He was the director of the Fejes Platemotor and Machine Factory.

His well-known invention is the Fejes plate-engine and automobile. The main characteristic of this invention was that all the heavy iron, steel and aluminum castings were replaced with cold-formed, pressed and torch- or spot-welded iron and steel plates. This technique was also used on the engine-house, steering gear, rear axel and the motor block. The dead weight of vehicles designed by Fejes was 30% to 35% lighter, and they were 20% less expensive. The operational safety of the motors was also increased, because in case of impact it was only dented rather than broken.

In 1927, Fejes founded The Fejes Patents Syndicate Ltd and the Ascot Motor and Manufacturing Co. Ltd. in England. However massproduction was prevented by the Austin factory, which controlled England’s car manufacturing industry. It viewed Fejes’ factory as a threat and was afraid that the success of the low-cost cars would harm Austin.

Fejes’ inventions were ahead of their time. They were put into practice, mainly in the USA, only from the 1970’s.


(1936 – 1995)

Scientific discoveries:





Péter Gergely, architect and structural engineer, was born in Budapest and died in Ithaca, New York. He completed his studies in Hungary, Canada and the United States and received his Ph.D. degree in 1963. For 32 years he was a professor at Cornell University. From 1983-88 he was chair of the Department of Structural Engineering and from 1985-88 director of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He fought as a University National Guard in the Hungarian Freedom Fight of 1956 and escaped to the US from the Soviet invasion.

Gergely’s research and discoveries, published in over 100 scientific papers, led to significant advancements in understanding the mechanics of reinforced and pre-stressed concrete and its application to building codes. He also made pioneering contributions in structural dynamics and earthquake engineering. His discoveries provided answers to many previous problems that occured in areas of moderate seismicity. His improved building codes for structures, especially nuclear plants in earthquake zones are used on a national level. Much of his discoveries were realized through the National Center for Earthquake Engineering which he helped found. He volunteered in many scientific associations and received six international awards.

In 1992, Gergely, a dedicated Hungarian, received an honorary doctorate from the Technical University of Budapest for his international activities in the advancement of the construction industry and improvement of reinforced concrete.


(1898 – 1954)





György Jendrassik, mechanical engineer and inventor, was born in Budapest, Hungary and died in London, England. He completed his studies in Hungary and Germany and worked in the research department of the Ganz-Danubius Machine Factory.

Jendrassik patented the Ganz-Jendrassik engine in 1927. This was a high-speed, four-cycle Diesel-engine, without compression and with a mixing chamber. In his designs, Jendrassik took into full account the requirements of railway haulage: the engine should work with an appropriate torque at every speed. In railway operation the engine has to start immediately, even in cold weather. With his invention, Hungary began to use Diesel power in the railway system and the Danube-ocean shipping. His engine received a world patent and was manufactured in several countries.

Jendrassik built the world’s first usable, efficient, 100 horse powered gas turbine with its own furnace chamber. New about his invention was the method in which the various important elements, such as the compressor, the turbine and the heat exchanger were designed. The correct operation of these elements ensured higher efficiency. The periodical, Engineering (London), claimed that the Jendrassik turbine was the first of its kind to run consistently and satisfactorily.

Jendrassik’s merit was that he recognized the future of gas turbines in aviation, without which military or long-distance aviation is unimaginable. Jendrassik had nearly 100 accepted patents in Hungary and Great Britain.


(1896 – 1936)




János Kabay, pharmaceutical chemist and inventor, was born in Büdszentmihály, Hungary and died in Budapest. He obtained his diploma at the University of Budapest in 1923.

Kabay researched the extraction of poppy alkaloids directly from the plant. Until then morphine was produced from opium. Kabay was the first in the world to succeed in producing morphine directly from the immature poppy plant. In 1925, he applied for a patent under the title Procedure for the production of opium alkaloids from immature poppy plants. Based on this patent, he founded the Alkaloida Chemical Plant in Büdszentmihály (today Tiszavasvári, Hungary) in 1927. He struggled with financial problems to maintain his plant for years. Despite these difficulties he continued his research and in 1932 he was able to extract morphine from dry trashed poppy straw using a new procedure. By this time the government acknowledged the significance of Kabay’s discoveries and provided financial support for his research of morphine production. Soon his plant satisfied the needs of the country and even manufactured morphine for export.

In 1934 he was invited by the Drug Control Committee of the League of Nations to Geneva to introduce his methods. Today, these methods are used throughout the world.


(1897 – 1970)



Ilona Kelp, chemist, was born in Hungary and died in Australia. She received her Ph.D. at the University of Budapest in 1923. SHer knowledge of chemistry was so outstanding that she was allowed to go to Géza Zemplén’s department at the Technical University of Budapest, where female students were accepted only in extraordinary cases.

After completing her studies, she married János Kabay. Together they founded the Alkaloida Chemical Plant in Büdszentmihály (now Tiszavasvári). Ilona Kelp was Kabay’s equal in solving scientific and practical problems. After János Kabay’s death in 1936, she became the plant’s professional director. Consequently the League of Nations asked her to prepare the scientific description titled Classification of Morphine in Poppy-Straw Using János Kabay’s Method.

In 1997, for the 100th anniversary of her birth, Ilona Kelp’s portrait was placed in the Portrait Gallery of Famous Chemists. This is a permanent exhibition of Hungary’s Museum of Chemistry which displays the portraits of the most prominent chemists. Ilona Kelp is the first female chemist to be awarded a place in the Portrait Gallery.

Along with Kabay it is her merit that Hungarian morphine production came to be and that the Alkaloida Vegyészeti Gyár Rt (Chemistry Plant) was established.


(1894 – 1953)




Dénes Mihály was born in Gödöllö and died in Berlin (Germany). He earned his diploma in mechanical engineering at the Technical University of Budapest. At age 16 he wrote a book about automobiles (and motorcycles) which went through 8 editions.

During his studies at the university he experimented with the concept of sound motion picture and telebroadcasting. In 1916 he completed successful experiments in this field, and is therefore regarded the inventor of sound motion picture. One of his most significant inventions in connection with the sound motion picture was the Projectophon, patented in 1918.

Another one of Mihály’s inventions, the Telehor (picture-telegraph), was able to transmit still pictures over distances of many kilometers. Since he wasn’t able to perfect his inventions in Hungary, he accepted the invitation of the Allgemeine Elektrizitäts Gesellschaft in Berlin, where he could research under favorable conditions.

In 1928, at the Berlin Radio Show he presented the Nipkow-dial he had modified and applied semi-incandescent lamps as a light relay. On March 8, 1929, the Berlin-Witzleben radiostation broadcasted the first moving television program in history, based on Mihály’s patent. Mihály founded a company called TELEHOR AG to manufacture television sets. In 1935, he developed with physicist E.H. Traub the Mihály – Traub receiver with a revolving mirror.

Under Hitler’s rule he was sent to a concentration camp for hiding the persecuted. In 1953, he died from tuberculosis he acquired there.


(1934 – 1994)

Scientific discoveries:




György Némethy, bio- and physical chemist, was born in Budapest and died in New York. He completed his studies in Hungary, Germany and the United States, earning a Ph.D. at Cornell University in 1962. He served both science and the youthmovement throughout his life.

His main field of research was the interaction of water and proteins. For his achievements in the study of Molecular interactions in Hydrogen-Bonding Solvents, in 1972 he received the Pius XI Gold Medal of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in recognition of his great merits as a scientist. Némethy helped develope the ECEPP computer program, which is used for determining the configuration of protein molecules. He acquired remarkable results in the field of calculating the atomic structure of collagens – the characteristic proteins of connective an supportive tissues. He introduced the concept of the allosteric effect.

Némethy wrote close to 300 scientific articles, and is one of the most quoted authors in the field of biochemistry. He wrote, taught, lectured and researched in five languages in numerous universities in Europe and the US. From 1988 he was professor of Biomathematical Sciences at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Since 1994 the department has hosted the annual Némethy Memorial Symposium titled „Advances in Protein Folding”. It also offers a Némethy scholarship to candidates who work in his field.

Némethy also devoted his life to the youth movement, passing on his love for nature, Hungarian language, culture and art. For 20 years he was president of the Hungarian Scout Association.


(1897 – 1954)






Ferenc Okolicsányi, physicist and inventor, was born in Budapest, Hungary and died in London, England. He studied at the Technical University of Budapest and earned his Ph.D. in physics in Erlangen, Germany.

Because of the dire conditions in Hungary after World War I, Okolicsányi could not realize many of his significant inventions in practice. In 1926, he conducted research in Berlin, and worked in the field of television with Dénes Mihály. From 1936, he worked in London. He developed the convex mirror scanning system, and was able to produce high quality pictures on television using an ultrasonically generated liquid grid system. This system was used to project large pictures at the British Radio Show in 1938.

After World War II, he worked on color television. His colored cathode ray tube, patented in the USA, was mass-produced. It preceded the Lorentz-tube.

Until his death, he was the chief engineer of a company in London which produced and sold his successful electronic seed-sorting device throughout the world.

Okolicsányi was a significant pioneer of television.


(1907 – 1982)

Tudományos felfedezései:



Selye János, orvos, biokémikus és fiziológus, Bécsben, Ausztria, született és Montrealban, Kanada, halt meg. Tanulmányait Komáromban, Prágában, Párizsban és Rómában végezte. Prágában doktorált. 1931-ben ösztöndíjasként Amerikába került. 1941-töl a montreali McGill francia egyetem tanszékvezetö professzora. 1945-töl saját intézetének, az Institut de Medicine et de Chirurgie Expérimentale igazgató-tanára. 10 nyelven tartotta elöadásait. Élete folyamán 9 ország egyeteme avatta díszdoktor-rá, és 110 Akadémia hívta meg tagjai közé.

Kutatásai alapján felismerte és 1936-ban megfogalmazta, hogy mi a stressz. A sokféle nyomasztó tényezöt stressz-sornak nevezte el, felismerve ezek kóros, megbetegítö hatását. Ezáltal számos betegség teljesen újszerü módszerekkel vált gyógyíthatóvá. Ezek közé tartozik a szívinfarktus, agyvérzés, erek megkeményedése, bizonyos fajta vérnyomások, vesebaj, izületi gyulladás, gyomorfekély és bizonyos fokig a rák. Sokéves stresszkutatásainak eredményeit és nézeteit Életünk és a stress címü dolgozatában foglalta össze. Kifejti, hogy az élölények minden káros behatásra fiziológiai reakciók azonos sorozatával válaszolnak, s ez az általános alkalmazkodási tünetegyüttes.

Selyének, a stressz elmélet atyjának, több tucat könyve és több száz tudományos dolgozata jelent meg 10 nyelven. Selye résztvett a számítógépes orvosi-adatbank rendszerének kifejlesztésében is.

Scientific discoveries:



Hans (János) Selye, physician, biochemist and physiologist, was born in Vienna, Austria and died in Montreal, Canada. He studied in Komárom (Hungary), Paris, Rome and Prague, where he received his Ph.D. He came to America on a scholarship in 1931. From 1941 to 1945, he held a professorship at McGill French University in Montreal, Canada. From 1945 he was director-professor of his own school, the Institut de Medicine et de Chirurgie Expérimentale. He lectured in ten languages, and received honorary doctorates from universities of nine countries. 110 academies invited him to be a member.

Based on his research, Selye recognized and in 1936 defined the concept of stress. He named the many depressing factors stress-series, realizing their harmful effects and their potential to cause disease. This revolutionary concept opened up entirely new methods to cure illnesses such as coronary trombosis, brain hemorrage, hardening of arteries, certain types of blood pressure, kidney failure, arthritis, peptic ulcers and, to a certain degree, even cancer. He summarized the result of his many years’ research in a dissertation titled The Physiology and Pathology of Exposure to Stress. From his observations, he derived his concept of a common reaction mechanism in response to the most varied type of injury and called this the general adaptation syndrome.

Selye, the father of stress theory, published dozens of books and hundreds of scientific papers in 10 languages. He helped develop the computer system based medical data banks.


(1900 – 1995)





Telkes Mária, tudós, tanár, feltaláló, Budapesten született és halt meg. Tanulmányait Magyarországon végezte. A budapesti Tudományegyetemen fizikai-vegytanból doktorált. 1924-ben nagybátyja, a clevelandi magyar konzul, magával vitte az Egyesült Államokba.

Clevelandban dr. George W. Cryle profeszszor biofizikai laboratóriumában kimutatta, hogy a kipreparált agy felszíne infravörös sugárzást bocsát ki. Ennek mérésére rendkívül érzékeny detektort és infravörös fényképezögépet dolgozott ki. 1939-töl a massachussetsi Technológiai Intézet tanáraként a Napenergia hasznosításával foglalkozott. Tervei alapján, 1948-ban, építették fel az elsö napenergiával fütött házat. További napházak építésével felhívta a figyelmet a napenergia kutatására. 1950-töl ö vezette az Intézet kutatásait. A trópuson használták egyik fontos szabadalmát, a sós vizek sótalanítását napenergia segítségével. Telkes M. által szerkesztett hötárolók hosszabb ideig képesek a höenergiát tárolni. Tudományos felfedezései közé tartozik a hideg tárolása is, amelynél a hötárolás szabályait alkalmazta. 90 éves korában jegyzett szabadalma is a hidegtárolás új lehetöségéröl szólt.

Több mint 20 szabadalma van és 100-on felüli cikket írt. Tizenkét külföldi kitüntetést kapott.






Mária Telkes, scientist, inventor and professor, was born and died in Budapest, Hungary. She completed her studies in Hungary and obtained her Ph.D. in physical chemistry at the University of Budapest. In 1924, she traveled with her uncle, the Hungarian Consul, to Cleveland, Ohio.

In Professor Dr. George W. Cryle’s biophysical laboratory in Cleveland, she demonstrated that the prepared surface of the brain gives off infrared rays. To measure this, she developed an extremely sensitive detector and an infrared camera. From 1939, as a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she researched the utilization of solar power. Based on her design, the first house heated with solar energy was built in 1948. By building several more sun houses, Telkes called attention to the study of solar energy. From 1950 she was the Institute’s director of research. Her important, patented method for the desalinization of salt water utilizing solar power was used in the tropics. The heat storage equipment designed by Telkes is able to store heat energy for an extended amount of time. Telkes discovered how to store cold as well, using the principles of heat storage. A patent, received at age 90, dealt with new possibilities for the storage of cold.

Telkes obtained over 20 patents, and had written over 100 scientific articles. She received 12 international awards.


(1897 – 1947)




Tihanyi Kálmán, fizikus, feltaláló, Üzbégen született és Budapesten halt meg. Tanulmányait Pozsonyban és Budapesten végezte.

Tihanyi elöször 1926-ban, majd 1928-ban szabadalmaztatta a távolbalátásnál (televízió) használt ikonoszkopot. Ez a korszerü képcsö elöfutára. Az ikonoszkóp egy nagyteljesítményü töltéstároló képfelvevö csö (elektróda). 1929-ben, francia és angol szabadalmában a képfelvevö csönél a toldalékcsövet alkalmazta. Ez tette lehetövé a képoldalon való letapogatást, ami a korszerü ikonoszkóp alapkövetelménye.

Hosszú ideig nem ismerték el Tihanyi találmányának elsöbbségét, annak ellenére, hogy az Amerikai Szabadalmi Hivatal elutasította Zworykin 1930-ban és 1931-ben bejelentett találmányát Tihanyi elsöbbségére hivatkozva. Tihanyi két amerikai szabadalmat kapott 1928-ban. Ma már kezdik elismerni, hogy ez a nagyjelentöségü találmány a magyar feltalálótól származik.

1929-töl televízió irányítású légvédelmen dolgozott. Elkészítette a pilóta nélküli – robotrepülögép – prototípusát az angol Légügyi Minisztérium és az olasz haditengerészet részére.

1940-ben elkészítette az elözö években kidolgozott 5-8 km hatótávolságúra tervezett ultrahang sugárzó készülék prototípusát, káros rovarok kiirtására . Számos más találmánya is volt.




Kálmán Tihanyi, physicist and inventor, was born in Üzbég, Hungary and died in Budapest. He studied in Pozsony and Budapest.

Tihanyi patented the iconoscope used for television first in 1926, then in 1928. The predecessor of the modern picture tube, the iconoscope is a high efficiency charge storing electrode. In his 1929 English and French patents, he applied the lengthening tube with the electrode. This made possible the scanning on the picture side, which is the basic requirement for the modern iconoscope.

For a long time, his invention’s precedence was not acknowledged, even though the American Patent Office refused Zworykin both in 1930 and 1931, aluding to the precedence of Tihanyi’s invention; Tihanyi had received two American patents in 1928. People are now starting to acknowledge that this significant discovery was invented by a Hungarian.

From 1929, Tihanyi worked on a television guided arial defense system. He developed the prototype of the torpedo for the British Royal Airforce and the Italian navy.

In 1940 he completed his prototype of the ultrasound radiating device, developed a few years earlier. This device had a range of 5-8 km and was used for the extermination of harmful insects.

He also had numerous other inventions.


(1883 – 1956)

Tudományos felfedezései:



Zemplén Géza, kémikus, Trencsénben született és Budapesten halt meg. Tanulmányait Magyarországon végezte. 1904-ben doktorált a budapesti tudományegyetemen. Két évig állami ösztöndíjjal Berlinben az enzimek kémiáját kutatta. 1913-ban megbízták az ország elsö szerves kémiai tanszékének vezetésével és megszervezésével a budapesti Müegyetemen. Jelentös szerepe volt Magyarország szerves vegyiparának kialakításában.

Kutatásainak fö eredményei a cukoracetátok nátriumetilátos szappanosítása, az új Zemplén-féle cukorlebontó módszer kidolgozása, a higanyacetátós módszerrel több glükozid szerkezetének felderítése és szintetizálása. Az I. világháború alatt a Chinoin gyár kémiai tanácsadója lett és ipari problémákkal kezdett foglalkozni.

Több mint 200 tudományos írása föként a cukrok kémiájával foglalkozik. Fejlett biokémiai szemléletére utal 1915-ben megjelent könyve: Az enzimek és gyakorlati alkalmazásuk. Halála elött megírta Szerves kémia címü könyvét.

O. Th. Schmidt a következöképpen jellemzi Zemplén Gézát: Ha egész kutatómunkásságát áttekintjük, a kísérletek mesterének, az élesen megfigyelö és energikusan összefoglaló kémikusnak és fáradhatatlan akaraterejü embernek képe bontakozik ki elöttünk. …a fö súlyt egyértelmüen a tiszta cukorkémiára helyezte. Ebben van Zemplén kutatói jelentösége, itt fejlesztette ki a nevéhez füzödö maradandó módszereit.

Scientific discoveries:



Géza Zemplén, chemist, was born in Trencsén and died in Budapest. He completed his studies in Hungary, earning a Ph.D. at the Budapest University of Sciences in 1904. For two years he researched the chemistry of enzymes in Berlin on a scholarship. In 1913 he was asked to organize and chair Hungary’s first Organic Chemistry Department at the Technical University. He played a vital role in the establishment of the organic chemical industry of Hungary.

His major accomplishments include the developement of a method for the saponification of acetylized carbohydrates whith sodium metylate, the new method for the Zemplén sugar decomposition, and the determination of the structure and synthesis of several glycosides using the mercury acetate technique. He began dealing with industrial problems During World War I, when he became advisor in chemistry for Chinoin, the major chemical plant of Hungary.

His more than 200 scientific articles deal mainly with the chemistry of carbohydrates. His book, Enzymes and their Practical Application, published in 1915, shows his advanced biochemical insight. Shortly before his death he wrote another book, Organic Chemistry.

O.Th. Schmidt’s portrait of Zemplén was: If we consider the entire field of his research efforts, the picture of a mastermind of experimentation, a sharp-eyed, energic and comprehensive chemist, and a man of indefatigable will power emerges …Zemplén always emphasized pure sugar chemistry. It is this that represents his importance in research, this is where he developed these methods, which made him famous.


(1828 – 1900)





Zsolnay Vilmos kerámikusmüvész, nagyiparos, Pécsett született és halt meg. Festészetet tanult Bécsben, majd 1853-tól édesapja Zs. Miklós által alapított gyár vezetését vette át. Magánúton kémiát, technológiát tanult. Újításaival a modern kerámia úttöröje lett.

Sokoldalú kerámiagyárrá fejlesztette ki a családi üzemet. Rendszeresen vizsgálta és kisérletezett a környék agyagjaival. Az edénydíszítést müvészi színvonalra emelte. Az 1878-as párizsi világkiállításon bemutatta újonnan kifejlesztett porcelánfajansz-nak nevezett díszedényeit, melyek teljesen különböztek az addig ismert agyagáruktól. Az elefántcsont színü cserépen ólommentes mázat használt. A díszítésnél a színezett máz a harmadik égetésnél kissé beolvadt az alapmázba. Ezzel a technikával Zsolnay, a müvész, a legfinomabb díszítesre volt képes, sok alkotása olyan mint egy olajfestmény.

Zsolnay feltalált egy új épületkerámiát, a faragható, fagyálló pirogránit-ot, mely Magyarország számos híres épületét díszíti (Mátyás templom, kassai dóm, vajdahunyadi vár, országház, iparmüvészeti múzeum, stb.).

A pécsi kerámiagyár híressége még a több színben játszó – piros, zöld, kék és egyéb – fémfényü eozin máz, melyet Wartha Vince müegyetemi tanárral együtt dolgozott ki Zsolnay.

Zsolnay halálakor, 1900-ban, ez a családi gyár sikeres volt a kerámia gyártás minden területén.





Vilmos Zsolnay, ceramic artist, industrialist, was born and died in Pécs, Hungary. He studied painting in Vienna and in 1853 he took over the company his father Miklós Zs. had founded. He studied chemistry and technology on his own. With his innovations he became the pioneer of modern ceramics.

Zsolnay developed the family industry into a many-faceted ceramic factory. He regularly examined and experimented with the clays of the region. He brought the decorating of ceramics to an artistic level. At the Paris World Exhibition of 1878, he introduced his newly developed decorative porcelain faience, which was completely different from other known clay products. He used a lead-free glaze on ivory colored pottery. In the process of decorating, the colored glaze melted slightly into the base glaze at the third firing. With this technique, Zsolnay, the artist, was able ot make the finest decoration; many of his creations were like oilpaintings.

Zsolnay invented a new building-ceramic, the carvable, frostproof pyrogranite, which decorates many of Hungary’s famous buildings (Mátyás Church, Parliament, Museum of Applied Arts, St. Erzsébet Dom of Kassa, Castle of Vajdahunyad).

The Ceramic Factory in Pécs is also famous for its iridescent metallic Eosin maze, which Zsolnay codeveloped with Vince Wartha, a professor at theTechnicalUniversity. At the time of Zsolnay’s death in 1900, his family factory was successful in all fields of manufacture.


Róbert Bárány (1876-1936) – 1914


For his work on the physiology and pathology of the vestibular apparatus

George von Békésy (1899-1972) – 1961


For his discoveries concerning the physical mechanisms of stimulation within the cochlea.

Dennis Gábor (1900-1979) – 1971


For his investigation and development of holography.

János Harsányi (1920- ) – 1994


For his pioneering analysis of equilibrium in the theory of non-cooperative games.

George de Hevesy (1885-1966) – 1943


For his pioneering work with radioactive isotopes as tracers.

Fülöp von Lenárd (1862-1947) – 1905


For studies in x-rays and the cathode ray tube.

György Oláh (1927- ) – 1994


For the study of hydrocarbons, the ingredients of oil and natural gas, and his discovery of new ways to use them.

János Polányi (1927- ) – 1986


For his work on chemical reaction dynamics.

Isidor Rabi (1898-1988) – 1944


For his resonance method for recording the magnetic properties of atomic nuclei.

Leopold Ruziczka (1887-1976) – 1939


For his work on polymethylenes and higher terpenes.

Albert Szent-Györgyi von Nagyrápolt (1893-1986) – 1937


For his discoveries in connection with the biological combustion process with special reference to vitamin C and the catalysis of fumaric acid.

Elie Wiesel (1928- ) – 1986


For his dedication to peace, atonement, and human dignity.

Eugene Wigner (1902-1995) – 1963


For research on the structure of the atom and its nucleus.

Richard Zsigmondy (1865-1929) – 1925


For his work on methods in the study of colloid chemistry.

Film, the Arts, & Media I, II >>This list is far from inclusive, but exemplifies, along with the other sections, the Hungarian Genius!  The Atomic Bomb, Model T, Matches, Television, Hollywood Movies, modern Computers and Binary, Supersonic Flight, the Telephone Exchange, the Carburetor, the Zeppelin, the Automatic Gearbox, the Moon Rover, and the Intel Corporation, all owe their existence to Hungarians!

According to the Associated Press, (AP-NY-10-26-96 1604EDT) people with some claim to Hungarian ancestry have been nominated for Oscars 136 times since 1929, when the first ones were handed out, and have taken home 30 of the golden statuettes. There’s an old joke from the ’30s about a sign on a movie studio wall reading “It’s not enough to be Hungarian. You have to have talent.” The joke refers to how a relatively small country had such an impact on the history of the movies. Another sign above MGM’s commissary wrote: “Just because you’re Hungarian, doesn’t mean you’re a genius!

I receive contributions to this list from all over the world. As I indicated earlier, I do get quite a bit of hate mail regarding this site and this list. I assure you that names are not added to this list until verified.  Click to [Submit] a Famous Hungarian. Please include a resource for verification purposes.

Adolph Zukor – (b. 1873, Ricse, Hungary, d. 1976, Century City, CA)

“Mr. Motion Pictures” and Oscar WinnerProducer and Founder of the Paramount Pictures Empire and Loew’s Theatres. Produced the first full-length motion picture, “The Prisoner of Zenda.” Received a special Academy Award in 1948 for his “contribution to the industry.” One of the original studio “moguls.” Zukor arrived in the US at 16, got one of his first jobs as a furrier’s apprentice. Zukor worked his way up to become a well-heeled Chicago furrier and, in 1903, teamed with Marcus Loew to open the first of a series of penny arcades. Two years later the team formed Loew’s Consolidated, with Zukor as treasurer of the far-flung empire of theaters. 80 years later, he was still going to work every day at Paramount Pictures. Adolph Zukor ruled Paramount Studios with an iron hand for decades, forming alliances with such other powerful and influential figures like these, shown left to Right: Jesse L. Lasky, Adolph Zukor, Samuel Goldfish (later Goldwyn), Cecil B. DeMilleand Albert Kaufman- More at Hollywood.com

Joseph Pulitzer

PublisherResponsible for building of the Statue of LibertyHe was a veteran of the Civil War and a member of the 1st New York Cavalry Regiment which he joined almost immediately upon his arrival in theUS. After a time in NewYork sweatshops, he went west and became a reporter. He saved his money, bought partial ownership of the Westliche Post, and when successful sold it. He then bought the St. Louis Dispatch which he merged with the Evening Post, and once that was a success, went toNew York, bought the New York World, and a publishing tycoon was born. He then turned his attention to the Statue of Liberty which sat disassembled in disgrace withNew Yorkrefusing to pay for its erection. Pulitzer started a fund with this aim and put the name of anyone donating to this project in his newspaper. He understood snob appeal and the rest is history.This from www.pulitzer.org:”In the latter years of the 19th century, Joseph Pulitzer stood out as the very embodiment of American journalism. Hungarian-born, an intense indomitable figure, Pulitzer was the most skillful of newspaper publishers, a passionate crusader against dishonest government, a fierce, hawk-like competitor who did not shrink from sensationalism in circulation struggles, and a visionary who richly endowed his profession. His innovative New York World and St. Louis Post-Dispatch reshaped newspaper journalism. Pulitzer was the first to call for the training of journalists at the university level in a school of journalism. And certainly, the lasting influence of the Pulitzer Prizes on journalism, literature, music, and drama is to be attributed to his visionary acumen. In writing his 1904 will, which made provision for the establishment of the Pulitzer Prizes as an incentive to excellence, Pulitzer specified solely four awards in journalism, four in letters and drama, one for education, and four traveling scholarships.”

Andrew Vajna

Producer, Hollywood Legend: President of Cinergi Productions, co-Founder of Carolco PicturesAnother Hungarian-bornHollywood”Mogul.” Fled Soviet troops and leftHungaryin 1956. During a career that spanned the globe, he has been one of the most important producers inHollywoodfor the past 20 years. Carolco made motion picture history when it introduced a new cinematic hero, Rambo. Other Carolco projects include Music Box, Total Recall, AirAmericaand Jacob’s Ladder. Other films include Die Hard: With a Vengeance, Terminator, Color of Night, Judge Dredd, The Scarlett Letter, Oliver Stone’s Nixon, Evita, An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn, Shadow Conspiracy, Out of Order / A Miniszter félrelép and The 13th Warrior. Also founded Cinergi.His recent film, An American Rhapsody, won international critical acclaim.  The film was close to Andrew Vajna as he is also Hungarian and left the country as a child.- Read more at Hollywood.com or this article.

George Cukor – (b. 7/7/1899, New York, d. 1/23/1983, Los Angeles)

Double Oscar Winning Director (seen on left with Audrey Hepburn)Best known in his earlier days as the man who brought many a classic costume novel to the screen, George Cukor’s 50-plus year directing career later expanded to include thrillers, screwball romantic comedies, and even musicals.Cukor lead eight of his leading ladies to Best Actress-nominated performances and himself received five Best Director nominationsover the course of his career. Received the coveted prize for “Wizard of Oz,” “My Fair Lady.”  Other well-known films include “It Should Happen to You” (1954) and A Star is Born (1954).- Read more at Reel Classics or see film summaries and commentary here!

– Filmography and more at IMDB

William Fox – (born Vilmos Fried, 1/1/1879, Tulchva, Hungary, d. 5/8/1952, New York)

Producer and Hollywood Mogul – Founder of Fox Studios!Fox began hisUScareer in the garment trade and moved into the penny arcade business in 1904. He went on to develop successful film exhibition, distribution, and production operations, merging all three interests with the formation, in 1915, of the Fox Film Corporation, one of the most powerful and creative studios of the silent era. At the peak of his power, Fox owned over 500 movie houses in theUS(he bought control of the giant Loew’s, Inc.) and the Gaumont Theatres chain inGreat Britain. By the end of the 1920s the company had accumulated several top stars and directors and produced a number of prestigious films; the stock market crash of 1929, however, forced the overextended Fox to sell his shares in the corporation. His company merged with 20th Century Pictures to form 20th Century Fox in 1935. In 1936, a year after Fox studios merged with 20th Century, Fox bribed a judge during the liquidation of his holdings in bankruptcy proceedings. His sentence, a year in prison, began in 1941. Paroled in 1943, he was a pariah inHollywood. Though secure from his many patent holdings, the industry for which he had been so visionary was closed to him. No industry representative came to eulogize at his funeral.Fox invented the global media newsgathering organization emulated today by CNN, BBC, ITN, DW and others. Fox secured his place in history by commercializing talking pictures and then introducing a larger movie screen.  Read about his patent fights for Talking Pictures and more at Media Visions.com– See his impressive Filmography at IMDBFabulousFox.com, or William Fox

Miklós Rózsa – (b. 1907, Budapest)

Triple Oscar Winning Film ComposerMiklos Rozsa’s exquisite string arrangements, powerful use of percussion and unconventional approach to composition would revolutionize the film score, raising the field to greater dramatic and evocative heights. A born musician, Rózsa began studying the violin at age five and became steeped in the folk music of his native land, an influence that could be detected in much of his later work. While his parents tried to steer him towards a more practical lifestyle, insisting he major in chemistry at the University of Leipzig, it wasn’t long before he was enrolled in Leipzig Conservatory, training in musicology, preparing him for a long, successful and influential career in music. He began scoring films for fellow Hungarian Alexander Korda in England in the 1930s and went with him to Hollywood to make The Thief of Bagdad (1940). Rózsa’s work ranges from the The Jungle Book (1942) to the intimate, disturbing accompaniment for Spellbound (1945) to the epic, scores of Julius Caesar (1953), Ben-Hur (1959) and El Cid(1961).  For twenty years, from 1945 to 1965, he was a professor at theUniversity ofSouthern California, teaching and continuing to compose classical works.Trivia: It was Rosza who began the vogue for recorded film scores, and he remained the most recorded of film composers for at least 40 years. Rozsa came up with the “dum dum dum dum” beginning of Dragnet!- See Miklos Rozsa

The Ensemble Sospeso has an excellent article on Miklos

– Read more on Hollywood.com or IMDBwith an extensive Filmography

Béla Lugósi

ActorThe Original Dracula!Born Béla Ferenc Deszö Blaskó inLugos,Hungary, in the Bánát, another part ofHungaryawarded toRumania. Some early tidbits:

  • At the age of 13, Lugosi ran away from home to become an actor, but instead found himself working in the mines at Resicabanya (nowResita,Romania), located about 200 miles south of Lugos.
  • At about the age of 17, he moved to Szabadka (now Subotica, Vojvodina, after Serbian annexation). He lived with his sister and widowed mother and went to work in the railway yard.
  • It was in Szabadka that Lugosi got his first opportunity on the stage – as a chorus boy in an operetta, which was produced in the Nepszinhaz, or People’s Theatre.
  • By 1903, Lugosi was appearing at the Ferenc Jozsef Szinhaz (FranzJosephTheatre) in Temesvar, the capital of Lugosi’s home province of theBanat.
  • In 1914, he enlisted in the Hungarian army. He was discharged in 1916 after convincing officials that he was “mentally unstable.” Not soon after, he was married to Ilona Szmik on June 25, 1917. It was also during this time that he began appearing in movies. His first picture was A Leopárd, in which he played the lead role.
  • He emigrated to the United States of Americain December of 1920 with the Treaty of Trianon in which virtually all of the towns he lived and worked in, including his birthplace, were awarded to other countries.
  • His first American film was 1923’s The Silent Command, a suspenseful spy movie in which Bela played the bad guy. He officially became a US citizen on June 26, 1931. He took on the role of Count Dracula in Horace Liveright’s play in place of actor Raymond Huntley in 1929. It played for 33 weeks on Broadway, and also toured the entire West Coast. Soon after, the rights to play were picked up by Universal Studios. Universal wanted Lon Chaney, Sr. to play the lead role, but Chaney died of throat cancer in 1930. It wasn’t until after Chaney’s death that Bela was even considered for the part of Count Dracula. The rest is history!

Bela had a truly remarkable film career. See:

Click HERE to listen to Bela speak as Dracula or hear many more at The Pit!

– Visit the Béla Lugósi Homepage and see Béla Lugósi Films

– See the well-designed Chamber of Dr. Werdegast for more, including bio, filmography and pictures! or IMDB

Franz Liszt – (b. Oct. 22, 1811 – Doborján, Hungary (AKA, Raiding after Austrian annexation); d. July 31, 1886 – Bayreuth, Germany)

Classical Composer, “Greatest Pianist of All TimeA truly monumental composer. From the Franz Liszt Page: “Franz Liszt has emerged as one of the most awe-inspiring figures in all of music history. Regarded as the greatest pianist of all time, who outplayed such greats as Chopin and Thalberg, his genius extended far beyond the piano to expand musical composition and performance well beyond its 19th Century limitations. His unique compositions bewildered, inspired and inflamed the imaginations of his own era, yet quite miraculously he also laid the seeds for a series of schools that would flourish in the near and distant future. Namely, the Late Romantic, Impressionist and Atonal schools. For this Liszt is unique, and his immense-influence… monumental. He invented the symphonic poem, a new and elastic single-movement form, which many subsequent composers, like Richard Strauss & Saint-Saëns, embraced and is at the core of much contemporary and even popular music forms today.”- For a short biography and zipped MIDI files, see The Classical Music Page or Visit The Franz Liszt Page.

– You can hear MIDI recordings of many Liszt favorites at the Classical Music Archive.

– The American Liszt Society maintains an excellent site with numerous links as well as a list of “Liszt Medal of Excellence” recipients.

– For those of you interested in studying music, visit the Ferenc Liszt Academy of MusicinBudapest. This world-renowned and formerRoyalAcademy had Liszt as it’s first President, and was home to such great musicians as Dohnanyi and Kodaly.

Tony Curtis

Oscar-Nominated Actor, Artist, and Hollywood Legend!The COOLESTcat ever to graceHollywood! The son of a Hungarian immigrant (who had been an amateur actor inBudapest), Curtis was involved with street gangs as a child, but eventually joined the Navy during World War II. Upon his release, he used the GI educational program to study drama atNew York’s Dramatic Workshop. While playing the lead in a production of “Golden Boy,” a Universal talent scout spotted him and Bernie Schwartz was signed to a seven-year contract (starting at $100 a week). His name was changed to “Anthony Curtis.” He started his career at the movies in 1949. Tony has been called by critics, “The World’s Favorite Movie Actor.” Star of 106 films, including “The Defiant Ones,” in 1958 (Oscar Nomination!), “Some Like it Hot” with Marilyn Monroe in 1959, “Trapeze,” “Spartacus,” “the Great Race,”  “Sweet Smell of Success” and “The Boston Strangler,” in 1968. He also played the title role in a film about his fellow countryman, Houdini with his first wife, Janet Leigh, with whom he fathered the beautiful Jamie Lee Curtis. My favorite Tony quote:

“What’s the secret to a long and happy life? Young women’s saliva!”

As an artist, he has won international acclaim. From his site: “His bright acrylic canvases, which have been compared to Matisse, assemblages, collages and boxes are in the private collections of Billy Wilder, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver, Frank and Kathy Lee Gifford, Lew Wasserman, Frank Sinatra, Arsenio Hall, Walter Mathau, Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas. Tony’s originals are also on display at the Butler Institute of American Art, the Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, The Toronto Museum,NationalHungarianMuseum, Harrods Department Store, Spago Restaurant, The Navy Memorial, The Mirage inLas Vegas, and the Caitlyn Gallery inSt. Louis.”

Tony writes about his painting on the right:

“My father and mother were Hungarian. When I was a young boy, my father regaled me with stories of the Hungarian countryside and gypsies. Living and growing up inNew York City, I felt like a gypsy in that huge metropolis. Thus, you see the Gypsy Prince. It is based on a portrait of yours truly.”

– For more biographical info, visit: IMDB or Mr. Showbiz

– The Official Tony Curtis Fan Page with great picture gallery and links

– See a Tony Curtis Fan‘s Page

– See and BUY Tony’s Art on tonycurtis.com!

Gene Simmons of KISS

Legendary Rock-n-Roller!Born Chaim Witz inHaifaIsraelin 1949, his motherFlorencewas a Hungarian survivor of a Nazi concentration camp, and his father Yechiel was a carpenter. Five years after his birth his parents separated, and when Chaim was only nine his mother brought him to live in the “LandofOpportunity” – theUnited States of America. Mother and son settled inWilliamsburg,Brooklyn,New York. Here’s what Gene once said in a Goldmine interview with Ken Sharp:”I was starting to learn English by watching TV, but certainly when I saw Pinocchio I thought the little cricket was talking to me. ‘You, Gene, I’m talking to you. When you wish upon a star your dreams come true.'”Gene also used comic books to learn English and was fascinated by the colors and pictures. The step from comics to horror movies and thrillers was a natural one after seeing a documentary on the great Lon Chaney. After seeing the historic Beatles appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 Gene’s life was changed. It would be in this, his fifteenth year, that his mother would give him a secondhandKentguitar, which she purchased for $15.”When I saw the Beatles on that program in 1964, I said, “Gee, you don’t have to get in line and do stuff like the Temptations, you can pick up a guitar and you don’t have to dance, you certainly don’t need a band in back of you, and anybody can do it.” – Guitar Player 1978Gene Speaks Hungarian, Turkish, Hebrew, and Spanish. He was also a sixth-grade teacher in Spanish Harlem!

– Read all about KISS at the KISS Asylum

– Read about Gene at Kissinuk.com, The Gene Simmons Biography, or Kiss Online.com

Brent Spiner – (b. 2/2/1949, Houston, TX)

Actor and Trekkies’ favorite android, Lieutenant Commander Data!“Born and raised inHouston,Texas, Spiner moved toNew Yorkafter college, where he performed in numerous off-Broadway plays. “The play that finally pushed me over into the serious-actor category was a public theater production of ‘The Seagull’ [Anton Chekhov] for Joseph Papp,” he says. Spiner eventually won roles in the Broadway musical productions of “Sunday in the Park with George,” “The Three Musketeers” and “BigRiver,” which was based on the story of Huckleberry Finn.After moving to Los Angelesin 1984, Spiner appeared in the Westwood Playhouse production of “Little Shop of Horrors.” His other credits include the Woody Allen film “Stardust Memories,” a cameo in the movie “The Miss Firecracker Contest” and guest-starring roles in such television series as Cheers, Twilight Zone, Night Court and Hill Street Blues. Spiner has also featured in the films “Phenomenon,” “Independence Day” and “Out to Sea.” In 2000, Brent portrayed Stromboli in Disney’s musical live action version of “Geppetto.” Spiner also appeared in the 2000 mini-series “A Girl Thing.”  – from Star Trek.com– See the interview in Timeout NY Magazine

– See his filmography, pictures, and more at IMDB

Paul Newman – (b. 1/26/25, Cleveland)

Oscar Winning ActorEight Oscar Nominations!His numerous acclaimed films include: “Cool Hand Luke,” “Hud,” “The Hustler,” “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” “The Sting,” “The Verdict,” “Absence of Malice,” “The Verdict,” and “The Color of Money” in which he finally won the Oscar on his seventh try. Paul Newman has managed to maintain his matinee-idol status for over 40 years. His famous baby blues were as striking at 70, when he collected his eighth Best Actor Oscar nomination, for 1994’s Nobody’s Fool, as they had been at 30, when he made his feature-film debut in 1954’s The Chalice. Newman was born in the brew-drenched burg ofCleveland,Ohio, the second and youngest child of German and Hungarian parents. His father was a partner in a successful sporting goods store, and thus Newman was raised inCleveland’s swankyShaker Heights. suburb.

“The embarrassing thing is that the salad dressing is out-grossing my films.”

In the twilight of his storied career, he became an ardent philanthropist; by the time the Academyof Motion Picture Artsand Sciences honored him with its Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1994, Newman had raised over $80 million in support of various charities. Proceeds from his “Newman’s Own” line of food products go to charity.

  • Nominated for Best Actor 1958 : CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF
  • Nominated for Best Actor 1961 : THE HUSTLER
  • Nominated for Best Actor 1963 : HUD
  • Nominated for Actor 1967 : COOL HAND LUKE
  • Nominated for Best Picture 1968 : RACHEL, RACHEL, Producer
  • Nominated for Best Actor 1981 : ABSENCE OF MALICE
  • Nominated for Best Actor 1982 : THE VERDICT

AMC TV and IMDB are excellent resources for all sorts of Paul Newman info.

– You can also visit a Paul Newman Biography

Michael Curtiz – (b. Manó Kertész Kaminer, 12/24,1898 Budapest, d. 4/10/1962, Hollywood, California)

Oscar Winning Director of “Casablanca”From IMBD: He got his diploma at the School for Dramatic Arts in 1906. First he went to Pécs, thenSzeged. He began acting in and then directing films in his nativeHungaryin 1912. The next year he went toDenmarkto study the newest achievements of the new art in the studios of the then flourishing Nordisk company. Here he worked as assistant and director, acting as the main character in Atlantis (1913). Having returned in 1914 he went to the Jenõ Janovics film factory in Kolozsvár (Cluj). In 1915 he moved back to the capital. In 1916 he worked for the Kinoriport, then he became a director for Phönix until Fall 1918. He shot 38 production inHungaryaltogether. In 1919 he filmed the popular poem of Antal Farkas with the title Jön az öcsém (1919). During the Commune he settled down inVienna. He was one of the most productive and most educated artist inHungaryat the beginning of the era of the silent film.After WWI he continued his filmmaking career in Austriaand Germanyand into the early 1920’s when he directed films in other countries in Europe. Moving to the USin 1926, he started making films in Hollywoodfor Warner Bros. and became thoroughly entrenched in the studio system. His films during the 30’s and 40’s encompassed nearly every genre imaginable and some, including Casablanca (1942) (see him on the right directing Bogart and Bacall) and Mildred Pierce (1945), are considered to be film classics. Other credits include: 1935’s Captain Blood, 1936’s The Charge of the Light Brigade, 1938’s Angels With Dirty Faces (Oscar nomination), 1938’s The Adventures of Robin Hood,  1938’s Four Daughters (Oscar nomination), 1940’s The Sea Hawk, 1942’s Yankee Doodle Dandy (Oscar nomination),  1943’s This Is the Army, 1946’s Night and Day and 1954’s White Christmas. He even directed one of Elvis Presley’s most credible films, King Creolein 1958. He died of cancer in 1962.Trivia: Member of the Hungarian fencing team at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics!- See Arjan’s Michael Curtiz page for movie posters, pictures, trivia, and more!  (Thanks for the images)

– See his filmography and more at IMDB or Hollywood.com

Frida Kahlo (b. 1907, in Coyoacán, Mexico City; died 13th. July, 1954)

Acclaimed Artist and Mexican Icon: One of the most influential artists of the middle twentieth centuryShe was bornMagdalenaCarmen Frida Kahlo y Calderón. Her father, Guillermo Kahlo, was a Jewish Hungarian immigrant photographer who had been born inGermany. Her mother, Matilde Calderon, was a Catholic Mexican whose origins were Spanish and Native American. She died when Frida Kahlo was in her twenties. Frida Kahlo suffered from polio when she was six. Nevertheless she was very tomboyish which won her father’s favor. It was not common for girls to go to school at that time inMexico, but her father had advanced ideas and in 1922 he sent her to the Preparatoria (NationalPreparatory School) which was the most prestigious educational institution inMexico. The school had only just started taking girls, and Frida Kahlo was one of only 35 girls out 2000 pupils. It was at school where she met her future husband Diego Rivera who was fulfilling a mural painting commission there.In 1925 when she was 18 she was in a bus which collided with a tramcar causing serious injuries to her leg and pelvis. The accident destroyed her dream of becoming a doctor and affected the rest of her life. During her convalescence she started painting and sent some of her work to Diego Rivera. They would marry in August 1929. She shared his faith in communism and passionate interest in the indigenous cultures ofMexico. Rivera encouraged Kahlo in her work, extolling her as authentic, unspoiled and primitive, and stressing the Indian aspects of her heritage. During this period “Mexicanismo,” the fervent embrace of pre-Hispanic Mexican history and culture, gave great currency to the notion of native roots.The suffering of women is a constant theme in her sometimes shocking pictures. The Frida Kahlo Museumwas opened in her house in Coyoacán in 1958.Nicolas Muray (1892-1965) was a close friend and lover of Frida Kahlo. The Hungarian-born photographer’s celebrity portraits appeared regularly in Vanity Fair and Harper’s Bazaar. He also took numerous photographs of Kahlo and purchased many of Kahlo’s paintings, helping her financially while she was struggling during her brief eleven-month divorce from Rivera. She was having an affair with Muray when she and Rivera filed for divorce in 1939; although it is unclear whether the cause of the separation was Kahlo’s or Rivera’s infidelity. These intimate letters attest to Kahlo’s close relationship with Muray.Salma Hayek portrays her in theHollywoodfilm on Frida’s life.

Read more about her

Mariska Hargitay – (b. 1/23/64, Los Angeles)

ActressThe beautiful and talented daughter of Jayne Mansfeild and Mickey (Miklós) Hargitay, and a wonderful actor in her own right. Now starring in “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.” Hargitay is also known to millions of viewers from her recurring role on ERas Dr. Greene’s (Anthony Edwards) girlfriend Cynthia Hooper in the 1997-98 season of the top-rated show.She also gained notice as a cast regular in the sitcom “Can’t Hurry Love,” guest roles on NBC’s “Seinfeld,” “Ellen,” “thirtysomething,” “Wiseguy” and “In the Heat of the Night” and as a regular on the popular series Falcon Crest and Prince Street. Hargitay was also seen in the made-for-television movies The Advocate’s Devil and Night Sins. Her film credits include the critically acclaimed Leaving Las Vegas.Miss Beverly Hills (1982).  She graduated from theUniversity ofCalifornia,Los Angeles,California; B.A., Theater.- See NBC.com for more!

Charles A. Csuri

Father of Digital Art!“…The goal is to achieve a balance between technology and an aesthetic domain to make a meaningful artistic statement.””Charles Csuri could have played professional football. Named “All-American” for football atOhioState, Csuri turned down offers to play professionally and chose to study art at the graduate level. In school, he became friends with Roy Lichtenstein; afterwards, both of them joined the faculty atOhioStatewhere he is now Professor Emiritus. Painting and teaching, Csuri became interested in the digital computer as a means of imaging in 1964, when he saw a computer generated face in a publication from the Department of Electrical Engineering. This started Csuri down the path which made him a Computer Graphics Pioneer.”Co-founder of Cranstonand Csuri Productions whose credits include the acclaimed “Living Body” series. He has directed over 25 major research projects for the National Science Foundation, Navy and Air Force and the findings have been applied to flight simulation, computer aided design, and the special effects industry. In 1995 Csuri was featured in the cover article for Smithsonian Magazine. His work has been exhibited at, among other venues, the Smithsonian Institution and the Institute for Contemporary Art inLondon. He is represented in a number of collections, including that ofNew York’sMuseum ofModern Art.- See this great article at OhioState: Digital Patriarch or see his Ohio State professional profile

– For more see the Charles Csuri: Computer Artist

Gerard Schurmann

World-renowned Double Oscar Winning Composer: Orchestrated Lawrence of Arabia and ExodusGerard Schurmann was born of a Dutch father and Hungarian mother in the formerDutch East Indies. He left his home at an early age and grew up inEnglandin the care of an uncle, thus avoiding the Japanese occupation of the islands. Influences from his colorful background manifest themselves in music of a distinctive character. Inherent in his individual musical language are the intervals derived from pentatonic scales which he absorbed as a boy from the local gamelan music of Java and from the Hungarian heritage of his mother, a gifted pianist and accompanist. These melodic derivations, with their harmonic resonances, give rise to an exotic and often heightened emotional intensity in his music.At the age of 17, Schurmann volunteered for active wartime flying duty in the Dutch 320 Squadron of the Royal Air Force. In addition to his operational duties in Coastal Command, he was invited by the British Council to give piano recitals and make recordings for the troops. At the end of the war, Schurmann combined his by now busy concert career as a pianist with the position of acting Cultural Attaché at the Netherlands Embassy inLondon.  He later became resident orchestral conductor at Dutch Radio. At the end of his contract, he returned toEnglanddetermined to devote his life mainly to composition, henceforth limiting his conducting activities to guest appearances. As a composer, Schurmann found himself able to earn a living by writing music for films.In 1980, he was invited by the U.S. State Department to tour orchestras and universities in the United States, a five months visit also partly sponsored by the British Council. In 1981, he moved to the USA, where he settled in the Hollywood Hills, California. He continued to receive many commissions for concert works and became associated with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. He scored many films and won Oscars for his orchestration of Lawrence of Arabia and Exodus. He also received two Oscar nominations (The Two-Headed Spy, and The Ceremony).Trivia:

  • He was invited to choreograph to music the Fountains of Bellagio, the most ambitious WET Design water feature to date.

– See Gerard Schurmann.com

Rachel Weisz – b. 3/7/71, London

Actress and ModelFilm credits include: The Mummy, The Mummy II, Enemy at the Gates, Stealing Beauty, Chain Reaction, Swept from the Sea, Sunshine, Beautiful Creatures.Rachel studied English at Trinity Hall, Cambridge.  She formed the Talking Tongues theater company and at 1991’s Edinburgh Festival won a student drama award for a play she wrote and acted in.

Her mother, Edith, is a Viennese-born psychotherapist (wanted to act herself, encouraged Rachel to try theatre). Her father, George, is a Hungarian-born inventor credited with inventing life-saving respiratory medical equipment.- Biography at Heavenly Celebrities,

– bio and filmography at IMDB.com

– For pictures: Rachel Weisz Picture Galleries or Actress Archives.com

– A filmography at videoflicks.com

Gyorgy Kepes (b. Selyp, Hungary in 1906, d. 1/16/2002)

Painter, designer, author and educator who founded and directed the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MITGyorgy Kepes was the greatest pioneer in the marriage of art and technology in America, if not the world.He was a visionary, a towering intellect and a breathtaking artist. He single-handedly created the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT and turned it into an internationally acclaimed program for the development of the finest in late 20th-century art. His work will endure for many centuries to come,” said Alan Brody, associate provost for the arts.Kepes studied painting at theSchoolofArtsinBudapest. The horrors of World War I convinced him that “only film could bring into a single focus my joy in the visual world and the social goals to be realized in this world,” he wrote. In 1930 he went toBerlin, collaborating on film, stage and exhibitions, and graphic design with Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, one of the principals in the Bauhaus movement. Kepes came to the United States in 1937 as head of the Light and Color Department of the Institute of Design in Chicago, then known as the New Bauhaus. He joined MIT in 1946 as associate professor of visual design, becoming a full professor in 1949. He was appointed Institute Professor in 1970. Kepes founded the Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS) in 1967 and served as its director until 1972.In addition to his career as an artist and an educator, Kepes was a prolific author. He published “The Language of Vision,” a summary of educational ideals and methods, in 1944; “The New Landscape in Art and Science” in 1956, and the seven-volume “Vision and Value” series in 1965 and 1966. Throughout his career, Kepes continued working as a designer, producing both small and large-scale works. The First andSecondChurchinBostoncommissioned him to make stained glass windows, and he designed a window and all sculpture for a church inJapan. His paintings are included in 30 permanent collections including theBrooklynMuseum, the Corcoran Gallery of Art inWashingtonand theWhitneyMuseuminNew York City. In 1995 the Hungarian government endowed a museum inEger,Hungary, devoted to housing a major collection of Kepes’ paintings, drawings and photographs as well as his archives. A permanent collection of his photographs is inHungary’sNationalPhotographyMuseum. The Kepes Prize is presented annually at MIT.Among many tributes, Kepes was awarded the Fine Arts Medal of the American Institute of Arts and Letters. He was a Fellow of theAmericanAcademyof Arts and Letters and a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. In 1996, he received both the Medal of Honor and the Middle Cross of theRepublicofHungary.See MIT Tech Talk or Gyorgy Kepes, Exemplar of the Visual Arts (includes a gallery)

Uri Geller – (b. 1946, Israel)

Psychic/EntertainerSome call him “One of the Most Controversial Men of Modern Times,” Uri is undoubtedly the most famous psychic in the world, first known for his spoon bending.   His “powers” have been under scientific scrutiny for years. Visit “Uri Geller,” for biographical information, a picture gallery, paranormal research, Uri’s paintings, and more.Uri’s own home page at www.urigeller.comis also a great resource on his activities.

Stefan Hatos (b. Aurora, Illinois, on 8/ 20/1920, d. Lakeside Golf Club in Toluca Lake, California 1999)

Television producer of “Let’s Make a Deal” fameStefan Hatos was a first generation American, with Hungarian parents.  His father was an iron puddler by trade. Stefan was the second of three sons and a daughter. He began playing piano and oboe at age eight. While attending college on a music (and basketball) scholarship, he played Oboe and English Horn with the Detroit Civic Symphony and also played Tenor & Bass Saxophone in dance bands to work his way through school. He got his start when he became staff announcer at a Detroitradio station and later on the NBC radio network. He was always more interested in writing and production than in performing. While an announcer, he wrote episodes of The Lone Ranger (1940), The Green Hornet, and a psycho-thriller Hermit’s Cave. After serving 37 months as commanding officer of PT 328 during WWII, and surviving being wounded twice, he returned to CBS Radio as a Staff Director and Writer in New York and Chicago.  He next joined ad agency Foote, Cone & Belding as staff Producer-Director for radio shows Readers Digest with big name stars and The Wayne King Show (CBS Radio).  He directed Lucky Strike Hit Paradefor NBC Radio.He moved into television in 1949, and created and produced one of the first nighttime game shows on the first inter-connected network of seventeen TV stations on ABC-TV. The name of the show was Fun for the Money. He produced numerous radio and television shows and hit it big with “Let’s Make a Deal” with Monty Hall which debuted in 1963 and ran for over 4,600 shows and continues today in syndication!Trivia:

  • He was among those photographed for LIFE magazine at the liberation of a Prisoner of War camp at Kuching, Sarawak,Borneoin August, 1945

Read more on the Official Let’s Make a Deal Website (thanks for the above information!)

Iván Tôrs – (b. 6/12/1916 d. 6/4/1983)

Producer/Director, Underwater Film PioneerAlthough Ivan Tors died in 1983, his impact on conservation, wildlife awareness, and even recreational scuba has been huge. By means of his work as a filmmaker and producer, Ivan brought the underwater world home to millions via television and movies. He is the man who created Sea Huntin the 1960s, but even back in 1958 he was innovating underwater cinematography with features like “Underwater Warrior.” Another milestone in Tors’ career was the 1960s TV series “Flipper,” forever endearing the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin to Homo sapiens. Other Ivan Tors productions included “Namu, the Killer Whale,” “Around the World Under the Sea,” and “Hello Down There.” Other television series created by Ivan Tors during the 1970s included “The Aquarians,” “Primus,” and “Salty.” By means of his creative cinematography and innovative narrative, Ivan Tors communicated his vision of the sea to so many when so few knew what wonders lie beneath the sea. Tors also handled underwater sequences for the early Bond films such as “Thunderball.”Inducted into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame. Though he worked extensively with captive dolphins and other animals, he spent much of his later years campaigning against dolphin captivity…- See his filmography here

Peter Lorre – (born Lászlo Loewenstein, 6/26/1904 Rozsahegy [Rosenberg], Hungary, d. 3/23/1964)

Actor: Chaplin called him “the greatest actor aliveSuperstar of Horror film classics, some with countryman Bela Lugosi, as well as acclaimed supporting roles in “Casablanca,” the “Maltese Falcon,” and “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.” Born in Rozsahegy, Hungary (now Ruzomberok, Slovakia after the Treaty of Trianon), his grandfather was a rabbi and his father, Alois Loewenstein, was a middle-class landowner. After the family fortune was decimated by the 1919 Hungarian Communist revolution, Alois relocated his family inVienna and attempted to settle his son into a respectable career as a banker. “Laczy,” however, was determined to become an actor, and spent much of the 1920s learning his trade in various small theatrical companies. In 1928, at the recommendation of his mentor Jacob Moreno, he adopted the stage name Peter Lorre. During the late 1920s and early 1930s Lorre made an impression in the art theaters ofBerlin. In 1931 Lorre had a phenomenal success with his first film appearance as a serial killer in Fritz Lang’s thriller “M,”  now considered a classic of German cinema. Peter Lorre’s performance in M remains one of the greatest in the history of cinema.Almost as quickly as he achieved world-wide fame, Lorre became typecast. In spite of his diminuitive size, Lorre became synonymous with dread. Fleeing the Nazi machine, Lorre leftGermanyin 1933, landing inEngland, where Alfred Hitchcock exploited his image by casting him in is first English-speaking role as the head of a ring of kidnappers who menace young Nova Pilbeam in The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934). He then relocated to southernCalifornia, and, for better or worse, settled in as a permanent resident ofHollywood’s star colony.  Two years later Hitchcock cast him in a similar role in Secret Agent. For Mad Love (1935), his first American film and a rare foray into horror for MGM, Lorre’s head was shaved, further emphasizing his bulging eyes and giving him a slick, reptilian appearance. In his secondHollywoodouting he met with more critical acclaim as yet another murderer, Raskolnikov, in Sternberg’s version of Crime and Punishment (1935). Between 1937 and 1939 Lorre stepped into a more conventional role, playing the Japanese detective Mr. Moto in eight films for 20th Century-Fox. By the end of the decade, Lorre’s face and silken voice had become so recognizable that he was caricatured in Warner Bros. cartoons and on Spike Jones records. During the 1950s, health problems forced Lorre to take fewer roles, although he did expand his repertoire with a musical, Silk Stockings (1957) and several comedies. His comedic talent was displayed in a 1960s series of comedy/horror films for American-International Pictures. His precise timing and droll delivery in The Raven (1963) suggested thatHollywoodnever fully explored Lorre’s range as an actor.Vincent Price said of him, “His voice. . . face . . . the way he moved . . . laughed.  He was the most identifiable actor I have ever known.”Trivia:

  • Brecht wrote a Broadway musical for him and invited him to play Hamlet with his Berliner Ensemble.
  • He was the first director in post-WWIIGermanyto make a film critical of the Nazis.
  • He talked Humphrey Bogart into marrying Lauren Bacall!
  • Was the very first James Bond villain; he played Le Chiffre in a 1954 version of Casino Royale on TV.
  • During the anti-Communist witch hunts of the late 1940s, Federal agents came to his house to question him about whether or not he knew any suspicious persons. He responded by telling them the names of everyone he’d ever met. They left him alone after that.
  • He’s mentioned in the novels On the Road, Catcher in theRye, and Under the Volcano.

Click HERE to Listen to Peter or hear more at The Pit

– See Walking the Shark: a Peter Lorre Page for more; Peter Lorre by Michael Ferguson; The Peter Lorre Story, with numerous pictures and anecdotes; more biographical info, filmography, and more at IMDB; or his filmography

Harry Houdini (b. 3/24/1874, Budapest, d. 10/31/1926, Detroit)

The “Greatest Magician on Earth,” Actor, Pioneer PilotHoudini fascinated audiences with his great escapes and illusions for decades.  To this day he is the one magicians aspire to. He was honored as first to fly a plane inAustraliaand also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his film career.Harry was the third of five children. When he was about four years old, his father, Rabbi Dr. Mayer Samuel Weiss, who was a religious scholar and teacher, moved the family to Appleton, Wisconsinwhere he became the first rabbi of a new congregation. He told everyone for his entire life that he was born in Appleton, so they would accept him as an American. In later years, in a magazine interview, Houdini said about Appleton, “the greatest escape I ever made was when I left Appleton, Wisconsin.” He was always concerned about physical fitness and staying in shape. He won awards in trackand swimming and later used these talents as an escape artist.When I was 15, I read an autobiography by the French Magician named Jean Robert-Houdin. This changed my life forever. I wanted to be just like Robert-Houdin, so I added the letter “I” which means “like” to his name, and I became Houdini. He career was storied to the say the least.  In 1926, he lay underwater over 90 minutes in a sealed casketto beat the world record. Later that year, on October 22, 1926, while in his dressing room at the Princess Theater inMontreal with several students fromMcGillUniversity, he was asked if he could actually withstand a punch to the stomach thrown by any man. This is something he would routinely do, but before he could prepare himself by tightening his stomach muscles, J. Gordon Whitehead hit him three times. He didn’t know it at the time, but his appendix had burst. He did several shows at the Garrick after that, but soon became ill. Nine days later in room 401 ofDetroit’s oldGraceHospital, he died from peritonitis, which is inflammation of the appendix. He died at the age of 52, on October 31, — Halloween.Trivia: “Genius of Escape Who Will Startle and Amaze”

  • Fellow Hungarian (see him on this page) Tony Curtis played Harry in the film.
  • AUSstamp was issued in his honor

– See Houdini Biography or The Houdini Tribute for more.

– Learn all about Houdini, hear his voice (VERY RARE!), see many photos and resources, and buy stuff at Hounidiana – an amazing site full of information – “The Largest Electronic Archive in the World on Houdini” – or Shop at Houdini.com.

– See videos and other multimedia at Houdini Tribute.  Read a more detailed biography at Houdini: A Biographical Chronology


His brother, Theo, known as “Hardeen” was also a well-known act, performing many of Houdini’s astonishing escapes.

Mark (b. 8/12/1949, Glasgow) and David Knopfler (b. 12/27/1951)

Legendary, Grammy Award-winning Rock Musicians of Dire Straits: “The Sultans of Rock” and “the finest British band of all time.”Mark Freuder Knopfler was born to Erwin Knopfler and Louisa Mary Knopfler. Erwin Knopfler, an architect, was a Hungarian Jew who had fled from the Nazis in 1939, and settled inGlasgow. A daughter, Ruth had been born in 1947. Later, in 1952, Mrs. Knopfler gave birth to a second son, David. When Mark was seven or eight, the Knopflers moved fromGlasgowtoNewcastle.Dire Straits was formed inLondonby Mark Knopfler (lead vocals and lead guitar) and his brother David (guitar), with John Illsley (bass), and Pick Withers (drums). In the late 70s, the band emerged with a refreshing rock sound mixed with blues, jazz and even country. The band’s sound was strengthened by the meshing of players and Knopfler’s lyrics. Mark Knopfler is and always has been the face and force of Dire Straits. Their first demo gets airtime thanks to a chance friendship with London Radio DJ Charlie Gillent. Dire Straits (named after their financial condition) then is born. A record company deal and the first album, the self-titled Dire Straits, follow the next year. Thus began the meteoric rise of the one of the finest British band of all time.The first single of their album Brothers In Arms, “Money For Nothing,” went to Number 1 on pop and rock charts. Follow-up hits included the Top 10 “Walk Of Life” and “So Far Away.” The band used the popularity of the “new” CD format to give listeners longer versions of their songs. Tracks such as “Your Latest Trick” and “Brothers In Arms” became even more of a treat to listeners with the longer format. The LP sold over 9 million copies in the U.S. and many more millions around the world. The LP went #1 in Canada, Brazil, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Portugal, France, German, Greece, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Yugoslavia, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Israel. 1986 Grammy Awards: Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal (“Money For Nothing”) and Best Country Instrumental Performance (“Cosmic Square Dance” awared to Mark Knopfler and Chet Atkins).Trivia:

  • Prior to forming the band, Knopfler worked as a rock critic and taught English.
  • “Money For Nothing” with Sting as guest vocalist, is Dire Straits’ first American Number 1 single.
  • Knopfler scored the film Wag The Dog.

– See discography and more on neck-and-neck.com

– Read more on The Sultans of Rock or

– the official Mark-Knopfler.com or

Rock on the Net

Lehár, Franz (b. 4/30/1870 Komárom (now called Komarno in Slovakia after annexation at Trianon) – d. 10/24/1948, Bad Ischl, Austria)

Foremost composer of 20th century operettas.Best known as a composer of operettas, he studied with his father, a military bandmaster, and at the age of 15, from 1882 to 1888 he was a pupil at the Prague Conservatory, studying violin and music theory. On the advice of Dvorak, he concentrated on composition.After graduation, he played violin in the opera orchestra at Elberfeld. Later, he joined his father’s band, the Fiftieth Infantry, inVienna, as assistant bandmaster. InVienna, he also free-lanced as a conductor, and in the Spring of 1902, became conductor at the Theater an der Wien inVienna. His opera Wiener Frauen was produced there in November, 1902. From that time, he lived inVienna, and devoted his time to composition.“The man in the street may love The Merry Widow,” observed Ernest Newman, “but the musician, in addition to loving it, admires and wonders at it, so fresh and varied is the melodic invention in it, so deft, for all their economy, the harmonization and the scoring.”Franz Lehar wrote nearly forty operettas. His greatest success was The Merry Widow, which was first produced at Theater an der Wien on December 30, 1905. which had more than five thousand performances. At one time, it ran simultaneously in five different languages in five different theaters, all inBuenos Aires. Other major successes include The Count of Luxemburg (1911) andLand ofSmiles (1923), Gypsy Love, Eva and other sonatas, symphonic poems, marches, and dances. In February 1935 Lehár decided to found his own publishing house in order to have the greatest possible control over the performance and availability of his works. He incorporated Glocken Verlag Vienna on 15 February 1935. He reacquired most of his oeuvre from other publishers to whom he had previously sold various rights and devoted much time to the publication of definitive editions. He died in Bad Ischl on 24 October 1948.- Read more Here or at this great biography “Franz Lehár Considered from the Objectivist Point of View

– Read more about him and his family’s military history at Austro-Hungarian Army.com

Gábor Csupó – (b. 1952, Budapest)

Co-founder of Klasky-Csupo, one of the world’s leading independent animation studios, Founder of Tone Casualties, Musician. 5 EMMYS and 2 CABLE ACE Awards – produced Rugrats and the SimpsonsWalt Disney eat your heart out. But there is no dispute that this Hungarian born genius is the leader of the new generation of animation. He received his animation education at Hungary’s famed Pannonia studio. In 1975 he fled Communist Hungary by walking for 2.5 hours through a darkened railway tunnel to Austria. Eventually in Stockholm, he helped produce Sweden’s first animated feature. While in Stockholm, he met graphic designer Arlene Klasky. The couple relocated to Los Angeles, California and formed Klasky Csupo, Inc. in late 1981 in the spare room of their apartment. Klasky Csupo has won 5 EMMYS and 2 CABLE ACE Awardsplus a host of other top honors.  They produced Rugrats, the Simpsons, and even the opening to the hit show “In Living Color.”- Visit KlaskyCsupo.com for more info on the company and background on Gábor.

– See his music at Liquid Fire, the title of his new CD, “A hypnotic musical journey for dark ambient, electronic, trip-hop, drum & bass, acid jazz, avant-dance and progressive groove lovers. East meets West with a bang.” The site’s main page plays a modern rendition of the Kossuth Anthem!

– Read an interview at Club Cool Tunes

– Read a history of Hungarian Animation

Tommy Ramone (b. 1/29/1952, Budapest, Hungary)

Drummer and Producer of the Legendary, Pioneering Punk Rockers, the Ramones!Born Thomas Erdelyi, he emigrated fromHungaryat the age of four. The Ramones formed in 1974, after the foursome graduated or left high school inForest Hills,New York. The original lineup featured Joey on drums, Dee Dee sharing guitar with Johnny, and Tommy as manager, but soon became the band’s drummer. In the mid-’70s, the Ramones shaped the sound of punk rock inNew Yorkwith simple, fast songs, deadpan lyrics, no solos, and an impenetrable wall of guitar chords. Each band member changed his name to Ramone.”All the better-known punk groups that followed – The Sex Pistols, The Clash, whoever – they would be the first ones to say that without the Ramones the whole punk movement never would have happened,” Spin magazine editor-in-chief Alan Light. The Ramones have released 14 studio albums of “arguably the greatest American Rock-n-Roll ever,” contributor Fred Mintz.Tommy’s last show was May 4, 1978, at CBGB in New York. Tommy left under amiable terms, citing a dislike of touring and desire to be a producer.  He returned to produce the albums Road to Ruin and Too Tough To Die.Trivia:

  • Where did the name “Ramones” come from?

There have been numerous answers given to this question.  One is that Paul McCartney used the name Paul Ramone when the Beatles were know as the Silver Beatles.  Another explanation is that while in the Beatles, Paul would use the surname Ramone when checking into hotels to hide his true identity.  Dee Dee said the band liked producer Phil Ramone (Billy Joel, Simon and Garfunkel).

– See RollingStone.com or


George Pál (b. 1/2/1908, Cegléd, Hungary, d. 5/2/1980, Beverly Hills, California) –

Cartoonist – Winner of SIX Oscars, and pioneer of stop-action animation!“Before Spielberg… Before Lucas… There was…George Pal, The original Wizard of Sci-Fi & Fantasy!”Since the early history of animation, Hungarians have been involved in this field (see Csupo above), and this history dates back to its earliest in 1914, and then follows through to Paramount Studios in Hollywood when in the 1940s Hungarian émigré George Pal developed methods of integrating animated special effects with live action. These methods were to become the accepted process for motion pictures for decades thereafter. In the annals ofHollywood, George Pal will always be remembered as a titan. A brilliant visionary who profoundly shaped the art of motion pictures. As an animator, Pal was a pioneer of stop-action animation and a peer of Walt Disney and Walter Lantz.George Pal was born into a Hungarian theatrical family. Both parents, Maria and George Pal, Sr., were famous stage celebrities. George attended the BudapestAcademyto train as an architect, but a clerical error put him in illustration classes… A medical school just down the street offered classes in anatomy to its students. Pal found that by simply slipping on a white smock, he could sneak into the classes and learn anatomy. “The doctors,” he says, “had to learn how to draw muscles and bones — no matter how badly — so that they knew them. I drew pretty good. So I reproduced my drawings and sold them to the medical students. I had to make money somehow. I think the medical professor got suspicious because so many students turned in similar drawings. But he let it pass.” … as they say, the rest is history. George graduated with an architectural degree when Hungary was in no need of architects, but there were jobs for animation illustrators at Hunnia films. Pal convinced his girlfriend Zsoka to marry him, and only then found that his new job was un unpaid apprenticeship. They migrated to Berlin (Zsoka’s excellent idea), where he found similar (but paid) work at the famousUFA studio. Within sixty days, he was in charge of their cartoon production. The rising tide of Nazi Germany pushed Pal to move toHolland. where he created his revolutionary short, “Ship of the Ether.” As World War II loomed on the horizon, Pal realized an old dream and headed to theU.S. forHollywood.It was there that Pal was to profoundly influence the movie industry and shape the imaginations of a later generation of filmmakers. Working at Paramount, Pal applied his experience in animation to create a beautiful series of musical short subjects. “George Pal’s Puppetoons” utilized meticulously carved wooden puppets and stop-action photography to create three-dimensional animation the likes of which had never been seen before. Puppets gracefully twirl and swoop in a ballroom to the strains of a Strauss waltz. The Puppetoons earned Pal an Academy Award (Oscar) – the first of six in his career.In the ’50s Pal turned to live-action films as a producer (as did his friend Walt Disney seen with Pal and Lantz on the right). His first film. “Destination Moon,” (Oscar)  was a ‘futuristic documentary’ chronicling man’s exploration of Earth’s nearest neighbor. As veteran director Robert Wise observes in the documentary, “’Destination Moon’” was a major turning point in film history.” He later brought to the screen such classics as H.G. Wells’ “The War of the Worlds(Oscar) and “The Time Machine(Oscar), and “When World Collide” (Oscar).. But there was a warm and gentle side to this artist as well. Today Pal is also honored for the beautiful and charming fantasies “Tom Thumb,” (Oscar) “The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm” (his son David was also an animator), and “7 Faces of Dr. Lao.” Pal’s cinematic legacy can be traced today in the works of George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Gene Roddenberry.


  • Co-Authored “Time Machine II,” a sequel to the H.G. Wells classic.
  • He designed the Morlocks in The Time Machine.
  • Some familiar puppets he created are the Pillsbury Doughboy and the Planter’s Peanut Guy!

– For more biographical information, see IMDB, The Legacy Of George Pal, A Brief Biography of George Pal, The Time Machine, or Sci-fi station.com

– Read a history of Hungarian Animation

– See a filmography I, filmography II (IMDB), or filmography III, and purchase his videos at Moviegoods.com or Videoflicks.com

– Purchase the video of his legendary career, “The Fantasy Film Worlds of George Pal

Kristof (Christoph) von Dohnányi – (b. 9/28/1929, Berlin)

Conductor (Cleveland) of the “Country’s Greatest OrchestraTime Magazine,1994Born inBerlin, Christoph von Dohnanyi began the study of the piano as a 5-year-old, and although he studied law inMunichafter the war, he decided to devote himself exclusively to music. His most important teacher was his grandfather, the composer Ernst von Dohnanyi, with whom he studied at the Florida State Universitry. Dohnanyi also took conducting courses in Tanglewood under Leonard Bernstein. His career began when Sir Georg Solti called him to the Frankfurt Opera in 1953, where he was choral conductor and later orchestral conductor. He then took posts in various German cities before serving as principal conductor and general manager of the Hamburg State Opera from 1978 to 1984. As a regular guest at the Salzburg Festival, Christoph von Dohnányi has led the Vienna Philharmonic in several new productions. He has conducted such orchestras as the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic,Concertgebouw Amsterdam,New YorkPhilharmonic,IsraelPhilharmonic and Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He has appeared in major international opera houses such as the Metropolitan Opera,New York, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, La Scala,Milanand Vienna State Opera.Dohnanyi was appointed music director of the Cleveland Orchestra in 1984. “They don’t have to love you, but respect is essential,” he says of his relationship with the players. Today, Dohnanyi and the Cleveland Orchestra are considered as one of the great musical teams of our time, both in theU.S.and internationally. His programs inClevelandhave drawn widespread admiration and won him the ASCAP Prize for progressive concert programs in 1989.From Case Western Reserve University: “Under your direction, the Cleveland Orchestra has become the most recorded American orchestra, and has brought insight and enjoyment to millions of listeners and fame to this community through your performances here and throughout the world. Christoph von Dohnanyi, musician, leader, adventurer, world citizen, and our close partner in this extraordinary neighborhood known asUniversity Circle. On the recommendation of the University Faculty and the vote of the Board of Trustees, it is a privilege to admit you to the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, with all the rights and privileges pertaining thereto. In token of this act, we bestow upon you the hood of this University and grant you this diploma.”Trivia:

  • His father, Dr. Hans von Dohnanyi (b. 1/1/1902, d. 4/8/1945) was a WWII hero of German resistance! He played a major role in helping to plan the September 1938 and October 1939 coup attempts and was later hanged by the Gestapo. (See Military)

– See Honoring conductor Christoph von Dohnanyi on his 70th birthday

– See Classical Plus and listen to audio clips, see a more detailed bio, and buy his CD’s

Erno (Ernst) von Dohnányi – (b. 1877, Pozsony, Hungary (now Bratislava after Czech and Slovak annexation) d. -1960)

Pianist, composer, conductor, and pedagogue.He had appeared as a pianist and conductor in concert venues throughout Europe and theUnited Statesin the five decades since his graduation from the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, giving fifteen hundred concerts within the first thirty years of his career. In addition to having received much critical acclaim for his piano-playing, conducting, and composition, he had taught at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik and later at theFranzLisztAcademy. By 1937 Dohnányi was serving as the director of theFranzLisztAcademy, the president and conductor of the Budapest Philharmonic Society, the music director of the Hungarian Radio, and a member of the Hungarian Senate, while continuing to compose and tour internationally. WhenHungarybecame aligned with Nazi Germany in 1941, Dohnányi devoted him self to fighting political injustices. He ultimately resigned from the directorship of theLisztAcademyafter being instructed to dismiss György Faragó, a former student of Dohnányi’s who taught piano at the academy, because Faragó was half-Jewish. Dohnányi also continued to employ all the Jewish members of the Budapest Philharmonic until 11 May 1944, two months afterGermanyoccupiedHungary, at which time Dohnányi disbanded the orchestra rather than implement anti-Semitic regulations.The new Russian-controlled Hungarian Government, which was angry with Dohnányi for having signed anti-Soviet legislation as a member of the Hungarian Senate, listed Dohnányi as a war criminal and petitioned the American authorities to extradite him.  To add to Dohnányi’s misery, he learned that his son Matthew, who had become a Captain in the Hungarian Army, had died in a Russian concentration camp. Just a few months later, Dohnányi learned that his other son, Hans (father of the famous conductor Christoph von Dohnányi, see below), had been executed by the Nazis for his involvement in Hungary’s 20 July 1944 assassination plot against Hitler. Dohnányi, fearing for his own life, accepted an offer from Árpád Bubik, who had once been his secretary, to escape Europe and move to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Following the success of a 1948-1949 tour of the United States, Dohnányi was offered positions at several American universities.  However, Dohnányi received an invitation from Karl Kuersteiner, who was the Dean of the FSU School of Music, to become Professor of Piano and Composition at FSU.  Kuersteiner, who had studied violin at theFranzLisztAcademy, enticed the seventy-two-year-old Dohnányi withFlorida’s temperate climate and an easy schedule.  Dohnányi accepted FSU’s offer of a professorship starting in the fall semester of 1949.Since Dohnányi’s death, the faculty, students, and alumni of the FSU School of Music have continued to recognize his contributions to the School. In 1987, the Schoolof Musicnamed the 218-seat lecture/recital hall in the HousewrightMusicBuildingthe “Ernst von Dohnányi Recital Hall,” and in 1998 the Schoolof Musicestablished the “Ernst von Dohnányi Collection” in the Warren D. Allen Music Library. In cooperation with the Ministry of Culture of the Republicof Hungary, this extensive collection of books, scrapbooks, recordings, and manuscripts will soon become the American Branch of the InternationalDohnányiResearchCenter. The faculty of Schoolof Musicalso awards outstanding students and alumni who have demonstrated excellence in performance or composition with the “Ernst von Dohnányi Citation.” Recipients of this prestigious award include Pulitzer-prize winning composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, who is now on faculty at FSU as the Francis Eppes Professor of Music. Beginning January 31 through February 2, 2002, theSchool ofMusic will continue to honor Dohnányi’s legacy by hosting an International Ernst von Dohnányi Festival.


  • His son, Dr. Hans von Dohnanyi (b. 1/1/1902, d. 4/8/1945) was a WWII hero of German resistance! He played a major role in helping to plan the September 1938 and October 1939 coup attempts and was later hanged by the Gestapo. (See Military)

– SeeFlorida State University or its Dohnanyi Photo Page or

– Buy the book, “Ernst von Dohnanyi: A Bio-Bibliography

Joe (Joszef) Eszterhás – (b. 11/23/1944, Csákánydoroszló, Hungary)

Prolific Screenwriter (Basic Instinct, Sliver, Flashdance) “Highest-paid writer in Hollywood“Writing must run in his genes.  His father, Istvan Eszterhas, was a renowned novelist and author of more than 30 Hungarian historical novels. His mother, Maria Biro, diagnosed as a schizophrenic, died when Eszterhas was 23. Joe Eszterhas began his journalistic career as a reporter for Rolling Stone. Prior to that, Joe worked as a reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. In 1974, Eszterhas authored the popular, award-winning novel Charlie Simpson’s Apocalypse. The book was optioned by Hollywood, and though it has not as yet been filmed, it served as the key for Eszterhas’ entree into scriptwriting. He is best known for his vicious, sexy, highly literate crime and mystery scripts: The Jagged Edge (1985), Betrayed (1988), and the Sharon Stone starmaker Basic Instinct(1989).At one point Eszterhas was the highest-paid writer in Hollywood, receiving $3 million up-front money for Basic Instinct alone. Other credits include: Burn Hollywood Burn: An Alan Smithee Film  (1998); Telling Lies in America  (1997); Jade (1995); Showgirls (1995); Sliver  (1993); Checking Out  (1989); Music Box  (1989); Big Shots  (1987); Hearts of Fire  (1987); Flashdance  (1983); and F.I.S.T. (1978)- Read more at E! Online or IMDB!

Claude-Michel Schönberg (b. 7/6/1944, Vannes, France)

Acclaimed Grammy and Tony Award-winning Writer, Composer, and Producer of Les Miserables and Miss SaigonBorn of Hungarian parents, Claude-Michel began his career as a singer, writer and producer of popular songs. Schonberg began his collaboration with Alain Boublil in 1973 with the first-ever staged French rock opera La Revolution Francaise, which played to capacity audiences and sold over 350,000 double albums. A year later he sang his own music and lyrics on an album which spawned the hit single “Le Premier Pas’. In 1978, he and Boublil started work on the musical Les Misérables which was presented at the Palais des Sports in Paris in September 1980. The concept album won two gold discs in 1981. When the show was produced on Broadway in 1987, Schönberg won Tony Awards for best score and book, and a Grammy for Best Original Cast recording.Schonberg and Boublil’s next project, Miss Saigon, was acclaimed both inLondon (1989) andNew York (1991), and has been successfully presented in many countries throughout the world. He lives inParis with his wife and two children.- Go to Amazon.comfor his recordings

Stefan Lorant (b. 2/22/1901, Budapest, d. 11/14/1997, USA)

Photographer / Editor / Filmmaker / Pioneering Journalist – Widely regarded as the first major editor of modern photojournalism and “the Godfather of Photojournalism“Stefan was born Lóránt István. His father was director of Erdélyi, the largest photographic studio in Budapest. Lorant attended the Lutheran Evangelical Gymnasium and the Academyof Economics, where his classmates included John von Neumann and Nobel laureates Eugene Wigner, Dennis Gábor, and George von Bekesy. Lorant began taking photographs with a postcard camera, progressed to portrait photos, and in 1914 started publishing photos in Budapestnewspapers and magazines. At the collapse of the Hungarian government after WWI, Lorant left for Czechoslovakia. There he was helped by none other than Franz Kafka to find a job playing the violin in a movie house orchestra. Before long, he moved to Viennaand began work as a still photographer for a Hungarian filmmaker. “During the day I made photographs in the studio; at night I studied the intricacies of the movie camera.” At 19 years of age, Lorant became known as a leading cameraman in Europewith his first film, The Life of Mozart. Over the next few years, he developed skills as a scriptwriter and director as well, and made a total of 14 films betweenVienna andBerlin.While working inBerlinin 1921, a young woman approached Lorant and asked for a screen test. It turned out badly, and Lorant told her that he “did not believe she should try a career in the movies, that she had no gifts for that.” Well, the twenty-year old woman turned out to be Marlene Dietrich and, despite the snub, the two later became friends.Appointed chief editor of a Munichweekly in 1928, he was responsible for making the Muncher Illustrierte Presse the first modern photojournalistic paper in Europe. With the Nazi invasion of Bavariain 1933, Lorant’s political commentaries enraged Hitler who ordered him taken into “protective custody.” Never charged with a crime or taken before a court, he was imprisoned for nearly a year. The Hungarian government came to his rescue, and Lorant was released and began editing a paper in Budapest. Based on his prison experience, Lorant wrote I Was Hitler’s Prisonerand took the manuscript toLondon in 1934, where it was published a year later.Stefan began the movement of photojournalism in England. Barely literate in the English language when he first arrived in Britain, Lorant shortly became editor of Odham’s Weekly Illustrated. This was the first popular illustrated paper in England and a model for American picture magazines such as Life and Look. In 1937, Lorant founded Pocket Publications in London and published the successful pocket magazine, Lilliput. In October 1938, Edward Hulton, owner of the Hulton Press, purchased Lilliput from Lorant and offered him the chance to start what was to be the most successful and influential illustrated British news magazine, Picture Post.– See more at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

Mitzi Gaynor (9/4/1931, Chicago)

Legendary Actress / Singer / Dancer: Star of “South Pacific”Mitzi Gaynor has claimed to be descended from Hungarian nobility; on these occasions, she has stated that her real name is Francesca Mitzi von Gerber. The daughter of a ballerina, Gaynor made her own terpsichorean debut when she was barely a toddler; by age 12, she had joined the dancing chorus of the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera. In 1950, Gaynor was signed by 20th Century Fox as yet another potential Betty Grable replacement. She sang and danced her way quite prettily through such Technicolor confections as Golden Girl (1951, as Lotta Crabtree), Bloodhounds of Broadway (1952), and There’s No Business Like Show Business(1954). Unfortunately, her films were not sufficiently successful to warrant renewal of her contract after 1954.After being dropped by Fox, Gaynor married talent agent Jack Bean, who wisely perceived that his new bride was a far more effective performer on a live stage rather than a cold movie set. Gaynor co-starred with Bing Crosby and Donald O’Connor in Anything Goes (1956), with George Gobel and David Niven in The Birds and the Bees (1956), and with Frank Sinatra in The Joker Is Wild (1957). Her best work during this period was while on loan to MGM for George Cukor‘s Les Girls (1957), in which she shared star billing with Gene Kelly, Kay Kendall, and Taina Elg. In 1957, Gaynor was tapped for the plum role of Nellie Forbush in Joshua Logan’s film version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific(1958). Mitzi Gaynor continued to be a major draw through the 80’s on the nightclub and summer-musical circuit, and for several years she headlined a top-rated annual TV special.- Read more and buy her films on Yahoo! or Daily Celebrations

Don Adams (b. 4/13/1926, New York City)

Record setting Triple Emmy and Clio Award Winning Actor, Director, Screenwriter – Get Smart!Born Donald James Yarmy, Don Adams was born to an Irish Catholic Mother and Hungarian Jewish Father. He jokes, “God Knows Why I am a Catholic and a Jew…” But when he enlisted in the marines, he lied about his age (he was only 16) and listed “none” as his religion. When his parents married, “both families disowned them — hers because she’d married a Jew, his because he’d married a Catholic.” After nearly dying of blackwater fever (malaria) contracted while fighting atGuadalcanalin WWII, Don had a religious awakening and became a devout Catholic.Don became a commercial artist, but was not happy. He began writing comedy material on the side and worked in small clubs. “I’d always been able to do impressions and catch voices.  One day I tried to audition for the Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts without an appointment.  Don Married singer Adelaide Adams and adopted her stage surname: “They asked me my name and I said, ‘Don Adams.’ “They couldn’t find it on the list, but I wrangled an audition, anyway.  A week later I was on the show and won the contest.” This led to appearances on other major television productions including both Johnny Carson’s and Steve Allen’s Tonight shows, The Perry Como Show, The Jimmy Dean Show, and The Bill Dana Show. Of course he is best known for his starring role as Maxwell Smart on the phenomenally successful TV show, Get Smart (NBC, 1965-69; CBS 1969-70) a James Bond spoof created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry. It was revived as Get Smart Againin 1989.Adams is best known to children of the 1980s as the voice of cartoondom’s bionic blockhead, Inspector Gadget, and as Tennessee Tuxedo during the entire run of Underdog.His success directing Get Smart led to a post-Smart career as a director of commercials. He won the Clio Award for outstanding commercial direction in advertising in 1971. It was for his Aurora Skittle Pool commercial, in which he was also the performer. In 1993, he made his screenwriting and directing debut with the direct-to-video release Shreck, a thriller about teenagers who resurrect a serial killer.Trivia

  • His brother is actor Dick Yarmy
  • His daughter, Cecily Adams, is a casting director of such hits as That 80’s Show, That 70’s show, 3rd Rock. She is also an actress appearing in Star Trek Deep Space 9, Murphy Brown, Home Improvement, Simon & Simon, as well as in Get Smart Again, and was a casting assistant in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
  • His daughter Stacy Adams is also an actress
  • His cousin Robert (Bob) Karvelas, also an actor, played Larrabee in the both the original and revival of Get Smart. He also appeared on the Mary Tyler Moore Show and Love, American Style. Karvelas was a Golden Gloves boxing champion in the Marines and a stockbroker after.
  • His three Emmy Awards was a record that was broken by Carroll O’Connor (Archie Bunker) and tied by Kelsey Grammer.

– Read about Get Smart on TV Land where you can actually see videos

– Read more about him here

Star Pulse shows a number of links for additional information

Robert Halmi, Sr. – (b. 1924, Budapest)

Producer, “Tele-Visionary,” Chairman of Hallmark Entertainment, the most prolific producer in TV history: multiple Emmy Award winner and 1999 Peabody Award winnerBook Magazine writes:

“What do Gulliver’s Travels, Lonesome Dove, The Odyssey, Moby Dick, Don Quixote, Crime and Punishment, The Arabian Nights and Animal Farmhave in common? Sure, they are all bona fide literary classics. But they are also just a few of the television movies and miniseries produced by human dynamo Robert Halmi Sr. Whenever you see the name Hallmark Entertainment, chances are that seventy-six-year-old Hungarian-born Halmi was the driving force behind the production. To call him prolific would be to woefully understate the case.”Halmi was the son of a playwright mother and a father who was the official photographer to the Vaticanand the Hapsburg empire. After the war, he worked in Hungaryfor the U.S.precursor of the Central Intelligence Agency. In 1947, he was put on trial by the Communists for blowing up bridges and was sentenced to death. He says he was saved only after his father arranged to have him kidnapped: He was given a bicycle to get to the Austrian border, and escaped from Hungaryby hiding in a potato truck. For a time, he continued his intelligence work in Salzburg, helping to spread American propaganda in Eastern Europe. His travails were chronicled in a seven-part series in the Saturday Evening Post called “Trial by Terror,” which was later made into a movie for 20th Century Fox.He came to theU.S. in 1950 with a camera and little else. Borrowing from his father’s legacy, he ultimately landed a job at Life magazine as a photographer. He developed a name for himself in adventure photography. He became well-known  known for his exotic locales and dangerous assignments. He was airlifted onto a glacier to take pictures, only to have the glacier break and drift off, leaving him stranded from the mainland for 10 days. He then lived three months with a tribe of African pygmies. Halmi also spent three years driving race cars semi-professionally, flew balloons professionally, climbed various mountains and generally wandered the globe looking for adventure. He also established himself as an author, publishing 11 books. In 1962, Halmi worked his way into the film industry and began producing wildlife documentaries and occasional TV movies. Nearing 50, Halmi segued into feature production in the 1970s. He assembled nearly 200 film and TV productions in his first two decades in the business. In 1994, he sold his company to Hallmark Cards; it is now run by his son, Robert Halmi Jr. – one of four children, but the only one “in the business” – and known as Hallmark Entertainment.Halmi’s TV movies, miniseries and films include Gypsy, The Odyssey, Moby Dick, Jason and the Argonauts, Arabian Nights, Gulliver’s Travels, Lonesome Dove, Animal Farm and Dinotopia.- See filmography and more on Hollywood.com

– Read the article from the Wall Street Journal, “Success Story: Hallmark Entertainment

Sylvia Plachy – (b. 1943, Budapest)

Acclaimed Photographer, Mother of Actor Adrien BrodyA refugee from Hungaryin 1956, the year the Russians invaded, Plachy hid under the corn in a farmer’s cart to make it through the checkpoint at the border. She eventually ended up as a staff photographer for the Village Voice.Her regular photo column, “Unguided Tour,” was for many readers something highly anticipated and won the prize of the International Center of Photography in 1990. Her pictures can be found in theGuggenheimMuseum, theMuseum ofModern Art, theMetropolitanMuseum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In 1977 she received a Guggenheim-scholarship.As a Hungarian, Plachy has an interesting pedigree. Some of the world’s most famous photographers — Brassai, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Robert and Cornell Capa and Andre Kertesz — were also Hungarian. When they emigrated, they tended to stick together. Robert Capa, who died during the French Indochina War, was helped in his career by Kertesz, as was Plachy, who describes the famous Kertesz as a friend and mentor.- Read the article, “Her Way

Adrien Brody – (b. 4/13/1973, New York City)

Actor – Oscar Nominated for “The Pianist”Despite a strong performance in The Thin Red Line, the film’s time constraints forced the director to edit out much of Adrien’s parts and despite his later work with Spike Lee and Barry Levinson, he never became the star many expected he would become…until Roman Polanski called on him to play a celebrated Jewish pianist in the Nazi-occupiedWarsaw. He pulled off a brilliant performance in “The Pianist” drawing on the heritage (and rare dialect) of his Polish grandmother.His mother is the Hungarian-born photojournalist Sylvia Plachy, and he attended theAmericanAcademyof Dramatic Arts and High School for the Performing Arts. Adrien grew up an only child in Woodhaven,Queens, where he would accompany his mother on assignments for the Village Voice. “I remember going with her to photograph Timothy Leary at his house,” he says. “I realize now that that was a fairly unusual thing for a 6-year-old to do.” He credits his mother with making him feel comfortable in front of the camera. “Not only was her work everywhere, but I was the subject of it,” he says. “It wasn’t like when your uncle comes around every once in a while and says, `Smile, smile, smile,’ and you become repulsed by the camera.”- See more pictures and his full filmography at the IMDB

– Read the article, “At last, stardom is in Adrien Brody’s reach

Menyhert Lengyel ( b. Lebovics Menyhért, Jan 12, 1880 Balmazújváros, Hungary – d. Oct 23, 1974 Budapest, Hungary )

Oscar Nominated Writer, Producer, and Broadway and Film DirectorAlso known as Melchior or Menyhard. Lengyel started out as a correspondent for Hungarian newspapers inSwitzerlandand became a well-known journalist, author, and critic inGermanyandAustriawhere he published numerous plays and established friendships with Ernst Lubitcsh and other German theatre greats with whom he would later work inHollywood. He visited theUStwice in 1921 and 1924, where he maintained a diary of American theatre life and met Eugene O’Neill whose work he would later produce inGermany. He moved toEnglandin 1933 as a correspondent for theBudapest”Pesti Naplo” and then followed Lubitsch toAmericain 1935. He moved toItalyin 1960 and then returned toHungaryin 1970 where he died at 94.His credits include Typhoon, Silk Stockings, the Czarina, Angel (which he directed and produced), Antonia (which he-co-directed with George Cukor) and quadruple Oscar nominated Ninotshkain which he was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. He lost to none other than “Gone With the Wind.” Other spin-offs of the Ninotchka theme include MGM’s Comrade X (1940) with Clark Gable and Hedy Lamarr (in the Soviet Union), and The Iron Petticoat (1956) with Katharine Hepburn and Bob Hope (inLondon). The storyline also became the foundation for the Broadway (Cole Porter) stage musical Silk Stockings – that was later filmed by director Rouben Mamoulian in a 1957 film version with Cyd Charisse in Garbo’s role opposite Fred Astaire. Less known is that he wrote the libretto for Bartók’s The Miraculous Mandarin and To Be or Not to Be which Lubitsch turned into a classic film comedy.- See this GREAT site and even listed to a Lengyel speech (in Hungarian)

– See his filmography at IMDB

Deszö Ránki (b. 1951, Hungary)

Renowned Concert Pianist – with Kocsis, the “Golden Boys of the Magyar Keyboard”Considered one of the top Hungarian pianists, Ranki graduated from the famedLisztAcademyunder Pal Kadosa and won the Robert Schumann Prize. He quickly embarked on an acclaimed international career performing with all the world’s most prestigious orchestras.  He is renowned for his classical and romantic repertoire of Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt, Schubert and Schumann and his incomparable interpretations of Bartok and Kurtag. His interpretation of Chopin won him the Grand Prix de l’Académie Charles-Cros.- See Amazon.comfor more

Miklós Perényi

Cello Great and former Child Prodigy!Perenyi was born inBudapestinto a musical family. At the age of five he received his first cello lessons and at the age of seven he was admitted to the Ferenc Liszt Music Academy Budapest. He made his offical debut inBudapestat the age of nine. He had further studies at the Accademia Santa Cecilia Roma with Professor Enrico Mainardi.In 1962 he won the International Casals Competition held inBudapest. In 1965 and 1966 Pablo Casals invited him to join his master classes in Zermatt andPuerto Ricoand this was followed by an invitation to perform at the Marlboro Festival for four consecutive years. In 1974 he was appointed a teacher at the Ferenc Liszt Music Academy Budapest, where he is now Professor of the cello department.As an acknowledgement of his musical activites he was awarded the Kossuth Prize in 1980, and the Bartok-Pasztory Prize in 1987. As a soloist and a chamber musician he has appeared in many musical centres and festivals in Europe as well as inAmerica,JapanandChina. He has a very extensive repertoire, including pieces from the 17th and 18th centuries to the present day. Miklos Perenyi is also involved in composing and his compositions include pieces for cello and works for small and large chamber ensembles.

Ernie Kovács – (b. 1/23/1919, Trenton, New Jersey d. 1962)

Actor, Broadcast Pioneer, and Legendary Comedian and T.V. Personality

Three Emmy Awards in the 1956-57 TV season.“Ernie Kovacs was the first person to make television as television.” He invented much of the visual vocabulary of television that we take for granted today. Kovacs pioneered the use of blackouts and trick photography in TV comedy. His first show was Pick Your Ideal, a weekly fashion show. Ernie showed up for the audition dressed in his shorts and a barrel. He got the job. Ernie appeared in some well-produced high school theatrics. At 16, he became a singer in a local stock company performing Gilbert & Sullivan. He said, “whenever they needed a man that worked cheap, they got me.” He later attended the New York School of the Theater. During WWII he worked in radio in Trenton and wrote his own column, “Kovacs” in The Trentonian, the local paper. His first TV job was as host of “Deadline For Dinner”, a cooking show on WPTZ in Philadelphia. Ernie called it Dead Lion for Breakfast, and had lots of fun with it. As a result, the world got Eggs Scavok and Kovacs got his own show. In fact, he got one show after another and did no less than seven different shows in Philly between 1950 and 1952. Among the titles: Three To Get Ready (wherein the E.E.F.M.S. had its genesis); Ernie In Kovacsland, and Kovacs On the Corner. These shows involved lots of experiments, born not only of the incredibly cheap budgets but of Ernie’s rather bizarre imagination. No known recordings (either Video or Audio) exist of the early Channel 3 local broadcasts. However, one morning in March of 1952 (Ernie’s last month at WPTZ), Andy McKay brought his new 8mm home movie camera to the station and shot some home movies. In the shots are Ernie Kovacs, Edie Adams, Joe Earley and Pete Boyle, who were part of the network show. There is no sound as this footage was shot silent and it was filmed in black & white. For Ernie Kovacs fans, this is, indeed, a rare treat. Watch the footage.The success of these shows got Ernie to New Yorkin 1952. For five years he did his thing and then some. He was even a sometime host of NBC’s Tonight show, pre-Carson. But mainly he hosted his own show, starting out from behind a desk, and rarely staying there. When the Jerry Lewis show was on hiatus, Ernie was given the opportunity to fill a half hour doing something special on network primetime. The result which aired January 19th, 1957, “The Silent Show,” was a sensation, garnering Ernie the cover of Life magazine and a movie contract with Columbia pictures, prompting a move to Los Angeles. In L.A., while working on such films as “Operation Mad Ball” and “Bell, Book and Candle,”Kovacs continued to do TV.His great career was cut short when, at age 42, he died in a car accident in 1961 driving a new Corvair station wagon (the car later dubbed “unsafe at any speed” by Ralph Nader).- See this Ernie Kovacs page with a great photo gallery and much more

Jeno Hubay (b. Jeno Huber b. 9/15/1858 Pest, d. 3/12/1937, Budapest)

Violin Virtuoso, Romantic Composer – The “Prince of the Violin” and Founder of the legendary modern Hungarian Violin SchoolHubay studied violin first with his father, Karoly Huber (1828-1885) leader and conductor of the orchestra at the National Theatre, and violin professor of the National Conservatorium. From the autumn of 1873 Hubay continued his studies inBerlin, with the greatest Hungarian violinist of the time and most distinguished violin teacher of the period, Joseph Joachim. In the spring of 1876 he completed his studies and returned toHungary. Here became friendly with Franz Liszt, and gave together many performances.In May 1878, Hubay travelled toParison Liszt’s advice and was soon to be a favorite guest in the musical salons of the city. In the next years he made successful concert tours inFrance,England,Belgium, theNetherlandsandHungary. In his mid 20s was appointed violin professor at the Brussels Conservatory. In February 1882, the Belgian King appointed Hubay to one ofEurope’s most important musical posts. Hubay returned toHungaryin 1886 at the request of the Minister of Education to teach and eventually became head of The Royal Academy atBudapestfrom 1919 until 1934 in succession to his father. Here he created one of the world’s leading violin schools that turned out (many under his own tutelage) many greats such as Stefi Geyer, Ferenc Vecsey and Jozsef Szigeti, to be followed by Emil Telmanyi, Eddy Brown, Jelly Aranyi, Eugene (Jeno) Ormandy, Janos Koncz, Istvan Partos, Erna Rubinstein, Zoltan Szekely, Ede Zathureczky, Endre Gertler and Wanda Luzzato.Jeno Hubay represented the last of the old school of composers inHungary. In addition to his teaching many of the world’s great violin players, Hubay was a formidable defender of the establishment, a conservative by nature, was very well respected in all areas of musical life. Hubay was knighted in 1907. He dressed the part and lived lavishly. Hubay married the Countess Rosa Cebrian in 1894 they lived in a palace that was to become their permanent home. The Palace was the scene of many glittering musical soirees attended by the cream of Hungarian and European musical society, and as you would expect there would be any number of private concerts held there.- Read a lecture about Hubay and the Hungarian Violin School

– Read about his works at www.hubay.hu

Elemer Ragalyi

Acclaimed, Emmy Award Winning CinematographerElemér Ragályi is a pre-eminent Hungarian cinematographer who has worked extensively in the United States, Elemer Ragalyi has received the Critic’s Prize for Best Cinematography six times at the Hungarian Film Festival. He has also shot 95 feature films, mini-series, telefilms and documentaries all over the world.Ragalyi’s feature film credits include “Jacob the Liar,” “Out of Order / A Miniszter félrelép,” “Scrooge,” “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “Kid in King Arthur’s Court”, “Catherine the Great,” “Mesmer” and “The Heiress.” In 1989, he shot the emotionally shattering, Oscar-winning “Journey of Hope.”Ragalyi’s work has most recently been seen in such prominent television fare as ABC’s “Anne Frank” with Ben Kingsley and Brenda Blethyn, NBC’s “Mary and Jesus” and “In The Beginning” with Jacqueline Bisset and Martin Landau; and the Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation of “David Copperfield” directed by Peter Medak and starring Sally Field. In 1990, he won the Cable ACE Award for Best Cinematography for HBO’s “The Josephine Baker Story”. Ragalyi also garnered ACE nominations for the HBO features “Max and Helen” and “Red King, White Knight”. His extensive HBO work also includes his Emmy Award-winning “Rasputin”, directed by Ulrich Edel and the acclaimed “Murderers Among Us: The Simon Wiesenthal Story” for which he won an ACE Award for Cinematography.– See his filmography on IMDB

Film, the Arts, & Media II, << IThis list is far from inclusive, but exemplifies, along with the other sections, the Hungarian Genius!  The Atomic Bomb, Model T, Matches, Television, Hollywood Movies, modern Computers and Binary, Supersonic Flight, the Telephone Exchange, the Carburetor, the Zeppelin, the Automatic Gearbox, the Moon Rover, and the Intel Corporation, all owe their existence to Hungarians!

According to the Associated Press, (AP-NY-10-26-96 1604EDT) people with some claim to Hungarian ancestry have been nominated for Oscars 136 times since 1929, when the first ones were handed out, and have taken home 30 of the golden statuettes. There’s an old joke from the ’30s about a sign on a movie studio wall reading “It’s not enough to be Hungarian. You have to have talent.” The joke refers to how a relatively small country had such an impact on the history of the movies. Another sign above MGM’s commissary wrote: “Just because you’re Hungarian, doesn’t mean you’re a genius!

I receive contributions to this list from all over the world. As I indicated earlier, I do get quite a bit of hate mail regarding this site and this list. I assure you that names are not added to this list until verified.  Click to [Submit] a Famous Hungarian. Please include a resource for verification purposes.

Alanis Morrisette – (b. 6/1/1974)

Multi-Platinum-selling Singer, Songwriter – 7 Grammy Awards! Jagged Little Pill – the biggest-selling female debut LP of all-time! One of the VH1: 100 Greatest Women of Rock & Roll.One of the most successful singer/songwriters in Rock-n-Roll history, Alanis Nadine Morissette and her two brothers were raised inOttawa,Canadaby a French-Canadian father and Hungarian Mother. In her early youth, Alanis’s family moved around a lot, including a stay inWest Germanyand attending a Roman Catholic school. Alanis learned ballet, jazz dancing, and the piano by the age of 7 and was writing songs for the fun of it by age 9. By the age of 10, the precocious Morissette had landed a role on the Nickelodean TV show “You Can’t Do That on Television” and recorded her first single, “Fate Stay With Me.” She spent most of her pre-pubescent years performing throughoutCanada, singing “O’Canada” at sporting events and even making the de rigueur appearance on “Star Search.”Her foray into teeny bopper music was fortunately short lived.  She began to pursue darker, edgier themes and found representation. The resulting demo tape was shopped around to the major labels and Madonna’s Maverick imprint eventually signed Morissette. Jagged Little Pill, was released in the summer of 1995. On the strength of the break-out single “You Oughta Know,” the album reached platinum status and the Top 10. Follow-up singles “Hand in My Pocket,” “All I Really Want” and “Ironic” went #1 for 12 weeks and kept Jagged Little Pillon the album charts the next two years, hitting 16x Platinum in the US and ultimately selling over 30 million copies worldwide.Morissette was showered with industry awards for Jagged Little Pill, including Grammys for Album of the Year, Best Female Rock Vocal Performance, Best Rock Song and Best Rock Album. Her much-anticipated follow-up, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart (where it spent 2 weeks) with sales of over 460,000 copies, setting a new record for 1-week sales by a female artist. She hit #1 again with Uninvited and Thank U.The album went 3x  US Platinum.Her 1999 Alanis Unplugged went US Gold and featured the #1 hit “Uninvited,” and she performed an incredible arrangement of it live at the Grammy’s. In February, 2002, she released Under Rug Swept which went US Platinum and  # 1.Trivia:

  • Alanis sings in Hungarian on the CD entitled, “Prayer Cycle.”
  • In 1990, the poor thing was the opening act for rapper Vanilla Ice.

See Rock on the Net

Freddie Prinze Sr. (b. 1/28/1954, NY, d. 1/29/1977 (self-inflicted gunshot)

Actor, ComedianThe son of a Puerto Rican mother and a Hungarian father (A Hungarican as Freddie would say), Freddie Prinze was a 20 year-old stand-up comedian when he earned a spot on the TV sitcom, Chico and the Man. The show made its debut in 1974, was a ratings success, and by 1977 Prinze was one of the biggest stars on TV. At the height of his popularity, despondent over personal problems and apparently under the influence of drugs, he shot himself in the head and died several hours later.Extra credit: Prinze is the father of movie star Freddie Prinze, Jr. Prinze’s career, like that of Bill Cosby, took off after he appeared on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show.- See Who2.com, The Freddie Prinze Sr. “Chico” Homepage, or his filmography at IMDB

– See pictures of his early childhood and his family at the Freddie Prinze Photo Gallery l and hear Prinze Performance Clips

Freddie Prinze, Jr. (b. 3/8/1976, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA)

Actor and Heart-Throb! “Young Hollywood’s Leading Man“After starting out in television, Freddie Prinze, Jr. made his big screen debut opposite Claire Danes in 1996’s To Gillian On Her 37th Birthday. In 1997 he starred in the horror film I Know What You Did Last Summer, and its success made Prinze a star. (He also appeared in the 1998 sequel.) By 2001 he had made more than a dozen movies, including the hit teen romance She’s All That and Head Over Heels (2001). In April of 2001 Prinze became engaged to actress Sarah Michelle Gellar; the two co-star in the 2002 live-action film of the cartoon Scooby DooHe enjoys Martial arts and was listed on On People’s ‘Best-Dressed’ and ’50 Most Beautiful People’ lists.See the very well-designed I Love Freddie.com (or directly to their Photo Gallery), Who2.com or more at IMDB

Jules White (b. 1900 Budapest, d. 1985)

Four-time Oscar-Nominated Producer / Director of “The Three Stooges” and More!When you think of Columbia Pictures, think of Jules White. White was born Juliusz Weisz and started out as a child actor working for Pathe Studios during the 1910s. He came toAmericawith his family in 1904. Soon after founding Columbia Pictures in 1924, Harry Cohn hired White to produce comedy short-subjects. During his 25-year tenure at Columbia Pictures, he became the head ofColumbia’s short film division in 1933 and directed 136 Three Stooges shorts. He also produced or directed many other films with such stars as Charley Chase, Andy Clyde, Harry Langdon and Buster Keaton.White also created the “Dogville Comedies,” a popular series of short subjects. In these one-reel shorts, trained dogs dressed as people acted out the plots of popular movies of the day, sometimes assisted directly by the movie they were spoofing, as in the case of “The Dogway Melody,” which borrowed the soundtrack recording of “Singin’ in the Rain” from The Broadway Melody (1929).

  • Oscar Nominated for Hiss and Yell in 1946
  • Oscar Nominated for The Jury Goes Round ‘n’ Round in 1945
  • Oscar Nominated for Oh, My Nerves (Broadway Comedies Series) in 1935
  • Oscar Nominated Men in Black (The Three Stooges Series) in 1934

– See his production credits or

– Purchase videos at Amazon.com

Éva Márton – (b. 1943, Budapest)

Heavenly SopranoInternationally celebrated as one of opera’s greatest singers today. Eva began singing in the children’s choir of the government’s radio station, which she eventually left to begin serious training as a soloist. She entered the FranzLisztAcademyand finished with a diploma in both opera and vocal teaching. She made her professional debut as Kate Pinkerton in Madame Butterfly at the Summer Festival of Margaret Island, and this, in turn, led to a scholarship at the Hungarian State Opera. In 1972, after her phenomenal success in Hungary, she was invited by fellow Hungarian listee Christoph von Dohnanyi to make her debut as the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaroat the Frankfurt Opera. Her international fame was now assured. From 1981 to 1986 she was selected three times among the best artists of the year by the New York Times. Eva has also become one of the most recorded artists. She has more than 20 complete operas to her credit, as well as solo recital programs, aria albums, and symphonic works.- Special thanks to EvaMarton.com for her picture and biographical information (this great site includes contact information, music clips, and much more).

– Buy her CD’s at a Hungary Page recommended site in Hungary: Folio

Frank Darabont (b. 1/28/1959, Montbeliard, France)

Director/Writer – Two Oscar Nominations for The Green Mile, “One of the best writer/directors of his generationFrank Darabont’s parents fledHungaryduring the 1956 revolution and settled in a French refugee camp, where he was born. He came to theUSwhile still an infant and settled inChicago.From IMDB.com: The two-time writer Academy Award nominee made his debut in the movie industries beginning first in writing horror movies including The Blob (1988), Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, A (1987), & The Fly II (1989), and one episode of “Tales from the Crypt” (1989).Frank is a close friend of two of the biggest directors of the movie industries, George Lucas & Steven Spielberg both of whom he worked for at some time. Frank wrote some episodes of Lucas’s TV-series “Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, The” (1992). He worked on the Frankenstein (1994) script. His adaptation of Stephen King’s serialized novel The Green Mile (1999), starring Tom Hanks, was nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Picture. The death row drama follows his powerful Shawshank Redemption. His latest success was “The Majestic.” He is busy on upcoming blockbusters.- See more on IMDB, including filmography and photo gallery

– See eOnline!

Paul Frederic Simon (b. October 13, 1941 in Newark, New Jersey)

Musician, Singer, Songwriter – American Legend of “Simon & Garfunkel” fame! 12 Grammys and Rock-n-Roll Hall of Famer.Simon and Garfunkel was the name of the American team of singer/songwriter Paul Simon and singer Art Garfunkel who recorded between 1964 and 1970. Their shimmering harmonies and acoustic concerts stood in stark contrast to the rest of the spectacle that marked rock acts of the ’60s. They originally gained attention as a folk act (and some record stores continue to file their records under ‘folk’), but it was Simon’s songs, which frequently dealt with alienation and loneliness that seemed to strike a chord with an entire generation. By the time of the split, they were the most successful duo in pop music history.Paul’s parents were Hungarian Jews, Louis and Belle Simon. His father was a bass player bandleader who appeared on CBS-TV’s Arthur Godfrey, Jackie Gleason and Gary Moore shows, sometimes under the name Lee Sims. He later went back to school to earn his master’s degree in teaching, and taught atNew YorkCommunity College. His mother was a high school English teacher before her children were born.Paul Simon grew up inQueens,New YorkCity, and attendedForest HillsHigh Schoolalongside Art Garfunkel. The friends together sang Paul’s first song, “The Girls for Me,” when they were both 15. Billed as Tom and Jerry, the two had their first hit record at 16: “Hey Schoolgirl,” a disarmingly romantic rocker that got the boys their first gig on “American Bandstand” as well as their first appearance on the Billboard charts. Tom and Jerry went their separate ways after high school, but Simon and Garfunkel soon got together again and American music would never be the same.- See the Kennedy Center Honors

Sylvia Sass – (b. Near Budapest, 1951)

Another Heavenly Soprano,the New Callas“Sylvia Sass (pronounced shush) was born into a very musical family. Her mother was a coloratura soprano and her father was a high school music teacher. At the age of 14, Sass made her stage debut with the school orchestra in Adam’s operetta Nurnberger Puppe. Soon after, she studied music at Hungary’s Liszt Academy, where she completed a five-year program in just two years. She then began her seven-year stay with the Hungarian State Opera. This led to her professional debut as Frasquita in Carmen in 1971. By the age of 25 was already being heralded as the new Callas, who she met many times. She has been honored with many awards, her first in 1972 when she won first prize at the Kodály Voice Competition in Budapest. In 1973, she won the Grand Prix as Violetta in La Traviataat the International Opera Competition for Young Singers. In 1974. she won the Silver Medal (there was no First Prize) at the International Tchaikovsky Competition inMoscow. She was also made an Honored Artist of Hungary in 1977.Someone once said to her, “I hear that you’re the new Maria Callas.” Sass replied by saying, “No, I am the first Sylvia Sass.”- See Sylvia Sass for more details

– Read an interview with great additional details on her life and career at “The Great Opera

– Buy her CD’s at a Hungary Page recommended site in Hungary: Folio

Antal Doráti – (b. 4/9/1906, Budapest, d. 11/13/1988, Gerzensee, Switzerland)

Acclaimed Conductor and ComposerAntal Dorati rose to become the youngest ever conductor of the Royal Opera House in his native city soon after graduating at age 18. In 1928 he went to Dresdenas assistant to Fritz Busch and subsequently was engaged as conductor at the opera house in Münster / Westfalia, where he stayed until 1933. From 1934-1941 he was first second conductor, later music director of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and, subsequently, of the American Ballet Theater in New York. His American debut as a symphony conductor came in 1937, when he guest-conducted the National Symphony in Washington, D.C. He became an American citizen in 1947. From 1945-1949 Doráti directed and greatly revitalized the Dallas Symphony. He became music director of the Minneapolis Symphonyin 1949, where he stayed for 11 years.In 1963 he was appointed Chief conductor of the BBC Orchestra, a post he held for 4 years. This was followed by a similar position with the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra (from 1965-1972). Parallel to his European activities he became music director of the National Symphony in Washington in 1970, followed by the same position 1977 in Detroit. At the same time (since 1975) Antal Doráti accepted the Royal Philharmonic’s invitation to become their chief conductor. From 1981 he became “Conductor Laureate” for life of 3 orchestras (RPO London, Stockholm Philharmonic and Detroit Symphony). He was also a prolific and quite individual composer; he studied with Kodalyand Leo Weiner.Visit his International Homepage

Ferenc Molnár – (1/12/1878, Budapest – 4/2/1952, New York)

PlaywrightFerenc Molnar studied criminal law in Budapestand Genevaand became a journalist for the Budapestnewspaper Budapesti Napló as the full-time Pariscorrespondent. In 1901, after writing a number of short stories, he published his first book, The Hungry City, a story of dirty politics, corruption, social inequality and anti-semitism and became the the darling of Budapest café society. Molnár was the ringleader of a circle of artists and musicians in Budapest. They were called “The Elastics,” because they wore a new kind of laceless shoe with elastic on the side. The group comprised of young playwrights, writers of farce and light comedy, as well as some musicians, operetta composers and conductors from operetta and musical theatres. A friend commissioned him to write a play for the National Theatre, a farce. Although this play, The Lawyer, was never performed at the National Theatre, it played in 1902 at the new Comedy Theatre and audiences demanded more from Molnár. But he wanted to write something more serious, so he wrote The Devil, which was very modern, slightly Freudian and very titillating (in fact, it was banned in London) and brought him international acclaim. His most famous work, Liliom, was translated to English and performed in 1926 in London with Charles Laughton.  He moved to New York in 1939, one of the many talented immigrants that were part of the “Hungarian Invasion” of New York Theatre, and Liliom was revived to rave reviews. Liliom provided the plot for Rodgers’ and Hammerstein’s famed musical, “Carousel” which debuted in 1945. Some of his plays were adapted for the Big Screen, including The Swan, starring Grace Kelly, Charles Vidor, Alec Guiness, and Louis Jourdan.- Read more at The Play’s the Thing

– Buy other movies based on Ferenc Molnar’s works at Barnes and Noble

Jeffrey Tambor (b. 7/8/1944, San Franciso, CA)

ActorLarge-framed and prematurely bald, American actor Jeffrey Tambor excelled in character parts from the time he was draft age. Tambor spent nearly two decades in regional theatre, appearing in the classic comedy roles (his favorite was Aguecheek from Twelfth Night: “One hundred lines, one hundred laughs”). While his propensity for scene-stealing did not always endear him to his fellow actors, Tambor was able to matriculate to films and television by the end of the ’70s. He was occasionally seen on the early-’80s police drama Hill Street Blues as cross-dressing attorney (and later judge) Alan Wachtel. He was in his mid-thirties when he made his film debut in the Al Pacino courtroom vehicle, …And Jutice for All (1979). His film roles usually consisted of corporate blowhards and backstabbing CEOS (e.g. 1983’s Mister Mom). In 1986, Tambor starred in the situation comedy Mister Sunshine, playing a blind English professor (the series’ gratuitous slapstick, which Tambor invariably performed brilliantly, incurred the wrath of several professional advocates for the sightless). Some of Tambor’s more notable subsequent films include City Slickers (1991), Life Stinks (1991) (as Mel Brooks’s villainous rival), Dr. Dolittle (1998), and Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) and Pollock (2000). More recently, Jeffrey Tambor has been seen as the Uriah Heep-ish sidekick of scabrous talk show host Garry Shandling in cable TV’s The Larry Sanders Show.A quote: “I come from a Hungarian Russian background,” he says while perusing the menu for something low-fat. “Their way of

showing love was food and the amount of food. The motto of our family was ‘Did you eat? What did you eat? When are you going to eat?’

It’s that European culture. My lunches in school were enormous–mine were in shopping bags!”- See this article from the LA Times or

– See his filmography and more photos on Yahoo Movies or IMDB

Drew Barrymore – (b. 2/22/1975, Culver City, California)

Actress, Model, Producer, Philanthropist, America‘s SweetheartHer mother is actress and “wild child” Ildiko Jaid Mako. While waitressing at the Troubadour, a music club onSanta Monica Blvd., Ildiko met John Barrymore Jr. They dated for 5 years (from 1970-1975) when they gave birth to their child, Drew Blythe Barrymore. John was abusive and Jaid left him before Drew was born. Normalcy for Drew would be hard to come by…This international superstar of the legendary Barrymore family appeared in her first TV commercial for Puppy Choice dog food before her first birthday. At the ripe old age of 11 months she made her first TV appearance when she appeared in a dog food commercial. At the age of two she made her first TV movie, playing a boy in Suddenly, Love. Her first feature film happened at age five when the young Barrymore apeared in Altered States. Two years later Drew landed her most famous role playing Gertie in the hugely popular E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. Appearing in one of the top films of all time helps to put an actress on the map. In 1984, Drew appeared in Firestarter and earned a Golden Globe nomination for her role in Irreconcilable Differences. That’s when things started to go bad for Drew. At age 9, she was drunk at a party thrown for Rob Lowe. At age 10, she was smoking pot and by her thirteenth year she had escalated to cocaine. At an age when most teens are getting ready for high school, Drew was checking in to rehab.Drew felt she had finally beaten her demons and that same year she also legally declared herself free of her mother’s control; the two had shared a rocky relationship for years. Clean and sixteen, Drew co-authored a book, Little Girl Lost, that chronicled her life so far. Drew now started working on getting her career back on track. In 1992, she turned in an incredible performance in the steamy thriller Poison Ivy. In October 1993, it was Drew Barrymore that surprised the world as the new “GUESS Girl.” In 1995 she appeared in movies like Mad Love, Batman Forever, and Boys on the Side. In 1996 she appeared in the teen horror parody Scream and worked opposite Edward Norton in Woody Allen’s Everyone Says I Love You. She teamed up with Adam Sandler in 1998 to appear in the wildly popular hit The Wedding Singer and ended the year with a strong performance in Ever After. The now hard-working actress turned her hand to producing as well. In 1999 she produced and starred in both Never Been Kissed and in 2000 Charlie’s Angels which co-starred Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu. In 2001 she produced Donnie Darko and starred in Riding in Cars with Boys. Flower Films is her sown production company, .Trivia:

  • Godmother to Courtney Love‘s daughter Frances Bean
  • Steven Spielberg is her godfather
  • Anna Strasberg is her godmother.
  • (1997) Chosen by “People” magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World
  • Was the youngest person to ever host Saturday Night Live at seven years old

– See filmography, details, pictures and more at IMDB

– Buy videos, access more Drew-related sites at Star Pulse

Jerry Seinfeld (b. 4/29/1954, Brooklyn, NY)

Actor / Comedian: American Icon!The most successful and influential comedian of his generation!Critically acclaimed and successful as a stand-up comic, television actor, best-selling author and advertising pitchman, Jerry was born to Hungarian Kalman Seinfeld, a signmaker, and his wife, Betty. Jerry was the second of the couple’s two children. The Seinfeld family moved toLong Islandwhen Jerry was a child, and he spent most of his youth there. After graduating from high school, Seinfeld went on to college, first attending the State University of New York atOswego, and then moving on toQueensCollegeof the City University of New York, where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in 1976. Seinfeld developed a keen interest in performing while in college (his degree from Queens was in communications and theater), and after graduation he began workingNew Yorkcomedy clubs, often without pay, while holding down a number of odd jobs.Seinfeld’s first big break came when his bright but understated observational humor caught the eye of standup legend Rodney Dangerfield, who featured Seinfeld on a special for HBO. The exposure helped establish Seinfeld on the comedy club circuit, and won him a recurring role on the situation comedy Benson. In 1981, Seinfeld appeared for the first time on The Tonight Show, then hosted by Johnny Carson, and made a strong impression on both the audience and the host; he became a frequent guest on the Carson show, as well as David Letterman’s late-night talk show. As Seinfeld’s fame began to rise, he starred in several cable TV specials, and was approached to star in several TV series. Seinfeld and his good friend Larry David began working up an idea for a situation comedy to be called The Seinfeld Chronicles. In 1989, NBC took the bait, and a year later the show premiered under the streamlined name Seinfeld. Concerning standup comic Jerry Seinfeld and the often odd everyday occurrences of his circle of friends (many of whom were based on people Seinfeld and David knew in real life), Seinfeld got off to a slow start, but began to win a healthy audience in its second season, and in time became one of NBC’s biggest hits.- See his filmography and more photos on Yahoo Movies or IMDB

Paul Lukas (b. Pál Lukács 5/26/1824, Budapest, d. 8/15/1971, Tangier, Morocco) –

Actor, Oscar Winner for “Watch on the Rhine” Lukas trained for the stage at theHungarianActorsAcademy, and in 1916 he went to Kassa (nowKosiceafter Czech annexation) to become an actor, In 1918 he entered into engagement with the Theatre for Comedy and later debuted on theBudapeststage in Ferenc Molnár’s “Liliom.” He soon became Star of the Hungarian Stage and appeared in a number of Max Reinhardt productions before arriving in theUSin 1927 and establishing himself as one ofHollywood’s favorite suave European types. For a time in the early 1930s, the dapper Lukas was a romantic lead of films including “Strictly Dishonorable” (1931), “Little Women” (1933), “By Candlelight” (1933), and “The Fountain” (1934).He did, however, have more than a touch of the roue about him, which manifested itself in “Affairs of a Gentleman” (1934), “The Three Musketeers” (1935) and in his splendid supporting performance as one of the heroine’s illicit romances in William Wyler’s “Dodsworth” (1936). Alfred Hitchcock’s delightful thriller “The Lady Vanishes” (1938) found Lukas playing an outright, though still sneaky, villain, and he played a number of unsympathetic roles in wartime films, memorably as Hedy Lamarr’s dangerous husband in “Experiment Perilous” (1944).The most notably exception to Lukas’s roles during this period was his fine Oscar-winning lead performance (recreating his stage role) as a heroic resistance fighter in the well-intentioned but stodgy “Watch on theRhine” (1943). During his later years Lukas played a number of gentler roles, keeping busy in “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” (1954, as Prof. Aronnax) and “Tender Is the Night” (1962), but the gentlemanly if sometimes deceptive Continental suavity which was always his trademark never left him.- Buy Paul Lukas movies at Barnes and Noble

– See his filmography at IMDB

Johnny Weissmuller (b. 6/2/1904, Szabadfalu (Freisdorf), Hungary, [awarded to Rumania after WWI], d. 1/20/1984, Acapulco, Mexico)

The one and only Tarzan and FIVE-time Gold Olympic swimming legend! “The greatest swimmer of all time”Johnny was born Janos Weiszmueller in Szabadfulu (Freetown or in German, Freidorf), near Temesvar [now Timisoara after Rumanian annexation] in the Banat region of Hungary where many “Schwabians” / “Donauschwaben” / “Danube Swabians” or ethnic Germans had settled after the pullout of the Ottoman Turks in the 17th century. His parents were Peter Weiszmueller, a day worker from Varjas, and Erzsebet Kersch, of Szabadfalu (the name for Freidorf at the time). His Godparents were Janos Borstner and Katharina Erbesz. The Weissmuller family arrived inNew Yorkon the S.S. Rotterdam on Jan 26, 1905 when Johnny was three.Johnny often claimed he was born inWindber,PAbecause of Olympic eligibility issues. Weissmuller was the winner of the 100m freestyle in 1924 and 1928 and a member of the winning 4x200m relay team in both years. He also won a bronze medal in the 1924 water polo competition at the Olympics. He broke three records at the 1924 Olympics inParis. Weissmuller set 28 world records and such was his margin of superiority over his contemporaries that many authorities still rate him ahead of Mark Spitz as the greatest swimmer of all time. Because of the limited number of events available to Weissmuller, his Olympic record cannot be fairly compared with that of Spitz but the longevity of his records is a testament to his greatness. His 1927 world record for the 100 yard freestyle was unbeaten for 17 years, a remarkable length of time during a period of rapid development in the sport. From 1921-29 he won every free style race he entered. In addition to his Olympic Triumph, he won 18 Gold Medals at the USA National Championships (1921 – 1923,1925 -1928). Much of his success was due to his revolutionary high-riding stroke, flutter kick and head-turning breathing.After modeling BVD’s and successfully playing a fig-leafed Adonis, MGM took notice and invited for a screen test for the role of Tarzan. Weissmuller was chosen over 150 other applicants and went on to become the most famous screen Tarzan of all, playing the role in 12 movies between 1932 and 1948. After 1942 MGM had used up its options; it dropped Tarzan and Weissmuller who then moved to RKO and made six more Tarzans. After that he made sixteen programmed Jungle Jim (1948)movies forColumbia, finally retiring from movies to private businesses in Fort Lauderdale FL. Weissmuller died inAcapulco,Mexico after a series of strokes.Trivia:

  • Had three children with Beryl: Johnny Scott Weissmuller, Jr.; Heidi Elizabeth Weissmuller; and Wendy Anne Weissmuller.
  • Weissmuller had a close call inCubaduring the time of the Cuban Revolution. While playing golf, he and his friends found themselves suddenly surrounded by a group of Castro’s soldiers intent on kidnapping them or worse. Thinking fast, Weissmuller immediately gave his trademark Tarzan yell. The soldiers immediately recognized it and were so delighted to meet Tarzan that they escorted the group back to a safe area.
  • When Weissmuller was introduced to the first Cheetah in his Tarzan films in 1931 (he worked with 8 chimpanzees altogether), the chimp’s trainer told him to show no fear or the animal would attack him. As Weissmuller, dressed in his Tarzan loincloth and hunting knife, walked up to the animal, it bared its teeth, growled at him and lunged as if to attack him. Weissmuller took the knife out of the sheath and held it in front of the chimp’s nose, to make sure he saw and smelled it. He then slammed the animal on the side of the head with the knife handle. He put the knife back in its sheath and held out his hand to the chimp. It glared at him, bared his teeth again, then changed its mind, grinned at Weissmuller and jumped up and hugged him. Weissmuller never had any further problems with the chimp–although other cast and crew members did–and it followed him around like a puppy dog during all the pictures they worked together.

– See the International Olympic Committee

– For extensive photos and filmography see IMDB

– See my Sports page

András Schiff – (b. 12/21/1953, Budapest)

Acclaimed Classical PianistAndras Schiff occupies a prominent position among the world’s leading musicians. Born inBudapest,Hungaryin 1953, he began piano lessons at age five with Elisabeth Vadász and continued his musical studies at theFerencLisztAcademywith Professor Pál Kadosa, György Kurtág and Ferenc Rados. He also worked with George Malcolm inLondon. Among other honors, András Schiff was awarded the Bartók Prize in 1991 and the “Claudio Arrau Memorial Medal” from the Robert Schumann Society inDusseldorfin 1994. In March 1996, Mr. Schiff received the highest Hungarian distinction, the “Kossuth Prize” and in May 1997, he received the “Leonie Sonnings Music Prize” inCopenhagen. He makes his home inFlorence,Italy.- Read more

– See his impressive Discography at his agency, Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

– Buy his CD’s at Barnes & Noble

Andre Watts – (b. 6/20/1946, Nürnberg, Germany)

Acclaimed Classical Pianist  – one of the “Great Pianists of the 20th CenturyThe first African-American concert pianist to achieve international superstardom. Critics have called Wattselectrifying, sensational, daring, colorful, imaginative, powerful, and a supervirtuoso.André Watts is the son of an American career soldier stationed inGermany and a Hungarian refugee.Watts began studying the violin at age four. By the time he was six he made it known that his preference was for the piano, so his mother, a pianist herself, gave him his first lessons. As is frequently the case, he loved to play but hated to practice. When his habit persisted, his mother began relaying stories of her countryman, pianist and composer Franz Liszt, emphasizing the fact that he practiced faithfully. Liszt soon becameWatts’s hero, and he even adopted Liszt’s bravura playing style.At 10 he performed a Haydn concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra. He burst upon the music world at the age of 16, when Leonard Bernstein chose him to make his debut with the New York Philharmonic in their Young People’s Concerts, broadcast nationwide on CBS-TV. He became an overnight sensation. More than 30 years later, André Watts remains one of today’s most celebrated and beloved superstars. His performances each year with the world’s great orchestras and conductors and his sold-out recitals and appearances at the most prestigious international festivals bring him to every corner of the globe. A much-honored artist who has played before royalty inEuropeand heads of government in nations all over the world, André Watts was selected to receive the Avery Fisher Prize in 1988. At age 26, he was the youngest person ever to receive an Honorary Doctorate fromYaleUniversity.- Read more at Cramer/Marder Artists Agency or


Béla Bartók – (3/25/1881, Nagyszentmiklós, Hungary, d. 9/26/1945, New York)

Composer, ethnomusicologistBela Bartok was one of the most significant musicians of the twentieth century. He shared with his friend Zoltán Kodály, another leading Hungarian composer, a passion for ethnomusicology. His music was invigorated by the themes, modes, and rhythmic patterns of the Hungarian and other folk music traditions he studied, which he synthesized with influences from his contemporaries into his own distinctive style. Bartók grew up in that part ofHungaryannexed byRumaniaat the Treaty of Trianon after World War I.  His birthplace, Nagyszentmiklós (Great St Nicholas), in Transylvania, becameSînnicolau Mare,Romania.In 1894, Pozsony (now called Bratislavaafter Slovakiawas created out of Northern Hungary) the former Hungarian Capital, became their new home. He attended school, studied the piano with Laszlo Erkel and Anton Hyrtl, and composed sonatas and quartets. In 1898 he was accepted by the Vienna Conservatory, but decided rather to attend the Budapest Academy, where he studied the piano as a pupil of Franz Liszt as well as studying composition. He deepened his acquaintance with Richard Wagnerduring these times, though it was the music of Richard Strauss, who he met at theBudapest premiere, that had most influence. He wrote a symphonic poem, Kossuth, using Strauss’s methods combined with Hungarian elements in Liszt’s manner.Trivia: Béla showed precocious musical ability and began to compose dances at the age of nine.- See Thinkquest

– See much more at the Unitarian Church’s Bartok site

– See Matt Boynick’s site for more on Bartok including a picture gallery.

Zoltan Kodály (b. 12/16/1882 Kecskemét, Hungary, d. 3/6/1967, Budapest)

Composer, educator, ethnomusicologist, linguist, author and philosopher.Along with Bartók and Ligeti, Zoltan Kodaly is one of the three major figures in Hungarian music this century. Kodály’s many compositions show a strong affinity with the folk traditions of his country and include ballad operas, orchestral works, chamber music, choral works, songs, folk song arrangements and music for children.Kodály was born in Kecskemét, a small town in central Hungary. Much of his childhood was spent in the Hungarian villages. It was here that Kodály developed a great love for the Hungarian countryside and for the folk traditions of his culture.From a young age Kodály showed great aptitude and interest in music. His father, an amateur musician, encouraged this interest, particularly the young boy’s interest in composition. By the time Kodály reached secondary school he was composing his own music. After completing his school education, Kodály studied at The Franz List Academy (Hungary’s most prestigious music institution) where he met Bela Bartok with whom they collected Magyar folk music, elements of which they would eventually use in their compositions. He later attended the University of Hungarywhere he earned a degree in Hungarian, German and then, later, a Doctor of Philosophy in linguistics. As a composer, Kodály did much to bridge the gap between Hungarian folk music and the European art music tradition. In later years Kodály was president of theHungarianAcademy of Sciences, president of The International Folk Music Council, and honorary president of the International Society for Music Education.Trivia: His hand signals teaching method was seen in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind– Read more at Emory University

– See this Photo Gallery

Edward James Olmos (b. 2/24/1947, East Lost Angeles, California, USA)

Oscar and Tony Nominated and Emmy Award Winning Actor, Producer, Director, and Activist. The “Olivier of the Latino World” and People’s 2000 Sexiest Man Alive“I come from a dysfunctional family, I’m a minority, I have no natural talent, but I did it. If I can do it, anybody can do it. I take away all the excuses.”Olmos’s passion for education is a gift from his parents. He was born to Pedro Olmos and Eleanor Huizar. His father had leftMexico City,Mexico, at the age of twenty-one and settled inLos Angeles. Olmos claims to be Chicano-American first, Asian second, and European third. Olmos is a Hungarian name and his ancestry includes Moranos or Transversos, Jews who converted to Catholicism during the Spanish Inquisition to avoid religious persecution and torture. He also includes African ancestry. It is this global heritage ‘that made me brown,” he says with pride.Olmos spent nine years trying to establish himself as an actor, making his film debut (billing himself as Eddie Olmos) as an extra in Aloha, Bobby and Rose in 1975. Prior to that, Olmos had worked as a bit player and extra in several early ’70s television shows ranging from Medical Center to Hawaii Five-O. In 1979, he made a splash on Broadway playing Pachuco in Luis Valdez’s Zoot Suit. The play was originally staged in L.A. and represented the first time in which Olmos was paid to act on-stage. During the show’s New York run, Olmos earned a Tony Nomination and a Drama Critics Circle Award. In 1982, he played a creepy police detective in Blade Runner. Olmos became a star when he played the super-pragmatic Lieutenant Castillo on the hip police drama Miami Vice (1984-1989) and in 1985 won an Emmy for his efforts. He earned an Oscar nomination for his inspirational performance as a determined teacher who helps a troubled group of urban kids excel in math and science in Stand and Deliver (1986). He made his feature film directorial bow in 1992 with the powerful American Me, a grim look at a reformed gangster’s attempts to stay away from the violent, criminal ways of his old cohorts. Other notable 1990s efforts include Gregory Navahos’ beautiful My Family/Mi Familia (1995). Other credits include Selenawith Jennifer Lopez and the voice of the Chief in The Road toEl Dorado.Olmos’ humanitarian activities include acting as a United States Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, being the national spokesman for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, serving a place on the boards of theMiamiand Los Angeles Children’s Hospitals, serving as the executive director of the Hazard Education Project, and contributing to the foundation for the Advancement of Silence and Education. For his many good works, Olmos has received Honorary Doctorates from five educational institutions including theUniversityofColorado,CaliforniaStateUniversityatFresno, and the American Film Institute inHollywood.Visit the Edward James Olmos Page

See his Martin Luther King Jr. Day keynote address at the University of Michigan

See Celebrating Hispanic Heritage – Biography

Buy his videos at Barnes and Noble.com

Robert Capa

Acclaimed Photojournalist (b. Endre Erno Friedmann, Budapest, 1913, d. May 25, 1954 (Thai Binh, Vietnam). “One of the greatest photojournalists of the 20th century” – Brittanica “The Greatest War Photographer in the World: Robert Capa“- Picture PostCapa leftHungaryas a boy, lived inParisin 1930’s and covered many wars: Spanish Civil war,China, WW II (north Africa,Italy, D-Day, Liberation of Paris, Israeli War of Independence (1948), and the French Indo-China war. He was killed after stepping on a landmine.His most famous photo is of the “Falling Soldier, ” from the Spanish Civil War in 1936 published in Lifemagazine in 1937. He was one of the co-founders of the Magnum photo agency. His brother, Cornell Capa, is current director of the International Photography Centre inNew York.Trivia: Famous love affair with Ingrid Bergman -1945Pierce Brosnan will soon portray Robert Capa in “Blood and Champagne

Éva Gárdos

Acclaimed Screenwriter, Director, and EditorEva Gardos grew up in rural communist Hungaryin the 1950s, away from film and television. She began her film career as an editor on 1983’s Valley Girl and later worked on films such as Mask, Barfly, Valleygirl, Tales from the Crypt, and Time of the Butterflies.  An American Rhapsody marked Eva’s debut as both a screenwriter and director. Her screenplay, a semi-biographical tale depicting the personal odyssey of a family’s escape from Communist Hungary on which she worked for seven years, won the prestigious Hartley-Merrill International Screenwriting Prize. The award led production company Seven Arts International (now Fireworks Pictures) to greenlight her as director. An American Rhapsodywon both the Audience Award for Best Feature, and the Perrier Bubbling Under Award for promising first-time directors at the 2001 Nantucket Film Festival.Buy her videos at Barnes & Noble

Leslie Howard – (b. 4/3/1893, London, d. 6/1/1943, Bay of Biscay ,casualty of war)

Actor(born Lászlo Steiner). See on the left in ‘Gone With the Wind.”He was born to Hungarian parents, Lilian and Frank Steiner, inLondon. Frank worked as a stockbroker. Leslie’s younger years were spent inVienna.  After school, Leslie worked as a bank clerk until the outbreak of World War I. In 1917, diagnosed as shell shocked, he was mustered out and advised to take up acting as therapy. In a few years, his name was known on the stages ofLondonandNew York. He became known as the perfect Englishman, slim, tall, intellectual and sensitive, a part that he would play in many movies and a part women would dream about.He made his first movie in 1930, ‘Outward Bound‘, a film adaptation of his stage performance of the same name. In ‘Never the Twain Shall Meet (1931)’ and ‘Smilin Through (1932)’, he was playing the Englishman role to the hilt. His screen persona could perhaps be best summed up by his role as Sir Percy Blakeney in ‘The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934)’, a foppish member of society. It was Leslie who insisted that Humphrey Bogart get the role of Duke Mantee, in ‘The Petrified Forest(1936), the character that Bogart played in the stage production.With success, he became quite picky about which roles he would do and usually did but two films per year. In 1939, he would play the character that would always be associated with him – that of Ashley Wilkes, the honor bound disillusioned intellectual southern gentleman in ‘Gone with the Wind‘. But war clouds were gathering overEngland and Leslie devoted all his energy on behalf of the war effort. He directed films, wrote articles and made radio broadcasts. Howard returned to his nativeEngland after World War 2 began, and was shot down by Nazi fighter planes while flying fromPortugal in 1943.Trivia:

  • His son is actor Ronald Howard, who played Sherlock Holmes on television.
  • The oldest of 5 children, Leslie’s youngest brother, Arthur Howard (1910-1995), was also an actor.
  • His sister, Irene, also worked in the studios inHollywood.
  • A nephew of Leslie’s, Alan Howard, below, is an acclaimed stage actor inBritain, who was awarded the C.B.E. in 1997.

See above and much more at the IMDB

Goldie Hawn

Very Cute Actress and Academy Award Nominee for Private Benjamin. Tentative honoree – NEED ADDITIONAL VERIFICATION RESOURCES.

André Kertész (b. Budapest, 1894 – d. New York, 1985)

Acclaimed photographerOne of the pioneers of “street photography.” He said, “technique is unimportant,” “it is important to think.” With a small camera he captured the poetic and absurdity of ordinary life. A major force, he made his mark on different kinds of photography, making documentary an art form. Kertesz began taking pictures when he was sixteen. He was called to arms in World War I and took his camera with him. These early war photos set him apart as he captured images not of blood and war, but often the tender side of the lives of ordinary soldiers. In 1925 he moved toParis, where he met and photographed painters and writers. In 1927 he presented the first one-man photographic exhibition ever held.From About.com:

Hungary, a small land-locked country in the center of Europe, nurtured far more than its share of genius in the first half of 20th century. It was Hungarian scientists who drove forward the Manhattan project to produce the first atomic bomb and invented the biro and the hologram; Hungarian footballers who showed that England could be defeated and Hungarian photographers who shone in the world of photojournalism and modernism. Among them were Brassai (Gyula Halasz), the great recorder of the Paris demimonde, Cornell and Robert Capa, the inspiration of Magnum, Lazlo Moholy-Nagy who brought the ideas of the Bauhaus to found the Institute of Design in Chicago, Martin Munkasci, and, perhaps the greatest of them all, André Kertész.The photographs of Andre Kertesz can be found in several collections: the Detroit Institute of Arts, Museum of Modern Art, Harvard University, University of Kansas Museum of Art, Mint Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Institution, Wellesley College Museum and Pompidou Center to name a few.- Read the full About.com article or

– See the PBS series, American Masters, and watch video and more on Kertesz

– See an Interview

– You can see some of his works and purchase from his estate

Debra Winger – (b. 5/16/1955, Cleveland)

Actress 2 Oscar Nominations!In 1961, her family left Clevelandfor sunny Californiawhen she was 6 years old. As a teenager, she emigrated to Israel, where she worked for two years on a collective farm and served in the Army. Upon returning to the States, she was involved in a serious accident that left her in a coma. Partially paralyzed and blinded in one eye for several months, Winger thought long and hard about where her life was going, and decided that upon recuperating she would become an actress. She did, making several commercials before being cast as Lynda Carter’s little sister Drusilla on the popular “Wonder Woman” TV series. Her determination has paid off with a successful career that includes starring roles in “Urban Cowboy,” “Legal Eagles,” “Betrayed,” “Black Widow,” and Oscar Nominated performances in “An Officer and a Gentleman” and “Shadowlands.”See more at IMDB or at Debra Winger

Jamie Lee Curtis (b. 11/22/1958)

Actress…Best Legs in Hollywood? Jamie Lee Curtis was born to legendary parents Janet Leighand Tony Curtis. She got her big break at acting in 1978 when she won the role of Laurie Strode in Halloween (1978) and rose to cult stardom playing the straightlaced teenage baby sitter imperiled by an unknown slasher. After that she became very famous for roles in movies like Trading Places (1983), Perfect (1985), and A Fish Called Wanda (1988). She soon starred in one of the biggest action films ever, True Lies (1994) in which she won a Golden Globe for her performance. In 1998 she starred in Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later (1998) in which she reprised her role that made her famous back in 1978. She then appeared in Virus in 1991 and Tailor of Panama in 2001.Trivia:

  • Married to actor Christopher Guest since 1984, Curtis became a Baroness, Lady Haden-Guest, when her husband inherited the Barony in 1996.
  • Her sisters are also well known: Kelly Curtis is also an actress; Alexandra Curtis is a Theatrical Manager/Director; and Allegra Curtis is a beautiful Model and Hair-Make Up Consultant.

– For more biographical info., visit Mr.Showbiz or


Kelly Curtis (b. 61/17/1956, Santa Monica, CA)

ActressSister of Jamie Lee, and first child of Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, Kelly Lee Curtis appeared with her sister in Trading Places as Muffy. She as appeared in screen and television films, including “The Sentinel” as Lieutenant Carolyn Plummer, “The Devil’s Daughter (AKA The Sect),” “Search and Rescue,” “Thanksgiving Day,” and “Almost Famous.” She also appeared in “Star Trek: deep Space Nine” and “Silk Stalkings.”- See her full filmography and TV appearances at IMDB

– See pictures of Kellywith her Mom, Janet Leigh

Eugene (Jenö) Ormándy – (b.11/18/1899, Budapest, Hungary, d. 3/12/1985, Philadelphia)

Renowned Conductor(Philadelphia)One of the most famous conductors in musical history, Ormandy graduated from theBudapestRoyalAcademy, where he studied violin with Jenö Hubay, an eminent Hungarian violinist. By the time he was 17, Ormandy was a professor of violin himself and performed in concerts throughoutCentral Europe. In 1921, Ormandy traveled to theUnited Statesfor a concert tour. Once inAmerica, however, he cancelled the tour and became a violinist in the orchestra of the Capitol Theater inNew York City.During his tenure with this orchestra, Ormandy began his career as a conductor. He performed light classics for radio, as well as summer concerts. This led to a position as deputy for Arturo Toscanini during a major concert series of the Philadelphia Orchestra. From 1931 to 1936 Ormandy conducted the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, achieving national recognition with a series of recordings. In 1936, he returned to the Philadelphia Orchestra where he shared the conductorship with Leopold Stokowski. Two years later, Ormandy became principal conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, a position he held until his retirement in 1980. Acclaimed for his interpretations of 19th-century music, he was known to conduct all scores from memory. He emphasized rich orchestral tones and developed fine, velvety string playing that became his trademark. Under his direction, the Philadelphia Orchestra became known for its warm, textured romantic “Philadelphia Sound.”- See the Eugene Ormandy Pagesfor CD’s and much more.

Lászlo Kovács ASC – (b. May 14, 1933, Hungary)

Legendary Cinematographer.”The great achievements of Laszlo Kovacs, A.S.C., are not only those of a world-renowned and respected cinematographer, but also those of a man of courage, strength, and determination who overcame great obstacles to achieve his filmmaking dreams.” – hollywoodawards.comInternational Film Festivals have celebrated “the extraordinary impact Kovacs has made in advancing the art of filmmaking.” They also cited his influence on young filmmakers in every part of the world. Laszlo Kovacs has compiled more than 60 narrative films credits, including Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, Paper Moon, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Shampoo, The Rose, New York, New York, What’s Up Doc?, The Last Waltz, The Runner Stumbles, Ghostbusters, The Mask, Little Nikita, F.I.S.T., Blow Out, Legal Eagles, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Return to Me, Copycat, Multiplicity, Sliver, and Miss Congeniality.Kovacs was born and raised inHungaryduring the World War II Nazi occupation of his native land. His parents were farmers, who lived in a small village some 60 miles fromBudapest. Despite his penchant for skipping school to go to the movies and a less-than-perfect academic record, Kovacs, on his second try, was accepted at theAcademyofDramaand Film Art inBudapest, where George Illes, a legendary Hungarian filmmaker and head of the cinema department, took him under his wing. Kovacs was in his final year at school in 1956, when a spontaneous revolt that began on the streets ofBudapestseemed to be on the verge of moderating the communist regime. Kovacs and Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC, a recent graduate, borrowed a 35mm camera from the school, along with a generous supply of film. They used the camera to document incredible acts of bravery as citizens armed only with homemade weapons tried to stop Soviet tanks and soldiers when they poured into the city en masse and brutally crushed the revolt. Kovacs and Zsigmond were forced to flee or face severe reprisals at the hands of the invading Russians. They arrived together in theU.S.as political refugees in 1957.Kovacs worked his way up from prints to documentaries and a low budget Western.  His talents were noticed and he was introduced to Robert Altman and Peter Bogdanovich with whom he worked on a number of their earliest films. In 1969, Lewis introduced Kovacs to Dennis Hopper who was getting ready to shoot a film with Peter Fonda and Jack Nicholson. The reluctant Kovacs agreed to film “Easy Rider” and the rest is history!Trivia:  Wears a T-Shirt that says “I am not Vilmos” (Acclaimed Cinematographer friend and colleague, Vilmos Zsigmond that is!)

– Read above excerpt in more detail at The International Cinematographer’s Guild

– See his full filmography and more at IMDB.com

– See Cinematographyworld.com, the American Society of Cinematographers Website.

– See an Interview with Laszlo Kovacs

– Buy his videos at Barnes and Noble.com

Vilmos Zsigmond (ASC) – (b. June 16, 1930, Szeged, Hungary)

Legendary Cinematographer – Oscar Winner and Multiple Oscar Nominations!

First cinematographer to use the Panaflex camera on a movie — “The Sugarland Express.”From Cinequest.org – “…Son of a celebrated soccer player and coach, Zsigmond developed an interest in photography while in high school. After his graduation from the State University of Motion Picture and Theater Arts in Budapest (with friend Laszlo Kovacs), the Hungarian Revolution hit. [Along with Laszlo Kovacs, he filmed footage of the 1956 Hungarian revolution, supposedly with a camera concealed in a shopping bag.] His escape from the country and pilgrimage to the United States were underway. Eventually making connections with U.S. filmmakers, Zsigmond had the chance to develop his new style of lighting-a combination of the “old” classical style and the “new” flexible soft lighting. Zsigmond’s evocative look and “altering eye” found outlets in such masterpieces as John Boorman’s Deliverance (1972), Mark Rydell’s The Rose (1979), Richard Donner’s Maverick (1994), Sean Penn’s The Crossing Guard (1994) and Steven Hopkins’ The Ghost and the Darkness(1996).His long-overdue Academy Award came in 1977, with his powerful achievements on Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The following year found Zsigmond’s dark and disturbing work on Michael Cimino’s The Deer Hunter (1978) receiving an Oscar nomination, and another nomination appeared for the daring and powerful look he brought to Mark Rydell’s The River(1983).”Trivia:  Wears a T-Shirt that says “I am not Laszlo” (Acclaimed Cinematographer friend and colleague, Laszlo Kovacs that is!)- See his Filmography and more at IMDB.com

– Read: “A talk with legendary cinematographer and Cinequest honoree Vilmos Zsigmond

István Szabó (b. 2/18/1938, Budapest)

Director, Writer, Producer – Academy Award in 1981Though he stayed home inHungary, he won an Academy Award in 1981 for his acclaimed film “Mephisto.” Other recent credits include “Sunshine,” “Meeting Venus,” and “Oberst Redl.”See his filmography and more at IMDB

Beatrix Aruna Pasztor – (b. Budapest, Hungary)

Costume DesignerBeatrix (Beáta) studied at the Academyof Applied Arts, graduating in 1984. While finishing her diploma, she designed couture shoes and costumes for theatrical productions and constructed Bauhaus costumes for Carlos Godzi’s 15th century play The Deer King. These costumes became part of the first Hungarian theatre exhibition to travel throughout Eastern Europe. She moved to New York in 1984 to pursue her career, and earned a living as a hat designer and a window display dresser at Bloomingdale’s and Henry Bendel’s before landing jobs on low-budget films in New York. In 1988 she relocated to Los Angeles and soon found great success. Altogether, Pasztor has designed costumes for 20 feature films including Psycho, Indecent Proposal, An American Rhapsody, John Q, Monkeybone, She’s So Lovely, Drugstore Cowboy, U-Turn, Excess Baggage, Bad Company, The Fisher King, My Own Private Idaho, A Dog of Flanders, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, To Die For, and Good Will Hunting.– See Psycho: The Production

– Buy her films at Videoflicks

Andre de Toth (a.k.a. Tóth Endre, b. May 15, Mako, Hungary, 1913)

DirectorOscar Nomination, “The Gunfighter”The son of a Hungarian military officer, Andre De Toth studied law at the RoyalHungarianUniversityin Budapest. His academic career was shelved when De Toth became involved with the Hungarian film industry, where he served in several artistic and technical capacities before graduating to director in 1938. After completing five features in the space of one year, he was brought to Englandby fellow Hungarian Alexander Korda, who hired De Toth as second unit director on The Thief of Baghdad (1940). Then he moved to Hollywoodand worked again for Korda shooting second-unit for Jungle Book (1942). A full-fledged Hollywood director by 1943, De Toth specialized in westerns and adventure films; one of these, Slattery’s Hurricane (1949), co-starred the director’s then-wife Veronica Lake, whose fame was diminishing even as her husband’s was descending. Andre de Toth’s second American production, None Shall Escape in 1944,  was a remarkable achievement, an intense, at times almost harrowing, experience that deals with the issue of what to do with Nazi war criminals-not on an impersonal level, as did Judgment at Nuremberg a few years later, but on a one-to-one basis. De Toth is also well known for his embrace of 3-D films of the 1950s, House of Wax (1953) and The Stranger Wore a Gun (1953); the fact that De Toth had lost one eye did not diminish his lifelong fascination with stereoscopic photography, nor his expertise in this field. In 1950, De Toth was nominated for an Oscar for his work on the screenplay of The Gunfighter (1950). Though his last official directorial credit was for 1970’s El Condor, De Toth made several significant (and uncredited) contributions to the 1978 big-budgeter Superman: The Movie. Arguably de Toth’s greatest American films are two of his last, Day of the Outlaw and Play Dirty. In 1994, Andre De Toth published Fragmentsa memoir.- See his Filmography and more at IMDB.com

– Read an interesting look at his work “Harsh Master

Dezsö Magyar (b. Hungary)

Director / Screenwriter: Chair, American Film Institute Conservatory, Master Filmmaker-in-Residence: DirectingFrom The American Film Institute:

Born and educated in Hungary, Dezso Magyar was a renowned director of a number of banned Hungarian films and was the elected head of the progressive Studio Bala Balazs before coming to the United States. His Hungarian features are Agitators and Punitive Expedition (prizes at the Oberhausen Film Festival, the Locarno International Film Festival and official selection at the Cannes Film Festival). His American feature film credits include Streets of Gold, No Secrets, King of America, and Off Beat.Magyar was Director of the AFI Conservatory between 1989 and 1994. In 1994, he left to become Artistic Director of the Canadian Film Centre (chaired by Norman Jewison) where he oversaw curriculum, faculty and production of short dramatic films. He was also Executive Producer of the Canadian Feature Film Project, the producer of such acclaimed films as Cube, Rude, Klutch, and Uncles. Magyar returned and was named chair of the AFI Conservatory in June of 2000.See AFI

Lajos Koltai, HSC, ASC (b. 4/2/1946, Budapest)

Cinematographer – Oscar Nomination for “Malèna” and worked on numerous Oscar-Nominated FilmsLajos shot his first Super 8 film during a family vacation when he was 14 years old. After that experience, Koltai began writing, directing and shooting “little films” starring his friends and family. One year, he won first and second prize at an amateur film festival where a promising young director named Istvan Szabo headed the jury. Koltai graduated from theSchoolofDramaand Film inBudapest, which also nurtured Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC and Laszlo Kovacs, ASC.Koltai subsequently shot many films with Szabo including the Oscar-winning Mephisto, the Oscar-nominated Confidence, Colonel Redl, and most recently the epic multi-generational family story Sunshine that earned cinematography prizes in Europe. His body of work also includes Time Stands Still, Taking Sides, White Palace, Wrestling Ernest Hemingway, Born Yesterday, When a Man Loves a Woman, Home for the Holidays and Just Cause,among an eclectic blend of more than 60 European and United States-made films. Current projects are “Max” with John Cusack, and “The Palace Thief” with Kevin Kline.See his filmography at IMDB

Sir Alexander Korda – (b. Sandor Laszlo Kellner, Turkeve, Hungary, 9/16/1893, d. January, 1956)

Legendary, Oscar Nominated Producer / Director: A Hollywood Renegade” & Founding Member of The Society of Independent Motion Picture Producers.  Founder and guiding force behind the British film industry and “Savior of the British film industry.” He was the oldest of three sons to a Hungarian Jewish family. As a young boy, Sandor’s sight was damaged by the improper treatment of an eye condition. Throughout his life he always wore thick glasses. Despite this detriment, he was a voracious reader, and acquired a near-photographic memory. Throughout his life he also mastered about a half-dozen languages, and was known to be a brilliant (some say “hypnotic”) conversationalist.Age age thirteen Sandor suffered the death of his father, and shortly thereafter Sandor left the capitalBudapest. There he became a short story writer for a daily newspaper. Here he adopted the pseudonym “Korda,” and became a full-time reporter at age sixteen. Sandor Korda also contributed crime stories and wrote reviews, and became the paper’s night editor.In 1911 he set out to start a career in films and spent several months inParis, doing odd jobs in the Pathé studio — at the time, the most advanced film factory in the world. He returned toHungaryand joined a film company inBudapest. Though the Hungarian film industry was in its infancy, the country would produce a surprisingly rich heritage of film. Influential filmmakers like Alexander Korda, Michael Curtiz, and George Cukor were Hungarian. The country also boasted the world’s first film journal. Korda helped found the Hungarian film industry. He soon called himself Alexander Korda and worked in the studios ofVienna,BerlinandHollywoodbefore becoming a naturalized and, in 1943, a knighted Englishman.Together with his brothers Vincent (a production / art designer) and Zoltan (a director), Korda settled in London, and made the Oscar nominated film, The Private Life of Henry VIII, perhaps the most influential British film of all time. The movie was an international blockbuster and is credited with single-handedly creating a boom film market in England. Alexander Korda became the first member of the film industry to be knighted. Korda helped define the cinematic image of theBritish Empire.The vast Denham Studios were built by Korda on money borrowed from the Prudential Insurance company. Among the films he produced in the pre-war period were The Scarlet Pimpernel, Sanders of the River, Things to Come, The Ghost Goes West, Rembrandt, Knight Without Armour, Elephant Boy, The Drum, The Thief of Bagdad and many more. The bubble burst and the studios were sold up, but after the war Korda renewed his energies, producing such post-war successes as The Fallen Idol, The Third Man, Seven Days to Noon, The Sound Barrier and Richard III.


  • He married the beautiful actress Merle Oberon
  • His nephew, Mihaly (Michael) Korda would go on to be a best-selling author and star publisher and Editor-in-Chief at Simon & Schuster

– More on Hollywood.com or

Hollywood Renegades.com or

Alexander Korda: Biography

Zoltan Korda – (b. Zoltan Kellner, Turkeve, Hungary, 1895)

Acclaimed DirectorThe brother of Alexander Korda, Zoltan Korda achieved recognition in his own right as a director of action films. A one-time cavalry officer, Korda entered films as a cameraman and later became an editor before moving into the director’s chair in the ’30s at his brother’s London Films. It was as a director that his military background proved invaluable — Zoltan Korda knew how to deploy men and horses to maximum effect, and the battle scenes in the films he directed, including The Four Feathers and Drums, as well as parts of The Thief of Baghdad, helped make those movies among the most exciting in history. During World War II, Korda also directed Sahara for Columbia Pictures, which remains one of the most enduring and impressive of World War II action films and one of Humphrey Bogart’s best pictures as well.One of the ironies of the relationship between Zoltan Korda and his older brother was their politics. Zoltan was a liberal with leftist leanings, where Alexander was a proud British imperialist — all the funnier, because they were Hungarian-born — and the two frequently clashed over the content of their films. Zoltan would shoot a picture like Sanders of the River as a sympathetic portrait of oppressed peoples under an imperialist system, and Alexander would recut the material to reflect the pro-British position. In later years, they reached an accomodation of sorts, with Zoltan directing and Alexander distributing a film adaptation of Alan Paton’s anti-apartheid book Cry The Beloved Country.- More on Hollywood.com

Vincent Korda – (b. Vincent Kellner, Turkeve, Hungary, 1897, d. 1979)

Oscar Winning Film Art DirectorDistinguished art director with multiple Oscar Nominations. Vincent Korda trained as a painter at Budapest Academy of Art, and at the Academies of several other cities. Most often associated with his brothers Alexander and Zoltán Korda, he became famous in his own right as designer of such London Films productions as “The Private Life of Henry VIII,” “The Thief of Baghdad” for which he won an Oscar, and for the futuristic vision of the ambitious science fiction tale, “Things to Come,” a landmark in feature film production design and Britain’s biggest sci-fi film of the 1930s, adapted from H.G.Wells. He received Oscar nominations for “The Longest Day,” “Lady Hamilton,” and “The Jungle Book.”– Read more on Hollywood.com or

BritMovie.com or

ScreenOnline or


Michael Korda (b. 1933, London, England)

Best-Selling Author and Superstar Publisher and over 40 years as Editor-In-Chief of Simon & SchusterThe talented nephew of Hungarian-born film magnate Sir Alexander Korda, he was born to an English mother, baptized in the Anglican church, and grew up inEnglandsurrounded by brilliant and famous people. But he was unsure about his future when he leftOxford. After an international education (England,America,Switzerland,France) Korda wound up inNew Yorkin the late ’50s. There, with the aid of family connections, he got a job doing research for playwright Sidney Kingsley and later worked as a script reader for CBS. Drifting into publishing inNew Yorkin the 1950s, he joined Simon & Schuster in 1958.Korda is known for writing with style and wit. His novels “Charmed Lives,” in which he tells the story of his celebrated show-business family in his 1979, “The Fortune,” “Power!,” and “Queenie” a fictional biography of his aunt Merle Oberon, were all best-sellers. He has also written a memoir of his years in publishing, “Another Life,” that makes his arcane industry as entertaining and dramatic as any of the novels he published. The editors of Publishers Weekly chose “Another Life” for inclusion in their “100 Best Books for 1999.” Most recently, Man to Man, provides a helpful and timely account of his bout with prostate cancer.His cast of clients is amazing — Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Mafia boss Joe Bonanno, faded movie legend Joan Crawford, super-agent ‘Swifty’ Lazar, noted writers Graham Greene (whom he had known since adolescence) and Tenessee Williams, schlockmasters Harold Robbins and Jacqueline Susann. Using his inside knowledge of many of his clients, he was the screenwriter for “Isn’t She Great,” with Bette Midler, the real-life story depicting the vibrant, flamboyant and sometimes outrageous life of author and celebrity Jacqueline Susann and her husband and manager Irving Mansfield.- A review of his book Another Life

Fritz Reiner – (b. 12/19/1888, Budapest, d. 11/25/1963, New York City)

Legendary Conductor: A “Foremost Conductor of his Time” and “Genius Orchestra BuilderFritz Reiner was a legend among conductors. Universally admired for his music making, widely disliked for his aggressive and exacting temperament, and survived by a legacy of definitive recorded performances, he was largely responsible for the artistic ascendancy of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and exerted considerable influence on generations of musicians.Reiner studied piano with his mother. At 15, he studied with Bela Bartok at the renownedFranzLisztAcademythat has produced many outstanding conductors and musicians including Reiner, Bartok, Kodaly, Dohnanyi, Szell, Ormandy, Solti and Dorati. He also graduated in law from the University inBudapest. At the age of twenty one he became the Chorusmaster of the Budapest Opera and two years later the conductor of the Budapest Volksoper. From 1914 to 1922 he was principal conductor of the Royal Opera inDresden. AtDresdenhe worked with Richard Strauss on productions of his early operas and conducted the German premiere of Die Frau Ohne Schatten. Reiner leftEuropeto become the appointed director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra a post he held until 1930. In 1928 he became an American citizen. He married his second wife Cincinatti actress Carlotta Irwin in 1930.From 1931-1941 Reiner served as head of the orchestra and opera departments at the Curtis Institute of Music where Leonard Bernstein was his student supervised activities of the Philadelphia Academy of Music and was a frequent guest conductor at the Philadelphia Grand Opera. During that time he also participated in opera festivities at Covent Gardenin honor of King Edward VIII’s coronation and Wagner performances at the San Francisco Opera from 1936-1938. In 1938 Reiner was appointed conductor and music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony resigning in 1948 over financial disputes. He became conductor at the Metropolitan Opera in New York Citywhere he debuted with a historic performance of Strauss’ Salomeon February 4, 1949. From 1953-1962 Reiner conducted the Chicago Symphony which he raised to international stardom.- Buy his CD’s on Yahoo! shopping or

– Read an interesting critique of his works at Frtiz Reiner: The Art of Economy

László Moholy – Nagy, (b. Bácsborsod, Hungary 7/20/1895, d. 1946)

Avant-Garde Painter, designer, and experimental photographer: A Founder of Constructivism, Professor and Director at the Bauhaus School of Design, Chicago, and Founder and head of the Chicago Institute of DesignLaszlo Moholy-Nagy first expressed his creative interests through writing. He contributed short stories to the Hungarian periodical Jelenkor (Our Age), published by the aesthetician Iván Hevesy. While training to be a lawyer at theUniversity ofBudapest, Moholy-Nagy was drafted into the Austro-Hungarian Army and called to the Russian front during World War I. It was during this period that Moholy-Nagy began to experiment with visual art, making over 400 drawings on military-issued postcards.  After World War I, Moholy-Nagy returned toBudapest where he became active in the Hungarian avant garde, aligning himself with the circle of intellectuals and artists led by Lajos Kassák.A founder of CONSTRUCTIVISM, and a professor at the BAUHAUS (1923-28), he directed the Bauhaus School of Design, Chicago, until 1938, and then opened and headed the Chicago Institute of Design. His teaching influenced American commercial and industrial design, and he wrote The New Vision (1928) and Vision in Motion (1947). For more, visit:- László Moholy-Nagy: From Budapest to Berlin, 1914-1923



The Poster Shop

Sir Georg Solti – (b. 10/21/1912, Budapest, Hungary, d. 9/5/1997, Antibes, France)

Legendary Conductor: Record number of GrammysBorn György Stein, Solti studied piano and composition with Ernst von Dohnanyi, Zoltan Kodaly and Béla Bartók at the FranzLisztAcademyin Budapest, giving his first concert at the age of twelve. He began working as assistant at the Budapest Opera in 1930 and was director of music there from 1934 to 1939. In the summers of 1936 and 1937 he was assistant to Arturo Toscanini at the Salzburg Festival, an encounter that left a deep impression on the young musician. After the outbreak of the Second World War, he emigrated to Zurich, resuming his career as a pianist. He won first prize at the Geneva International Competition in 1942. His career really began after the end of the Second World War.For almost twenty-five years, he concentrated entirely on conducting operas. He was chief musical director of the Munich Opera from 1947 to 1951 and of the Frankfurt Opera from 1952 to 1961.Covent Gardenexcelled during his tenure as musical director (1961-71). In 1961 he was appointed as musical director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, but hardly ever worked in this position since the orchestra’s management had appointed an assistant without asking him (the assistant was none other than Zubin Mehta!). In 1969 he took over as director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and his second career as a conductor of orchestral music began. He remained in this post until 1991. From 1972 to 1975 he was also director of the Orchestre de Paris. In 1973, Rolf Liebermann appointed him as musical adviser to the Paris Opera. From 1979 to 1983 he was director of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1992 he took over from Herbert von Karajan as artistic director of the Salzburg Easter Festival (until 1994). In 1995 he was artistic adviser to the festival that replaced the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival.

  • For his outstanding contribution to music, he received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II ofGreat Britainin 1972.

– Buy his CD’s and read more at iClassics.com or

A Short Biography

Friedrich Schorr – (b. 09/02/1888, Nagyvárad, Hungary, d. 8/14/1953, Farmington, CT)

Renowned “mahogany-colored” Bass-BaritoneSchorr initially intended to become a lawyer. His father was an attorney, but also a renowned Jewish cantor who had a first-class baritone voice himself. His son Friedrich had a beautiful voice and studied singing atBrnowith Adolf Robinson, the teacher of Leo Slezak. Robinson recommended the young bass-baritone to the management of the Chicago Opera and, during his vacation, he had the opportunity to appear in small roles. He made his debut atGrazas Wotan in Walküre! His success was great and Schorr was immediately offered  a four-year contract. He remained there until 1916.His fame as a Wagner singer spread rapidly.  From 1916 until 1923 he appeared at the opera houses ofPragueandCologneand became a guest star of the Berlin Staatsoper, Covent Garden andBayreuth. He also sang roles like Amonasro, Escamillo, Barak, Borromeo, Dr. Faust (Busoni), Scarpia, Michele and Pizarro. The main part of his career, however, he spent in theU.S.A.Impresario Gatti-Casazza heard him as Hans Sachs and engaged him in 1923. Friedrich Schorr appeared at the Met until 1943 and made guest appearances all over the world. In March 1943 he gave his farewell performance at the Met in Siegfried. He continued to appear in concerts and became director of the Manhattan School of Music inNew York.  He also directed productions at the City Centre Opera inNew York. He was also a very successful vocal coach.Trivia:

  • Charles Nelson Reilly, the zany television personality, Tony Award-winning actor, and acclaimed opera and stage director is honorary chairman of the Friedrich Schorr Memorial Performance Prize in Voice international competition. He was a student of Mrs. Friedrich Schorr at the Julius Hartt School of Music inHartford,Connecticut.

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Ferenc Rofusz –

Animator: Oscar in 1981for his animated film, “The Fly” (A Légy) – the first Hungarian Oscar for a cartoon.The film is a simple story about a day in the life of a housefly. The short is a perfect example of how a simple plot can be very compelling when the animation is solid. The fact that the film is totally from the point of view of the fly, along with the building tension provided by the sound, the viewer truly feels for the insect and his situation. And for students, THE FLY is an amazing example of perspective and foreground-to-background movement.- See an interview in Hungarian here

– Read a great article on Hungarian Animation entitled, “Beyond the frames: Will this art survive?

– See Animated cartoons in Hungary

Viktor Vasarely – (b. 4/9/06, Pécs, Hungary, d. 1997)

Famed painter known for his geometrical forms, he is the father of Op-ArtHe began as a medical student inBudapestbefore studying art (1928-9) at the “BudapestBauhaus’ (theMühelyAcademy). He settled inParisin 1930. He pioneered the visually disturbing effects that were later called Op Art and began experimenting with the use of optical illusion during the 1930s, although the style of geometric abstraction for which he is best known dates from the late 1940s. His paintings were characterized by their repeated geometric forms and interacting vibrant colors which created a visually disorientating effect of movement. He also experimented with Kinetic Art.His motto is “Art for all” and theParis subway is full of his modern works.- See the beautiful official website, Vasarely.org

Pierre Székely (b.Budapest, Hungary, 6/11/1923, d. 4/3/2001, Paris)

Renowned Sculptor and Architect – the “Incessant AdventurerKnown for his monumental scuplture in granite and marble. His work is present on four continents and was considered to be a guiding force of his generation. Pierre Szekely learned to sculpt stone on his own, before attending art school. He came to Parisin 1946 where he formally studied design, modeling and wood sculpture. He specialized in the creation of monumental sculptures and worked in close collaboration with architects on problems of architectonic integration and sculptural games for children. His work employs the concept of symmetry, a movement started inHungary, which he, Vasarely, and the many Hugnarian professors at the Bauhaus, were pioneers.He is founder of the European Institute of Technology or Granite. Some of his noteworthy works of sculptural architecture are the “Chapelle du Carmel” inValenci-ennes,France; his rose granite sculpture inBudapestentitled “Monument to Peace”; and for “Impossible Bird” which French President Mitterand presented to Israeli President Menachem Begin. Pierre Szekely was decorated with the French National Order of Merit in 1980 and was inducted into the French Legion of Honor- Read moreand see and hearPierre in a video (In French)

Arthur Koestler – (b. 1905, Budapest, d. 3/3/1983)

Influential Journalist and Author of “Darkness at Noon,” among the 20th century’s most influential novelsFew literary figures have influenced the course of modern history like Arthur Koestler. As a prominent journalist, memoirist and popular science writer, Koestler chronicled the dehumanizing brutality of totalitarianism. His publicized split with the Communist International earned Koestler honorary standing as a literary cold warrior. Darkness at Noon catapulted Koestler to prominence as a somber critic of communist oppression. It ranks consistently among the 20th century’s most influential novels.Though he studied science and psychology inVienna, at the age of twenty he became a foreign correspondent and worked foe various European newspapers in the Middle East,Paris,Berlin,RussiaandSpain. During the Spanish Civil War, which he covered from the Republican side, he was captured and imprisoned for several months by the Nationalists, but was exchanged after international protest. In 1939-1940 he was interned in a French detention camp. After his release, due to British government intervention, he joined the French Foreign Legion, subsequently escaped toEngland, and joined the British Army.Like many other intellectuals in the thirties, Koestler saw in the Soviet experiment the only hope and alternative to fascism. He became a member of the Communist Parry in 1931, but left it in disillusionment during theMoscowpurges in 1938. His earlier books were mainly concerned with these experiences, either in autobiographical form or in essays or political novels. Among the latter, Darkness At Noon has been translated into thirty-three languages.After World War II, Mr. Koestler became a British citizen, and all his books since 1940 have been written in English. He now lives inLondon, but he frequently lectures at American universities, and was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford in 1964-65. In 1968 Mr. Koestler received the Sonning Prize at theUniversityofCopenhagenfor his contributions to European culture. He is also a Commander of the Order of theBritish Empire, as well as one of the ten Companions of Literature, elected by the Royal Society of Literature. His works are now being republished in collected editions of twenty volumes.He established The Koestler Foundation, which exists to promote research in parapsychology and other fields. In his will Koestler left his entire property to found a Chair of Parapsychology at the EdinburghUniversity. In the 1970s Koestler was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire and a Companion of Literature. Facing incurable illness – Parkinson’s disease and terminal leukemia – and as a lifelong advocate of euthanasia, Koestler took his own life with his wife, who, however, was perfectly healthy. Koestler died of a drug overdose – death was reported on March 3, 1983. In her suicide note Cynthia Koestler wrote, “I cannot live without Arthur, despite certain inner resources.”

– See more and read some Koestler quotes here or

– a great biography

Arthur Koestler Project or

Adrift in the Diaspora or

– buy his remarkable books at Amazon

Csontváry Kosztka Tivadar (b. 1853, Kisszeben, Hungary, d. 1919, Budapest)

Famed Painter: Picasso once chided Chagall that he could not produce a painting half as good as one of Csontvary’s.Although he died at the age of sixty, his creative period was very short. He started his art studies in 1894; he painted his major pictures between 1903 and 1909. His oeuvre consists of about one hundred paintings and twenty drawings – not too many, but his paintings were the first great summary of modern art inHungary. Csontváry’s decision to become a painter was influenced by his schizophrenia. He worked for fourteen years in order to become financially independent, and started to study painting at the age of forty-one: first inMunichunder Simon Hollósy, then inKarlsruheunder Kallmorgen.In 1895 be travelled to Dalmatia andItalyto paint landscape studies. His individual style – best illustrated by “Trees in Electric Light a Jajce” and “Storm over the Great Hortobágy” – was fully developed by 1903. In the beginning of the same year, he travelled to heNear Eastin search of the “great motif”. The dramatic, expressive representation of “Great Tarpatak” is a conclusion of this search. He worked on his other monumental, singularly expressive painting. “The Ruins of the Greek Theatre atTaormina” between 1904 and 1905. “Balbeck” is the last piece of this period, which was characterized chiefly by his pantheism and by his expressive use of colours.Csontváry first showed his works inParisin 1907, then travelled toLebanon. His symbolic paintings of mysterious atmosphere were painted there: “Lonely Cedar”, “Pilgrimage to the Cedars inLebanon” and “Mary’s Journey inNazareth”. His next exhibitions were in 1908 an in 1910, but they did not bring him the recognition he had so earnestly hoped for. The last major canvas. “Riding along the Beach” was painted inNaplesin 1909. After this year he hardly painted, loneliness and the lack of understanding caused in him such a severe mental condition, that he was able to create nothing else, but sketches of surrealistic visions.- Visit the following Hungarian site: The Csontváry Múzeum (great site) in Pécs for images and link to his own Autobiography.

– See Artworks by Tivadar CSONTVÁRY KOSZTKA

– Also see, Hidden Masterpieces, in theUK.

Christina Kiss – (b. Budapest, Hungary)

Renowned Pianist: one of the foremost Liszt interpreters of our timeInternationally acclaimed as an artist of world class statue, Christina Kiss is recognized as one of the foremost Liszt interpreters of our time. She is performing the entire Liszt cycle at Carnegie Hall (over a thousand works) from memory performed over several years. Presently in its ninthNew Yorkseason, she will complete the cycle of over 60 recitals in the year 2010. Critics have said, her Liszt Cycle is akin to climbingMount Everest. Ms. Kiss has already played more Liszt works in concert than any other pianist, thus making this series one of the truly important and historic piano cycles of all time. Concert tours have taken her toItaly,Spain,Greece,Austria,Hungary,France,Belgium,Israeland theU.S.She is a frequent soloist with the world’s leading orchestras including theBarcelona,Cincinnatiand Budapest Philharmonic.Born inBudapest, Miss Kiss completed her studies at theFranzLisztAcademyand Juilliard with Gyorgy Sandor and Kornel Zempleni. She received First Prize atBarcelona’s 1979 Maria Canals International Piano Competition, First Prize atCincinnati’s International American Music Competition, and two dozen additional prizes at international competitions on three continents including theAthens, Dino Ciani, Van Cliburn, Gina Bachauer and the Liszt-BartokWatch an excerpt from one of Christina’s like performances

Real Video

George Széll – (b. Budapest 6/7/1897, d. Cleveland, Ohio 1970)

Legendary Conductor: “One of the greatest conductors of symphony and opera of the twentieth centuryPart of the wave of great Hungarian conductors who took over American musical life just before and after World War II (the others included Fritz Reiner, Antal Dorati, and Eugene Ormandy), George Szell quickly transformed a middling Midwestern orchestra into one of the nation’s Big Five. His cultivation of the Cleveland Orchestra set an example of discipline and hard work that gradually helped raise the standards of orchestras acrossAmerica.Considered a child prodigy, he first performed in a public concert at the age of eleven. At age sixteen he conducted the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. The next year he appeared with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra as conductor, pianist, and composer. During this time, Richard Strauss heard Szell perform his transcription of the composer’s symphonic poem TILL EULENSPIEGEL. Upon hearing Szell’s arrangement, Strauss appointed Szell to the conducting staff of the Berlin State Opera. Szell stayed as Strauss’s assistant for two years, at which time Strauss recommended Szell as principal conductor of the Strassburg Municipal Theater to succeed Otto Klemperer. A few years later, Szell left the Strassburg Municipal Theater to become conductor of the Court Theater atDarmstadt. Between the years of 1921 and 1929, he was conductor of the Berlin Broadcasting Company and was also a member of the faculty at the renowned Hochschule für Musik.In 1929, Szell went toPragueto become the general music director of the German Opera House and the Philharmonic. At this time he started to appear as guest conductor with many of the leading orchestra’s ofEurope. From 1930 to 1931 he conducted the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. He was so well received as a guest conductor inEnglandthat he soon became the conductor of the Scottish Orchestra inGlasgow,Englandand the Residentie Orchestra atThe HagueinHolland.The start of World War II in 1939 found Szell inAustralia. Making his way to the United States Szell was invited by Toscanini to guest conduct the famous NBC Symphony Orchestra inNew York City. His debut attracted such wide attention that other conducting engagements soon followed including the Cleveland Orchestra. From 1942 to 1946 Szell was one of the regular conductors of the Metropolitan Opera House. In 1946 Szell become the conductor and music director of the Cleveland Orchestra.Szell had, at one time or another, conducted just about every major symphony orchestra in the world. He also appeared as guest conductor at the leading European summer music festivals, includingVienna, Salsburg,Milan,Paris,FlorenceandLucerne. His compositions include; Variations for Orchestra, Symphony in B Minor, Lyric Overture, and several chamber music works.

It goes without saying that Szell has been the recipient of many honors and awards. These include and honorary degree of Doctor of Music fromCaseWestern ReserveUniversity(1951) and a similar degree fromOberlinCollege. In 1949 he received an Award of Honor by the National Music Council, the Chevalier of the National Order of the Legion of Honor inFrance(1957), Commanders’ Cross, Order of Merit inGermany(1959), Laurel Leaf Award for performing more American contemporary works than any other conductor (1954).

– See Sony Classical.com

– Buy the video: George Szell, “One Man’s Triumph -The Cleveland Orchestra “

S.Z. “Cuddles” Sakall (b. Budapest, 2/2/1884, d. Los Angeles, 2/12/1955)

Famed Character Actor, from Casablanca fameChubby-jowled character actor S.Z. Sakall began as a sketch writer for Budapest vaudeville shows, then turned to acting at age 18. Initially billed as Szõke Szakall (the name translated to “blonde beard,” in honor of the hirsute adornment he’d grown to appear older), the actor became a star of the Hungarian stage and screen in the 1910s and 1920s. Among his German-language films of the early-talkie era were 1929’s Ihre Majestaet die Liebe (remade in theU.S. as Her Majesty Love, with W.C. Fields in Sakall’s role) and the box-office hit Two Hearts in Waltz Time (1930); he also briefly ran his own production company during this period.Fleeing Hitler in the late ’30s, Sakall settled in Hollywood, where from 1939 through 1955 he played an endless succession of excitable theatrical impresarios, lovable European uncles, and befuddled shopkeepers. His rotund cuteness earned Sakall the nickname “Cuddles,” and he was often billed as S.Z. “Cuddles” Sakall in his later films. Nearly always featured in the supporting cast (notably as Karl the waiter in 1942’s Casablanca), S.Z. Sakall was given the principal role of songwriter Fred Fisher in 1949’s Oh, You Beautiful Doll, though top billing went to June Haver.S.Z. Sakall’s final performances were seen in the 1954 film The Student Princeand the like-vintage TV series Ford Theatre.In Hollywood, became popular comic support and was nicknamed “Cuddles.” Some other movies: It’s a Date (1940), Ball of Fire (’41),Casablanca (Nick’s waiter, ’42),   Tea for Two (’50), Lullaby of Broadway (’51). He wrote an autobiography in 1953: The Story of Cuddles. AKA: Eugene Gerõ Szakáll, Szõke Szakáll.- For more visit: S.Z. Sakall or

– Read more and buy his films on Yahoo!

The Gábor Sisters

Actresses with a temper!

  • ZsaZsa (Sari) Gabor, (b. 2/6/1918, Budapest)Though officially an actress, Zsa Zsa Gabor is more famous as a whimsical celebrity sex symbol. Married nine times, Gabor made a career of joking about her man-hungry ways and her love of jewelry and furs. Her credits include the campy Queen of Outer Space (1958), Moulin Rouge (1951), and a small role as a nightclub manager in the Orson Welles classic Touch of Evil(1959). In 1989 Gabor gained fresh notoriety after she slapped a Beverly Hills policeman who pulled her over for a traffic violation. Another traffic accident, in November of 2002, left her in a coma.Extra credit: Zsa Zsa Gabor was Miss Hungary of 1936… She played the villainess Minerva in the final episode of the 1960s TV series Batman… She is the mother of actress Francesca Hilton.- Read more at Allmovie.com, IMDB, or
  • Eva Gabor (b. 2/11/1920, Budapest, d. 7/4/1995)Best known as the Gabor sister with talent, actress Eva Gabor began her career as a cabaret singer and ice skater in her native Hungary. Forced to emigrate to the United States at the outbreak of World War II, Gabor was able to secure film work in mystery-woman parts in such films as Forced Landing (1941) and Pacific Blackout (1942). The actress didn’t truly achieve star stature until her Broadway appearance in The Happy Time (1950), though curiously she wasn’t called upon to appear in the 1952 film version of this play. Gabor’s movie career in fact remained rooted in supporting roles, such as one of Vincent Price‘s victims in The Mad Magician (1953) and as Liane d’Exelmans in the Oscar-winning Gigi (1958). In 1958 she was nominated for a Golden Laurel Award – Top Female Comedy Performance for: “Don’t Go Near the Water” (1957). Like her sister Zsa Zsa Gabor, Eva has accrued plenty of press coverage thanks to her multiple marriages, but unlike Zsa Zsa, Gabor has managed to stay off the police blotter – except for a 1964 incident in which she was nearly killed fighting off a couple of vicious diamond robbers.Eva’s best-loved public appearances were manifested in her five-year run as Lisa Douglas on the popular TV sitcom Green Acres (1965-70). Contrary to the Gabor Sisters’ image of contentiousness, Eva was well liked on the Green Acres set by both co-star Eddie Albert and director Richard Bare, who had nothing but praise for her professionalism and comic timing. Eva Gabor proved she hadn’t lost her touch in 1990 when the inevitable Green Acres two-hour revival movie made its way to television. She was also a successful business woman with her being the owner of Eva Gabor Wigs company. Eva died in 1995 of Respiratory failure and is still remembered by millions.
Gabor Szabo, (b.  in Budapest,1936 d: Budapest, 1982 )

Jazz Great: One of the “most original and outstanding improvisational guitarists of the 20th century”Born Gábor István Szabó and Inspired by a Roy Rogers cowboy movie, Szabo began playing guitar when he was 14 and often played in dinner clubs and covert jam sessions while still living in Budapest. He escaped from his country at age 20 on the eve of the anti-Communist uprising and eventually made his way to America, settling with his family in California. He attended BerkleeCollege(1958-60) and in 1961 joined jazz legend Chico Hamilton’s innovative quintet featuring Charles Lloyd. Urged by Hamilton, Szabo crafted a most distinctive sound; agile on intricate, nearly-free runs as he was able to sound inspired during melodic passages. Szabo left the Hamiltongroup in 1965 to leave his mark on the pop-jazz with another jazz legend, Gary McFarland. Szabo initiated a solo career in 1966, recording the exceptional album, SPELLBINDER, which yielded many inspired moments and “Gypsy Queen,” the song the rock group, Santana, turned into a huge hit in 1970. During the 1970s, Szabo regularly performed along the West Coast; hypnotizing audiences with his enchanting, spellbinding style. But from 1970, he was locked into a commercial groove – even though records like MIZRABoccasionally revealed the success of his jazz, pop, Gypsy, Indian and Asian fusions.Szabo had revisited his homeland several times during the 1970s, finding opportunities to perform brilliantly with native talents. He was hospitalized during his final visit and died in 1982 – just short of his 46th birthday and five years after his final American album was released.Dougls Payne writes, “He was one of the most original jazz guitarists to emerge in the 1960s; mixing his hungarian folk music heritage with a deep love of jazz and crafting a distinctive, largely self-taught sound.”- See Doug Payne’s Iconoclasm

Georges Cziffra (b. 11/05/1921, Budapest, d. 01/15/1994 in Morsang-sur-Orge)

World-renowned, Legendary Concert Pianist: The “virtuoso showman at the keyboard!Tragedy, Torture, Triumph, and Tragedy…

Born Cziffra György, he became one of the most celebrated and individual piano virtuosos in the post-War decades inEurope, especially noted for his powers of improvisation and as a Liszt pianist.He was born in a shanty-town calledAngels Courton the outskirts ofBudapestto a family of gypsy musicians. He said he was born in the family bathtub because they could not afford a hospital. The family was desperately poor and ultimately both his father (an accomplished piano and cimbalom player) and a sister died of starvation. He began to play piano by watching an older sister’s lessons. By the age of five he was appearing in a circus, improvising variations on request of the audience. At ten, even he was sent to the Conservatory inBudapest. He was able to stay there only briefly, taking piano lessons from Gyorgy Ferenczi and composition with Ernst von Dohnanyi. He supported himself playing in nightclubs and began to establish a recital career inHungary,Holland, andSweden. He married his wife, Zuleika, shortly before he was drafted into the Hungarian army in 1941. After the war he was imprisoned for a year in 1946.Returning to his wife and small son, and with his mother and surviving sisters dependent on him, he worked hours each day to recover his piano technique, making a living on tips from playing jazz in bars and cabarets each night. After the Communists gained full power inHungary, Cziffra was imprisoned again, for political reasons, which meant that his captors also took his wife and son, Gyorgy Cziffra, Jr. The boy nearly died from the inhuman conditions. Cziffra’s Communist captors tortured him; knowing he was a pianist, they went after his hands, beating on them and making him carry heavy pieces of stone in each hand. When he was released, the ligaments were so loose that he could not transmit the power of his arms through his wrists, but found a certain type of wristbands gave him the needed support. After six months of exhaustive work he recovered his top form. His records on the Hungarian label, Qualiton, and the Czechoslovak Supraphon label began to circulate inWestern Europe, raising him to legendary status.When Russian troops poured intoHungaryhe and his family was forced to flee. After ten days on foot, they reachedViennawhere he debuted on November 17, 1956, with outstanding success. Debuts elsewhere inEuropefollowed. After one recital inLondon, the Daily Telegraph said the audience “witnessed feats of piano playing probably never to be equalled, certainly never surpassed in their lifetime.”Cziffra eventually settled inFrancewith his family and took citizenship there. He undertook three major projects: One was the establishment of a piano competition in his name. The second was the purchase of the Royal Chapel of St. Frambourg near Senlis, which he made a non-sectarian shrine to spirituality and the arts. It is now known as the Foundation Cziffra. He also restored the organ at the Abbey of La Chaise Dieu and started a summer festival there, on the suggestion of his son, who became a conductor. It is known as the Salle Cziffra. Gyorgy, Junior died tragically in an accident in 1981, shortly after making his first commercial recordings. Cziffra refused to perform with an orchestra thereafter. He retired from recording in 1986 and left the stage in 1988. In the same yearFrancenamed him a cultural ambassador to a newly liberalizedHungary. He was diagnosed with cancer in the early 1990s, but died in 1994 of a heart attack. He is buried in thecemeteryofSenlisnear the remains of his son. Mme Cziffra continued to direct the Foundation Cziffra.

See The Inkpot for CD reviews and more! or

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– Read a GREAT biography on Piano-news.com

Zoltán Kocsis (b. 1952, Budapest)

Piano Virtuoso, Composer, and ConductorThe pianist, composer, and conductor awarded with the Kossuth and Liszt prizes, was born in 1952 inBudapest. His extraordinary gift for music became evident at a very early age. He commenced his musical studies when he was 5 years old and continued them at the Béla Bartók Conservatory from 1963, specializing in piano and composing. In 1968 he was admitted to the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music. From the start, reviews referred to him as a prodigy and a lion of the piano, who rose above his contemporaries with his virtuosity and his personality of elemental strength. (1981 Le Figaro writes about the genius, 1987 the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger mentions the miracle of the keyboard, 1990 the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes about the pianist above all criticism etc).Zoltán Kocsis is also an acknowleged composer. He is one of the founders of the New Musical Studio of Budapest. His works, written for the Ensemble Modern and performed together with the ensemble at concerts, along with his Bartók and Schönberg transcriptions, have won him considerable appreciation in the profession.When in 1983 conductor Ivan Fischer and pianist Zoltan Kocsis decided to establish a new orchestra, no one guessed that this was beginning of one of the most successful and exciting musical ventures on the Hungarian and international music scene. After nine successful years of a few concerts every season in 1992 it become the permanent orchestra of Budapest. Today, the Budapest Festival Orchestrais one of the most successful musical ensembles internationally. Currently, he is Music Director of the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra.- See klassik.com for more. You can order CD’s or even send questions to him from the Website!

Joseph Pasternak

Film Producer/Director

László Benedek – (b.1905 Budapest – 1987 )

Producer/DirectorCredits include: “Death of a Salesman,” “The Wild One.”

Imre Kálmán – (1882 – 1953)

Composer – The last Grand Master of the Viennese Operetta.For two decades, from 1909 to 1930, Imre Kalman’s compositions dominated the Viennese entertainment theaters and all small and big stages of the German speech area.- See Imre Kálmán

Goldmark, Karl (1830–1915)

ComposerHis concert overture Sakuntala (1865), his symphony A Rustic Wedding (1870), and an opera, The Queen of Sheba (1875), were very popular. His nephew, Rubin Goldmark,. 1872–1936, a pupil of Dvorák in New York, was a composer and educator. From 1924 to 1936 he was chairman of the composition department at the Juilliard School of Music. His works include A Negro Rhapsody (1923). His son, Peter Karl Goldmarkinvented the color television and 33 1/3 LP!

Marton Csokas (b. 6/30/1966, New Zealand)

Acclaimed Actor – Recently “Celeborn, King of Lothlorien,” In Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings”A graduate of the New ZealandDramaSchoolin 1989, his landed his first movie role in Jack Brown, Genius in 1994. Marton Csokas’s other film credits include XXX, The Monkey’s Mask, Broken English, Down and Under, Rain, and as Poggle in Star Wards Episode II: Attack of the Clones. For television, Csokas has performed in a range of dramas including “The Three Stooges,” “Xena,” “G.P.” (AFI Nomination), “Farscape,” “Halifax f.p” and “Wildside.”Marton’s performances on the stage includeNew Zealand’s productions of “Arcadia,” “Angels inAmerica,” “Julius Caesar,” “Glorius Ruins,” “Amy’s View” and “Closer.” InAustralia, Csokas has performed on the stage in “A Clockwork Orange,” “Twelfth Night,” “The Herbal Bed” and “Andromache” as well as an Australian tour of “Ladies Night.” Marton also co-founded the Stronghold Theatre inAustralasia, which has created such pieces as “Possibilities,” “Meeting Place” and “Media Sluts,” all of which played to great acclaim.Trivia

  • Father’s name is also Marton Csokas
  • He is 6′ 3″

– See his filmography and more at IMDB

Géza Anda (b. 11/19/1921,Budapest, d. 6/14/1976)

Acclaimed Pianist: The “Troubador of the Piano”One of Europe’s leading pianists in the 1950s and 1960s, Furtwängler once called him the “troubadour of the piano,” and indeed, though Anda joked about his “box of wires,” what mattered to him more than anything was making the piano sing. Taught by Ernö Dohnányi and others inBudapest, the pianist won the Franz Liszt Prize at nineteen and débuted under Willem Mengelberg’s baton with Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto. 1941 saw Anda continuing his studies in wartimeBerlinas a protégé of Furtwängler; but whenHungarymobilized in 1942, Anda moved toSwitzerland. In 1960, he took over Edwin Fischer’s master classes in Lucerne; starting his own in Zurich in 1969, he ran them with missionary zeal as a symbolic corrective to state education, responsible across central Europe – in his view – for promoting mediocrity and systematically suppressing creative talent. At the height of his career, Anda contracted cancer in 1974, dying two years later.Anda brought heartfelt devotion to the music of his fellow-countryman Béla Bartók. His Bartók readings, particularly his recordings or the three concertos under Ferenc Fricsay, are timeless classics. But for Anda, Bartók was where music ended. He believed that a suitably talented composer should still be capable of writing a good piece in C major. Anda accused 20th-century composers of having no feeling for the piano, lacking the pianistic skills (which Bartók possessed) of their classical forebears. Mozart was the other important composer in Anda’s repertoire. Directing the Camerata Academica of the Salzburg Mozarteum from the keyboard, Anda recorded all Mozart’s piano concertos with the chamber orchestra – the first pianist to do so – and composed and published cadenzas of his own wherever no original cadenzas existed. Anda’s Mozart was deliberately unromantic; still, it was typical “post-war Mozart,” not period performance, and Anda accused the new historical-performance movement of musicological pedantry. True to his time, Anda shunned fireworks, sentimentality and fevered emotionalism; his ideal was the true synthesis of temperament and intellect. He cared about phrasing; when pupils had problems with it, he sometimes made them sing out the tunes during lessons.- But his CD’s and see more at iClassics.com

Janos Prohaska (b. 10/10/1919, Budapest, Hungary, d. 3/13/1974 in Airplane crash (Bishop, CA))

Actor/StuntmanBest known for playing “animal” roles, typically gorillas and bears. He played Cookie Bear on The Andy Williams Show (1969). His thick Hungarian accent forced producers to dub his voice. Besides sculpting highly-detailed ape and bear masks, Prohaska designed a wide variety of non-anthromorphic costumes to avoid the “man in a suit” concept. His work included the Horta for the original Trek episode “Devil in the Dark”, “Mugatu,” and for The Outer Limits (original series) he designed a reverse-jointed Thetan alien (accomplished with the aid of stilts) and an amoeba (the “Mikie”). He is the father of stuntman Robert Prohaska who died with him in the airplane crash in 1974.Byron Haskin, director of the Outer Limits episode “The Architects of Fear”, claimed, “When I first met Janos, he came into my office, put a beer bottle on the table, and then stood on his head with his finger in the bottle, supporting himself. He could defy the law of gravity.” (Outer Limits Companion, pg. 81).Prohaska maintained a workshop inSanta Monica up to the time of his death from which he did most of his greatest work.- See all his roles at TV Tome or

– at IMDB

Imre Reiner (b. Versec, Hungary, 8/18/1900 – d. Lugano, Switzerland, 1987)

Painter, Sculptor, Illustrator, and Renowned Type Designer of “Reiner Script” fame!Reiner attended the ZalatuaStateSculptureSchool, the Frankfurt School of Arts and Crafts and the Schoolof Arts and Craftsin Stuttgartunder Prof. F. H. Ernst Schneidler. From 1923 to 1925, he worked as a graphic designer in London, Paris, New Yorkand Chicago. Reiner left for Switzerlandin 1926. From 1931 he worked in Ruvigliana near Lugano as painter, graphic designer and illustrator.Steven Heller writes in his book “The Education of a Graphic Designerthat Reiner is known as “an eccentric antimodernist typographer, who after WWII, when objectivity was the goal of graphic design, rebelled by promoting an even more subtle subjectivity be lending  the inflection of the scrawl and the hand to the public language of classical typography.” Reiner  is credited with many typefaces and fonts, such as: Meridian (1930), Gotika (1933), Corvinus (1934–35), Matura™ (1938), Symphonie (1938), Floride (1939), Reiner Script (1951), Contact (1952), Reiner Black (1955), Mustang (1956), Bazar (1956), London Script (1957), Mercurius™ (1957), Pepita™(1959).- See more fonts at linotype.com

– When in Switzerland, visit the Museum of Mendrisio

J. Anthony Lukas (b. 4/25/1933, New York, d. 6/5/1997, New York)

Acclaimed Author and Journalist – Winner of TWO Pulitzer Prizes! “One of America’s most brilliant writers.”Lukas was known for the “excrutiating, almost obsessive precision of his research.” After graduating from Harvard he worked as a reporter for theBaltimoreSun, then the New York Times. He won his first Pulitzer in 1967 for an account of a wealthy teenager found beaten to death inGreenwich Villageby her counter-culture boyfriend. His second Pulitzer was for “Common Ground,” a 1985 book about race relations inBoston. Lukas also wrote in 1971 a book about another famous trial, “The Barnyard Epithet and Other Obscenities: Notes on the Chicago Conspiracy Trial.”J. Anthony Lucas, two-time winner of Pulitzers, spent the last seven years of his life researching and writing his 754-page opus “Big Trouble,” which will remain without question the seminal study of one ofAmerica’s most fascinating trials.  On the morning of June 5, 1997, Lukas met with his editor to discuss final revisions to Big Trouble. He returned in the afternoon to hisUpper West Sideapartment and hanged himself with a bathrobe sash. He was 64 when he died.  Lukas, who had been diagnosed with depression ten years earlier, wrote a 1987 book “Silent Grief: Living in the Wake of Suicide,” inspired by his own pain of living with the suicide of his mother, who had slashed her throat at age 33.Many adjectives have been used to describe one ofAmerica’s most brilliant writers: decent, erudite, insightful, dedicated, intense, energetic, inventive, sensitive, tender, self-righteous, brooding, restless. A friend described Lukas as “the happiest and the saddest man I know.”  Apart from his love of writing, Lukas found happiness in gardening, baseball, and pinball (Lukas bought his own machine: “The ball flies into the ellipse, into the playing field — full of opportunities.”)”Big Trouble” was Lukas’s first attempt at pure history, and the project left him full of self-doubt. He worried that his book was too ambitious, that he wouldn’t be able to get his point across, that it didn’t show his talents as well as “Common Ground.”  As the Big Trouble neared completion in the spring of 1997, friends worried that he seemed mentally and physically exhausted.  On the Monday before he died, Lukas called an editor at Life who had assigned him the task of writing a piece onCaldwell,Idaho’s changes since the Steunenberg assassination and told him “he didn’t know what to write.” Friends who knew Lukas said such a thing had never happened before.Trivia

  • His uncle is Academy Award Winner, Actor Paul Lukas!
SportsThis list is far from inclusive, but exemplifies, along with the other sections, the Hungarian Genius!  The Atomic Bomb, Model T, Matches, Television, Hollywood Movies, modern Computers and Binary, Supersonic Flight, the Telephone Exchange, the Carburetor, the Zeppelin, the Automatic Gearbox, the Moon Rover, and the Intel Corporation, all owe their existence to Hungarians!Here are some surprises from the world of Sports!  As I indicated earlier, I do get quite a bit of hate mail regarding this site and this list.  I assure you that names are not added to this list until verified.  Click to [Submit] a Famous Hungarian. Please include a resource (preferably Web-based) for verification purposes.See Hungarian Olympic Triumphfor more great athletes!
George “Papa Bear” Halas – (b. February 2, 1895, Chicago, IL. d. October 31, 1983)

Legendary Hall of Fame Football Coach: Father of the NFLHalas is the only person associated with NFL for the first 50 years; The first coach to film games; Coached Bears for 40 seasons; NFL titles (6); Record mark of 324 coaching wins that stood for nearly three decades (until surpassed by fellow Hungarian, Don Shula!)George Halas graduated from theUniversityofIllinoisin 1918, where he starred in both football and baseball. He played for the New York Yankees in 1919, but retired because of an injury. He moved back toIllinois, where in 1920, working as recreational director for the Staley Starch Works, he formed the Decatur Staleys. Halas’ Staleys went 13-1 that year with him playing end and coaching the team.  That same year, Halas participated in a meeting inCanton,Ohiothat gave birth to the American Football Association. A year later, the AFA became the National Football League.  Halas took ownership of the Staleys in 1921 and was given $5,000 to move the team toChicagowhere they became the legendary Bears. The Bear’s of the early 40’s used this offense to become a power house, winning back to back championships in 1940 and ’41. The Bears beat the Washington Redskins in the 1940 Championship Game 73-0, the largest victory in league history to this day. Papa Bear Halas was elected as a charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame inCanton,Ohio!Read more: http://www.manlyweb.com/realmen/GeorgeHalas.html

Larry Csonka (b. 12/25/1946 in Stow, Ohio)

Perfect season Super Bowl Runningback, Super Bowl VIII MVP (Miami Dolphins!!! [Hipcat’s team]) and Hall of Famer.Pronounced Chonka with a long “o” as in “own.”The classic line-smashing fullback provided the major rushing thrust inMiami’s vaunted ball-control offense when the Dolphins were dominating the National Football League in the early 1970s. A consensus All-America atSyracuseand the Dolphins’ number-one draft pick in 1968, Csonka contributed almost picture-perfect performances duringMiami’s three Super Bowl seasons in 1971,1972, and 1973.Csonka surpasses 1,000 yards in rushing all three seasons with his best production, 1,117 yards, coming during Miami’s perfect season in 1972. All-AFC three straight seasons (1971-73) and all-pro in 1971, Csonka was selected to play in five consecutive Pro Bowlsfrom 1970-74, although injuries forced him to miss two of those games.Perhaps his best single-game effort came in Super Bowl VIII against Minnesota, when he was selected as the most valuable player. Miami’s powerful attack was at its best with Csonka carrying 33 times for a then-Super Bowl-record 145 yards and 2 touchdowns. Extremely sure handed, he fumbled only 21 of his 1,997 career ball-handling opportunities.  Csonka’s career rushing total of more than 8,000 yards places him among the Top 20 leading runners in NFL history. His importance to the game of football was exemplified when he was elected to the Professional Football Hall of Fame in 1987. His inclusion in that prestigious group came in only his second year of eligibility.Larry continues to work in the “public eye” as host and producer of two outdoor adventure programs. He currently hosts and produces “Stihl’s North toAlaska” and “NAPA’s Csonka Outdoors,” which air on OLN (Outdoor Life Network).- Read about 1974’s Super Bowl VIII AND buy the video at http://www.kinet.or.jp/caesar/superbowl_8_dolphins_vikings_video.html or

– Read a fascinating tale of the game by Edwin Pope at http://www.herald.com/content/archive/sports/edwin/docs/sb08.htm or

– See LarryCsonka.com

Don Shula – (b. 1/4/1940)

Legendary Hall of Fame Football Coach (the 17-0 Miami Dolphins!) Winningest Coach in NFL HistoryA long road was needed to accomplish what Shula did in his career. Don Shula began his football career in fifth grade. He went on to star atHarveyHigh SchoolandJohnCarrollUniversity. Don was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 1951. He was traded to the Baltimore Colts in 1953 and ended his playing career with the Washington Redskins in 1959. Shula became an assistant coach with the Detroit Lions in 1960. In 1963, he was named head coach of the Colts — at 33, the youngest coach in the NFL. In 1970, Shula became head coach of the Miami Dolphins, Together, the team and the man would go on to make football history.33 years later, he retired and became vice chairman of the Dolphins in January 1996 as the NFL’s winningest coach with 347 victories, an average of 101/2 wins per season.  He appeared in a record six Super Bowls and won two, including a 14-7 Dolphins’ victory over the Redskins in Super Bowl VII to complete the NFL’s only unbeaten season, 17-0 in 1972.  Surpassing George Halas’ 324 victories was Shula’s greatest accomplishment. It was done in a 19-14 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Nov. 14, 1993, with third-string quarterback Doug Pedersen leading the Dolphins’ comeback. His childhood coach in 1940-41 on the fifth and sixth grade teams of St. Mary’s Catholic school inPainesvilledidn’t know Shula’s life would be football. ”But you could tell from how hard he worked, probably a byproduct of his Hungarian heritage,” Jenkins said, ”he would be a success at whatever he chose to do. Considering what he knew about football then, it’s no surprise that he’s had such an everlasting impact on the sport.”On July 26, 1997, Don Shula capped an illustrious career when he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame inCanton,Ohio, following his election into that shrine on January 25, 1997, his first year of eligibility. Shula’s unanimous election to the Hall was the ultimate honor in a career full of record-setting accomplishments.He now makes GREAT steaks at Shula’s!

  • His son, Dave, was also a player with the Colt’s and became Head Coach of the Cincinatti Bengals.

– Read more at Miami Dolphins.com or

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/shula/md4191.htm or

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/shula/index.htm or


Joe Namath (Németh)

Sports Hero, Super Bowl Quarterback and MVP (New York Jets), and Hall of FamerHe was born on May 31, 1943 in Beaver Falls, Pa., a steel-mill town located 28 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. He was a star athlete in high school only in his senior year. Six teams wanted to sign him to a baseball contract, but he decided on football and college. He won a scholarship to the Universityof Alabamato play for legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, who called Namath “The greatest athlete I ever coached.” In his senior year, Namath led the Crimson Tide to the 1964 National Championship! Joe Willie — as his friends called him — grew up in an area ofBeaverFalls known as the Lower End, a predominantly African-American neighborhood. (Namath would get into arguments with someAlabama teammates when he would defend African-Americans).The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Namath also is the only quarterback to pass for 4,000 yards in a 14-game season, one of the three times he led the NFL in passing yardage. Namath appeared in five all-star games and was twice named Most Valuable Player. He received the prized Hickock Belt for Professional Athlete of the Year, the George Halas Award for Most Courageous Athlete and the Dodge Man of the Year Award.The Jets’ signing of the Alabama quarterback for a reported $427,000, an unheard-of figure in those days, and a Lincoln Continental, provided the upstart American Football League with the atmosphere of big bucks, Broadway glamour and the headlines that had been the sole property of the National Football League.  His signing triggered a recruiting war with the older league. With salaries becoming inflated for highly rated collegiate players, the NFL, fearful of the cost of competition, eventually offered the AFL a carrot, and the two leagues merged. Following his retirement from professional football in 1977, Namath appeared in movies, in plays and on television. In addition, he served as an analyst for NBC Sports and ABC’s Monday Night Football.Read more on ESPN: http://espn.go.com/sportscentury/features/00016377.html  Go here http://www.walkerltd.com/blueribbonbooks/football/newyorkjets/joenamath.html for a list of books on Amazon.com, including one by his mom, Rose Namath Szolnoki.  Here is another interesting piece: http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/4547/namath.html

Monica Seles – (b. in the Vajdaság (Vojvodina), the Hungarian region that was given to Serbia/Yugoslavia.)

Tennis Superstar – She has won 9 Grand Slam singles titles and bronze in Sydney 2000!Seles won the European junior championship at the age of ten. She moved to theUnited Statesin 1986, and in 1989 turned professional. In 1990 she won her first French Open, and in each of the following two years she won the Australian,United States, and French opens. Seles won the Australian Open in early 1993, but later that year, while resting between sets during a tournament inHamburg,Germany, she was stabbed by a spectator. The incident caused Seles to withdraw from competition in 1993 and 1994. Seles returned to competition in 1995 and won the initial tournament of her comeback, the Canadian Open. In 1996 she again won the Australian Open.Monica is a fierce competitor and is still going strong into the new millennium including winning the Bronze medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics!See: http://www.angelfire.com/tx/MONICASELES/index2.html or a small bio: http://www.bartleby.com/65/se/SelesMoni.html

Johnny Weissmuller (b. 6/2/1904, Szabadfalu (Freisdorf), Hungary, [awarded to Rumania after WWI], d. 1/20/1984, Acapulco, Mexico)

The one and only Tarzan and FIVE-time Gold Olympic swimming legend! “The greatest swimmer of all time”Johnny was born Janos Weiszmueller in Szabadfulu (Freetown or in German, Freidorf), near Temesvar [now Timisoara after Rumanian annexation] in the Banat region of Hungary where many “Schwabians” / “Donauschwaben” / “Danube Swabians” or ethnic Germans had settled after the pullout of the Ottoman Turks in the 17th century. His parents were Peter Weiszmueller, a day worker from Varjas, and Erzsebet Kersch, of Szabadfalu (the name for Freidorf at the time). His Godparents were Janos Borstner and Katharina Erbesz. The Weissmuller family arrived inNew Yorkon the S.S. Rotterdam on Jan 26, 1905 when Johnny was three.Johnny often claimed he was born inWindber,PAbecause of Olympic eligibility issues. Weissmuller was the winner of the 100m freestyle in 1924 and 1928 and a member of the winning 4x200m relay team in both years. He also won a bronze medal in the 1924 water polo competition at the Olympics. He broke three records at the 1924 Olympics inParis. Weissmuller set 28 world records and such was his margin of superiority over his contemporaries that many authorities still rate him ahead of Mark Spitz as the greatest swimmer of all time. Because of the limited number of events available to Weissmuller, his Olympic record cannot be fairly compared with that of Spitz but the longevity of his records is a testament to his greatness. His 1927 world record for the 100 yard freestyle was unbeaten for 17 years, a remarkable length of time during a period of rapid development in the sport. From 1921-29 he won every free style race he entered. In addition to his Olympic Triumph, he won 18 Gold Medals at the USA National Championships (1921 – 1923,1925 -1928). Much of his success was due to his revolutionary high-riding stroke, flutter kick and head-turning breathing.After modeling BVD’s and successfully playing a fig-leafed Adonis, MGM took notice and invited for a screen test for the role of Tarzan. Weissmuller was chosen over 150 other applicants and went on to become the most famous screen Tarzan of all, playing the role in 12 movies between 1932 and 1948. After 1942 MGM had used up its options; it dropped Tarzan and Weissmuller who then moved to RKO and made six more Tarzans. After that he made sixteen programmed Jungle Jim (1948)movies forColumbia, finally retiring from movies to private businesses in Fort Lauderdale FL. Weissmuller died inAcapulco,Mexico after a series of strokes.Trivia:

  • Had three children with Beryl: Johnny Scott Weissmuller, Jr.; Heidi Elizabeth Weissmuller; and Wendy Anne Weissmuller.
  • Weissmuller had a close call inCubaduring the time of the Cuban Revolution. While playing golf, he and his friends found themselves suddenly surrounded by a group of Castro’s soldiers intent on kidnapping them or worse. Thinking fast, Weissmuller immediately gave his trademark Tarzan yell. The soldiers immediately recognized it and were so delighted to meet Tarzan that they escorted the group back to a safe area.
  • When Weissmuller was introduced to the first Cheetah in his Tarzan films in 1931 (he worked with 8 chimpanzees altogether), the chimp’s trainer told him to show no fear or the animal would attack him. As Weissmuller, dressed in his Tarzan loincloth and hunting knife, walked up to the animal, it bared its teeth, growled at him and lunged as if to attack him. Weissmuller took the knife out of the sheath and held it in front of the chimp’s nose, to make sure he saw and smelled it. He then slammed the animal on the side of the head with the knife handle. He put the knife back in its sheath and held out his hand to the chimp. It glared at him, bared his teeth again, then changed its mind, grinned at Weissmuller and jumped up and hugged him. Weissmuller never had any further problems with the chimp–although other cast and crew members did–and it followed him around like a puppy dog during all the pictures they worked together.

– See the International Olympic Committee

– For extensive photos and filmography see IMDB

– See my Film, Arts, and Media page

Béla and Márta (Martha) Károlyi (Karoly) – (pronounced bay-lah kah-roy-ee) (b. September 13, 1942, Kolozsvár (now called Cluj after Rumanian annexation), Transylvania)

U.S. Gymnastics Coach to Nadia and Mary Lou. Defected from Rumanian ProgramCoaching for the National Team of Rumania in the 1970’s, he brought the Rumanian women’s gymnastics team to a position of international greatness and would repeat this feat in theUS. A hammer thrower and boxer growing up in Transylvania, Karolyi turned to gymnastics coaching in college and exploded to prominence with 14-year-old Comaneci, who startled the world with the first perfect 10 ever scored in Olympic gymnastics. Comaneci, who began with Karolyi at his gymnastics school at age six, scored five more 10s on beam and uneven bars at the 1976 Montreal Games and the Karolyi legend was launched.At the end of a 25-day, 20-city exhibition tour of the United States with Comaneci and his team, Karolyi, his wife and fellow-coach Martha, and choreographer Geza Pozsar lost themselves on the streets of New York City and defected to flee the political repression of Rumania in 1981.Moving to theUnited Statesand beginning again was only one more challenge to Béla. In a few years, the American program began to reflect his dynamic approach to coaching, and the names of Béla’sU.S.protégés — including Mary Lou Retton, Kerri Strug and Dominique Moceanu, Kristie Phillips, Phoebe Mills, Kim Zmeskal, Betty Okino, Kerri Strug, Hilary Grivich, and Jennie Thompson — are now legend. At the 1984 Olympics, Mary Lou Retton became the first American female to win a gold medal in gymnastics.With his retirement, his wife, Márta Károlyi, took the reign as head coach of theU.S.team inAtlanta.  Bela came out of retirement at the urging of Zmeskal.  He has a ranch now in Texas’s Sam Houston National Forest where he runs gymnastics camps and indulges his love for animals by keeping 50 head of cattle, horses, dogs, a camel, deer, a llama, donkeys, mules, goats, pigeons, chickens turkeys, roosters and raccoons.  He also maintains THREE gymnasiums. Károlyi employs more than 60 coaches each summer to school more than 2,000 young people who enroll in one-week sessions and train six hours a day.”For bringing great gymnasts to the national and international arena, not only from one country but from two different lands, Béla Károlyi earned induction into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 1997, exemplifying the category of Lifetime Achievement.”

– Read an interesting article from Sports Illustrated from November 19, 1979 by Bob Ottum entitled, “In Search of Nadia,” http://www.nadiacomaneci.com/library/article045.htm

– or a more recent piece  http://work.nando.net/newsroom/sports/oth/1996/oth/oly/feat/archive/072496/oly24176.html or

– See more Hungarian Olympic Triumph

Martina Hingis – (b. 9/30/1980, Kassa, [now called Kosice after Czech and Slovak annexation])

Tennis Superstar! At 17, she became the youngest #1 ranked player ever and is the youngest to ever win and defend a Grand Slam Title.At 17, Martina became the youngest #1 in the world.  The speed of her rise to fame and tennis dominance is blinding. At 12, she became the youngest player ever to win a Junior Grand Slam title at the French Open.  She turned professional at only 14 ranked 399 in the world.   One year later, at 15, she reached the US Open semifinals, became ranked 13, and later defeated none other than Monica Seles making Martina the youngest player ever to win over million dollars.  In 1997, she became the youngest player ever to win a Grand Slam title which she would later defend.  She was WTA tour champion, and winner of 5 Grand Slam tournaments. She has won the Australian Open two times, the French Open,Wimbledon, the US Open, and has broken numerous records.Martina Hingis was born on September 30, 1980 in Kassa, part of Northern Hungary from 896 – 1920, (now calledKosicebySlovakia). She began playing tennis at the age of 3, played her first tournaments at 5, and got her name after the legendary Martina Navratilova. It was her father, Hungarian Karoly Hingis, who gave her the first tennis raquet. He was then himself number 19 of the tennis rankings inCzechoslovakia. She was also trained by her Czech mother Melanie Molitor who was also a former tennis champion.  At the age of 7, Martina moved toSwitzerlandafter the divorce of her parents.The Federation-Cup of 1997 took place in her hometown of Kassa (Kosice).   She represented theUSwinning all her matches.  This was a bittersweet homecoming as she was reunited with her father, Károly.  She left Kassa ranked #1.

Kincsem – (b. 1874)

The greatest racehorse of all timemust be, without a doubt, a Hungarian filly by the name of Kincsem.”Kincsem was bred in the Gestut Tapioszentmarton, owned by Herr Ernst v. Blaskovitch, and foaled in Hungary. Her name stems from the root word “Kincs” which is Hungarian for “treasure” or “jewel,” and the entire word means “My Treasure.” Over the course of four full seasons from 1876 to 1879, from ages 2 – 5, she faced the best that all of Europehad to offer, and emerged victorious in all 54of her races.For more details on her spectacular career, see Thoroughbread Champions.com, bloodlines.net, or tbheritage.com

Lou Groza (b. Jan. 25, 1924, Martins Ferry, Ohio d. Berea, Ohio Nov 29, 2000)

Legendary Place Kicker: Cleveland Browns Hall of Famer, 6-time all Pro!Known as “The Toe,” the indestructible kicker and Hall of Famer of the Cleveland Browns and 6-time All-Pro played in 13 championship games forClevelandfrom 1946-67. Groza was the regular offensive tackle from 1947-59. Groza suffered a back injury, which forced him to miss the 1960 season. Groza was a kicking specialist from 1961-67. He was an All-NFL tackle six times and NFL Player of the Year in 1954. Groza owns the Browns team record for most seasons played and the most career points. He also has the record for 107 consecutive games in which he scored a point. He has the most career extra points (640) and the most field goals (233) in team history. Groza’s No. 76 uniform was retired by the Browns. Groza was the last of the “original” Browns to retire. The Brown’s training camp is located in his hometown on “Lou Groza Blvd.”Born to Hungarian immigrants, a decidedly athletic family, he was the smallest (at 6′ 3”) of three brothers. Lou received his degree fromOhioStatein 1949 and became a professional insurance counselor and left tackle/place kicker for the Cleveland Browns. He received the ‘gold shoe’ for kicking the winning field goal in 1950 championship game. He was installed in the National Football League Hall of Fame in 1974. The Lou Groza Award given to outstanding NCAA collegiate athletes is named for him.He married Jackie in 1950 and made their home inBerea, where they lived for over 40 years, raising their family, a daughter and three sons. Admired and active in his hometown, he lived by a personal creed that goes “always support a good cause in any way you can.”- See Tribute to Lou Groza or

– The Cleveland Browns Official Site

Charles Nagy – (b. May 5, 1967, Fairfield, Connecticut)

World Series Pitcher (Cleveland Indians), 3-time All Star, & Olympics Gold Medal Winner!Charlie played baseball, basketball and football inRogerLudloweHigh SchoolinFairfield,CT.He then attended theUniversityofConnecticut.  He was 2-time All-Big East Pitcher of the Year while at UConn and 2-time All-New England selection and posted a two-year collegiate record of 10-7 w/5 saves and a 2.59 ERA in 29 games, 19 starts. Charles was a member of theU.S.team that won the gold medal at the ’88 Summer Olympics inSeoul,South Koreawhere he led TeamUSAwith a 1.05 ERA. Charles was named to the all-time USA Baseball National Team in a poll conducted by the fans in December of 1999.Read more at the Official Cleveland Indians site: http://www.indians.com/clubhouse/bios/nagy.html

Bernie Kosár – (b. November 25, 1963, Youngstown, Ohio)

Superbowl winning Quarterback.  Played for the Browns, Cowboys and the Dolphins!Perhaps no player in Browns history is more loved than Bernie Kosar. A native of northeastOhio, Bernie publicly announced his desire to play for “his” team, the Cleveland Browns. Kosar signed with the Browns on July 2, 1985, becoming the youngest QB in team history.AtBoardmanHigh Schoolhe was the state Player of the Year in his senior year, passing for 2,222 yards and 19 touchdowns and was also one of Boardman’s top baseball and basketball players. His college career at theUniversityofMiamiwas highlighted by the Hurricane’s 1983 National Championship where he was chosen MVP of the Orange Bowl Classic. In 1985 he was chosen by the Cleveland Browns, and made an immediate impact by starting ten games in 1985. He led the Browns to the playoffs in each of his first five NFL seasons, winning four division titles which is the most among all-time AFC quarterbacks since 1970. Bernie is one of only two quarterbacks in the NFL since the 1970 merger to lead teams to three division titles in their first three years in the NFL. In 1986 he led the NFL with a 1.9% interception ratio, establishing his hallmark for accuracy as a passer, and holds the NFL record set from 1990-91 for the most consecutive passes without an interception at 308, breaking the record held for 26 years by Bart Starr. Bernie ranks third in NFL history for all-time lowest career interception percentages with 2.59% on only 87 interceptions out of 3,365 attempts. He also holds the NFL Playoff Record for 489 yards passing against the New York Jets in 1986. In 1987 he was named NFL MVP in voting for the Gillette “People’s Choice Award.”Mid-way through the 1993 season, Bernie signed with the Dallas Cowboys and substituted for the injured Troy Aikman in the second-half of the 1993 NFC Championship game, leading to the Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl XXVII Championship.Read more at the www.kosar.com

Elvis Stojko (b. 3/22/72, Newmarket, grew up in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada)

King of the Ice” – 3-time World Champion, 7-time Canadian National Champion, and 2-time Olympic Silver Medalist!Elvis’ parents are Steve, from Slovenia, and Irene, a dancer from Hungary. Irene fled communism in 1956 at the age of 19. He has two older siblings, Atilla and Elizabeth. From Time Magazine: “[Elvis] may be the toughest skater ever to enter the rink. Elvis’ fortitude is bred in the bones. His mother was the last of eight children in a Hungarian family, his father the first of nine in a Yugoslav household. They fled communist tanks in the 1950s, landed inCanada, met each other inToronto and married.” “In a sport without a long tradition of martial-arts stylists, Elvis’ very originality was a problem. The cabal of skating judges, clacking endlessly about athletes’ clothes, musical tastes, hairstyles and breast sizes, looked at this karate kid with the shag and the metal-studded costumes–famously designed and stitched by his mom–and they saw fresh meat. “I was ridiculed,” Stojko says. “The judges said they didn’t like martial arts. I was told to get in touch with my feminine side. I said, ‘Buddy, I don’t have a feminine side. I’m not a female.'”Trivia:

  • In 1991 he was the first man ever to land quadruple toe-double toe combination
  • He earned his black belt at the age of 16 at the World Wu Shu Championships
  • Elvis spoke Hungarian as a child, but now only understands it

– See Elvis Stojko Mosaics for an extensive picture gallery or

Elvis Stojko: Heart of Gold or Dragon’s Lair (with great info and even childhood pictures) for more or

– See more Hungarian Olympic Triumph

Peter & Charlie Gogolak

All-Pro Football Players – Longest Field Goal and all-time leading scorer in New York Giants history!The Gogolaks defected toAustriain 1956 during the bloody Hungarian freedom revolution. The first soccer-style kicker in pro football, Peter Gogolak not only revolutionized his position but also his sport. In Gogolak’s first game, an exhibition inTampaagainst the New York Jets, he made a 57-yard field goal, the longest to date in pro football history. He left the Bills after the 1965 season when the NFL’s New York Giants offered him a lofty $35,000 contract. In 1966, he became the first established player to jump from the AFL to the NFL and helped start the free-agent war that led to the merger of the rival leagues four years later. He is also the all-time leading scorer in New York Giants history!Today, at 58, Peter serves as the vice president of sales at R.R. Donnelley Financial inNew York.  Charlie, too, was a great kicker – see this article from the Washington Post on the Redskins’ win overDallasto capture the Eastern Conference title in the National Football League due to Charlie Gogolak’s successful fieldgoal:See http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/sports/redskins/longterm/1997/history/allart/dw1966b.htm or read more about Pete’s revolution at CBS Sportline at http://sportsline.netscape.com/u/football/nfl/legends/flash991126.htm

Péter Besenyei (seen left with acclaimed fighter pilot Gyula Vári)

World Champion Aerobat!He has been flying for 29 years and has been a professional pilot, flight instructor, test pilot and aerobat for 20. He has been member of the Hungarian National Aerobatic Team for 18 years and was 20 years old when he took part in his first competition, at the 1982-Austrian National Championship. He won the first place, finishing first in all events.

  • Hungarian Champion:1986, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93
  • European Champion: 1995
  • World Grand Prix Champion:  1996 (Japan andChina), 1997, 1998
  • World Champion: 1994, 2000!

Go to Péter Besenyei’s Homepage for more details

Joe Theismann 

Legendary Superbowl-Winning Quarterback for the Washington RedskinsIn his autobiography Theismann, Joe states that his father, Austrian Joseph John Theismann married his mother, Hungarian Olga Tobias in 1942 and tells of his consuming childhood ambition to be a quarterback, his success at Notre Dame, his years in Canadian football, his frustrating early years with the Redskins when he was principally a punt returner and, finally, his triumphs in leading his team to two Super Bowls.Joe took his lucky #7 Notre Dame jersey with him toWashington. In 1982, Joe led the Redskins to 27-17 victory overMiamiin Super Bowl XVII (I’ll never forgive him!). He went to the Pro Bowl and was voted to the UPI All-NFC Team. The following year, he led the Redskins to 14-2 regular season record, followed by a 51-7 rout of the L.A. Rams in the NFC playoffs. The Redskins lost to the L.A. Raiders, 38-9, in Super Bowl XVIII. Theismann was named the AP’s NFL MVP, the AP Offensive Player of the Year, the Pro Bowl Player of the Game and to the All-NFL Team.A gruesome broken leg resulting from a sack in a Monday night game against the New York Giants ended Theismann’s career in 1985.- See his statistics at the Washington Post

– Joe also co-authored, “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to FootballSpecial Thanks to Martin Collinson and his fellow Hogs at www.hogs.net for verifying this submission!

Karch Kiraly (b. 11/3/1960, Jackson, MI)

3-time Olympic Gold Medalist and Professional Volleyball Player: “The King” and Player of the CenturyKiraly learned the game from father (Dr. Laszlo Kiraly) in Santa Barbara, Calif. Kiraly was a volleyball star at UCLA, led UCLA to three NCAA championships (1979, 81, 82), and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in bio-chemistry in 1983. He is the only volleyball player in Olympic history to win three Gold medals, having been part of theUnited States’ Gold Medal indoor teams in 1984 and 1988, and winning the Gold Medal in beach volleyball at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games with Kent Steffes. Kiraly leads all pro beach volleyball players in career prize money. Kiraly and Steffes, who teamed for the second-most pro beach titles (76 to 113 for Sinjin Smith/Randy Stoklos), are the winningest pro beach team in history in terms of earnings ($2,880,112).PLAYER OF THE CENTURY– Karch Kiraly of theUnited States was recognized by the Federation de International Volleyball (FIVB) for his performances and courage in leading the United States National Men’s team to the following:

  • The Olympic Gold Medal inLos Angeles1984
  • The World Cup title inTokyo1985
  • The World Championship title inParis1986
  • The Olympic Gold Medal inSeoul1988
  • The Gold Medal of the inaugural FIVB Olympic Event Beach Volleyball in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games with Ken Steffes.


  • AVP Best Offensive Player 1990, 1993, 1994
  • AVP Comeback Player of the Year 1997
  • AVP Miller Lite Cup Champion 1996
  • AVP Most Inspirational 1998
  • AVP Most Valuable Player 1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1998
  • AVP Sportsman of the Year 1995, 1997, 1998
  • FIVB Tour Champion 1988

– See the Beach Volleyball Database or

– See more Hungarian Olympic Triumph

Laszlo Papp – (b. 3/25/1926 Budapest)

Legendary Boxer: First  boxer in history to win 3 consecutive Olympic Gold MedalsThis magnificent boxer won three consecutive Olympic gold medals (1948, 1952 and 1956, beating Jose Torres in ’56) eventually amassing an undefeated professional record of 27-0-2 and an incredible amateur record of 288-12.  Though professional boxing was outlawed inHungary, Papp nevertheless turned pro in 1957 and set up camp inVienna. Although 31 years old, Papp quickly made his mark felt on the middleweight division. Despite brittle bones in his hands, the southpaw Papp carried great power in his left hook. He scored two wins over Peter Mueller in 1961 and following a win over veteran Ralph “Tiger” Jones, Papp KO’d Chris Christensen to win the European middleweight title on May 16, 1962.He successfully defended the title six times over the next three years and scored a non-title win over American Randy Sandy, who was a solid pro and former national amateur champion. In 1965 Papp was on the verge of a world middleweight title shot when the communist Hungarian government revoked his permit to travel abroad, thus ending his pro career and denying him a chance at the world title. Papp later served as the coach of the Hungarian national boxing team from 1971-92.Trivia:

  • He and Teofilio Stevenson are the only men to win three Olympic boxing titles. But Papp did it consecutively and in two different weight classes.
  • Stars in movie entitled “Heavy Gloves”

– See The International Olympic Committee with photos and more or

– See the International Boxing Hall of Fame: Inducted 2001 or

– See his detailed record

– See more Hungarian Olympic Triumph

Julius Boros – (b. Bridgeport, Conn., March 3, 1920 – d. 1994)

Golf Legend“The greatest athlete ever to have been born in Connecticut”U.S. Open champion 1952, 1963; National PGA champion 1968; National Senior PGA champion 1971, 1977; U.S. Ryder Cup team 1959, 1963, 1965, 1967; National PGA Player of the Year 1952, 1963; winner of 15 PGA Tour events; leading money winner PGA Tour 1952, 1963; PGA Hall of Fame 1974; World Golf Hall of Fame 1982; Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame 1961, World Golf Hall of Fame.See the bio at The World Golf Hall of Fame: http://www.wgv.com/wgv/library.nsf/news/34F0BBA1BD96069F852568620062D5D9 or see: http://www.csgalinks.org/hof/boros.htm

Lou Thesz –

Legend of Professional Wrestling, “Wrestling’s True Icon“From Lou Thesz.com: “…He was the last wrestler to legitimately claim the undisputed World heavyweight championship. He held the World title, which pre-dated the NWA title, a total of six times. His first win came at the age of 21 in 1937 over Everett Marshall in St. Louis. He still holds the record for being the youngest world champion of all-time. His sixth title reign ended in 1967, 32 years later, at the hands of Gene Kiniski.His eight-year reign from 1948 to 1956 ranks as the longest world title reign of all-time. He was World heavyweight champion in four different decades and is the only wrestler to ever compete in seven different decades. Thesz was as fierce of a champion for wrestling’s credibility and integrity outside the ring as he was in it.”See Interview, Part 6 http://www.twc-online.com/thesz/

Al Hrabosky –

The Mad Hungarian Great relief pitcher, b.July 21, 1949 inOakland,CaliforniaHe enjoyed a 14-year career with the St. Louis Cardinals, the Kansas City Royals and the Atlanta Braves. In 1975 the ball finally listened to his yells and other antics, and he turned in a career-best record of 13-3, with 22 saves to capture the National League Fireman of the Year Award.He is now an analyst for FOX Sports Net Midwest’s coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Mickey (Miklós) Hargitay – (b. 19 October 1927, Budapest, Hungary)

Mr. Universe! Hargitay came to the U.S.in the early 1950’s and soon entered the “Mr. America” and “Mr. World” competitions.  He won the NABBA Mr. Universe title in 1955. Married the bombshell Jane Mansfield (right).  Appeared in numerous B films, such as Bloody Pit of Horror and The Loves of Hercules (with Jane Mansfield), and on Television, including Wild Wild West. See this great site for more photos and bio information or see his filmography.Mickey and Jane’s daughter, Mariska Hargitay, is star of ER and Law and Order.

Ferenc Puskás (b. 9/2/1927)

Soccer Legend: The “Greatest Soccer Player in History!” – part of the the “Magnificent Magyars”“For Hungary he played 84 times and scored a world record 83 goals! No player, not even Pelé, has scored that many goals for a national team.”Puskas began his career with Honved, which in the years following World War Two was the Hungarian army team. Earning an enduring reputation for his deadly left foot, he won an Olympic gold medal with the national side in 1952. Led by Puskas, Hungaryrecorded one of the most famous victories in soccer history in 1953 when they became the first continental team to beat Englandat Wembley, winning 6-3 in magnificent style. 6 months later, despite German attempts to injure him in an earlier match, Puskás led Hungary with its incredible 4-year, 33 game winning streak to defeat powerhouse England 7-1 and into the 1954 World Cup finals where favored Hungary lost to Germany after a controversial call taking away a clear Hungarian goal.The “Golden Team” disintegrated after the 1956 uprising against communist rule in Hungary was put down by Soviet troops. Puskas, on tour at the time with Honved, did not return home and instead joined Real Madrid, where he formed his great partnership with Di Stefano. Puskas won three European Cups, six Spanish championships and two Spanish Cups with Real. Puskás later became head coach for team Greece.In July 1999, he was given the honorary title ofHungary’s sports ambassador by Prime Minister Viktor Orban,Europe’s only premier who is also a registered soccer player. Earlier this year Honved, now Kispest Honved, withdrew the number 10 shirt in honor of Puskas. Hungarian Football Federation decided to rename the biggest stadium inHungary after the leader of 1950’s Mighty Magyars and Legendary striker ofHungary andSpain before an exhibition match between the two countries. Puskás “Öcsi” as known inHungary, or “Pancho” as known inSpain, is under non-stop hospital treatment, but his doctors let him out to the field to celebrate at the former Népstadion, now known as Puskás-stadion. He was carried round in a cabrio before the game, but unfortunately he has weak condition, so he couldn’t start the match by kicking it off.- Read more a the UK History Channel’s World Cup History or “Legends” at the World Cup Archive or

– See more Hungarian Olympic Triumph

– Read a play-by-play of the 1954 World Cup and the “Magnificent Magyars”

Sándor Kocsis (b. 9/23/1929, d. 7/21/1978)

Soccer Legend: The “The Man With The Golden Head” – part of the the “Magnificent Magyars”Top scorer in the 1954 World Cup with 11 goals, Sandor Kocsis was a superb header of the ball and known as “The Man With The Golden Head.” In 68 internationals he scored an incredible 75 goals, including a record seven hat-tricks. Born inBudapestin September 1929, he began with KTC before moving to Ferencvaros and at 19 helped them win the 1949 Hungarian title. After Ferencvaros were amalgamated into the new Honved team, he established a great partnership with Ferenc Puskas at both club and international level.Kocsis made his international debut in 1949 and in the early 1950’s was the Hungarian league’s top scorer three times. A key member of the Hungarian side that remained unbeaten from the start of the decade, he was in the team that beatEngland6-3 at Wembley in 1953. He scored two extra-time goals in the 1954 World Cup semifinal againstUruguay, but could not add to his 1952 Olympic Gold medal.In 1956 Honved were playing inSpainduring the Hungarian uprising and Kocsis, Puskas and others decided not to return home. Kocsis became player-coach of Young Boys Berne, then joinedBarcelonain 1957 and scored in their defeat by Benfica in the 1961 European Cup final. He retired in 1966, at the age of 37, and died in 1978.- See more Hungarian Olympic Triumph

– Read a play-by-play of the 1954 World Cup and the “Magnificent Magyars”

Miklos Molnar (b. 6/10/70 in Copenhagen, Denmark)

Soccer Star: Danish “Golden Boot,” Kansas City Wizards, International His nickname is “Danish Dynamite” for his explosive scoring ability.“Forward Miklos Molnar single-handedly put the Wizards in their first-ever MLS Cup appearance” – APDescribed as a born goal scorer whose “job is in the 18-yard box”…Played for FSV (German Second Division) from 1994-95 and was teammates with Wizards midfielder Chris Henderson…In 1995, played for Herfolge F.C. and scored 13 goals in 20 games…Played for Lyngby F.C. in Denmark from 1996-98 and amassed 47 goals in 80 games…Led all scorers with 26 goals in 33 league matches in 1997-98, becoming the first player in 16 years to top the 25-goal plateau in Denmark’s First Division…The last two seasons, 1998-99, he was with Sevilla (Spanish Second Division)…In 40 games he scored 20 goals…Also has played for Standard Leige in Belgium, Servette in Switzerland and Saint Etienne in France…Has won the ‘Golden Boot’ award three times in his career for leading the country’s first division in scoring.Molnar signed for Major League Soccer club Kansas City Wizards in January 2000 from Spanish club Sevilla. In the 2000 MLS Cup, he scored the only two goals as the Kansas City Wizards beat the Los Angeles Galaxy in the regulation game and mini-game tiebreaker to advance to the MLS championship game where the Kansas City Wizards put out the Chicago Fire, 1-0, at  RFK Stadium, inWashington,D.C.Mikos Molnar scored the only goal. Numerous times Player of the Month. He retired after the championship game.Danish National Team Highlights

Has 15 career caps and two goals for the Danish National Team…Both of his goals came during 1997 World Cup qualifying matches in “The Park”, the national stadium of Denmark…Notched his first goal on September 10, 1997, against Croatia and the second occurred on June 8, 1997, versus Bosnia Herzegovina…Was the third forward on Denmark’s 1998 World Cup Team in France…Played the second game versus South Africa, but was ejected early in the second half…Appeared for the Under-21 National Team and tallied 10 goals in 21 contests. Played forDenmark in the 2000 European Championship.- See MLSNet or CNNSportsIllustrated I or II

Peter Vermes (Born: 11/21/66 in Willingboro (Delran) NJ)

Soccer Star: Kansas City Wizards, US National Team (captain), InternationalRanks 2nd all-time in minutes played (15,203) and 5th all-time in games played (171). Played in every minute of every game in 1999 and 2000. Owns the MLS record for most consecutive regular season games played (88) and consecutive minutes played (7,956). He attendedDelranHigh Schooland was named All-American and Player of the Year inNew Jersey. He played for Rutgers Uiversity and was named Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. His father, Michael, played professionally in Hungary for Honved in the 1950s…Two older brothers, Michael Jr., and Erwin, both black belts in karate, also played soccer and helped teach Vermes at a young age…Married to Susan, they have a daughter, Nicole (8), and a son, Kyle (7).Became the first American to play in Hungary’s First Division and also in Holland’s First Division…Joined Figueras of the Spanish Second Division in 1991, where he played with former MetroStars teammate Tab Ramos…Played with Raba Eto of the Hungarian First Division in 1989 and with F.C. Volendam of Holland’s First Division in 1990. He was captain of the 1990 World Cup team. His solid play at the MLS level earned Vermes a recall into the U.S. National Team for the final round of World Cup ’98 qualifying, and then into the January training camp to prepare for the World Cup in France … Played 90 minutes as the U.S. closed the qualifying round with a 4-2 win over El Salvador at Foxboro … As of the end of January, his 72 caps tied him for 14th on the U.S. all-time list … At that point, Vermes was also 9th on the all-time goal scoring list with 11, and 9th on the all-time points list with 25. Played for the bronze-medal winningU.S.team at the World Five-a-Side Tournament inHollandin 1989, and was the tournament’s leading scorer with six goals.- See MLSNet

Maria Judith Reményi

Miss USA 1966Also “Miss Oakland,” and “Miss California.” Representing California, she also won the Miss Photogenic Prize. She was a semi-finalist in the Miss UniversePageant of 1966 held inMiami Beach,Florida.See thumbnails of all the Miss USA winners here: http://ss1.missuniverse.com/missusa/delegate/pastwinners/past.html.

See the long list of Miss Photogenics here: http://www.geocities.com/pageant_2000/usa_photogenic.html

Krisztina Egerszegi (b. Aug. 16, 1974, Budapest)

5-time Olympic Gold Medalist: “Greatest Backstroke Swimmer of All Time,” youngest Olympic Champion of all time, and only woman to win five gold medals in individual swimming events!Queen Krisztina…youngest Olympic Champion of all time!

Hailed as “Queen Krisztina” in Hungary, she inspires a great deal of affection from her fans who watched her grow from a skinny teenage prodigy into an attractive young woman and youngest Olympic Champion of all time. Krisztina Egerszegi is the only woman to win five gold medals in individual swimming events. Egerszegi was only 14 years old when she competed at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Emboldened by the silver medal she gained in the 100m backstroke, she felt that she could upset the favored East Germans at 200m, even though, at 45kg, she was 19kg lighter than any of her opponents in the final. Egerszegi sprinted into the lead after the mid-race turn and won going away. In 1992, Egerszegi, by now a seasoned 18-year-old, won both backstroke events. She also entered and won the 400m individual medley, recording the fastest time since Petra Schneider’s chemically augmented 1982 world record. At the 1996 Atlanta Games, Egerszegi earned a bronze medal in the 400 IM and then won the 200m backstroke to become only the second swimmer in history to win the same event three times. Her margin of victory, 4.15 seconds, was the greatest in any women’s 200m event. In 1996, Egerszegi did not enter the 100m backstroke, however her leadoff backstroke time in the medley relay, 1:01.15, was faster than the winning time in the 100m backstroke final.Look at this incredible record:

  • 1988 Olympics – 200 m backstroke (1 Gold Medal), 100m backstroke (1 Silver Medal)
  • 1989 European Championship – 100m, 200m backstroke, 400m individual medley (3 Silver Medals)
  • 1991 European Championship – 100m, 200m backstroke, 400m individual medley (3 Gold Medals)
  • 1991 World Championship – 100m, 200m backstroke (2 Gold Medals)
  • 1992 Olympics – 100m, 200m backstroke, 400m individual medley (3 Gold Medals)
  • 1993 European Championship – 100m, 200m backstroke, 200m butterfly, 400m individual medley (4 Gold Medals)
  • 1994 World Championship – 200m backstroke (1 Silver Medal)
  • 1995 European Championship – 200m backstroke, 400m individual medley (2 Gold Medals)
  • 1996 Olympics – 200m backstroke (1 Gold Medal), 400m individual medley (1 Bronze Medal)

Read more at Swininfo.com or Kataca Sport in Hungarian or a smaller article in English or

– See more Hungarian Olympic Triumph

Robert Varkonyi (b. 1961, Brooklyn)

Poker World Series Champion of 2002! First Ever to Win 2 Million!Varkonyi topped a record field of 631 players to claim the title of world champion, as well as the $2 million that went with the title:This year 13 former WSOP champions were entered in the field, and none made the final table. Englishman JulianGardnerled for most of the tourney. On the final handGardnerdrew the 8 and J of clubs to Varkonyi’s Q-10. The flop then came Q-4-4 with two clubs.Gardnerwent all-in hoping to make his flush. The turn card was another Queen, and the 10 of clubs appeared on the river. For just a moment,Gardnerthought he made his flush until the realization hit that it was the TEN of clubs, which gave Varkonyi the full boat and the tournament championship. With the champion pocketing a record 2 million bucks,Gardnerhad to settle for “only” 1.1 million dollars.Varkonyi’s parents are Hungarian and escaped across the border separately in 1956, when the Russians invadedHungary, bullets flying overhead, and eventually found their way toNew York  They were lucky to escape, and eventually met each other inNew Yorkand married. Varkonyi graduated from MIT with one degree in computer science and another in management and spent 15 years on Wall Street developing systems for trading sales and money management. He married, Olga, fromRussia, in April 2001.- Read an Interview with Varkonyi I and Interview with Varkonyi II

Géza Pozsár – U.S. Gymnastics National TeamCoach and Choreographer

A close friend of Béla Károlyi, he defected with Béla and Márta from the Rumanian Program in 1981. He was the choreographer for Nadia Comaneci, Kim Zmeskal, Betty Okino, Michelle Campi, Dominique Moceanu, and Kerri Strug, to name a few. Geza was an Olympic coach from, 1988-1992. Instrumental in developing a new USA Gymnastics Women’s Team for Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004.

Read about his defection at Tulsa Gymnastics.

Special thanks to USA Gymnastics for the information above!

Joe Medwick (1911-1975)

Baseball Superstar: World-Series Slugger, Hall of Famer, “The Muscular Magyar”Highlights:

  • All-Star in 1934-42, 44
  • Led League in ba 37
  • Led League in hr 37
  • Led League in rbi 36-38
  • Most Valuable Player Award in 1937
  • Hall Of Fame in 1968

Prof. Tom Barthel wrote: Joe spent his years with the St. Louis Cardinals, Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants and Boston Braves. His lifetime batting average was .324. He played in the Major leagues from 1932-1948. He was often called the “muscular Magyar.” He won the Triple Crown in 1937, but was beaned in 1940 curtailing his effectiveness. But what a hitter he was before that beaning. In 1936 he won his first RBI title with 138, and among his league-leading 223 hits were 64 doubles, an NL record that still stands. In his 1937 Triple Crown season he set career highs in batting average, with .374, and in slugging, at .641, and he had 237 hits, 31 homers, and 154 RBI.  Medwick led the National League in RBI for three straight seasons. In 1937, in the middle of that streak, he won the Triple Crown and the Most Valuable Player Award, but he also led the league in hits, runs, doubles, slugging, and fielding average.

Medwick was born to Hungarian immigrant parents and grew up inNew Jersey. During high school he starred in baseball, basketball, and football and was flooded with offers of football scholarships, including one from Notre Dame.

Read more: http://www.totalbaseball.com/player/m/medwj101/medwj101.html Read about the 1934 World Series: http://tsn.sportingnews.com/archives/worldseries/1934.html

Zsuzsa (Susan), Judit (Judith), and Zsófia (Sofia) Polgár

Chess Grand Masters and Olympic Gold Medalists! – Judith has been called the Greatest Female Player of all Time!Zsuzsa

is a pioneer in women’s chess. She is currently Woman’s World Chess Champion, and reigning woman World champion in Blitz and Rapid Chess. She was the first woman in history to earn an overall Chess Grand Master title in 1991. She was discovered as a “Chess prodigy” at the age of 4 and won the Budapest chess championship for kids under 11 years old with an amazing score of 10 wins out of 10 games.   At the age of 10, she became the youngest chess master in history and was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records. At age 15, she was ranked top woman chess player in the world for 84, 185, and 86, only to be overtaken by her sister Judit! Winner of 6 Olympic medals (3 gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze) in 88, 90, and 94.  Zsuzsa runs a chess school in New York, “The Polgar Chess Authority”, and with her husband co-wrote a book about herself and her sisters called Queen of the King’s Game. See Zsuzsa’s Official Page: http://www.polgarchess.com/Judit

became a grandmaster at the tender age of 15, beating Bobby’s Fischer record.  Since then she has rapidly ascended the totem pole of chess fame, jumping from 30th to 10th in the World Chess Federation list of the top ranked players in only a few years and is poised to take the world championship. She overtook her sister and became the highest rated female chess player in the world. At 22 she became the first female player to win the U.S. Open Chess Championship in 1988. She beat Anatoly Karpov 5-3 in a speed chess tournament to become the first woman in history to defeat a sitting world champion!See more at Dave’s Shrine to Judith Polgar or GoddessChess

Ekaterina (Katalin) Szabo (b. January 22, 1966, Zágon, Transylvania (now in Rumania)) –

Champion Gymnast: Four Olympic Gold Medals and One Silver in Los Angeles competing forRumaniaIn 1980 and 1982, Szabo became the first gymnast to win two Junior European AA gold titles.  After her multiple gold medals in Los Angeles (team, vault, balance beam, and floor exercise, and all-around respectively), Szabo and her teammates on the glorious Rumanian women’s team enjoyed a crushing defeat against the Soviets, winning the gold medal in the team event at the 1987 World Championships. She retired shortly thereafter. Szabo was recently inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.- Read more at http://www.arts.uwaterloo.ca/~jkisbist/wag/szabo.htm or

– See more Hungarian Olympic Triumph

Emeric (Imre) Ienei –

Soccer Player and Rumanian National Team Head CoachImre was one ofRomania’s top players in the 1960s. He even played abroad inTurkeyin Kayserispor for two years, a rarity under the communist regime. He played 12 times forRomania. He began his coaching career at Steaua,Bucharestin 1975 and remained with the team with some breaks until the 1980s. In 1986, he was the coach of Steaua which won the European Champions’ Cup. He coachedRomaniafrom 1986 to 1990 and also trainedHungary, the Hungarian team Videoton and Greek team Panionois. Ienei has moved “upstairs,” becoming a technical adviser entrusted with overseeing developments at Rumanian youth, U-21 and senior levels, making room for his replacement, Laszlo Boloni, the new Rumanian head coach, and yes, another Hungarian.Ienei, is known for his good results and polite manner. He is an ethnic Hungarian and speaks Rumanian with a regional, Transylvanian accent.- See CNNSportsIllustrated

Joe Bugner (b. 1950, Hungary)

(WBF) World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Australian Heavyweight Champion – Fought Muhammad Ali for the world title twice!Bugner was born inHungary but launched his pro career inLondon in 1967. Fought out ofEngland until his retirement from boxing. Defeated Henry Cooper in 1971 to win British, Commonwealth and European heavyweight titles. He beat notable American heavyweights such as Chuck Wepner, Mac Foster and Jimmy Ellis. At 6-5, he was more boxer than puncher. In 1973, he lost consecutive 12-round fights to Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. Bugner challenged Ali for the world heavyweight title again on July 1, 1975 in Kuala Lampur and lost a 15-round decision.Bugner made a comeback to boxing and in 1998, at the age of 48, he defeated former WBA champ “Bonecrusher” Smith, who was 45.- See the International Boxing Hall of Fame

– Read an interview

– See his fight results

Zsolt Erdei (b. 5/31/1974, Budapest)

WBO light heavyweight champion,former World Amateur ChampionZsolt Erdei was phenom from the start. Erdei was twice Hungarian Youth Champion, twice Hungarian and European Junior Champion, 6-time Hungarian National Champion, twice European Champion (1998 and 2000) and Sydney 2000 Olympic Bronze Medalist.  He turned pro forHamburg’s Universum Box-Promotion and has taken the professional boxing world  by storm. He won the WBO Intercontinental title in 2002 and 2003 and then shocked the much favored champion Julio Cesar Gonzalez to take the WBO World Title title in a 12-round unanimous decision inGermanyon January 17th 2004, just three months after Gonzalez defeated former light heavyweight king Dariusz Michalczewski to capture the WBO title himself.  Though he has a history of only 19 fights, he is undefeated with a record of 19-0 with 13 KO’s and according to American box rankings is already ranked 3rd in the world. This is the first time a Hungarian has achieved such a high ranking since the legendary Laszlo Papp.- See the official ErdeiZsolt.hu site (in Hungarian)

– See fightnews.comfor world rankings and more

Florian Albert (9/15/1941, Hercegszanto, Hungary)

Soccer Great – World Cup scoring title and European Soccer Player of the Year: the “Gold Ball” of 1967Known for his elegance and dominating ball handling, Florian played for the Budapest-based Ferenc Varos in the Hungarian professional league from 1952 – 1974 and was part of the national championship team in 63, 64, 67, and 68. He won Bronze in the 1960 Olympics and participated in the 1962 and 1966 World Cups in which he won the Scoring Title! The only Hungarian to be named “Footballer of the Year” or “Gold Ball” in 1967.- See the Best World Players – a Brazilian site in Portuguese

– Read a play-by-play of the 1962 and 1966 World Cup

– See other Footballers of the Year

Ladislau (Laszlo) Boloni –

Soccer Player and Rumanian National Team Head CoachFormer Rumanian international midfielder and most capped player after Hagi, he was appointed coach of the Rumanian replacing Emeric (Imre) Ienei (another ethnic Hungarian), who has moved “upstairs,” becoming a technical adviser entrusted with overseeing developments at youth, U-21 and senior level. As a player, Boloni scored 28 goals and won 108 caps for Romania. He was also a member of the Steaua Bucharest side which won the 1986 European Cup. After spells playing in Belgiumand France, he began coaching French club Nancy. In 2001, Boloni left the Rumanian helm and signed an agreement in Paristo coach Sporting Lisbon.

Thatcher Szalay (b. 1/18/1979, Oklahoma)

NFL Football Player – Cincinnati Bengals #66 – All Conference Honors every year since a Sophomore at Montana!Szalay played his college career for the Montana Grizzlies and was picked up for the 2002 season by the Cincinnati Bengals as a Left Offensive Guard.The Scouting report from Sports Illustrated:

AtMontana, he was a three-year starter that won All-Conference honors every season since he was a sophomore. A tough, dominant lineman best blocking for the run. Quick off the snap into his blocks, shows pop at the point of attack and good straight ahead blocking power. Works his hands, stays square and strong in his upper body. Fights hard throughout the play and a nasty lineman that looks to take out opponents. Quick mentally picking up his assignments but a limited athlete that has difficulty physically getting to the spot or handling opponents not immediately in front of him. Lacks body adjustment and does not move well in space. Not a natural knee bender, blocks tall and limited to very confined quarters. His power and tenacity give him consideration as a back- up for a team that employs a zone blocking scheme or does not ask its lineman to cover any degree of area.A huge presence at over 300 pounds and 6’4″, he was fined by the Bengals at their 2002 training camp for “throwing people around.”

Professor Szalay – Father of British Weightlifting

Need more, please send information to hipcat@hungary.org

– See Monte Saldo, The Greatest of Trainers

Tom Orosz

NFL Football Player – Superbowl Punter for the Miami Dolphins #3Orosz played his collegiate career for the Ohio State Buckeyes (where he is forth on the all-time punt yardage and an All Big-10 Pick in 1978) and was drafted by the Dolphins in 1981. Orosz played for the great Dolphins Superbowl 17 team. He was traded toSan Franciscoin 1983 and played there in the following season as well.- See his stats

Victor Barna (b. 8/24/1991, Budapest, d. 2/1972)

Legendary Table Tennis World Champion  – “The Greatest Table Tennis Player that ever Lived”Born Viktor Gyözö Braun, Barna won 32 World Championship medals: 23 gold, six silver, and three bronze. His championship victories include five Singles events, eight Doubles, three Mixed-Doubles, and seven Team titles. He won the Hungarian National Title 17 times. He is described by Sir Ivor Montagu, President of the International Table Tennis Federation (1926-1967), as “the greatest table tennis player who ever lived”.Barna won his first World Singles title in 1930 and his last (of five) in 1935. His only loss within six years was to countryman Miklos Szabados–his regular Doubles partner–in 1931. In 1929, Barna and his Hungarian National Team won the Swaythling Cup (men’s World Team Table Tennis Championship). He would be a member of six consecutive Swaythling Cup championship teams (1929-1935), as well as the Swaythling Cup victor in 1938. Barna’s greatest performance came in February, 1935 at the World Championships in Wembley, England, when he captured the World Singles, Doubles (with Szabados) , and Mixed-Doubles (with Anna Sipos) crowns. In May, 1935, Barna’s Singles career ended when his right (playing) arm was severely injured in an auto accident. He nonetheless won (withEngland’s Richard Bergmann) the World Doubles title in 1939. All, but two, of Barna’s Doubles crowns (1929-1935, 1939) were won with Miklos Szabados as his playing partner–exceptions: Sandor Glancz in 1933, and Bergmann in 1939. He was founding President of the Swaythling Club International and is now President in Memorium.The first world championship tournament was held inLondonin 1927. From then untilWorld War II,Hungarydominated the sport. The top players of that early period were Barna and fellow Hungarian Maria Mednyanszky, who won seven women’s world championships.

Mihaly Kotai (b. 8/12/1976, Nyiregyháza, Hungary)

Boxer – WBF Super Welterweight Champion and world-title contender – “The Ace of Tokai”After competitive weightlifting, Kótai Mihály started his boxing career at 13 to become Hungarian Champion at 16 and soon thereafter European Champion with his knockout power. He went professional in 2000. He became known as a the “King of the KO” when, in his first 9 winning fights, he scored KO’s in 6 – all in the first round. He won 24 straight fights until a surprise loss in September 2003 which led to a shakeup in his management and training team. In the following fight, he again stopped his opponent in the first round.- See his official site – includes photo and video gallery! or go to his biography

– Read an interview with Kotai

Maria Mednyanszky (b. 1901, d. 1979 Budapest)

Legendary Table Tennis Champion – First official female World ChampionFIRST official women’s world champion at table-tennis which she won five times in succession and won a further 18 world records. She went on to win a total of 7 World Championships. For this she was awarded the Golden Order of the Hungarian People’s Republic, her country’s highest sporting honor.Mednyanszky almost lost her final without actually having the opportunity to play. Mednyanszky, she was not informed of the time of her match in the singles final against Spiring. So she went with a friend, Hungarian newspaperman who lived inLondon, to a soccer game. They were late for the beginning of the table tennis match and managed with difficulties to get the organizer’s permission to play the match later on in order to avoid the penalties for the Hungarian Federation. Mednyanszky took a deep breath and beat all opponents one after another!

Miklos Szabados (b. 1912, d. 1960)

Table Tennis Legend – second only to BarnaSzabados was one of the top two most successful table tennis players of his time (the other, Viktor Barna), winning 15 World Championship titles, including the World Singles crown in 1931 (defeating Barna).From 1928 to 1935, Szabados won six World Doubles titles (1929-32, 1933-35, with Barna) and three Mixed Doubles (1930, 1931, 1934, with M. Mednyanszky). He was a member of the Hungarian World Championship (Swaythling Cup) Team five times –1929-1931, 1934-1935). In l931, Szabados won all four World events–men’s Singles, Doubles, Mixed Doubles, and the Swaythling Cup.In 1937, Szabados and countryman Istvan Kelen embarked on an exhibition tour of the Far East and South America, eventually settling inAustralia. There he won numerous national titles while devoting himself to the development of table tennis.- Buy video of some legendary matches

Anna Sipos (b. 1908, Hungary, d. 1972)

Table Tennis Legend – first female player to use the “pen holder grip.”Anna Sipos won 21 medals in World Championship table tennis competition, including eleven gold medals. She is ranked the second best women’s player of her era.Among Sipos’ titles: the World Singles championship in consecutive years, 1932 and 1933; the World Doubles championship six consecutive years (with M. Mednyanszky), 1929-1934; and the World Mixed Doubles three times–with Istvan Kelen in 1929, and Victor Barna in 1932 and 1935.Sipos was the first female player to use the penholder grip, but changed to the shakehand grip in 1932. After changing her grip, she was able to defeat her old nemesis (and doubles partner) the greatest female table tennis player, Mednyanszky.- Buy video of some legendary matches

Ziggy Palffy (b. 5/5/1972, Szakolcza [now Skalica, after annexation by Czechoslovakia after Trianon. King Béla II of Hungary was born here in 1131] )

Hockey Phenom – Top Scorer for the NY Islanders and LA Kings – sixth in the NHL in scoring!Pálffy was drafted 26th overall by the New York Islanders in the 1991. He made his NHL debut with five games in 1993-94. In the shortened 1994-95 season, Žigmund scored his first ten NHL goals in 33 games. In 1995-96, Žigmund emerged to lead the Islanders in goals (43), points (87), power-play goals (17), game-winning goals leader (6) and shots (257). He was a two-time NHL Player of the Week winner that year. In 1996-97, Žigmund led the Islanders with 48 goals, 42 assists and 90 points. In 1997-98, Žigmund played in his first mid-season All-Star Game and scored a team-best 45 goals, 42 assists and 87 points. In 1998-99, Žigmund scored 22 goals in just 50 games for the Islanders. At season’s end, he ranked 22nd on The Hockey News’ Top-50 NHL Players list.On June 20, 1999, Žigmund was traded to the Los Angeles Kings. In his first season withLos Angeles, Žigmund scored 27 goals and 39 assists in just 64 games. At season’s end, he ranked on The Hockey News’ Top-50 NHL Player list for the third consecutive season. In 2000-01, Žigmund led the Kings with 38 goals, 51 assists (tie), 89 points, four short-handed goals, eight game-winning goals and a 17.5 shooting percentage. He also led the team with a +22 plus/minus rating and led all forwards with 19:30 minutes of ice time per game. He also played in the mid-season All-Star Game.Trivia

  • His compensation in the 2002/2003 season: $7,000,000.00!

– See more at NHLPA

Janos Vas (b. 1/29/84, Dunaferr, Hungary)

Hockey Player – Dallas StarsSwedish-trained, Hungarian winger Vas was drafted in the 2nd round (#32 overall) by the Dallas Stars and has all the tools to become a very successful player in the future. His game relies a lot on speed. He can put up the most spectacular moves at times and has indeed a great hockey sense. Vas is just as good at scoring as he is at delivering the puck. His physical game is also impressive.Vas was ranked 55th among European forwards and defensemen by Central Scouting for the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. The Red Line Report ranked him 149th overall. Vas had 13 goals and 17 assists and a plus-16 rating in 33 games inSweden’s junior league in 2001-02.- See NHL Network or

Prospect Camp

Laszlo “Laci” Bellak (b. 1911, Budapest)

Table Tennis Legend – Seven-time World Champion, Hall of FamerBellak and boyhood friend Table Tennis Legend, Victor Barna, began playing table tennis at Bellak’s house after his father gave him a set for his 13th birthday. The acrobatic Bellak won seven World Championships, including six Swaythling Cups (men’s World Championships, with the Hungarian National Team) between 1928-1938. The Swaythling victories came in 1928, 1930, 1931, 1934, 1935 and 1938. He also won mixed doubles with Wendy Woodhead at the 1938 world championships.In the mid-1930s, Bellak, his friend Sandor Glancz, and others toured theUnited Statesand played in over 40 cities. Bellak then captured the U.S. Open men’s singles championship in 1937 and 1938. Known as “The Clown Prince of Table Tennis,” many thought Bellak’s clowning antics prevented him from even greater competitive success giving him the moniker, “the greatest player never to win a world singles title.” Interestingly, many of his silver-place showings came at the hands of the great Victor Barna!Trivia:

  • Szabados, Barna and Laszlo Bellak were often called “The Three Musketeers” as they grew up together inHungaryand started playing at the same time
  • Bellak wrote a book entitled, “Table Tennis: How a New Sport Was Born,” in 1990

– See a great history on Bellak at the USATT Hall of Fame

Pal Benko (b. 7/15/1928, Amiens, France, d. )

Legendary Chess Champion Grand Master – only man to beat Bobby Fisher in ’62 and US Chess Hall of FamerBorn inFrancein 1928 but raised inHungary, GM Pal Benko learned chess from his father at age 12. He lacked serious competition until age 17, when he became a master in one of his first tournaments. By age 20, he was Hungarian champion; but at age 23, he was a Russian concentration camp inmate because he had been caught trying to escape to the West. To complicate his life further, the Secret Police once suspected he was a spy until he convinced them, with some difficulty, that the code on his correspondence was only chess notation. Finally, he gained his freedom, through political asylum, and became aU.S.citizen.He compiled an outstanding record in chess olympiads as a player and as a team captain. Twice a Candidate for the World Championship, Benko also won or tied for first place in eight U.S. Open tournaments — a record. His exploits in this country in the 1960’s led to him being called the “King of the Swisses.”Benko is considered a world class composer of two very different types of endgame compositions:

  • Chess problems (where White is to mate in a specified number of moves against any Black defense) AND
  • Studies (which more closely resemble positions that could arise from actual play and there is no fixed number of moves to victory)

These genres are considered so different that it is as rare to find someone who can do both well as it is to find someone who is both a good novelist and a top class biologist. Benko has taught thousands of players both in person and through his columns. His Chess Life column “Endgame lab” is one of the most popular columns in the magazine and in the world, and the Benko Gambit is one of the few distinct opening systems to be named after a modern player.


  • One of Benko’s most valuable gifts to American chess is nearly forgotten today. At the request of Ed Edmondson in 1970, Benko agreed to give up the slot he had earned in the Interzonal tournament to free up a place for Bobby Fischer. This generous act gave Fischer the chance he needed to advance to the world championship, a chance he made the most of.

– Read more

Science, Mathematics, & Technology, I, >> II“Scientific research consists of seeing what everyone else has seen, but thinking what no one else has thought” – Albert Szent-Györgyi, Nobel Prize, 1937: Physiology and MedicineI receive contributions to this list from all over the world. As I indicated earlier, I do get quite a bit of hate mail regarding this site and this list.  I assure you that names are not added to this list until verified.  Click to [Submit] a Famous Hungarian. Please include a resource for verification purposes.
Edward (Ede) Teller – (b. Jan. 15, 1908, Budapest)

Physicist, instrumental in the Manhattan Project, Father of the the H-Bomb: co-developed the Atomic Bomb and Discovered BET equation.Edward Teller is most widely known for his significant contributions to the first demonstration of thermonuclear energy; in addition he has added to the knowledge of quantum theory, molecular physics, and astrophysics.Young Edward was a mathematical prodigy. In 1926, Edward leftBudapestto study chemical engineering inKarlsruhe,Germany.  InKarlsruhe, Teller became intrigued by physics, particularly the new theory of quantum mechanics. After recovering from teh loss of his foot in a streetcar accident, he learned to walk with a prosthesis, and transferred to theUniversityofLeipzig, to study with Werner Heisenberg, who was in the forefront of the new physics. Teller received his doctorate in physics in 1930 and took a job as research consultant at theUniversityofGottingen. His first published paper: “Hydrogen Molecular Ion,” was one of the earliest statements of what is still the most widely held view of the molecule. Edward Teller made a major contribution to the development of the atomic bomb. Teller’s friend Leo Szilárd enlisted Albert Einstein to bring this danger to the attention of President Franklin Roosevelt.Rooseveltappealed to the scientific community to mobilize for the defense of freedom. In 1941 Teller joinedAmerica’s best physicists in the top secret Manhattan Project. Their mission: to develop the atom bomb before the Germans did. From the beginning, some scientists had feared that an uncontrolled nuclear reaction, like that of the proposed bomb, might continue indefinitely, consuming the earth. Teller’s calculations reassured the team that the nuclear explosion, while enormously powerful, would only destroy a limited area.Seen here with President Kennedy accepting the National Medal of Science, Edward Teller managedLos Alamosresearch on the “Super,” as he called the hydrogen bomb. Destruction ofHiroshimaandNagasakiinJapanand the end of World War II slowed “Super” research. Teller, a strong anti-Communist and sensitive toU.S.and Soviet relations, pushed unsuccessfully to accelerate work on a super-bomb. He was frustrated by the post-war direction ofLos Alamos. He accepted aUniversityofChicagoprofessorship and leftLos Alamosin October 1945.  In April 1946, Teller returned toLos Alamosand led a secret conference on the “Super.” The conference reviewed his earlier work on fusion, which led to his full-time return toLos Alamosin 1949 to continue research on the hydrogen bomb. On January 31, 1950, President Truman approved hydrogen bomb development and testing, partly as a result of the first Soviet atomic test the previous August. Since 1975, Edward Teller has been senior research fellow at the Hoover Institute for the Study of War, Revolution and Peace atStanfordUniversity. He is also Director Emeritus at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.Trivia:

  • There is indeed an asteroid named Teller orbiting around the Sun, discovered by E.F. Helin in 1989.)

– Purchase his book, “Memoirs” at Amazon

– See The Hall of Science and Exploration at the American Academy of Achievement.  The in-depth site has an interview, more background, and even videos.

– Or read another Interview with Teller

– See a fascinating history in pictures at this anti-Teller site

– See The Spirit of Hungary or Purchase this incredible book!

Leo Szilárd – (b. Feb 11, 1898, Budapest, d. May 30, 1964, La Jolla, California)

Physicist  – Co-developed the Atomic Bomb, patented the nuclear reactor, catalyst of the Manhattan Project: Conceived the nuclear chain reaction and campaigned for nuclear disarmament, though the first to consider the application of the atom to making bombs. Achieved first sustained nuclear fission reaction with Enrico Fermi. Identified the unit or “bit” of information.Szilard first realized the potential use of nuclear fission in an atomic bomb, and worked with Fermi on the first nuclear reaction. Seen here with Albert Einstein, his other ideas included the electron microscope, cyclotron,  and linear accelerator. As an inventor, he even has numerous joint patents with Einstein. He proposed term “breeder” to describe an nuclear reactor and holds a joint 1955 US patent on the nuclear reactorwith Enrico Fermi.   In 1960, after a personal meeting with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, during Khrushchev’s visit toNew York, he proposed methods of reducing US-USSR tensions, including the Washington-Moscow “hotline.”  Shared Atoms for Peace Award with Eugene Wigner and devoted much of his life toward nuclear disarmament and preventing the harmful use of nuclear energy.With Wigner, he convinced Einstein, the scientific community, and the President to start the Manhattan Project. Albert Einstein’s 1939 letter to President Franklin Roosevelt urging development of an atomic bomb – the famous document that started the Nuclear Age – was not written by Einstein at all. It was ghostwritten for him by Szilard. In 1939, Szilard andPrinceton scientist Eugene Wigner approached Einstein to ask a vital favor: Given his great stature, would he lend his name to the promotion of a serious study of nuclear energy’s wartime applications and the design and construction of an atomic bomb? Einstein agreed, although he confessed relative ignorance about nuclear chain reactions.Szilárd wrote a draft and presented it to him for his signature on Aug. 2. It spoke of the “vast amounts of power and large quantities of new radium-like elements [that] would be generated” by a nuclear chain reaction set off in a large chunk of uranium. The message finally went toRoosevelt. Later Einstein did write and sign two follow-up messages which, together with the first, led to the 1942 formation of the Manhattan Project, – which developed the bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. Szilárd was one of the project’s guiding forces; Einstein had nothing whatsoever to do with it and wrote:

“I … only acted as a mailbox,” Einstein later wrote. “They [Szilard and Wigner] brought me a finished letter, and I simply mailed it.”


  • In the North-West, near the lunar Terminator Line, halfway between H.G. Wells and F. Joliot is the great Szilard Crater of 122 km in diameter

– Visit Leo Szilárd Online. A really incredible site! By author and Szilárd biographer, Gene Dannen. With Bio, classified documents regarding the Manhattan Project & the bomb, the actual letters to the Presidents: the Szilárd Petition to Truman and letter from Einstein to Roosevelt.

– See The Spirit of Hungary or Purchase this incredible book!

John von Neumann – (b. János Lajos Margittai Neumann on Dec 28, 1903, Budapest – d. Feb 8, 1957, Washington, DC)

Legendary Mathematician, Physicist, Logician, and Computing Pioneer. Father of Binary Code and the Stored Program Computer, the keys to modern computer computer programming. Father of Game Theory. Proposed Implosion and co-developed the Atomic Bomb. Built a solid framework for quantum mechanics. Played a key role in the development of the U.S. ballistic missile program.Education

Neumann was a child genius.  When only six years old he could divide eight-digit numbers in his head. He learned calculus by eight and, amused everyone by memorizing phone book pages, and in 1911, entered the Lutheran Gymnasium (Senior Secondary  School) where is recognized genius soon affords him special tuition.  Incredibly at the same school, in the class just ahead Neumann’s, was another genius, Eugene Wigner (below). In 1921, he enters theUniversity ofBudapest to study mathematics in 1921. But he did not attend lectures. Instead he simultaneously attended theUniversity ofBerlin that same year to study chemistry.  Despite not attending his lectures, he still achieved outstanding results inBudapest. He received both his diploma in chemical engineering from the Technische Hochschule in Zürich and his doctorate in mathematics from theUniversity ofBudapest in 1926. In 1930 von Neumann became a visiting lecturer atPrincetonUniversity, being appointed professor there in 1931. He along with Einstein became one of the original six mathematics professors in 1933 at the newly founded Institute for Advanced Study (I.A.S.) inPrinceton, a position he kept for the remainder of his life.The ENIAC, Modern Computing, and Dr. Strangelove

Von Neumann was the center of the group who created the “stored program” concept that made truly powerful computers possible. A chance meeting brought him to work on the ENIAC (seen on the right). ENIAC had a big problem. It had no memory. As a consultant to Eckert and Mauchly on the ENIAC, he devised a concept for computer architecture that remains with us to this day. He conceived a fundamental idea that serves all modern computers – that a computer’s program and the data that it processes does not have to be fed into the computer while it is working but can be kept in the computer’s memory – a notion generally referred to as the stored-program computer.  Known subsequently as the “von Neumann architecture”, the stored-program computer (where both the instructions and the data they operate upon reside together in memory) with its central controller, I/O, and memory was outlined in a “Draft Report” and paved the way for the modern era of computing. When he died, the Secretaries of Defense, the Army, Air Force, and Navy and the Joint Chiefs of staff were all gathered around his bed, attentive to his last gasps of technical and policy advice.Though he is widely known for his work with the Manhattan Project, Time Magazinewrites: “virtually all computers today, from $10 million supercomputers to the tiny chips that power cell phones and Furbies, have one thing in common: they are all “Von Neumann machines,” variations on the basic computer architecture that John von Neumann, building on the work of Alan Turing, laid out in the 1940s. Men have become famous for less. But in the lifetime of this Hungarian-born mathematician who had his hand in everything from quantum physics toU.S. policy during the cold war, the Von Neumann machine was almost the least of his accomplishments…As rivalry with theSoviet Union heated up, Von Neumann became a strategic adviser on defense policy. He was appointed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to the Atomic Energy Commission, which oversaw the postwar buildup of theU.S. nuclear arsenal. Von Neumann’s game theory became a tool to analyze the unthinkable–global nuclear war–and led to the doctrine of “mutually assured destruction,” which would shapeU.S. strategy for the next two decades. Von Neumann also became an icon of the cold war. Disabled with pancreatic cancer, he stoically continued to attend AEC meetings until his death in 1957. The wheelchair-bound scientist with the Hungarian accent who mathematically analyzed doomsday is said to have been a model for Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove.”The Manhattan Project and US Government

During and after World War II, von Neumann served as a consultant to the armed forces. His valuable contributions on the Manhattan Project included a proposal of the implosion method for bringing nuclear fuel to explosion, his participation in the development of the hydrogen bomb and his use of his extensive knowledge of hydrodynamics to attempt to create an isotope of uranium with great potential for energy. Howard Feingold writes, “Von Neumann was a very important, probably indispensable, member of the Manhattan Project scientific team. Oppenheimer, Fermi, Teller, Bohr, Lawrence, and the other members of the most gifted scientific gathering of minds in history were as awed by Johnny’s intellect as anyone else who ever met him. More impressively, they were as reliant on his mathematical judgment as anyone else. In that galactic cluster of world-class physicists, chemists, mathematicians, and engineers, it was a rare tribute that von Neumann was put in charge of the mathematical calculations upon which all their theories–and the functioning of their “gadget”–would depend.”From 1940 he was a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee at the Ballistic Research Laboratories at the Aberdeen Proving Ground inMaryland. He was a member of the Navy Bureau of Ordnance from 1941 to 1955, and a consultant to the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory from 1943 to 1955. From 1950 to 1955 he was a member of the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project inWashington,D.C.Von Neumann ended up a key policy-maker in the fields of nuclear power, nuclear weapons, and intercontinental ballistic weaponry. In 1953 he became chairman of the Air Force Strategic Missiles Evaluation Committee. He was appointed Director of the Atomic Energy Commission and Chaired the Atlas (later ICBM) Scientific Advisory Committee which monitored Atlas progress and sought to speed up development of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. As chairman of both committees, Dr. von Neumann proposed the practicality of using ballistic missiles to deliver nuclear weapons. He believed the Soviets had an edge in the development of an intercontinental ballistic missile and predicted a significant missile gap between theUnited Statesand theSoviet Unionby the late 1950s. Without greater funding, research and development of an operational Atlas ICBM was scheduled for earliest completion in 1963. Based on recommendations by the von Neumann committees and persuasion by Trevor Gardner (the Air Force Assistant Secretary for Research and Development), theUnited Statespressed forward with its missile program at a faster rate and successfully launched an Atlas missile in December 1958.


In 1955 President Eisenhower appointed him to the Atomic Energy Commission, and in 1956 he received its Enrico Fermi Award, knowing that he was incurably ill with cancer. Von Neumann received two Presidential Awards, the Medal for Merit in 1947 and the Medal for Freedom in 1956. Also in 1956 he received the Albert Einstein Commemorative Award.


  • There is a Crater Von Neumann on the Moon, just east of the Szilard Crater!

– Read Time Magazine’s Article, “John von Neumann: Computing Cold Warrior.”

– See US News’s John von Neumann: A Calculating Man.

– See Howard Rheingold’s Brainstorm on the development the computer. My more technically saavy readers should see the  “Von Neumann Architecture.”

– Here is a US Air Force article on his role in the development of Ballistic Missiles: http://www.spacecom.af.mil/hqafspc/history/von_neumann.htm

– Here are some historical resources: http://ei.cs.vt.edu/~history/VonNeumann.html. Or read these at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland: Von Neumann Bio or Mathematicians Born in Hungary .  Another good site is Who’s Who in Computing.

Tódor (Theodore) von Kármán – (b.1881 Budapest – d.1963 Aachen, Germany)

Aeronautical Engineer & Mathematician. The Father of the Supersonic Flight, first recipient of National Medal of Science from J.F.K., and a founder of the aeronautical and astronautical sciences. Developed first helicopter tethered to the ground that was able to maintain hovering flight. He was one of the creators of scientific fluid mechanics. Designed the first rocket to  reach interstellar space! Education and Early Developments

Theodore Von Kármán was a mathematical prodigy. He became a student of the presentTrefortStreetGrammar School inBudapest, where he would win competitions of Mathematics. His father, worried that his son would become a mathematical “freak,” pushed him toward engineering. In 1902, he received his degree in mechanical engineering from theRoyalHungarianTechnicalUniversity.Following initial success – on his father’s advice – he went to Göttingen in 1906, on a scholarship of the HungarianAcademyof Sciences where he received his PhD and taught. Kármán writes, “It was in Göttingen that I performed the experiments and I got my doctoral degree in 1908. My curiosity was directed towards solid bodies and flexibility. First I got engaged in aerodynamics.  I think I first heard about supersonic jet propulsion from Albert Fonó.” He was nominated head of the department of aeronautics at the universityof Aachen. It was there that he met professor H. Junkers, former head of the department of internal combustion engines. He involved Kármán in his airplane-designing work, and they developed together the wings of legendary and ever sturdy Junkers J-1.WWI

In World War I he was called into military service, and in August 1915, when the chiefs of staff of the Austro-Hungarian army realized that Kármán had a good knowledge of aviation as well, an experimental laboratory was put to his disposal in the empty Zeppelin hangar where he built a wind tunnel adequate for the testing of propellers. He played a substantial role in the preparation of PKZ (Petróczy-Kármán-Zurovecz) helicopters.  It was at the Military Aircraft Factory at Fischamend in Austria, where he led the development of the first helicopter tethered to the ground that was able to maintain hovering flight. After the war in 1918, he came to Budapest and got to the Ministry of Public Education where he spared no effort in order to modernize university education. Among several of his important measures it should be mentioned that he doubled the number of Mathematics classes. In 1919 he returns to Aachen where he became director of the Institute of Aerodynamics. He lectured on gliding aircrafts. One of his students was Messerschmidt, the later famous airplane constructor.The New World, WWII, and Supersonic Flight

Politics put an end to the years in Aachen. He left Germany. The new world – the United States – became the scene of his creative period. In 1930, he became director of the Guggenheim Aeronautics Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. His laboratory at the California Institute of Technology later became the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory. In 1933, he founded the U.S. Institute of Aeronautical Sciences. In 1939, he was commissioned to design a wind tunnel for the purposes of supersonic aviation. He built the first wind tunnel reaching sonic speed by the order of the Boeing Works.  He had a leading role in the development of the B-36, B-47 and B-52 bombers, as well as the Atlas, Titan and Minuteman rockets. Kármán made unique contributions to the theory of elasticity, produced important findings on the strength of materials, aircraft structures, aerodynamics and thermodynamics. For his pioneering role in aviation science, Kármán is often remembered as “the father of supersonic flight.” In 1942, he established the Aero-Jet Engineering Corporation. When in November 1943, German V-2s began to bombard London, this corporation was commissioned to develop long-range rockets. The first rocket, launched in December, 1944, reached the height of 11 miles (17.5 km). In 1945, the height was over 71 km; and in 1949, their rocket got as high as 393 km. This was the first rocket to have reached interstellar space. In 1944, he was appointed Chairman of the Advisory Board of the US Army Air Force and in 1952 was Chairman of NATO Advisory Group for Aeronautical Research & Development. His mathematical breakthroughs made supersonic and space flight possible. A stamp was issued in his honor by theUS in 1992. He is a Fellow of The Royal Society and memorialized by Crater Karman on the Moon and Mars!Quote:

“The scientist describes what is; the engineer creates what never was.”

Quoted in A L Mackay, Dictionary of Scientific Quotations (London 1994)


  • there is a mount named Von Kármán Crater on Mars
  • a huge ring in the southern part of the far side of the Moon has also been named Von Kármán Crater

– See Encylopedia Britannica’s article: http://britannica.com/bcom/eb/article/7/0,5716,45787+1,00.html

– Or read more about him and other great scientists at The Technical University of Budapest.

John Kemény –  (b. 5/31/1926, Budpapest – d. 12/26/1992, Hanover, New Hampshire)

Mathematician, President of Dartmouth, Leader and innovator in mathematics education, and “Father of Microcomputing“: Developed BASIC computer language. Manhattan Project Mathematician at 17!

“Einstein was not very good at math”

“The most dangerous voice you will ever hear is the evil voice of prejudice that divides black from white, man from woman, Jew from gentile. Listen to the voice that says man can live in harmony. Use your very considerable talents to make the world better.”

Dr. Kemény developed Beginner’s All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code (BASIC) in 1964, along with Thomas Kurtz, because the pair wanted a simple computer language. BASIC is often considered the beginner’s bible in computing, and is included with almost every microcomputer. However, the language has numerous variations because the two men didn’t copyright it. In the 1980s, they developed True BASIC, a more powerful version of BASIC that met ANSI and ISO standards.

Contributor Steve Colman writes: “John Kemeny’s claim to fame was that he was a class mate of mine at the BerzsenyiDanielHigh School, then on Marko utca. At age 13, when I was already well established as the class dunce, he was discovered to be a genius. In August 1939 he left for USA, where at age 17 he was called up as a soldier and sent to be a mathematician on the Manhattan Project (Atom bomb). [Following the war, he returned to Princetonand in 1947 received his B.A. summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa.] [While working on is PhD., ] he became an assistant to Albert Einstein [at the Institute for Advanced Study.] …He became the “Father of Microcomputing” due to his (and Tom Kurtz’s) writing the code of BASIC. He was a well known mathematician, wrote several books and became President of Dartmouth [in 1970 on one condition: that he be allowed to continue teaching Philosophy and Mathematics.] A heart attack killed him in 1992. Kemény’s brother-in-law was George Mikes, a fellow Hungarian who is very well known as the author of “How to be an Alien” and other bestsellers. He should also be on your list.” Now he is [hipcat]

Many awards and honors were bestowed on Kemeny. He was given the New York Academy of Sciences Award in 1984, theInstituteofElectrical Engineers Computer Medalin 1986 and the Louis Robinson Award on 1990. He received twenty honorary degrees.


  • In 1979, President Jimmy Carter asked him to chair the commission investigating the Three Mile Island nuclear accident: “The Kemeny Commission,” as it came to be called, was very critical of the nuclear power industry and its federal regulators.
  • Kemeny was Albert Einstein’s research assistant. Kemeny later wrote:”People would ask – did you know enough physics to help Einstein? My standard line was: Einstein did not need help in physics. But contrary to popular belief, Einstein did need help in mathematics. By which I do not mean that he wasn’t good at mathematics. He was very good at it, but he was not an up-to-date research level mathematician. His assistants were mathematicians for two reasons. First of all, in just ordinary calculations, anybody makes mistakes. There were many long calculations, deriving one formula from another to solve a differential equation. They go on forever. Any number of times we got the wrong answer. Sometimes one of us got the wrong answer, sometimes the other. The calculations were long enough that if you got the same answer at the end, you were confident. So he needed an assistant for that, and, frankly, I was more up-to-date in mathematics than he was.”
  • In 1971, he used computer terminals in his office and at home. He predicted that by 1990 such capability would be as common as telephones and said it would raise the intellectual level of the average home to “the pre-television level.”

– ColumbiaUniversityhas a great bio entitled, “John G. Kemeny: BASIC and DTSS: Everyone a Programmer

– The History of Mathematics Archive at University of St. Andrews in the UK and BCC.

– Read True Basic: A sketch of John Kemeny for the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine

Charles Simonyi (b. 9/10/1948, Budapest)

Billionaire Computer Scientist and Chief Architect, Microsoft Corporation

Father of WYSIWYG and Hungarian NotationDuring the 1970s at Xerox PARC, Charles Simonyi led a team of programmers in the development of Bravo, the first WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get, pronounced wizzywig, i.e. MS Word) word processing editor. Bravo was a fundamental departure from the way information was previously displayed and organized and it was part of PARC’s contribution that changed the face of computing and ultimately led to personal computing.Simonyi, born inBudapest,Hungary, holds a bachelor of science degree in engineering mathematics from theUniversityofCaliforniaatBerkeleyand a doctorate in computer science fromStanfordUniversity. He worked for theXeroxPalo AltoResearchCenterfrom 1972-80 and joined Microsoft in 1981 to start the development of microcomputer application programs. He hired and managed teams who developed Microsoft Multiplan, Word, Excel, and other applications. In 1991, he moved to Microsoft Research where he has been focusing on Intentional Programming. He is generally thought of as one of the most talented programmers at Microsoft.Dr. Simonyi, whose long career has made him independently wealthy, has endowed two chairs: the Charles Simonyi Professorship For The Understanding Of Science atOxfordUniversitywhich is held by the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins; and the Charles Simonyi Professorship in Theoretical Physics at the Institute for Advanced Study.Trivia: Dating Martha StewartResources:

Interview with Simonyi,

The Edge.org,

Intentional Programming

Farkas (Wolfgang) Kempelen de Pázmánd – (b.1734 Pozsony then capital of Hungary [called Bratislava after  Czech and Slovak annexation], d. Vienna in 1804)

Inventor – First Speaking Machine – first experimental phoneticianHis main concern was the study of human speech production, with therapeutic applications in mind. He has been called the first experimental phonetician. He was first to observe minute movements in formation of spoken sounds and in 1788 constructed first “speaking machine.”  In his book Mechanismus der menschlichen Sprache nebst Beschreibung einer sprechenden Maschine (1791) he included a detailed description of his speaking machine – in order for others to reconstruct it and make it more perfect. The drawings shown here to the right  are  taken from this book. Von Kempelen’s machine was the first that allowed to produce not only some speech sounds, but also whole words and short sentences.  It used a bellows to supply air to a reed which, in turn, excited a single, hand-varied resonator for producing voiced sounds. Consonants, including nasals, were simulated by four separate constricted passages, controlled by the fingers of the other hand. An improved version of the machine was built from von Kempelen’s description by Sir Charles Wheatstone (of the Wheatstone Bridge, and who is credited inBritain with the invention of the telegraph). This early phonograph is on display atDeutschesMuseum inMunich.The genial Kempelen worked in almost every branch of technical science. He organized the textile industry in the South of Hungary, and built the Pozsony bridge of pontoons in the North, Kempelen was the first to experiment with the use of printed letters for teaching the blind in Paris. Kempelen amazed the world with his “chess-playing machine,” with which he traveled throughoutEurope, astonishing even Napoleon. The Emperor is said to have lost his game with the machine, upon which he swept the figures off the board in frustration. The secret of this machine was never revealed.- For more see, “Wolfgang von Kempelen’s and the subsequent speaking machines.”

– Here is yet another in-depth look at this remarkable man and his invention: http://www.slovakradio.sk/kultura/expstudio/kempe.html

– See The Spirit of Hungary or Purchasethis incredible book!

Dennis Gábor (b. 1900, Budapest – d. 1979, London)

Nobel Prize in 1971 for his investigation and development of holography. (adapted from his autobiography)

Dr. Dennis Gabor was born in Budapest, Hungary, on June 5, 1900, the oldest son of Bertalan Gabor, director of a mining company, and his wife Adrienne. His life-long love of physics started suddenly at the age of 15. Fascinated by Abbe’s theory of the microscope and by Gabriel Lippmann’s method of colour photography, he, with his late brother George built up a home laboratory and began experimenting with wireless X-rays and radioactivity. He entered the Technische Hochschule Berlin and acquired a Diploma in 1924 and his Doctorate of Engineering in 1927 in electrical engineering.  While there he spent his free time working on physics at the University of Berlin. His doctorate work was the development of one of the first high speed cathode ray oscillographs and in the course of this, made the first iron-shrouded magnetic electron lens. In 1927 he joined Siemens & Halske AG and made one of his first successful inventions; the high pressure quartz mercury lamp with superheated vapour and the molybdenum tape seal, since used in millions of street lamps. In what Dennis calls his “first lesson in serendipity,” he invented the mercury lamp while attempting to develop a cadmium lamp which proved unsuccessful.With the rise of Hitler In 1933, Dennis left Germany and after a short period in Hungary went to depression stricken England. Finding a jobs as a foreigner was very difficult. He eventually obtained employment with the British firm, Thomson-Houston Co., in Rugby, on an inventor’s agreement. His work on gas discharge tubes gave him a foothold in the BTH Research Laboratory where he remained until the end of 1948. Dennis writes that the years after the war were the most fruitful. One his first papers was on communication theory. He also developed a system of stereoscopic cinematography, and in the last year at BTH carried out the basic experiments in holography, at that time called “wavefront reconstruction.”On January 1, 1949 he joined the Imperial College of Science & Technology in London, first as a Reader in Electronics, and later as Professor of Applied Electron Physics, until his retirement in 1967. With post-graduate assistants, he attacked many problems, almost always difficult ones. Developments included: a holographic microscope; a new electron-velocity spectroscope; an analogue computer which was a universal, non-linear “learning” predictor, recognizer and simulator of time series; a flat, thin colour television tube; and a new type of thermionic converter. Theoretical work included communication theory, plasma theory, magnetron theory, and a scheme of fusion.After his retirement in 1967 he remained connected with the Imperial College as a Senior Research Fellow and became Staff Scientist of CBS Laboratories, Stamford, Conn. where he collaborated with the President, life-long friend, and father of the color television, Dr. Peter C. Goldmark, in many new schemes of communication and display.- See my Dennis Gabor Site for more

Tivadar Puskás – (b. 9/17/1844, Pest – d. 1893)

Inventor, Telephone Pioneer / Thomas Edison’s Colleague – Devised the idea of using telephone exchanges  between subscribers, invented the switchboard and built Europe’s first telephone exchangeInventor of the Telephonograph (forerunner to radio) and Telephone NewsIn 1874, after a successful Travel Agency enterprise in Vienna, he travels to Americaby ship. Buys some land in the gold-fields of Coloradoand starts searching for gold. In New Yorkhe gets acquainted with Edison and Edison’s invention, the carbon microphone. There it occurred to him to set up a central  exchange which would be suitable for connecting several persons talking. In 1876 he travels to Londonand Brusselswhere he is involved in discussions about the latest telegraphs and the development of a telegraphic network for cities. At the news of Edison’s invention, he returns to Americawhere he becomes Edison’s collaborator and is engaged in working out the details of the telephone exchange. In 1877 he goes to Londonon behalf of Edisonto register the patent for the phonograph. In 1878 he moves from Londonto Paris. On the continent, as Edison’s representative, he has dealt with every patent. In addition, Puskás worked on the electric lighting of London(1882) and the telephone network in Madrid(1883). Apart from this he sets up his own enterprise: an agency for selling patents. The main reason for him moving to Parisis to build a telephone exchange, the first in all of the capitals of Europe, where in 1879, he built Europe’s first telephone exchange. In Budapest, the world’s fourth exchange commenced operating in 1881. It was in this city that another of Puskás’s inventions, “the speaking newspaper” (Telefonhírmondó), was first put into practice on February 15, 1893, sending news and music to subscribers as a forerunner of modern telecommunications. Puskas was a genius of online content: His service featured up-to-the-minute stock reports and sports results, live music, a newsroom delivering late-breaking news, and programming for children. Pundits of the time, as Thomas White’s online archives reveal, sounded a lot like pundits today. “Will the newspaper always remain in a form now so familiar,” pondered a reporter for the Living Agein 1903, “and will the news always be printed from type upon paper?” A similar venture had already installed theatrophones in fashionableParis hotels and cafes. Subscriber lines also were strung acrossLondon; QueenVictoria had one in her sitting room.Trivia

  • Coined the term “Hello” an Englishized version of “Hallom” which means “I hear you” – his famous words toEdisonon the successful test of his new invention, the telephone.
  • October 1879, Tivadar Puskás became a member of the board of directors in the Edison Company

– Read TIVADAR PUSKÁS: From Pest to Nagyvárad – via London

– Go here for more on his life as well as academic achievements and inventions.

– See Hungarians in the History of Communication   

– Read all about his invention, Telefon-Hirmondo, or Newsteller 

– See the fascinating Little Stories about Great Hungarians

– See The Spirit of Hungary or Purchase this incredible book!

Peter Carl Goldmark – (b. 12/2/1906, Budapest – d. Westchester County, NY, 12/7/1977)

Engineer, CBS Chief Scientist – Invented the Color Television, 33 1/3 LP Record, and the Electronic Video Recorder! National Medal of Science“Peter had more ideas in a day than most others in a lifetime” – CBS President, Frank StantonDr. Goldmark, responsible for over 160 inventions in his storied career, studied at the Universityof Vienna(B.S., 1929, Ph.D., 1931) and from 1931–33 worked for a radio company in England. After emigrating to the United Statesin 1933, he worked as a construction engineer until joining the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) in 1936. There he developed the first commercial color television system, which used a rotating three-color disk, and announced in 1940 that CBS had a marketable color television and broadcasted in New York. Although initially approved by the Federal Communications Commission, RCA, which had invested heavily in black-and-white technology, used its lobbying clout to keep the FCC from adopting the CBS system. Goldmark also developed the 33 1/3 LP phonograph record that greatly increased the playing time of records. The LP Phonograph record may not not seem exciting in this, the age of the compact disc, but when Peter Goldmark perfected it in 1948, music lovers rejoiced. Even more crucial, perhaps, was that Goldmark’s record was made of vinyl, rather than the shellac-and-clay blend previously employed. Plastics discs were not only tougher and less noisy, but also allowed for narrower grooves and therefore more music — up to half an hour per side. Finally, audiophiles could settle in for a nice long listen. Later, Goldmark would achieve fame for the first electronic video recording system—the forerunner for the VCR in your home today. He became the chief engineer and President of CBS’s Laboratory in 1954. He also developed a scanning system used by the Lunar Orbiter spacecraft in 1966to transmit photographs to the earth from the moon. CBS received credit for all of his work. As a result, Goldmark has not been given the recognition he deserves.Other inventions included Chrysler’s Highway Hi-Fi, found in Chrysler automobilesfrom 1956 to 1959, featuring a turntable for playing records, built for Chrysler by CBS-Columbia, located in a shock-proof case mounted just below the center of the instrument panel. A tone arm, including sapphire stylus and ceramic pick up, plus storage space for six long-play records made up the unit.Trivia:

  • His son, Peter C. Goldmark Jr., is chairman and CEO of the International Herald Tribune
  • Goldmark pioneered the use of color television in surgical education in 1949
  • In 1976 Peter Goldmark had a vision about buying movies for home viewing.  What an idea!

– Read a GREAT article (in .pdf format) entitled, “Peter C. Goldmark: Technological Visionary

– See Infoplease.com

– Read The long and winding road to color TV

Benjamin Lax (b. Miskolc, Hungary, Dec. 29, 1915)

Electrical Engineer / Physicist: Founder and Director of Francis Bitter National Magnetic Laboratories (MIT); Professor of Physics, Emeritus (MIT); Semiconductor and magneto-optics pioneer; Radar Pioneer: developed the radar height finder and discovered radar meteorology.Settling in theUSAin 1926, Lax received a BS. Degree in mechanical engineering from Cooper Union inNew York(’41). In WWII he was a radar officer assigned to the MIT Radiation Laboratory. Arriving at the MIT Radiation Laboratories in March 1944, Lax worked on Li’l Abner, the X-band height and range finder.After the war, Lax went back to graduate school, this time for his Ph.D. in physics at MIT. As early as 1955 Lax realized that the creation of continuous and stabile magnetic fields of the order of 250,000 gauss or more would open up an entire new area of research into basic physics. Together with his colleges, he had convinced the Air Force to establish a National Magnet Laboratory at MIT for this purpose. In 1960, after the contract was awarded to build this laboratory, he became its director.He was instrumental in starting the semiconductor laser effort at Lincoln Laboratories. His experiments led to the basic understanding of silicon and related semi-conductors. Borrowing techniques he developed in working with microwave gas discharges, Lax pioneered the important phenomenon of cyclotron resonance in semiconductors. He then extended these techniques to high magnetic fields (MR) and to the infrared and opened up a new field of modern magneto-optics in semiconductors and semi-metals. For this ‘fundamental contributions to microwave and IR spectroscopy of semiconductors’ he received the 1960 Oliver E. Buckley Prize of the American Physical Society.- Read this great interview at the IEEE

János (Hans) Selye – (b. 1/26/1907, Vienna, d. 10/16/1982, Montreal)

Physician, Endocrinologist, Researcher – Founder of the concept of Stress: The “Einstein of Medicine!” Dr. Hans Selye was the pioneer in research into stress. Selye’s mother was Austrian but his father was a Hungarian doctor in the army. His father was moved to Komárom (now called Komarno after Czech and Slovak annexation) after World War I, so the young Selye attended elementary and secondary school there. As early as his second year of medical school (1926), he began developing his now-famous theory of the influence of stress on people’s ability to cope with and adapt to the pressures of injury and disease. He discovered that patients with a variety of ailments manifested many similar symptoms, which he ultimately attributed to their bodies’ efforts to respond to the stresses of being ill. He called this collection of symptoms–this separate stress disease–stress syndrome, or the general adaptation syndrome (GAS).He spent a lifetime in continuing research on GAS and wrote some 30 books and more than 1,500 articles on stress and related problems, including Stress without Distress (1974) and The Stress of Life(1956). So impressive have his findings and theories been that some authorities refer to him as “the Einstein of medicine.”He was the first director of theInstituteofExperimental Medicineand Surgery, Université de Montréal (1945-76). After retiring from the university, he founded the International Institute of Stress in 1977, in his own home inMontrealwhere he would spend 50 years studying the causes and consequences of stress. More than anyone else, Selye has demonstrated the role of emotional responses in causing or combating much of the wear and tear experienced by human beings throughout their lives.

“Man should not try to avoid stress any more

than he would shun food, love or exercise.”


  • The International Congress on Stress bestows the “Hans Selye Award” to a senior scientist who had made significant contributions to our understanding of stress.
  • Dr. Selye held three earned doctorates (M.D., Ph.D., D.Sc.) plus 43 honorary doctorates. He was an elected member of several dozen of the world’s most recognized medical and scientific associations.
  • When Dr. Selye was asked to present a paper in France, it was found that there was no word in French for stress, so they coined one: Le stress. Similarly, when asked to speak in Germany, there was no German word for stress, so it was named Der stress.   He is therefore, without doubt, the founder of the concept of stress.
  • The Slovaks allowed the registration of The Hans Selye College in 1998. The institution aims to support the most gifted university students of Hungarian nationality living in Slovakia and to train an open minded elite, which will take part in recovering of the economy as well as cultural life of Hungarians living in that country.

– Buy the book with a forward by Dr. Selye: The Stress Doctor

– Read a biography

– Read about the Hans Selye Society of the Hungarian Society of Behavioral Sciences and Medicine.

Jozsef Dallos – (b. 1905, d. 1979, London)

Physician – The First Practical Contact Lenses!In 1827 English astronomer Sir John Herschel suggests grinding a contact lens to conform exactly to the eye’s surface. It wasn’t until 1929 that Dr. Dallos perfected a method of making molds from living eyes. This enabled the manufacture of lenses that, for the first time, conformed to the actual shape of the eye. He also developed novel fitting techniques and created fluidless lenses. He invented a glass-moulding technique that allowed the lens to take on the characteristics of the sclerotic membrane. He made a copy of the eye’s top layer using a thin copperplate and moulded the molten glass over its surface. After cutting to size, he placed the rough shell on the eye and continued to correct slight imperfections by grinding. Finally he ground the optical effect into the area directly over the cornea. He made such lenses for several of his patients that could be used for even more longer hours.In 1973, Dallos emigrated to Londonwhere he earned worldwide acclaim. George Nissel in London, Dallos’ brother-in-law, produced high quality lenses and Nissel laboratoriesstill exists inEngland. Dallos was a real pioneer in scleral lenses and was one of the first to recognize and discuss internal or lenticular astigmatism.Since his death in 1979, the British Contact Lens Association annually distributes awards named after Dallos, the “Josef Dallos Award.”

The Hungarian István Györffy is credited with the development of the soft contact lens!See the Vision RX Encyclopedia or the more technical lecture http://www.nova.edu/~wagner/clhx00.html for more.

János Bolyai – (b. 15 Dec 1802 Kolozsvár, Hungary/Transylvania [now Cluj, Romania] d. 27 Jan 1860, Hungary/Transylvania [now Tirgu-Mures, Romania])

MathematicianDiscovered non-Euclidian hyperbolic geometrywhile at theUniversity ofKolozsvár.Bolyai was educated by his father, famed matmematician Farkas (Wolfgang) Bolyai, in Marosvásárhely and by the time he was 13 had mastered calculus and other forms of analytical mechanics. Bolyai also became an accomplished violinist and he performed inVienna. He received military training and studied at theImperialEngineeringAcademyinViennafrom 1818 to 1822. Immediately after this he joined the army engineering corps in which he spent 11 years. He was the best swordsman and dancer in the Austrian Imperial Army.  He neither smoked nor drank, not even coffee, and at the age of 23 he was reported to still retain the modesty of innocence. He was an accomplished linguist speaking nine foreign languages including Chinese and Tibetan.János Bólyai’s absolute geometry laid the foundations of modern geometry by resolving the 2000 year old problem of geometry. It opened new horizons in mathematics,. physics, and even in philosophy since it refuted the Kantian concept of “a priori space.” Bolyai was plagued with a fever which frequently disabled him and in 1833 he was pensioned off from his army career. Although he never published more than the 24 pages of the Appendix he left more than 20000 pages of manuscript of mathematical  work when he died. These are now in the Bolyai-Teleki library in Marosvásárhely (Tirgu-Mures).“János Bólyai, more explicitly than Riemann, almost a century ahead of General Relativity, pointed at a possible connection between gravity and geometry, proving thereby his deep insight into the understanding of the laws of nature” – Zoltan BayTrivia:

  • In the southern part of the far side of the moon is the János Bolyai Crater; a bit east of it is the Roland Eötvös Crater

– See the Columbia Encyclopedia

– See The Spirit of Hungary or Purchase this incredible book!

Farkas Bolyai – (b. 9 Feb 1775 Bolya [near Nagyszeben], Hungary/Transylvania [now Sibiu, Romania] d. 20 Nov 1856 in Marosvásárhely, HungaryTransylvania [now Tirgu Mures, Romania])

MathematicianFrom the Columbia Encyclopedia: Farks Bolyai was educated in Nagyszeben from 1781 to 1796 and studied in Germany during the next three years at Jena and Göttingen, where he began a lifelong friendship with “The Prince of Mathematics,” Carl F. Gauss. From 1804 to 1853 he was professor of mathematics at Maros Vásárhely. His primary interest was in the Euclidean parallel postulate. His principal work, the Tentamen (1832–33), inspired by his mathematically gifted son János, is an attempt at a rigorous and systematic foundation of geometry (Vol. I) and of arithmetic, algebra, and analysis (Vol. II).- Read more at Farkas Bolyai or see the Columbia Encyclopedia

– See The Spirit of Hungary or Purchasethis incredible book!

Kálmán Kandó – (b. 1869, d. 1931)

Inventor/Engineer – Discovered triple phase high tension current for electric locomotion and industrial applications.  He is the Father of Modern Electric Trains!He attended high school in Budapest, and obtained his diploma as a mechanical engineer at the BudapestTechnicalUniversity. He worked in Franceas a junior engineer designing and developing Tesla’s induction motor. András Mechwart (the Ganz factory’s managing director at that time) called Kandó to return home in 1894. Shortly afterwards, Kandó designed the three-phase motor and generator series. Following these successful achievements at home he worked in Italy, later returning to Budapestto work at the Ganz factory where he became the managing director.  One of the sensations of the summer season in 1898 was a small electric train carrying the guests of a French lakeside hotel at Evian Les Bains to and fro the close-by medicinal spring. The motor wagon was supplied by the Budapest-based Ganz Factory. The “S”-shaped track was merely 300 meters long, the train ran only at a speed of 10 km/hour, yet, its novel construction aroused great interest. It was designed by a 29-year-old engineer, Kálmán Kandó, who had been already working on a project of much greater size, the electrification of the Northern-Italian Valtellina Railway…A total of 30 percent of this 106 km long line ran through tunnels and half of it ran along curves. For the first time in railway history, Kandó applied high-voltage, 15-period, 3-phase system for electric traction, a daring solution at that time. Kandó’s brilliance in both mechanical and electric engineering allowed him to work out all the details of his concept alone.  The Valtellina line was opened on September 4, 1902 and its success earned great international recognition for Kandó.  At the end of World War I, Kandó pointed out that railway electrification is “only one chapter in the great problems of energy management and can be tackled successfully only within this context”. His research focused on creating large energy systems, in which electric current generated for lighting and industrial use, were also used for electric haulage. He worked out a revolutionary system of phase-changing haulage, whereby locomotives were powered by the standard, 50-period, single-phase alternating current used in the national energy supply system. By integrating the electric power needs of the railways, the industry and the public, Kandó managed to find the ideal solution for energy rationalisation for any country.  Kandó’s invention of the phase-changing electric locomotive undoubtedly opened a new epoch in the history of railway development.- See Hungarians in the History of Transportation or – Hungarian Inventors at the Hungarian Patent Office

– See The Spirit of Hungary or Purchasethis incredible book!

János Irinyi – (b. May 17, 1817, Nagyléta, Hungary  – d. 1895)

ChemistInvented safety matches!János Irinyi was born in Nagyléta, attended middle school in Nagyvárad and later studied law inDebrecen.  He acquired his chemical knowledge at the Vienna Polytechnikum. During one of his professor’s experiments, he solved the puzzle of making silent matches. After long hours of experimentation he patented his invention of silent and non-explosive matches in 1836. In the heads of the matches he mixed phosphor with lead dioxide instead of calcium chlorate. Irinyi sold his invention to a manufacturer of matches and went for a study tour abroad. He became a student at the famousAgriculturalCollege inBerlin. After returning home he founded the first factories for matches inPest in different parts of the city. He wrote several articles on chemistry and published his textbook for schools entitled The Elements of Chemistry.Irinyi played an important part in the revolution of 1848 and 49. After assisting his brother with drafting the 12 points outlining the reasons for Hungary’s desire to break with Austria, Louis Kossuth (the Father of Hungarian Democracy and leader of the revolution) assigned him to direct the manufacture of guns and gunpowder, and put him in charge of supervising the national factories. After the failed revolution he was sentenced to jail. When he won freedom he retired from political life and continued his scientific work exclusively.In the realm of common knowledge only his association with matches is remembered. Yet Irinyi was one of the first people to spread general knowledge about the new chemistry, and played a significant part in the development of the Hungarian technical language of chemistry.- See Hungarian Inventors at the Hungarian Patent Office or in Hungarian: http://www.kfki.hu/chemonet/hun/mvm/irinyi/irinyi.html

– See The Spirit of Hungary or Purchase this incredible book!

Mihály Csikszentmihályi (b. Hungary, d.)

Renowned Psychologist – Father of “Flow Theory,” former Chair of University of Chicago’s Department of Psychology, and Bestselling AuthorProfessor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced “ME-high CHEEK-sent-me-high-ee”), of Transylvanian descent, seeks to answer what makes “creative” people creative. His primary interests are in the study of creativity, especially in art; socialization; the evolution of social and cultural systems; and the intrinsically rewarding behavior in work and play settings.The Hungarian-born polymath and curently the Davidson Professor of Management at the ClaremontGraduateUniversity, in Claremont, Californiahas been thinking about the meaning of happiness since a child in wartime Europe. His research and theories in the psychology of optimal experience seek to find out how creativity has been a force in our lives and have revolutionized psychology, and have been adopted in practice by national leaders such as Bill Clinton and Tony Blair as well as top members of the global executive elite who run the world’s major corporations. In the pages of Newsweek, President Clinton named him one of his favorite authors. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich put his work on the reading list for a political planning committee. And corporations and cultural institutions – from Volvo inSweden to the Chicago Park District to the political leadership ofAustria – have seized upon his ideas and how to apply them because his findings have much to offer anyone interested in improving his or her understanding of how people can perform optimally in every area of life.In his bestselling book, “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience,” Professor Csikszentmihalyi interviewed 91 creative people like actor Ed Asner, scientist Jonas Salk, and Senator Eugene McCarthy, to find out what makes them special. He did exhaustive analysis of the data collected and found that certain traits are common to all creative people. He explored states of “optimal experience” when people report feelings of concentration and deep enjoyment and showed that what makes experience genuinely satisfying is a state of consciousness called “flow.” Professor Csikszentmihalyi explores why creative people are often seen as arrogant (even though they are not) and reveals that the idea of the tortured genius is largely a myth.  Csikszentmihalyi suggests methods for all of us to nurture these traits to explore and expand our creative potential. He argues that creativity needs to be cultivated not only in traditionally creative fields like sciences and arts, but also in business, government, and education.For the past twenty years he has been funded by the US Public Health Service and the Spencer Foundation for research and studies on topics related to “flow.” His research has attracted much interest as can be seen in articles in Psychology Today, the New York Times and other newspapers. He is also a member of the National Academy of Education and National Academy of Sciences. He has been a Senior Fulbright Fellow and currently sits on several boards, including the Board of Advisors for the Encyclopedia Britannica. He has been on numerous TV networks and has been involved in various segments of “Nova.” His other books include “Beyond Boredom and Anxiety,” “The Evolving Self: A Psychology For The Third Millennium,” “Creativity: Finding Flow,”and Good Business: Leadership, Flow and the Making of Meaning.” He is also co-author of  “The Creative Vision,””The Meaning of things” and “Being Adolescent.”Trivia:

  • His book “Flow” was described on the 1993 NBC Super Bowl broadcast as the book that inspired Jimmy Johnson, then coach of the Dallas Cowboys.

– Read some his memorable quotes

– See his official Website

– Buy his books at Gurteen or see a larger selection at Amazon

Ottó Bláthy, Miksa Déri, Károly Zipernowsky

The “Great Triad” – The Three Electrical Engineers at the Legendary Ganz Factory: Fathers of Electricity Distribution and the TransformerIt is an exceptional moment in the history of a nation and of science as well, when several of its masterminds have been able to work almost simultaneously and at the same place of work. Their names are mentioned together by historiography. The great triad of Otto Titusz Blathy, Miksa Deri, and Karoly Zipernowsky was connected by the transformer, their revolutionary invention presented in 1885. Besides the transformer, however, other joint works were produced during their years of creativity.In 1882 the illumination of the National Theatre was installed to the plans of Károly Zipernowsky. At the time, this was only the third theatre in the world to be illuminated by electricity (after theSavoyinLondonand the theatre in Brünn [Brno]). However, all had to use a local generator, as there was no method available for transporting electric power. This seriously handicapped the more widespread use of electric power, and experiments were conducted in many places to solve this problem. The first practical solution was found inBudapest, at the Ganz factory. In 1885, after one year of research and development, the Triad invented a device of two coils with a closed iron core, with variable ratio induction, which they called a transformer, the name used ever since. This device was the basis of alternative current (AC) power distribution networks. Such a network was installed at the National General Exhibition inBudapest(May to November 1885) where the system worked faultlessly without interruption. During the following decades, the Ganz factory manufactured and installed several hundred power distribution systems using their own components. In 1886 they installed the Rome-Cerchi steam power plant, the first power plant built to supply a large city with electricity. This was the very first power plant which used, on the proposal of Bláthy, AC generators to supply a common network in parallel connection. The Ganz factory produced electrical equipment for the power network of the city ofRomeover several decades.Individual portraits:1) Ottó Bláthy – (b. 1860, Tata, Hungary – 1939)

Father of the electric transformer, the tension regulator,  the watt meter, the alternating current motor, the turbogenerator and high efficiency turbogenerator. Even as a young pupil, Blathy excelled by his affinity to Mathematics, and his teacher often called him in front of his senior school-mates to solve the problems that they had not been able to cope with. From this small town ofTata, he went to the technicaluniversityofVienna, where he received his engineer’s degree in 1882.

Ottó Titusz Bláthy was not satisfied with theory only. He discovered the practical application of the connection between the magnetic field and the excitation creating it. This led to an improved design of DC engines. From the experiments he developed a science of then unforeseeable practical benefits. In 1884, he designed an automatic mercury voltage regulator for direct-current dynamos as his first patent. In the years to come, the generators of several current-generating plants inItalywere operated by this regulator. From 1884 on, on the basis of another patent of his, high-precision watt meters were produced. These were the first instruments with which the power of alternating current could be measured for any phase shift between voltage and current. Bláthy went to work to the Ganz Works in the summer of 1883, where experiments in connection with creating a transformer had already begun. He immediately joined the work, and as early as 1885, the alternating-current transformer, the revolutionary invention of the great triad was presented; power transmission even to great distances could be solved with it.

The new system was presented at the National Exhibition inBudapestin 1885. The entire area of the exhibition was illuminated by alternating current, distributed at 1,350 Volt primary voltage, of a frequency of 70 Hz, utilizing 1,067 incandescent lamps and 75 small shell-type transformers. It was an immense success. Bláthy soon departed from the lights of Pest, leaving forAmerica, where he also visited the Edison Works. It was there that he observed that the parameters of the exciting coils of the machines to be produced were established on the basis of empirically set charts. Bláthy proved that these data can be arrived at by way of rigorous calculations as well, thus winning the admiration of the engineers at the factory. He did not stay inAmericafor a long time. Work in the Ganz Works was awaiting him.

– Read more about Otto Blathy

2) Miksa Déri – (b. 1854, Bács, Hungary – 1938)

Developed A/C electric generator

Deri, Blathy, and Zipernowsky

Born in Bács, Miksa Deri obtained his diploma in hydraulic engineering in 1877 at the Technical University of Vienna. Between 1878 and 1882 he was engaged in designing of the Duna andTiszariver control systems. At the same time he studied electrotechnics. In 1882 he started working at the Ganz factory as an engineer. Later on he became the factory’s director, at a time when a remarkably talented professional team worked in the factory. Along with fellow Hungarian, Zipernowsky, they developed a self-excited AC (alternating current) generator during that year, which they began manufacturing in 1883. From 1833 Miksa Déri worked inViennaas the Austrian representative of the Ganz factory electrical department.

In 1885 jointly with Ottó Bláthy and Károly Zipernowsky, they created the transformer. Déri performed the brunt of the experimental work. From 1889 he organized and equipped the electric power station inVienna.

Between 1898 and 1902 he worked on his compensated DC machine. Two years later he designed the repulsion motor which was later named after him. Déri’s repulsion motor filled up an important gap in equipping lifts, namely, no lift motor had worked safely until then. These brush-type motors were mass-produced and used all over the world.

3) Károly Zipernowsky – (b. 1853, d. 1942)

A/C electronics pioneer! Founder of heavy-current electrical engineering

Born inVienna, he completed his studies inBudapest. During hisTechnicalUniversityyears he gave many lectures on the subject of electronics. In 1878 András Mechwart, the Ganz factory’s managing director entrusted him with organizing their electricity department. Since Ganz was the first factory inHungaryengaged in electricity, it thus became his task to develop the power industry inHungary. Under Zipernowsky’s leadership the factory soon became the pioneer in AC electronics. In 1883 the National Theatre of Budapest was fitted with lights by the Ganz company: this was the first alternating current, incandescent lighting system inHungary(the third theatre in the world). It is worth mentioning that one of their AC generators, the “giant steam lighting machine”, illuminated the Keleti Railway Station for thirty years.

In the 1880s scientists were often engaged in working on the distribution of electric light. Edisonhad solved the problem of carrying light economically to short distances with DC (direct current). Historical credit is due to Zipernowsky and his colleagues for developing the economical transmission and distribution of light to long distances. In 1889 he developed with Miksa Déri and Ottó Bláthy the transformer and the AC (alternate current ) energy distribution system based on transformers connected in parallel shunt. It should also be mentioned that AC or DC was not a settled question from the start. Edison, who backed DC, was proved wrong, the young Hungarian engineers were right. The state of the art electric equipment they produced was admired by the trade all over the world. (Western Electrician, Chicago, May 25th, 1889.)

In 1893 Zipernowsky acquired the position of lecturer in the department of power electronics at theTechnicalUniversity, and became a corresponding member of theHungarianAcademyof Sciences. From 1905 he was active as the president of the Hungarian Electronic Association.

– Read more about Karoly Zipernowsky.

– See “Innovators and Innovations

János Kabay

First to isolate morphine directly from the plant.His patent, of worldwide significance, still serves up to the present day as the basis for the industrial process used throughout the world. By this process the opiate alkaloids are extracted from the dry capsules of the mature poppy (Papaver somniferum) plant. Kabay’s breakthrough in 1928 produced a commercially feasible morphine extraction process.During the Second World War, poppy straw processing began under German control as a source of opium during the Allied blockade. Since then, refinements to extraction techniques, and agricultural development have greatly increased yields, so that today more than 50 per cent of the world’s legal annual morphine demand of about 230 tons is derived from this source which, in some countries such as Australia, is a highly mechaniezd agricultural procedure.- Read, “Opium: A History

Ignác Fülöp Semmelweis (b. 1818, Buda, d. 1865, Vienna)

Physician“The Mothers’ Savior”  – Discovered Cause of Puerperal FeverMade the first effective attack on bacteria, and discovered the cause of puerperal fever, which was killing thousands of mothers. Semmelweis insisted that doctors disenfect their hands before childbirth. Though the death rate fell from 12% to 1.5%, the Austrian doctors were offended by his suggestions (and the fact that he was a Hungarian inViennaduring the anti-Hapsburg revolution) and sent him back toBudapest. Ironically, he too, fell to puerperal fever due to an accidental infection.Sir William Sinclair writes, “It is the doctrine of Semmelweis which lies at the foundation of all our practical work today.”

Dávid Schwartz (b. 1845, d. 1897)

Inventor, Wood Trader? – Father of the Dirigible Air Ship or ZeppelinThe Hungarian inventor of the dirigible airship was not an engineer, not even a technician. He was a wood trader. Like many technically interested people in those years, he became increasingly fascinated by aviation, the great human adventure of the late 19th century.  Schwartz studied the airship and came up with a novel idea. With the very thin aluminum he used for insulating the balloon, the aluminum skeleton, and the propellers at the sides of the basket, he set the course for the airship’s future development.  He submitted his design to the Austro-Hungarian Defense Ministry inVienna, which classified the proposal as “inextricable” and discarded the idea. Schwartz invested all his money in further tests.The Prussians recognized the significance of the invention (it used aluminum, the exciting new material) and financed the making of the new airship.  The trial flight in October, 1895, did not succeed, because of the poor quality gas used for the filling of the balloon. Schwartz, who by now had become obsessed with his idea, began to look for the proper gas. The frustration and the ceaseless pursuit of additional funding, undermined Schwartz’s health. He died on January 11, 1897.  The Prussian Defense Ministry continued tests with his airship. The first launch of the world’s thus far largest capacity, 47.5 meter long, cigar-shaped airship weighting 3500 kg took place on November 3, 1897.  The widow of Dávid Schwartz who lived in great poverty after his death sold all the patent rights to Graf Zeppelin for 15 thousand Deutschmarks….and two years later the first “Zeppelin” airship rose fromLakeConstance… and 25 years later Captain Eckener crossed theAtlanticin 80 hours… Zeppelin had gained a brilliant victory, but the name of the man who conceived it technically has sunk into oblivion.See Hungarians in the History of Transportation

Bishop Faustus Verancsics (b. Dalmatia 1551 – 1617),

Invented the air turbine, one of the most famous engineers in the Middle AgesHe was educated inPozsony,Hungary(nowBratislavaafter Czech annexation) in the home of his uncle, Antal Verancsics, the Archbishop of Esztergom. After studying at the university inPadua, he returned to Pozsony to devote himself to the study of scientific problems. He was given the captainship of thecastleofVeszprém, in westernHungary, before becoming the Emperor Rudolf’s secretary for Hungarian affairs. Later he became a priest and ultimately the Bishop of Csanád. In the last one and a half decades of his life he went toItaly, where he became a monk. He lived inRomeandVeniceand his writings were published there. He compiled a five-language dictionary—Latin, Italian, German, Croatian, Hungarian—which was published in 1595.All his life he pursued solutions for technical problems, thus developing several new ideas and inventions. In 1616 he published Machinć Novć, which was a summary of his ideas and a significant work in the history of science. The book describes more than sixty inventions, forty-nine of them with detailed illustrations. His inventions cover a wide range: grinders, windmills, tide-mill, compacting machine, twelve variations of bridge structures, the suspension-bridge, the parachute (closer to the present paraglider), a dredger, a rope-weaving machine, a steel spring and friction brake for coaches.– See more in Hungarian at Technical History

Donát Bánki / János Csonka – (1859 – 1922) (1852-1939)

Engineers: Invented the carburetor and dual evaporationUntil 1893, there had been many problems with the ignition of petrol engines due to uneven mixing of gases: the device, used to vaporize gasoline and mix it with the air, could not produce the precise mixing proportions. The carburetor (on the right) invented by Banki and Csonka immediately eliminated these problems. As so many times in technical history, the invention was conceived through a freak of fortune.One evening, Banki walked home from the TechnicalUniversitywhen he saw a flower-girl sprinkling water on her flowers with a mouth-blown spray. This sight led him to one of the most revolutionary ideas of engineering.  Banki and Csonka suggested that the fuel should be atomized into small particles and mixed with air in the right proportion before feeding it into the combustion engine. In their patent description submitted on February 11, 1893, they wrote: “…in our engine no petrol pump is needed for fuel feeding, as the petrol  necessary for filling each cylinder will be carried in by the air sucked into the engine…” This was the first carburetor in the world and ever since billions of engines, cars, power-boats, motor bicycles and aircraft over the world have used carburetors designed according to Banki’s and Csonka’s theory. Unfortunately, the credit for the invention of the carburetor is usually given to the German Maybach, although his patent was submitted half a year later. In 1898 Banki and Csonka split. Bánki focused his research on improving his other invention, water-injection engines. In 1898 he invented the high compression Bánki-engine with a dual-carburettor (for evaporating fuel and water). This engine won an award at the 1900 World Exhibition in Paris. Dual evaporation has been in use ever since. Csonka (seen in his hand-made car on the right from 1909) concentrated on automobiles. In 1904, the Hungarian Post Office announced an international tender for the purchase of 8 mail vans. The tender was won by Csonka’s original, four-cylinder car, which started its 8-day, 2000-kilometre trial run on May 31, 1905. This date is considered the birth of Hungarian automobile manufacturing.- See Hungarians in the History of Transportation or Hungarian Inventors at the Hungarian Patent Office

– See The Spirit of Hungary or Purchase this incredible book!

Jenö Fejes (1877-1952)

Engineer, Inventor first in the world who submitted patents for manufacturing automobile parts by cold-forming, pressing, torch or spot-welding.Many Hungarian engineers and researchers played a significant role in the development of automobiles. One of them, Jeno Fejes, an unfairly forgotten designer, was the first in the world who submitted patents for manufacturing automobile parts by cold-forming, pressing, torch- or spot-welding. Soon after graduation, from 1902, Fejes was employed in the Westinghouse factory inFrance. The factory’s car, designed by Fejes, won first prize at the Coup de la Presse race in 1907.  From 1911 Fejes worked as constructor in the Mátyásföld plant of the Hungarian General Engineering Co.He recognized that certain problems with the engines, stemming from casting difficulties or overweight, could be avoided if engines were constructed not using the cumbersome and unreliable casting techniques. The fast development of welding and pressing techniques helped to solve this problem.  His first patent, “Extrusion of cylinder heads of combustion engines”, was submitted on September 20, 1921. A year later this was followed by another patent application, “Vehicle chassis for automobiles and its manufacturing process.”Fejes replaced all cast and heavy pressed parts with cold-formed parts made of iron and steel plates. His other patents covered the manufacturing of the engine-house, the steering gear, the rear axle and the motor block. Cold forming allowed the use of steel plates of much smaller thickness than that of casts and thus the dead-weight of vehicles designed by Fejes was 30 to 35 percent lighter than cars manufactured using traditional methods. Another advantage of the plated engine was that on impacts, it dented and did not rupture as easily as cast engines.  In 1922 Fejes established a company inHungaryto implement his patents and, in 1927, he set up “The Fejes Patents Syndicate Ltd.” inEngland. After a successful pilot run, another company, Ascot Motor and Manufacturing Co. Ltd. was created with a founding capital of 400,000 pounds sterling.  However, Austin, then a leader in theUKcar market, was afraid ofAscotspoiling the market with its low-cost cars and used its influence as a share-holder in the company to thwart the launching of the series production.  Fejes’ inventions were ahead of their time: They were put into practice only from the 1970’s.- See Hungarians in the History of Transportation or

Hungarian Inventors

Baron Loránd Eötvös – (b. 7/1848 – 4/1919)

Mathematician – Developed the method and tool to measure gravity: His inventions made it possible to explore for natural resources like oil, coal, and different oresScientific literature and usage bears ample evidence of his inventions: the Eötvös Law of Capillarity; the Eötvös Unit of Gravitation (roughly one-billionth of a gram); the Eötvös Gravitational Torsion Balance of almost incredible sensitivity; the Eötvös Effect: and inventions of instruments for measuring terrestrial magnetism for decades to come. The torsion balance made it possible to explore for natural resources like oil, coal, and different ores. Eötvös also recognized the correlation between surface tension and molecular weights of liquids measured at various temperatures. This led to the Law of Eötvös which was declared by Einstein to be one of the pillars of his theory of relativity and was applied in his “theory of equivalence.”See more at St. Andrew’s Archive: Baron Loránd Eötvös

Sándor Kőrösi Csoma – (b. 4/4/1784, Kőrös, Transylvania, Hungary (annexed by Rumania)- d. 4/11/1842, Darjeeling)

Explorer! “Father of Tibetolgy and Buddhist Culture”! Presented the world with the first Tibetan dictionary and grammar: Buddhist Saint!Awareness of the Hungarians’ oriental origin never fell into oblivion, and questions regarding the history of the people and the language focused the attention of scholars toward Asiaas a matter of course. First to set off toward the Orient was the legendary and world-famous Hungarian orientalist Alexander Csoma Korosi.Born of a poor Szekler family, he began his studies as a servant and student at thecollege ofNagyenyed inTransylvania. From 1815, he pursued oriental linguistic studies at theUniversity ofGöttingen inGermany on an English scholarship. Here the determination matured in him to leave forAsia on foot and explore the ancient homeland of the Hungarians. He mastered the Turkish, Arabic, Persian and Bengali languages. During his travels starting in 1819 he reachedIndia throughIran andAfghanistan. In Western Tibet, encouraged by the English traveller and scholarW. Moorcroft, his attention turned toward researching the Tibetan language.In his first three visits to Tibethe spent more than five years in various monasteries conducting a monk-like existence. He was the one to discover that the holy scriptures of Buddhismhad not been irretrievably lost, as had been thought earlier on, but were retained in Tibetan translation. He was the first to outline in 1836-39 the content of the 325-volume Tibetan Buddhist canon, Kandjur (‘The translation of Buddha’s tenets’) and Tandjur (‘Translations of Explanations’) and the life of Buddha who had founded a religion. His articles promoted research into Buddhism, and Schopenhauer learned from his studies about Buddhism, which were to exert a decisive influence on him. After five years, he emerged with the world’s first Tibetan dictionary (containing 40,000 words) and grammar book which were published in an English edition in 1843. Without any bias we can state that Alexander Csoma Korösi is a great founding father of not only Tibetan studies but that of Buddhist culture as well.Tragically, on his fourth journey toTibet, having at last obtained some information about the Yougar people (a race possibly related to the Magyars), he was fatally struck with malaria and died inDarjeelingwithout finishing his long search. Korosi-Csoma is buried inDarjeeling, his grave marked by a monument erected jointly in 1910 by theHungarianAcademyof Sciences, the TransylvanianvillageofCsomakrösand the Asiatic Society of Bengal.There can’t be many Europeans whom Buddhists revere as a saint but the Hungarian Sándor Csoma Kôrösi is one. His grave, which lies at the foot of the Himalayas, is a place of pilgrimage and inJapana pagoda has immortalized his name. When the Dalai Lama visitedHungaryhe also spoke of Korosi as being a saint, and if anybody is qualified to make a pronouncement on this subject it is his Holiness.- See The Spirit of Hungary or Purchase this incredible book!

– See the The birth and achievements of Hungarian oriental studies

József László Bíró – (b. 1899, d. 1985)

InventorDeveloped the Ballpoint Pen AND the Automatic Gearbox for Automobiles.The Ball Point Pen:

A journalist, magazine publisher, sculptor, and painter inBudapest, Laszlo Biro noticed, during a visit to a printer’s, how quickly the printer’s ink dried. It occurred to him that this fast-drying ink would work well in a fountain pen. This dense ink, however, would not flow through a pen. Therefore, Biro decided to replace the metal writing nib of his pen with a slim ball bearing. As the pen moved across the paper, the ball turned and suctioned ink from the reservoir, which then transferred it to the paper. The “Biro” was born. He first patented the pen in 1938. In 1940 he and his brother ran away fromHungary toArgentina where, in 1943, he patented his pen again. A clerk of the British government, Henry Martin, who was, by chance, at that time in Argentina, was interested in the fact that Biro’s pen wrote at any altitude above sea level, and therefore because it was not affected by air pressure or other atmospheric conditions. it immediately occurred to him to make it available to navigators in airplanes. The British government bought the patent and in 1944 a pen under the brand name Biro was produced for the Royal Air Force. Their successful performance for the Air Force brought the Biro pens into the limelight. Biro had neglected to get aU.S. patent for his pen and so even with the ending of World War II, another battle was just beginning. The U.S. Department of State sent specifications to several American pen manufacturers asking them to develop a similar pen. In an attempt to corner the market, the Eberhard Faber Company paid the Biro brothers $500,000 for the rights to manufacture their ballpoint pen in theUnited States. Eberhard Faber later sold its rights to the Eversharp Company. The first great commercial success for the ballpoint pen came on an October morning in 1945 when a Crowd of over 5,000 people jammed the entrance of New York’s Gimbel’s Department Store. The day before, Gimbel’s had taken out a full-page ad in the New York Times promoting the first sale of ballpoints in theUnited States. The ad described the new pen as a “fantastic… miraculous fountain pen … guaranteed to write for two years without refilling!” On that first day of sales, Gimbel’s sold out its entire stock of 10,000 pens-at $12.50 each!The Automatic:

He bought a red Bugatti car one day, but found the clutch mechanism too clumsy and began to muse about an automatic solution. After one year of experiments, he made and patented his “automatic gear-box”. For its mass production Bíró did not have enough capital and decided to sell the patent. The German subsidiary of General Motors requested him to introduce the patent inBerlin. To prove his invention’s   reliability, Bíró installed it on his own 350-CC combination motor bicycle, had its gear box sealed by the Automobile Club and with a passenger in the side car drove 1000 kilometres toBerlin, over hill and dale, without any fault. InBerlin he made four successful test drive. GM’s draft contract offered him half percent of the price of each unit sold and a monthly USD 200 advance for five years. This latter secured him an easy life for a while, but the license fee was never paid, as, for commercial reasons, the American company suppressed the patent and sank it to the bottom of a filing cabinet.Trivia:

InArgentina, inventors’ day is celebrated on Biro’s birthday- See Hungarians in the History of Transportation or

A Brief History of Writing Instruments or

– Read more about the Ball Point Pen

Paul Selényi (b. 11/17/1884, Dunaadony – d. 3/21/1954, Budapest)

Physicist and Father of Electrostatics / Photoconductivity Pioneerfirst to record images with an electrostatic marking process: the foundation of Carlson’s Xerography!Pál Selényi studied physics and mathematics at the BudapestUniversity. After finishing his studies he started to work for the newly established Applied Physics Department of the University. In his early works he was engaged in studying the nature of light. Selényi was a physicist with great technological interest. He worked for various companies, e.g. for the development laboratory of the Tungsram Ltd. He published more than hundred articles in the field of optics, vacuum technology, photometry and electrography, studied and developed photocells, seleniumdiodes and photoelements. His pioneering work in electrostatic picture recording formed the basis of xerography. In fact Selényi published and patented several fundamental idea of electrography and produced better quality electrografic copies well before C. F. Carlson to whom the invention of electric recording is ascribed to.Selenyi was the first to record images with an electrostatic marking process in which a modulated ion source was scanned over an insulating layer to form an electrostatic image that was subsequently developed with powder. Selenyi coined the term “electrography” for his electrostatic imaging processed he invented in the 1920’s. Carlson’s invention was heavily influenced by the earlier work of Paul Selenyi. Carlson’s insight was to use a photoconductive material to produce an electrostatic image that is then developed with charged, pigmented powder. Carlson built a prototype of a copying machine, but was unsuccessful in attracting the interest of large corporations. In 1944, Battelle Memorial Institute inColumbus,Ohio began work on the process where key advances were made in materials and processes. This led to the introduction of the highly successful Xerox 914 plain paper copier in 1959.Zworykin, television pioneer, wrote:”I recollect with great pleasure my visit during the next few days to the Tungsram Laboratories. It was surprising to me to find in a country as small asHungarysuch a well-equipped laboratory and so much advanced work in electronics. One of the laboratories which impressed me particularly was that of Dr. Selenyi, who showed me a method of storing the image on used movie film by electrostatic charging with an electron beam transmitted by a thin-glass window on a cathode-ray tube. He was hoping to use this method for a large-screen television projection picture. As far as I know, he was not able to translate this idea into practice. However, the idea itself survived and many years later was used in modern copying machines.” (p. 105 from Chapter 8 – Pre-War World-Wide Television Effort, Zworykin’s European Travels 1935-1939)- Read more about his work at Optics by Hungarians

– Read about Electrostatics

Egon Orowan (Orován) (b. 8/2/1901, Budapest, d. 8/3/1989, Cambridge, MA)

Applied PhysicistApplied physics reached world standards in northern Budapest, where the Tungsram Company was created (1896). The name of this light bulb factory originates from tungsten (wolfram), the beat resistant metal which was patented by Sándor Just and Ferenc Hanaman (1903), as the glowing fiber in light bulbs, instead of Edison’s fragile carbon fibers. Tungsten (and Tungsram) made electric incandescent lamps long-lasting, so that the light bulb could become an everyday item. With Michael Polányi he was responsible for the introduction of the crystal dislocation into physics as the essential mediator of plastic deformation. The Tungsram employees Dennis Gabor, Egon Orowan, and Michael Polányi later became fellows of the Royal Society.  Though he occasionally spoke at meetings concerned with science and technology policy, and wrote letters to the press on a number of topics, he was an essentially private person and left no biographical notes.While working on plasticity and fractures in solids, Orowan studied high resolution photographs brought back by the Apollo missions and proved that the craters on the Moon are not products of lunar volcanism but had been created by impacts of meteors from outside.M.I.T. has an award named The Egon Orowan Award for Outstanding Teaching.- Read a detailed biography and obituary at the National Academy Press or

In Hungarian with a forward by Theodore Karman, father of US Aerospace or

– Read about him and his place among the great Hungarian Physicists

Peter Lax (b. 1926)

Renowned and Prolific Applied Mathematicianand “one of the greatest figures in pure and applied mathematics of our times.”Peter Lax is one of the greatest figures in pure and applied mathematics of our times. His work has been seminal and extraordinarily influential in almost all areas of mathematics and its applications where differential equations are involved, such as integrable systems, fluid dynamics and shock waves, solitonic physics, hyperbolic conservation laws, and so on. His contributions to mathematical and scientific computing are very significant.In 1970, Professor Lax risked life and limb to help prevent a bomb from destroying the NYU computer center. In August 2000, he will be one of about 30 plenary speakers at the AMS meeting in Los Angeles, Mathematical Challenges of the 21st Century. Professor Lax’s work has been recognized by many honors and awards. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, USA. He was awarded the National Medal of Science in 1986, shared the Wolf Prize in 1987, the Chauvenet Prize for Mathematics, and shared the American Mathematical Society‘s Steele Prize in 1992.He is a past president of the American Mathematical Society, and a former Director of the Courant Institute, and past member of the National Science Board. He worked on the Manhattan Project with many of his fellow Hungarians, is a member of the Los Alamos Lab, and chaired the committee convened by the National Science Board to study Large Scale Computing in Science & Mathematics, a pioneering effort (well-known as the Lax Report). Professor Lax continues to be a  leading and innovative force in mathematics and a tireless reformer of mathematics education. He is Professor Emeritus of Mathematics atNew YorkUniversity’s Courant Institute.- Buy his books at Barnes and Noble

Count Samuel Teleki – (1854 – 1916)

Explorer! Led the famous East-Africa ExpeditionIn 1886, the Hungarian count Samuel Teleki von Szék, “a jovial Hungarian aristocrat of immense wealth,” accepted a suggestion from his friend and benefactor, prince Rudolf, son of the Austro-Hungarian emperor Franz-Josef I, to turn the safari he was planning into a journey of exploration of the territories north of Lake Baringo, beyond where Thomson had set foot. And so he did. Accompanied by lieutenant Ludwig von Höhnel (1856-1942), Teleki set on his way, being the first to climb Mount Kenya to later head on northwards and discover in 1888 the last of the Great Lakes, which he named after his friend the prince, and which we know today by the name of the tribe that inhabits its shores, Turkana. Teleki’s and von Höhnel’s journey also unveiled a smaller lake, Stefanie, south ofEthiopia, re-named later as Chew Bahir.Lake Turkana, a 2,500 square mile stretch of water, is alkaline, barely drinkable, and capricious. Sometimes it is calm and unruffled, often it is turbulent with an impression of malevolence, from a distance however it always stretches away peacefully and it’s shimmering surface sometimes takes on the colour of Jade, and thus was aptly named theJadeSeaby Count Teleki in 1888. Strong winds blow constantly, temperatures soar well above 100F, and movements in the earth’s surface are continually throwing up exposed sedimentary layers, many of which have preserved pre-historic fossils in a remarkably good state.”The scenery became more and more dreary as we advanced.  The barren ground was strewn with gleaming, chiefly red and green volcanic debris, pumice stone, huge blocks of blistered lava and here and there pieces of wood.”   Samuel Teleki, 1888Count Teleki’s father, also Samuel (b. Gernyeszeg, 1739, d. Vienna, 1822), was Lord Chancellor of Transylvania at the end of 18th century. He founded the Teleki library in Marosvásárhely, (renamed Tirgu Mures after Rumanian annexation in 1920) which holds more than 200,000 priceless volumes 40,000 of which from his personal collection. This “Bibliotheca Telekiana,“one of the first Hungarian public libraries, opened in 1802.Trivia:

  • The giant Lobelia plants found in the Afro-alpine belt of Mt Kenyaare named Lobelia Telekii, after Count Samuel Teleki, the first white man to reach the alpine zone.

– Read more about the exploration of Kenya (1883-1892)

– Read about his expedition in Hungarian

Béla Barényi (b. Hirtenberg, Austria, d. Sindelfingen, Germany)

Engineer, Auto Safety Pioneer – Father of the Volkswagen Beetle, Passive Safety, Occupant Safety Cell, Collapsible Steering System, AND the Seat Belt!Bela Barenyi completed his studies at the Technikum in Vienna. His father was an Colonel in the Austro-Hungarian Military and his mother from one of the wealthiest Austrian families. When Pozsony became part of the new “Czechslovakia” in 1920, his family took Czechoslovak citizenship. In 1925, he designed the famous Volkswagen Beetle. Because Porsche was later credited with the invention (1938), Berényi took legal action in 1955. The German Courts and the State Patent Office inMannheim acknowledged that Barényi had invented the concept and the main components of the Volkswagen. Barényi only asked for 1DM (one German Mark) as compensation.From 1939 to 1974 he worked for Daimler-Benz, heading the strategic planning department for a significant period. Several of his inventions were decades ahead of their time. Passive safety was one of these ideas. Out of his 2500 inventions for the automobile industry, dividing cars into three collision zoneswas the most significant one (1951). The rigid passenger cell is enclosed by deformable front and rear ends (crumple zones) which absorb the impact of collision. In order to mass-produce his design he had to replace the rigid undercarriage with a floor plate, patented in 1943. Since 1959, Daimler Benz (and today every automobile company in the world) manufactures cars – acknowledged for their safety worldwide – based on Barényi’s design. Crash tests are also associated with his name.Bela Barenyi retired in 1974. Barényi’s inventions completely changed the world’s automobile production. In recognition of his achievements he was admitted to the Automotive Hall of Famein 1994. With his ideas he has saved the lives of millions on the roads.Trivia:

  • A 1993 Mercedes-Benz advertisement featuring Barenyi’s image proudly stated: “No one in the world has given more thought to car safety than this man.”

– See the Automotive Hall of Fame

– See Bela Barenyi

Ányos Jedlik (b. 1800, Szimõ in the county of Komárom [Komarno today after annexation by Slovakia] d. 1895)

Priest, Engineer, Physicist, Inventor – Father of the DynamoThough he preceded his contemporaries in his scientific work, he did not speak about his most important invention, his prototype dynamo, until 1856; it was not until 1861 that he mentioned it in writing in list of inventory of the university. Although that document might serve as a proof of Jedlik’s status as the originator, the invention of the dynamo is linked to Siemens’ name because Jedlik’s invention did not rise to notice at that time.Jedlik’s education began at Nagyszombat and Pozsony (Bratislavatoday after Slovak annexation) high schools. In 1817 he became a Benedictine and from that time continued his studies at the schools of that order. In 1827 he started experimenting with electromagnetic rotating devices which he called “lightning-magnetic self-rotor” (approximate translation). In 1829 he constructed the first rotating machine based on the electromagnetic impulse, which was the predecessor of the DC motor. He lectured at Benedictine schools up to 1839, then for 40 years at the Budapest University of Sciences department of physics-mechanics. In 1845 he began teaching his pupils in Hungarian in lieu of Latin. Through his textbook he is regarded as one of the establishers of Hungarian vocabulary in physics. He became the dean of the faculty of arts in 1848, and by 1863 he was rector of the University.  From 1858 he was a corresponding member of theHungarianAcademy of Sciences and from 1873 an honorary member.In the 1850s he conducted optical and wave mechanical experiments, and at the beginning of the 1860s he constructed an excellent optical grate. Ányos Jedlik’s best known invention is the principle of self-excitement. His journal records in 1859 that he discovered the principle of self-ignition and the fact that a remnant magnetic force in the core was sufficient for starting the process. In 1861 he constructed a “single-pole electric starter”, which exploited the principle of self-ignition. His machine was a unipolar generator with no brushes. With the single pole electric starter, he formulated the concept of the dynamo (seen here) at least 6 years prior to Siemens and Wheatstone. Jedlik also recognized that when electricity was connected to the device, it became an electric motor.  In 1863 he discovered the possibility of voltage multiplication and demonstrated it with a “tubular voltage generator” (1868), which was successfully displayed at the 1873 Exhibition inVienna.- See more Hungarian Inventors at the Hungarian Patent Office or

– See “Innovators and Innovations

Joseph Galamb – (1881 – 1955)

Ford Chief Engineer: Designed the Model T and Model A Ford, the Fordson Tractor, invented the Ignition Plug and the Planetary Gearbox, and prepared the production of Liberty aircraft engines.  One of the most talented technical forebears in American automotive industry, József Galamb had a very eventful career. He was born in the small Hungarian town of Makóin 1881. After graduating at the BudapestTechnicalUniversity, he started to work in a wagon factory and later joined the biggest Hungarian automobile factory in Arad, Transylvania (now Oradea, Rumaniaafter annexation in 1920). At the beginning of the 1900s he studied manufacturing processes in the German Adler car factory, finally in 1903 crossed the Atlantic and tried his luck in the United States. He turned up in several cities including St. Louis, Cleveland, and Detroit. He began to work with Ford in December 1905.Preliminary design works lasted six months. When Ford approved a part, it was immediately made of wood and thus, the new Model T slowly took shape. Its most important part was the planetary gearbox, one of Galamb’s most brilliant inventions.  The Model T designed by Galamb was ready by 1908 and 19 thousand cars were sold the next year. By adjusting the line, output was increased and unit costs reduced. By 1915, production reached 1 million units and by 1927, when the production of the Model T stopped, a total of 15 million had left the factory.  József Galamb also designed the world-famous Fordson tractor and the ignition plug. During World War I, he designed ambulance vans and light tanks, prepared the production of Liberty aircraft engines.  In 1927, he designed the modern and more elegant Model A to replace the now old-Model T. In 1937 he was appointed as chief constructor at Ford, and he kept this position until his retirement in 1944.His daughter, Gloria Galamb Albinak wrote to me saying: “…to my surprise and pleasure I saw where you have my father, Joseph Galamb, listed as a famous Hungarian! Perhaps you would like to add his dates: 1881-1955 and the fact that he was at Ford Motor from 1906 to 1945, when he retired. He was Chief Engineer there, cut his teeth on the Model T and designed all Ford cars, tractors and airplanes until his health forced his leaving. He was a graduate of the Technicon, served in the Austro-Hungarian Navy stationed at Pola, came to the USA to attend the St. Louis World`s Fair in 1903 and stayed.”See Hungarians in the History of Transportation or Hungarian Inventors at the Hungarian Patent Office

Lajos Lóczy – (b. 11/2/1849 Pozsony, Hungary [now called Bratislava after Czech annexation], d. 5/13/1920, Balatonarács, Hungary)

Great Geologist and Geographer of Tibet and ChinaFirst to scientifically describe the mountains bordering the Tibetan Plateau that connect the KunlunMountainswith the north-south-oriented belt of mountains and gorges in central China. In 1878, he, with Hungarian Count Béla Széchenyi and Gustav Kreitner, was the first western visitor to remote ancient Buddhist sites such as the oasis town of Dunhuang, situated at the edge of the Gobi desert, in the west of the present-day Chineseprovince ofGansu. He wrote many accounts his discoveries. He is also well known for his detailed research onLake Balaton’s environs.He subsequently mentioned a “hidden library,” one of the “Treasures of Mogao,” to a friend, Aurel Stein, a Hungarian-born British subject who was later knighted for his Central Asia explorations and for the archaeological collections (now in Britain and India) that he amassed.- See The Spirit of Hungary or Purchase this incredible book!

– See the The birth and achievements of Hungarian oriental studiesMore on Sir Aurel Stein below…

Sir Aurel Stein (b. 11/26/1862 Budapest, d. 1943),

“The most prodigious combination of scholar, explorer, archaeologist and geographer of his generation” – The “Sven Hedin of England” – pioneered the use of aerial photography in archaeology. After receiving his education inBudapest,DresdenandViennahe moved to Tübingen and later toEnglandwhere he devoted himself to Asiatic studies. InLondon  he did intensive research into the languages, the history and the antiquities of Asian countries. In 1888 he was professor of Sanskrit language and literature at thePunjabUniversityinLahore. After doing archeological explorations inIndiaand Kashmir, Stein crossed theHimalayasin 1900 to excavate the ancient ruins in the deserts of Chinese Turkestan. During his second expedition there (1906-1908) he explored the region of Lop Nor, traced the Great Wall of China, and opened up the Church of the Cave of the Thousand Buddhas, which had been brought to his attention by Lajos Lóczy (above).Stein won world fame through the expeditions he ran to Eastern Turkestan, Afghanistan andIran. He pioneered not theSilk Roaditself but its recovery for historical memory, as well as the recovery of the cultures which had flourished along its route and then passed into dry, sandy silence. He recovered and published the text of what is almost the only native history ofIndiafrom before the Muslim invasions; conducted some of the first archaeological surveys ofIranandIraq; pioneered, in his sixties, the use of aerial photography in archaeology. A large part of the materials collected during his exploratory trips was transferred toLondon, and another part is on display as a separate collection at theDelhiNationalMuseum. He held the post of general director at the Indian Archaeological Directorate from 1910. He bequeathed his valuable library, manuscripts, letters and collection of photos to theHungarianAcademyof Sciences.Aurel Stein was one of the few honorary members of the British Geographical Society. Stein met his death while traveling inKabul,Afghanistan.- See The Spirit of Hungary or Purchase this incredible book!

– See the The birth and achievements of Hungarian oriental studies

– See the British Council 

– Buy the book entitled “Sir Aurel Stein,” by Annabel Walker: For 40 years, Sir Aurel Stein the archaeologist, led the race to uncover a long-lost Buddhist civilization which had lain for a thousand years beneath China’s deserts. This book unfolds the remarkable story of how Stein’s single-minded dedication revealed the glories of theSilk Road.

Dr. Albert Fonó – (b. 1881 – d. 1972)

Mechanical Engineer – Received the first patent on airplane jet propulsion and enabled aircraft to fly faster than the speed of sound. Developed Torpedos, Jet Artillery, Air Compressors.The Budapest-born mechanical engineer received his diploma in 1903 at the Budapest Technical University. His main professional interest was energetics, though his theoretical work was extensive. After gaining experience at German, Belgian, Swiss and French factories, he obtained his degree of Ph.D. in the technical field.   His first invention was an aerial torpedo in 1915, which operated on the jet propulsion principle. This invention increased the effective range of artillery. It was a significant invention but failed to attract interest.   On the other hand, inventions which were more in accord with the technical level of his age became successful. He patented a new steam boiler in 1923 and an air compressor for mines in 1928. A patent application for his most important invention, the jet propulsion engine, was filed in Germany. This engine enabled aircraft to fly faster than the speed of sound. It took 4 years of preliminary examination before he received his patent in 1932. With this advanced invention Fonó proved himself ahead of his time.  From 1954 he was a corresponding member of theHungarianAcademy of Sciences. He received the Kossuth Prize in 1956 and from 1968 he was a corresponding member of the International Academy of Astronautics.- See Hungarian Inventors at the Hungarian Patent Office

– See The Spirit of Hungary or Purchasethis incredible book!

Mária Telkes (b. 1900, d. 1996)

Chemist, Engineer: Pioneer of Solar Energy: “Mother of the Solar Home,” ” The “Sun Queen,” and “world’s most famous woman inventor in solar energy.”Maria Telkes first became interested in the problems of solar power as a high-school student. She came to theUnited Statesin 1925 with a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from theUniversityofBudapest. After working for twelve years at the Cleveland Clinic as a biophysicist, she went to the research laboratories of Westinghouse Electric Corporation. Between 1939 and 1953 she was at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a research associate in metallurgy.  It was at MIT that she became known for her research in solar energy. The first experimental house using solar heating was built under her supervision in 1948.During World War II she served as civilian advisor to the Office of Scientific Research and Development, devoting her efforts to the design of a distilling system using solar heat to convert sea water into drinking water. In 1945, Dr. Telkes received a certificate from OSRD for her development of a portable solar distiller for life rafts. In 1953 she became project director at theCollegeofEngineering, NYU, and then research director of the Solar Energy Laboratory, Curtiss-Wright Corporation.She designed two more dwellings that harness solar energy and obtained approximately 20 patents (distillation equipment, portable desalination of seawater on life rafts, heat storage, cold storage).  She designed, built, and tested solar thermoelectric generators for terrestrial and space uses. She realized that fuel conservation was needed for 20th-century cook stoves so she decided to turn to a solar again and designed one of her well-known inventions: the solar oven.  The Ford Foundation issued a $45,000 grant to Dr. Telkes to continue the development of her solar oven. This grant allowed her to give it many more capabilities: her solar ovens are designed to be used to create any tribal or national cuisine, can by used safely by children, will not scorch foods, and free the cook from constant stirring. In 1973, public interest in solar energy grew after the oil shock. This led to the construction (a joint effort of MIT and the Department of Energy) of the Carlisle solar house inCarlisle,Massachusetts, in 1980. Her solar-energy inventions even led to the development of a faster way to dry crops.She received the first Achievement award ever given by the Society of Women Engineers in 1952 during her tenure at MIT in recognition of her meritorious contributions to the utilization of solar energy. In addition, Dr. Telkes became known as one of the pioneers of solar energy usage when she received the Charles Greeley Abbot Award (which is awarded by the American Solar Energy Society) in 1977.- See “Innovators and Innovations

– See the Society for Women Engineers

– See Virginia Tech

– See Inventions.org

Oscar Asbóth – (1881 – 1960)

Engineer: Student of Theodore Kármán and Helicopter Pioneer.   In the first decades of modern aviation history, airplane designers seeking for new flying techniques probed many different solutions; along with the rigid-wing “dra-gon” or the orni-thopter, they also experimented with propellers rotating around a vertical shaft. During World War I, Lieutenant-colonel István Petróczy, professor Tódor Kármán and Vilmos Zurovetz jointly made hovering experiments with a windmill plane. At some of these Oszkár Asbóth then only 27 years old, also participated.He finished his studies atArad, Transylvania (todayOradea inRomania) and became a member of a motor sport club as a teenager. He was only 18 when he built his first glider pulled up into the air by a motorcycle. Soon he designed an engine-driven plane and a stabilizer which was among the prize-winners at a competition organized by the Austro-Hungarian Defense Ministry.  After the outbreak of World War I, he did military service at an aircraft factory nearVienna where he was in charge of propeller manufacturing. Asbóth constructed and tested some 1500 propellers in the wind channel of the factory.  Ten years later Asbóth built his first helicopter. Powered by a 120 HP nine-cylinder engine and propelled by two wooden propellers, each 4.35 meter in diameter, placed parallel above each other and rotating in opposite direction, the model “AH 1” took off vertically on September 9, 1928. Tires were replaced by four footballs to provide sufficient flexibility for landing. For its maiden flight, after 1100 rotations the plane swiftly took off, at ten meters stopped, hovered for some ten minutes, than smoothly descended.A director of the research department of the British Air Ministry R. N. Liptrot, who also traveled on the helicopter, wrote in the British Journal of the Aeronautical Society in 1931:”the Asboth-helicopter ascends vertically with a remarkable speed…to any height where it can hover stationary for some time. It can be perfectly navigated. But the most remarkable is that, unlike other tested helicopters, this one remains absolutely stable around all axes…”Asbóth’s merits were much more recognized in foreign countries than in his homeland. In 1954, on the 25th anniversary of the maiden flight of his first helicopter, the Fédération Aeronautique Internationale (Paris) awarded Oszkár Asbóth with the Paul Tissandier diploma for his lifetime achievements in aeronautics.

See Hungarians in the History of Transportation

Zoltán Bay – (b. Gyulavári, Hungary, d. 1992, Washington, DC)

PhysicistFirst to use radar to take measurements of the moon, developed the Light Meter.Following his attendance at the Presbyterian Boarding-school in Debrecen, he continued his studies at the Pázmány Péter Academy of Sciences where he obtained his Ph.D. Following a four-year study tour in Berlin, from 1930 he worked at the Universityof Szegedas a professor of theoretical physics. He developed his radar in 1936 at the laboratory at Tungsram. As the head of the laboratory, he developed several patents in the field of high voltage gas discharge tubes, fluorescent and vacuum tubes. He lectured between 1938 and 1948 at the BudapestTechnicalUniversity. With his research team in 1946 he observed the reflection of radar beams aimed at the moon, which was considered revolutionary in space research at that time.He was forced to leave Hungary, and between 1948 and 1955 he worked as a professor of experimental physics at the GeorgeWashingtonUniversitywhere he was engaged in ionization experiments and light speed measurements, developing the definition of the“light meter.” On the basis thereof his new definition of the meterwas accepted by the International Weights and Standards Institute in 1983. , and from 1955 to 1972 he was a departmental head at the U.S. Bureau of Standards. Subsequently he became a professor at theAmericanUniversity. In 1981 theHungarianAcademy of Sciences and the Eötvös Loránd Society of Physics elected Bay honorary member. He achieved considerable success in the physics of active gases, and worked out the method of fast atom counting, operating on the principle of secondary electron multiplying. He justified by experiment that the universal system of measuring time and length based on the speed of light was in fact valid.On his 90th birthday he was decorated with the The Order of theHungarianRepublicadorned with rubies. He passed away inWashingtonon October 4th, 1992.- Visit the Bay Zoltán Bibliography

– See The Spirit of Hungary or Purchase this incredible book!

Paul Erdôs – (b. Born: 3/26/1913, Budapest, Hungary, d. 9/20/1996 Warsaw, Poland)

Legendary Mathematician: “The Greatest Mathematician of the 20th Century“When one reads of Paul Erdös, two words invariably come up: prolific and eccentric. While “above average” mathematicians publish some 20 articles in a lifetime, Erdös wrote over 1500 papers, books, and articles, more than any mathematician in history. To say that he was prolific, which means productive, is a fair description. The March 29, 1999 edition of Timemagazine, Michael D. Lemonick writes “In a profession with no shortage of oddballs, he was the strangest. Erdös had no home, no possessions, and no life aside from mathematics.” The statements are true, so eccentric is probably a fair description of Paul Erdös as well. Despite his peculiarities, Paul Erdös was arguably one of the greatest mathematicians of the twentieth century. He is credited with ‘one of the greatest mathematical discoveries of the twentieth century…the simple equation that two heads are better than one.'”Revered by colleagues and considered to be the “most brilliant mind in his field,” he collaborated with so many mathematicians that the phenomenon of the “Erdos Number”evolved. To have an Erdos number 1, a mathematician must have published a paper with Erdos. To have a number of 2, he or she must have published with someone who had published with Erdos, and so on. Four and a half thousand mathematicians have an Erdos number of 2. Erdös has been referred to as the Johnny Appleseed of Mathematics. In his final years, Erdös had become more forgetful and somewhat slower, but he continued to travel the world, spreading his love of mathematics as Johnny spread seeds. According to Erdös, to “die” was to quit doing mathematics. To “leave” was physical death. InWarsaw,Poland for a combinatorics meeting, Erdös “left” at the age of 83, of a heart attack.Quotes:”Television is something the Russians invented to destroy American education.”

“There’ll be plenty of time to rest in the grave”- See more from above and a great biography entitled, “The Mathematician Who Never Died: The Mathematical Contributions of Paul Erdös” by Cheryl Mootz

– To read the articles written on him in the New York Times, visit fellow mathematician from the University of Kolozsvár, Transylvania: Dr. Zoltán Kása’s Homepage

– Also see Erdôs at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, History of Mathematics Archive.

Eszter Pécsi (b. 1898 Kecskemét, Hungary, d. 1975, New York, USA)

Structural Engineer – designer of the first reinforced-concrete skyscraper! First woman to receive a degree in engineering inHungary (1920)Eszter Pecsi prepared the structural design for the indoor swimming pool on St.MargitIsland(Budapest, Hungary), and the first iron-framed tall building of Budapest, the Hospital on Fiume út. In 1957 she fled Hungary and worked in Vienna, Austria for a year where she designed the city’s first multi-level parking garage. From 1958 she lived and worked in New York. She was the structural designer of the first reinforced-concrete skyscraper (Hotel Americana) and two skyscrapers erected for the professors of Columbia University. For these three works, Pécsi received the year’s best structural engineering design award from New York City. She was also the structural designer of numerous buildings of New York University. She developed a special method to prepare the site of the foundation for the skyscrapers along the Hudson River, for which she was named the best structural engineer of the year.– See the Hungarian Folklore Museum

Anonymous – (14th century, Kócs, Komárom County, Northern Hungary [now called Komarno by Slovakia after annexation in 1920])

Inventor of the Light CarriageA significant invention was the pivoting of the front wheels of carts. The pivot allowed the cart or wagon to turn quickly within a very small radius. A lightweight coach with small front wheels, indicating a pivoted assembly, was first mentioned in writing by a French knight, Bertrandon de la Brocqučre, who visitedHungaryin 1433. In that same century, the kocsi, a four-wheel horse drawn vehicle developed inHungary, was an exceptionally practical form of passenger and light freight transport. It began to be produced in large numbers. The actual name comes from thevillageofKocsand the origin is reflected in other countries where it began to be used or manufactured: Kutsche in German, coche in French, coach in English, coccio in Italian, goetse in Flemish, koczi in Polish, koczy in Czech, and kusk in Swedish. (Even in the Caucasian region the word used was “madjar,” the local name for Hungarian-type carts.)Another major Hungarian contribution to the convenience of medieval transportation was the invention of the hintó or landau (barouche in French).  Matthias, the great renaissance king of Hungary, who travelled almost constantly, had strong and flexible wooden stays fixed vertically to the front and rear axles and had the carriage body suspended on these in such a way that it did not touch the rigid undercarriage but reacted to the jolts of the vehicle with a swaying movement. To make travelling more comfortable, the carriage was lined with leather cushions. This new type of vehicle, the Hungarian hintó soon became very popular all overEurope. In the 17th century the wooden stays were replaced with forged steel springs, but the original suspending mechanism has remained unchanged up to now.See Hungarians in the History of Transportation

Mihály Dénes (1894-1953)

Mechanical Engineer – Father of Sound Film and Television Broadcasting: Produced the first television program in history!Mihaly Denes graduated from VörösmartyMihályHigh School(Gimnázium) and received his degree in Mechanical Engineering from the TechnicalUniversityin Budapest. He is listed among the world’s leading scientists in the field of electronic image transmission. On 7 June 1916, he managed to produce a successful movie with a sound track. On 30 April 1918, he applied for a patent for a method called Projectophon for recording sound pictures. His method provided good quality sound tracks with 35 mm film stock using optical sound recording, and he can thus be regarded as the inventor of the sound film. His patent was published on 18 October 1922.He was also engaged in early experiments in television from the 1910s. He initially developed his inventions at the Telephone Factory in Budapest, before going to Berlinin 1924, to work for AEG. His first practical piece of equipment, the Telehor, was introduced in 1928. On 8 March 1929 the Berlin-Witzleben radio station transmitted the first live television broadcast in the world, using his system.Under Hitler’s rule, he was sent to a concentration camp for hiding the persecuted. In 1953, he died from tuberculosis he acquired there.- See “Innovators and Innovations“or

– See The Spirit of Hungary or Purchase this incredible book!

Imre Bródy (b. Gyula, Hungary 1891, d. Mühldorf, Germany 12/20/1944)

Physicist: Father of the Krypton Electric BulbBrody was university educated inBudapestand became a physicist. He wrote his doctoral dissertation on the chemical constant of monoatomic gases. First he taught high school, then he became an assistant professor in the department of applied physics at theUniversityofSciences. Early in his career he accomplished valuable theoretical work investigating specific heat and molecular heat. For a short period beginning in 1920 he worked with Max Born as assistant to the professor in Göttingen. They jointly worked out the dynamic theory of crystals.He returned home in 1923 and worked at Tungsram as an engineer until the end of his life. His most important invention dates from 1930. Late in the last century, scientists engaged in the radiation theory of incandescent bodies had already proved that an incandescent body radiates its energy mostly in the form of heat, and only a small part as light.Brody put his finger on the most important problems of incandescent lamp production. According to his hypothesis, the exit of evaporating tungsten atoms from the incandescent filament through the medium of gas was regulated not by diffusion only, as it was assumed, but was also influenced by other laws of nature. To eliminate such problems, he used gas of great molecular weight (He filled lamps with krypton gas in lieu of argon), thus attaining a longer life for the lamp. He chose the length and diameter of the incandescent wire in such a way that the filament’s glowing heat be increased without reducing the lamp’s life span. By using krypton gas, he developed an up-to-date lamp with longer life and better performance.He also developed a new process to ascertain the krypton content of air. At the cost of a few years’ work he demonstrated that krypton gas could be mass-produced at a cheap rate. Advantage of the krypton lamp was to emit more light without increased energy consumption. Its display at the Budapest Industrial Fair in 1936 was a technical sensation.Production of krypton filled lamps based on his invention started at Ajka in 1937. Subsequently Bródy worked on new light source problems. He remained with his family after the German occupation ofHungaryin 1944, and despite of the immunity the factory provided for him, he succumbed to certain death. He died on December 20, 1944 in Mühldorf as a victim of fascism.The Eötvös Loránd Society of Physics named a prize after him, thus commemorating his life’s work.

– See Hungarian Contribution to Universal Science

Gabor Bernath (b. 1985 Budapest)

Inventor, Child Computer Prodigy: at 15 Invented the commercially viable 3d Scanner, “ScanGuru,” and won the 50th Intel ISEFThe handling of three dimensional objects is becoming increasingly important for computers. Gabor Bernath’s goal was simple: deliver a 3D scanning tool at a reasonable price without compromising the quality of the product. Its realization was a little bit complicated. But manage he did. His finished product provides computer users with a means of visual communication that eliminates the use of very complex and expensive scanners. While a video camera films you, ScanGuru calculates all your 3D surface coordinates, and, within seconds, your 3D portrait will be on the screen for all to use. Gabor developed this clever way to use a simple digital camera and light source to capture a 3D model, and in the process created a new category among the 3D input devices for PCs.In 1999 Gabor won the Computer Science award in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair(ISEF), the world’s largest pre-college science competition, recognizing the world’s brightest high school science and engineering students for their scientific achievements with over $2 million in scholarships and grants.When big-footed Austrian broker Richard Hollmann heard about Gabor’s invention, after hearing it had won numerous science competitions, he said he knew it could be used for “all sorts of interesting products,” including custom-made shoes. When Gabor first heard Hollmann’s suggestion, he didn’t know what to make of it. He talked it over with his reluctant father, and they decided to go for it, founding EasyScan Ltd in 1998 and selling 60% of the company to 30-year-old Hollmann in exchange for $50,000. The process for the patent was started and the rights are owned by EasyScan Ltd. In 1999 the Hungarian Foundation for Innovation joined the company.- See EasyScan Ltd.’s Website or contact them at info@scanguru.hu

– see Business Week

Michael (Mihály) Somogyi (b. Zsámánd, Hungary 3/7/1883 [A.K.A. Reinersdorf, Burgenland, given to Austria after WWI] d. 1971, USA)

Professor, Chemist: Produced first Child Insulin Treatment in US – Developed the “Somogyi test” for the diagnosis of diabetesSomogyi graduated in chemistry from the Universityof Budapestin 1905 and then went to America. At first he had trouble finding suitable work, but eventually he obtained a position as assistant of biochemistry at the Cornell University Medical College, New York:, where he was active until 1908. That year Somogyi returned to Budapestto become chief chemist at the municipal laboratory. He obtained a doctorate from the Universityof Budapestin 1914.In 1922 a colleague at Cornell University persuaded him to return to the USA to become teacher of biochemistry at the Washington University’s medical school in St. Louis. In 1926 he became first chemist at the Jewish Hospital, St. Louis. In 1926, his first year working as a clinical chemist in St. Louis, he introduced a method for determining reducing sugars in human blood. He took a special interest in diabetic patients and in 1938, at a meeting of the medical society in St. Louis to the theme of “unstable, severe diabetic patients,” Somogyi first presented his theory that insulin treatment in itself might cause unstable diabetes. In 1940 he developed a method for the determination of serum amylase in healthy and diabetic individuals. He is also credited with devising a test for acute pancreatitis.

Somogyi was active at the Jewish Hospital,St. Louis, until his retirement in 1957. He died from a stroke on July 21, 1971.Trivia:

  • The first insulin treatment of a child with diabetes in theUSAon October, 1922, was done with a preparation of insulin produced by Somogyi.

Associated eponyms:

Somogyi’s method – Dinitrosalicylic acid (DNS) method used to assay for the product sugars.

Somogyi’s phenomenon – Rebound hyperglycaemia to counter regulatory hormone release.

Somogyi’s reagent – A reagent for the determination of sugars.

Somogyi’s unit – A measure of the level of activity of amylase in blood serum.

What is the “Somogyi Effect“?

– See The Spirit of Hungary or Purchase this incredible book! or

Who Named It.com

Thomas A. Sebeok (Sebők), (b. Budapest, 1921, d. 12/21/2002, Bloomington, Indiana)

Father of Modern Semiotics (the study of signs and non-verbal communication)A pioneer in the science of signs and symbols, he was noted for challenging the theory that apes and chimpanzees could learn language to communicate with humans. Dr. Sebeok, a professor emeritus atIndianaUniversity, published more than 60 books in his field, known as semiotics, including the classic “Speaking of Apes” (1979), which he edited with his wife. He argued that apes could not learn language because they lacked the body parts for language, like a larynx or vocal cords, and that they were unable to pass language on to their offspring.” Dr. Sebeok showed that nonhuman animals need both the anatomy and nature for learning language,” said Dr. Marcel Danesi, a professor of semiotics at theUniversityofToronto, who has also written extensively in the field. “His work demonstrated that if language were a genetic endowment in apes, then we could just teach them and they would pass it on.” When Dr. Sebeok began his career, his field was limited to the study of language. But with the publication of his “Approaches to Semiotics” (1964), he revolutionized that field, expanding it beyond human language to nonverbal communication in all organisms.In 1981, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission turned to Dr. Sebeok for help in developing “keep away” signs that could be understood by people in 10,000 years, the duration that nuclear waste may be dangerous to humans. Dr. Sebeok suggested signs with words, pictures, cartoons and stick figures to indicate danger. The signs, he said, should also include a “veiled threat that to ignore the mandate would be to invite some sort of supernatural retribution.” Thomas Albert Sebeok was born inBudapestbut left to study atCambridgeand then immigrated to theUnited States, receiving a bachelor’s degree at theUniversityofChicagoand a doctorate atPrinceton. He next went toIndiana, where he created its department of Uralic and Altaic studies, covering languages ofEastern Europe,RussiaandAsia. There, he was chairman of itsResearchCenterfor Language and Semiotic Studies, retiring in 1991. Dr. Sebeok held visiting appointments at 33 universities in 17 countries and received the Distinguished Service Award of the American Anthropological Association. He died at his home inBloomington,Indianafrom leukemia.- See the New York Times or

– Read about him in Hungarian

Antal Bejczy (b. Budapest 1930 -)

Engineer – Developed Mars Rover “Sojourner,” and Pathfinder’s Remote Control SystemBejczy  worked at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering of the Technical University of Budapest until the anti-Soviet revolution of 1956. Fleeing Hungary, he finished his studies at the University of Oslo, Norway, where he received Ph.D. in Applied Physics in 1963. Following space research with NATO, he eventually established himself in the United States. He was appointed Head of the NASA Telerobotics Development Program in 1969. He led development of The Mars “microrover,” dubbed Sojourner. This work was completed with the active participation of fellow Hungary Page honorees Ferenc Pavlics the Hungarian originator of the Moon Rover and Pál Greguss (below) of PAL Optics fame. Bejczy was also the Principal Investigator of a robot arm force-torque sensor and control flight experiment on the Space Shuttle in 1994Bejczy continues as Senior Research Scientist in the Telerobotics Research Program at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) at the California Institute of Technology. His major research interests have been robotics and advanced teleoperation. He is an IEEE Distinguished Lecturer for the Robotics and Automation Society and has won numerous Awards.- See Hungarian Participation in Space Research or

Inventor of the Last Decade of the 20th Century

Pál Greguss (b. Budapest 1921 – )

Chemical Engineer and Physicist:  invented the Pál-Optic used in NASA’s Deep Space ProgramThis invention is a panoramic lens and is among the instruments of the space probe launched within the Deep Space Program. While it takes the Sojourner 6000 photographs to assemble a panorama picture, the Pál-Optic is able to do so in ONE. This lens provides a 360° vision of the Earth, the Sun and the Moon simultaneously, and therefore it can be used to determine the exact location of the space probe.Pal Greguss is currently Professor Emeritus at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics. Some of his recognition includes: The Pioneer Award in Medical Ultrasonics from WFUMB (World Federation of Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology) and AIUM (American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine); and NASA’s Certificate of Recognition for Radial Metrology that was based on his invention, the PAL-optic. For the same invention and its applications he received the “Invenció ’91” Award from the Hungarian Association of Inventors, the Genius ‘96 Oscar Award. For his further developed version, the “Humanoid Machine Vision System in Space, on Earth and Under Water,” he won the Gold Medal of the 1st Inventors’ Olympic Games – Genius’ 98. He is author of over 330 scientific publications including several books, and owner of more than 20 patents all around the world.- See the Hungarian Folklore Museum or

– Read more about him in Hungarianat the Budapest University of Technology and Economics: greguss@manuf.bme.hu

Ferenc Pávlics – (b. 1928 Balozsameggyes, Hungary)

Engineer – Developed NASA’s Moon Rover and Directed Development of the Mars RoverFrank Pavlics, mechanical engineer, worked as a researcher at the headquarters of the armored vehicle arsenal of the USarmy in Detroit, at the defense research laboratory of General Motors and at the electronics division of the Santa Barbara Plant. He conducted research regarding the improvement of vehicles designed to travel on rough terrain and the use of vehicles designed for travel on the surface of the Moon. He developed for NASA the first vehicle in history which traveled on extraterrestrial terrain, the moon rover, used on the Moon by the Apollo 11 expedition in 1969. The rover, known as Newcomer, was improved by NASA under Pavlics’ direction, and landed on Mars in 1997 with the space probe named Trailfinder.– See Hungarian Participation in Space Research

János András Segner (b. 1704, Pozsony, Hungary [now Bratislava after Slovak annexation], d. 1777, Halle, Germany )

Father of the Water Turbine: First scientist to use reactive force and made substantial contributions to the theory of Dynamics.The first scientist to use the reactive force of water was the Hungarian who constructed the first water-jet, the Segner-Wheel. When we turn on our sprinklers in the garden, we should remember Segner, who also produced, among other things, the first proof of Descartes’ theory of signs. Historians of science remember him as the father of the water turbine.Segner attended school at Pozsony’s Lyceum where he showed special talents for medicine and mathematics. In 1725 he entered theUniversityofJena, studying medicine there. He did not find being a doctor of medicine to his liking and he returned to the academic world accepting a chair at theUniversityofJena. He had the great distinction of becoming the first professor of mathematics at Göttingen taking up the chair in 1735. Segner’s was therefore the first to fill what was to become one of the foremost chairs of mathematics in the world. In 1743 Segner was put in charge of the construction of the university observatory which was finished in 1751.Segner’s wheel established the basic principles on which the jet turbine was developed decades later. It works on the principle of a stream of water coming out of a cylinder which at its lowest part has several horizontal paddles bent in one direction. The water streaming through the paddles produces a counter-pressure able to turn the cylinder in the opposite direction.- See Segner for more

– See The Spirit of Hungary or Purchase this incredible book!

István Dorogi (b. Hungary, 1885 – ?)

Chemical Engineer / Inventor: Father of Mass Produced Inflatable Toys, Forms and Figures!Istvan Dorogi was a chemical engineer and inventor. Between 1929 and 1934, he developed a process for the industrial mass production of inflatable formes/figuresmade of rubber. For this procedure he obtained 52 Hungarian and 150 international patents. The solutions and methods he developed are widely used in the modern rubber industry to manufacture inflatable toys, boats, life-savers, etc.- See the Hungarian Folklore Museum

Móricz Kohn Kaposi (b. 10/23/1837 Kaposvár, Hungary, d. 1902 Vienna, Austria)

Physician and Dermatologist: Described Kaposi’s SarcomaMoritz Kaposi was born Moriz Kohn to poor parents. He attended a Hungarian elementary school and received the first four years of secondary schooling in his native city. He then moved to Pozsony (Pressburg,Bratislava) to complete the remaining four years of education in the German school in that City. Thereafter, Kohn went toViennawhere he enrolled in theViennaUniversityMedicalSchoolin 1856 and from which he graduated as a doctor of medicine on 13 December, 1861, as doctor of surgery on 14 April, 1862, and as master of obstetrics on 12 July, 1866. immediately was appointed assistant to Ferdinand von Hebra (1816-1880), the noted Austrian dermatologist. He worked with Hebra from 1862 to 1867 and fell in love with and later married Hebra’s daughter. As Hebra was Catholic and Kohn Jewish, he converted to Catholicism and changed his name to Kaposi – a play on his place of birth, Kaposvár. After his father-in-law’s death, he took over the University’s Department.Kaposi (Kaposy) conducted significant research in the fields of malignant tumors and venereal diseases. While working at theVienna GeneralHospital, he described odd skin tumors in five men in their sixth and seventh decades of life as “idiopathic multiple pigmented sarcoma of the skin.”  Since these initial findings, four main types of Kaposi’s Sarcoma (KS), also termed “multiple idiopathic hemorrhagic sarcoma”, have been documented. The most common form, that associated with Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, has been well documented since first described in the early 1980’s.Much has been written over the last century about Kaposi and similarly, the dermatological entities we associate with his name have been much commented upon e.g. lupus erythematosus, the Kaposi sarcoma, Xeroderma pigmentosum, and several others. Many honors were bestowed upon Kaposi. He became a member of the imperial Order of (Emperor) Leopold; he was appointed “Hofrath”, officer of the Légion d’Honneur elected member of many other national and international scientific bodies. Kaposi was a polyglot, being fluent in Hungarian, German, French, and English. At international congresses he was sought as a speaker, but he was also a sharp critic, feared for his caustic remarks. He was well integrated into the Viennese society of the time and was a friend of many artists, e.g., the famous painter Makart who also was his patient and who did a portrait of his wife, and the sculptor Kundmann who created the statue crowning the Kaposi tomb, for which Kaposi’s wife Martha served as model.- See the Hungarian Folklore Museum or

WhoNamedIt.com or

– Learn about Kaposi’s Sarcoma at the University of Bonn or

– Read a biography at the University of Paris

Béla Schick – (b. 7/16/1877 Balatonboglár, Hungary – d. 1967, USA)

Pediatric Doctor / Researcher: Pioneer in immunologyDevised the “Schick test” for determining susceptibility to diphtheria.From the Jewish Virtual Library: Young Bela Schick quoted the Talmud: “The world is kept alive by the breath of children,” to help persuade his father to allow him to pursue continued education in pediatrics, rather than to join the family grain merchant business inGraz,Austria. Schick became assistant at the Children’s Clinic inVienna, and later associate professor of pediatrics atViennaUniversity.He emigrated to the United States, and in 1923 became pediatrician-in-chief at New York’s Mount SinaiHospital. He later (1936) was appointed clinical professor of pediatrics at ColumbiaUniversity. Schick made important studies on scarlet fever, tuberculosis, and the nutrition for infants … but gained international renown for the Schick Test. This test determined susceptibility to diphtheria, and eventually led to the eradication of the childhood disease that attacked 100,000 Americans in 1927, leading to about 10,000 deaths.A massive five-year campaign, coordinated by Dr. Schick, virtually eliminated the dreaded disease that had taken countless young lives since it was first mentioned in the sixth century writings of Aetius. As a part of the campaign, 85 million pieces of literature were distributed by Metropolitan Life Co. with an appeal to parents to “Save your child from diphtheria.” These illustrated brochures (reproduced here) were created by a talented young artist who had recently emigrated fromGermany- Gerta Ries. Remarkably, this same Gerta Ries (Wiener) was commissioned over 75 years later to create the sculptured tribute to Dr. Béla Schick for the Jewish-American Hall of Fame.

Sándor (Alexander) Pfitzner (1880-1910)

Engineer: Designed the first American Monoplane for CurtissBecame a constructor at the Herring Curtiss Aeroplane Factory. He took off with his originally-designed plane in Hammondsport, on December 20, 1909 and this was the first successful flight of a monoplane in the United States, where only bi-planes had been in use thus far. He tragically committed suicide at the age of 30. Little is known about him: please send information to hipcat@hungary.org.– Read more at Hungarians in Transportation

Frigyes Riesz – (b. 1/22/1880, Györ, Hungary, d. 2/28/1956 in Budapest)

Mathematician: A founder of functional analysisHis younger brother and fellow renowned mathematician Marcel Riesz, introduced the Riesz means. Riesz was a founder of functional analysis and his work has many important applications in physics.Riesz was appointed to a chair in Kolozsvár inHungaryin 1911. However, the Hungarian government was forced to sign the Treaty of Trianon on 4 June, 1920.Hungarywas left with less than one third of the land that had previously beenHungary.Romania,CzechoslovakiaandYugoslaviaall took over large areas butAustria,PolandandItalyalso gained land fromHungary. Kolozsvár was no longer inHungaryafter the Treaty of Trianon but rather it was inRomaniaand was renamed Cluj, so theHungarianUniversitythere had to move within the new Hungarian borders and it moved toSzegedin 1920, where there had previously been no university.In Szegedin 1922 Riesz set up the János Bolyai Mathematical Institute in a joint venture with Haar. Of course the Institute was named after the famous Hungarian mathematician whose birthplace was Kolozsvár, the town from which the university had just been forced to move after the French awarded Transylvania and theBanat to the Rumanians. In 1945 Riesz was appointed to the chair of mathematics in theUniversity ofBudapest. Riesz received many honours for his work. He was elected to theHungarianAcademy of Science and, in 1949, he was awarded its Kossuth Prize. He was elected to the Paris Academy of Sciences and to the Royal Physiographic Society of Lund inSweden. He received honorary doctorates from the universities ofSzeged,Budapest andParis.- See more at Riesz or Hungarian mathematicians and physicists

Imre Izsák, the Hungarian-American expert of celestial mechanics of the Space Age (1929-1965).

East of it is the tiny crater honoring Imre Izsák, the Hungarian-American expert of celestial mechanics of the Space Age (1929-1965

Péter Gergely (b. 1936 Budapest , d. 1995 Ithaca, New York)

Architect and Structural Engineer: Founder of the National Center for Earthquake EngineeringPeter Gergely completed his studies inHungary,Canadaand theUnited Statesand received his Ph.D. in 1963. He fought as a University National Guard in the Hungarian Freedom Fight of 1956 and escaped to theUSfrom the Soviet invasion. For 32 years he was a professor atCornellUniversity. From 1983-88 he was chair of the Department of Structural Engineering and from 1985-88 director of theSchoolofCiviland Environmental Engineering.Gergely’s research and discoveries, published in over 100 scientific papers, led to significant advancements in understanding the mechanics of reinforced and pre-stressed concrete and its application to building codes. He also made pioneering contributions in structural dynamics and earthquake engineering. His discoveries provided answers to many previous problems that occured in areas of moderate seismicity. His improved building codes for structures, especially nuclear plants in earthquake zones are used on a national level. Much of his discoveries were realized through the National Center for Earthquake Engineering which he helped found. He volunteered in many scientific associations and received six international awards. In 1992, Gergely, a dedicated Hungarian, received an honorary doctorate from the Technical University of Budapest for his international activities in the advancement of the construction industry and improvement of reinforced concrete.– See Hungarian Inventors

Alfred Haar -(b. 10/11/1885 Budapest, d. 3/16/1933 Szeged, Hungary.)

Mathematician: Introduced a measure on groups, now called the Haar measure, used by von Neumann, and other notablesIn 1903, in his final year in school, Alfréd Haar won first prize in the Eötvös contest in mathematics. Haar travelled to Germany in 1904 to study at Göttingen and there he studied under Hilbert‘s supervision, obtaining his doctorate in 1909.Haar then taught at Göttingen until 1912 when he returned to Hungary and held chairs at the university in Kolozsvár (which is now Cluj in Romania), Budapest University and Szeged University. In fact after Word War I Kolozsvár was no longer in Hungary, so the University there had to move within Hungarian borders and it moved to Szeged, where there had previously been no university. Haar, together with Riesz, rapidly made a major mathematical centre from the new university. In 1932 he introduced a measure on groups, now called the Haar measure, used by von Neumann, and other notables.- For more visit: Haar or Hungarian mathematicians and physicists

Rudolf Emil Kálmán – (b. May 19, 1930, Budapest)

Mathematician: Developed the Kálmán Filter which is the “greatest discovery in statistics in our century.” Kalman filtering is also the method used in GPS (Global Positioning Systems)for navigation.Kalman emigrated to theUSin 1943 and received the bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1953 and 1954 respectively. He received the doctorate degree (D. Sci.) fromColumbiaUniversityin 1957. In the early years of his career he held research positions at IBM and at the Research Institute for Advanced Studies inBaltimore. From 1962 to 1971, he was atStanfordUniversity. In 1971, he became a graduate research professor and director of the Center for Mathematical System Theory at theUniversityofFlorida, recently retiring with emeritus status.Kalman’s contributions to control theory and to applied mathematics and engineering in general have been widely recognized. In 1985, he was one of four recipients of the Kyoto Prize, inaugurated in that year by the Inamori Foundation ofJapan. The Kyoto prize, which in 1985 carried a cash award of 45 million yen (then about $200,000), is sometimes referred to as the “Japanese Nobel prize.” It recognizes “outstanding intellectual or creative activities which have significantly enriched the human experience.” Kalman received the prize in the field of advanced technology. Among the other honors Kalman has received are theInstituteofElectricaland Electronics Engineers’ highest award, the Medal of Honor (1974), and the American Mathematical Society’s Steele Prize (1986), which recognized the fundamental importance of the papers on linear filtering Kalman published in 1960 and 1961. Kalman is a member of the French, Hungarian, andRussianAcademiesof Sciences and of the National Academy of Engineering, and is a Fellow of theAmericanAcademyof Arts and Sciences.Read more at: Kálmán I or Kálmán II or learn about the Kalman Filter

Arthur Erdélyi – (b. 10/2/1908, Budapest, Hungary, d. 12/12/1977 Edinburgh, Scotland)

Mathematician – His works are cited as “the most widely cited mathematical works of all time and a basic reference source for generations of applied mathematicians and physicists throughout the world.”Erdelyiattended primary and secondary schools inBudapest from 1914 to 1926. He went toBrno,Czechoslovakia to study electrical engineering. However, after winning prizes in a mathematics competition in his first year he was persuaded to study mathematics. He began research in mathematics and his first paper was published in 1930.By the end of 1936 Arthur had 18 papers in print, another 11 appearing in 1937. Arthur wrote no doctoral thesis, he merely matriculated at theUniversityofPrague, and submitted his papers instead of a thesis. He was awarded a doctorate in 1938 but because of the Nazi invasion ofCzechoslovakiahe was told he had to leave the country by the end of 1938 or be sent to a concentration camp. He made it toScotlandwhere he held a research grant fromEdinburghand later became a lecturer there.In 1947 Erdélyi arrived in Caltech as a Visiting Professor. After returning to Edinburghfor session 1948/49 he resigned in 1949 to take up a chair in California. At Caltech Erdélyi headed a team which produced 3 volumes of Higher Transcendental Functions and 2 volumes of Tables of Integral Transforms.In 1964 he returned to Edinburghwhere a second chair of mathematics had been created to provide leadership since Aitken was in very poor health. He remained in Edinburgh until his death, continuing a steady stream of high quality papers up to the time of his death. A list of 178 mathematical papers and articles. Erdélyi received many honours, the most prestigious being elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1975.To see more, visit the Mathematical History Archive: Erdélyi

Madeleine Forró Barnóthy (b. Zsámbok, Hungary 1904, d. Chicago, Illinois 1993)

Astrophysicist, Pioneer in the study of Cosmic Radiation, Bio-Magnetism and Magnetic Therapy, first Woman to earn a doctorate in physics in Hungary!Barnothy studied inBudapestandGöttingen,Germany. In 1928 she earned her doctorate in physics. From 1928 to 1948 she was a physics professor at theBudapestUniversity. In 1948 she settled in theUSAwith Jenö Barnóthy, her husband and fellow scientist. First she taught physics at theBaratCollegeinLake Forest,Illinois. In 1955 both Barnóthy’s were asked to lead a company which manufactured radiological research instruments. At the same time (1953-1959) Madeleine Forró Barnóthy was also teaching physics at theUniversityofIllinois.Barnothy specialized in cosmic radiation, astro and nuclear physics and biomagnetism. She was the author of over 150 scientific papers and editor of the two-volume book Biological Effects of Magnetic Fields (1964). Already in 1964 Dr. Madeleine F. Barnóthy predicted that the magnetic field will in due time develop into a powerful new analytic and therapeutic tool of medicine. Her last scientific article concerning astronomy (What is Time?), co-written with husband Jenö Barnóthy, was published in 1991, two years before her death. She was a member of numerous American and international scientific associations. Forró Barnóthy was a pioneer in the research of the phenomena of cosmic radiation, a prerequisite for conquering the universe.- See Hungarian Inventors

– Read about Electromagnetic Healing

George Pólya – (b. 12/13/1887 Budapest, d. 9/7/1985 Palo Alto, California)

Mathematician: “The Great TeacherPolya worked in probability, analysis, number theory, geometry, combinatorics and mathematical physics. He left Hungaryfor BrownUniversityfor two years and later took up an appointment at Stanford. He enjoyed the esteem of the mathematical community not only for his deep and influential contributions in a variety of mathematical fields, but also for his groundbreaking work in the teaching of mathematics. His standing in the latter area could rest solely on his having written one of the most widely read books in mathematics, the still-popular How to Solve It. Various other books were almost equally influential, however: Mathematical Discovery and Mathematics and Plausible Reasoning,to name but two.In addition to his championing problem-solving, he contributed to mathematics important results in complex and real analysis, inequalities, mathematical physics, combinatorics, probability theory, number theory and geometry. He coined the phrases “random walk” and “central limit theorem” and gave to mathematics the Pólya Enumeration Theorem, along with many other ideas used widely today.- For more: Pólya (you can even buy a T-Shirt with his “necklace theorem”) or

– Review and buy an biography, “Random Walks of  George Polya

Alfréd Rényi – (b. 3/30/21 Budapest, d. 2/1/70 Budapest)

Mathematician. Discovered “one of the strongest methods of analytical number theory.”His scientific work covers almost all of mathematics; he has made relevant contributions in all branches, and was founder of theHungarianProbabilityTheorySchool. His research departed from Number Theory. Known by the nickname of Buba, he is best remembered for proving that every even integer is the sum of a prime and an almost prime number (one with only two prime factors). He finished his studies inBudapest. After graduation he won a competition in Greek language, and from 1940 on he was a student of Lipót Fejér inBudapest. During Word War II he was in a labor camp. He finished his PhD studies inSzegedunder Friedrich Riesz in 194. He is also remembered as the author of the anecdotes:

“A mathematician is a machine for converting coffee into theorems”

“If I feel unhappy, I do mathematics to become happy. If I am happy, I do mathematics to keep happy”

Renyi was the founder, and for 20 years the director, of the Mathematical Institute of theHungarianAcademyof Sciences. He was a famous raconteur remembered for many performances of his dialogue, which he spoke with his daughter, on the nature of mathematics. He received the Kossuth Prize twice (1949, 1954).

– For more, visit: Rényi or www.renyi.hu

–  See the Alfréd Rényi Institute of Mathematics at theHungarianAcademy of Sciences

Paul Turán – (b. 8/28/10 Budapest, d. 9/26/76 Budapest)

Mathematician: Erdos’s closest friend and collaborator and Great Hungarian number theoristTurán’s first work was on probabilistic number theory and in 1938 he produced the sum-power method. He died of cancer with his wife at his bedside. She reported that the last words he murmured were “Big Oh of One.” Mathematicians tell this story with awe and inspiration as he was doing number theory to the very end!For photo and more visit: Turán

Gabor Szegö – (b. 1/20/1895 Kunhegyes, Hungary, d.: 8/7/85 Palo Alto, California)

Mathematician: Head of University of Stanford Mathematics Szego received his Ph.D. inViennain 1918.  After teaching at the Technical School of Budapest and theUniversityofBerlin, he went to theUniversityofKoenigsbergwhere he was Professor of Mathematics from 1926 to 1934.   With the rise of anti-Semitism inGermanyin the 1930’s, it became necessary for him to leave.  By this time an analyst of great stature,  he was offered a temporary position atWashingtonUniversityin 1934.During the years 1934-1936, he was supported by a Rockefeller Foundation Grant, matched by The Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced German Scholars, and for the next two years by contributions from local philanthropists.  Szego remained atWashingtonUniversityuntil 1938, when he accepted an offer to become Head of the Mathematics Department at Stanford.  Szego remained at Stanford until his retirement in 1960. Szegö’s most important work was in the area of Orthogonal Polynomials and Toeplitz matrices.The bust in Stanford’s courtyard is one of two copies of the original sculpture (located in front of the Town Library in his city of birth,Kunhegyes,Hungary).  Contributions from mathematics alumni and faculty made the bust possible, and it was dedicated in a ceremony on May 8, 1997.  The other copy of the original is atStanfordUniversity.- For more: Szegö

József Petzvál (b.1807 in Szepesbéla, Hungary, now called Spisska Bela in Slovakia; d.1891 in Vienna, Austria)

Inventor: A Founder of Photography: His Work allowed for construction of modern cameras and made practical portrait-photography possible. Invented Photographic Objective Lens, Darkroom, Opera Glass, and perfected the telescopePetzval is best remembered for his work on optical lenses and lens aberration done in the early 1840’s (Petzval curvature is named after him) which allowed the construction of modern cameras. Petzval produced an achromatic portrait lens that was vastly superior to the simple meniscus lens then in use. The Petzval lens, though a very old design form, is still a mainstay in lens libraries.There are different versions of Petzval’s name, and, in addition to the one given here, he is often known as Jozef Maximilian Petzval. Jozef was the son of a schoolmaster and he attended school in Levoca (original Hungarian name needed) and Kassa (nowKosiceafter Slovak annexation). In 1826 he entered theUniversityofPestto study philosophy and mathematics. Petzval became an assistant at theUniversityofPestin 1835. Then, two years later, he accepted a chair of mathematics at theUniversityofVienna. At theUniversityofViennahe studied in detail Daguerre’s invention, the so-called daguerreotype, and took on shortening its exposure time from minutes to seconds.A tragic story:

A colleague suggested Petzval design a new camera lens to compete in a prize competition. Petzval initially resisted (precisely as Ernst Abbe was to resist Carl Zeiss’s similar suggestion a generation later) but soon relented and began work. Petzval obtained the assistance of three corporals and eight gunners from the Austrian army at the direction of Archduke Ludwig, then Director-General of Artillery, to aid in his calculations. Within six months, the design was completed and took the photographic world by storm. In 1840, his extraordinary mathematical talent allowed him to assess and build an anastigmatic with six times greater luminosity.Petzval knew Peter Wilhelm Frederich Voigtlander, then head of a small optical shop, who began producing the lens. Voigtlander refused to render an accounting to Petzval, and the two men had a falling out in 1845. Petzval began grumbling about having been cheated, so Voigtlander opened a branch operation in Braunschweig, in the Germanies, in 1849, where the Petzval lens was produced in great quantity, some 60,000 lenses being made in the first twenty years of production. Petzval turned to another optical house, that of Dietzler, in 1854. Petzval only held an Austrian patent, so the Petzval Portrait Lens was made simultaneously inViennaby Dietzler and by Voigtlander in Braunschweig; Habsburg law did not run into the Germanies by this date, so Voigtlander could operate with some immunity in Braunschweig. Deitzler failed in 1862, and Petzval seems to have threatened to take the matter to law, so Voigtlander closed his Austrian operations in 1866, clearly in great favor with the Habsburg court, as he was accorded the “von” moniker in that same year. The end result was that Petzval lived until 1891, an embittered and impoverished man who had completely turned his back on optics; PWF Voigtlander retired in 1876 and died old and rich two years later, having seen his firm expand from a small optical shop to a major industrial enterprise upon the grand success of the Petzval lens. His son, Friedrich Ritter von Voigtlander, was the last family member to run the business; when he died in 1924, his five daughters became the owners and sold the concern to the Schering drug company, who, in turn, sold it to Zeiss in 1950.Trivia:

  • Petzval also perfected the telescope and designed the opera glass.
  • There is a Crater Petzval on the moon! Named in memory of the mathematician, professor and inventor at theUniversityofVienna. With his Petzval lens many minor planets were discovered by means of this portrait design at the end of the nineteenth century.
  • He is buried at Zentralfriedhof (CentralCemetery) inViennaalong with Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart.

A streetin Viennabears his name as does a crater on the far side of the Moon.

– Nice detail on Scribblers-Inc or

– Visit Petzval atSt. AndrewsUniversity

János Kornai

Economist, Harvard Professor: Developed the “economics of shortage” theoryKornai’s distinguished career in economics reflects a unique combination of East-West experiences. Born and educated inHungary, Professor Kornai was an early critic of centralized economies. His PhD dissertation, entitled ‘Overcentralization’, written before and published after the 1956 Hungarian Revolution by Oxford University Press, was the first critical book on the command economy written by an ‘insider’.  The work caused considerable controversy inHungaryand elsewhere, and Professor Kornai lost his job inHungaryas a university professor because of it. Yet, he continued to live and work inHungary, and is respected both for his decision to remain there and for his many contributions since then to economics in general and to the Hungarian transition in particular.His most influential book on the subject was The Economics of Shortage, which demonstrated that chronic shortages are not consequences of planners’ errors or the wrong prices, but rather inevitable consequences of the traditional, ‘classical’ communist system. The book has been translated into many languages – inChina it has sold over 100,000 copies. Over the years, Professor Kornai has written a series of books questioning general equilibrium theory and analyzing economic shortage and the communist system. In light of the recent social and economic changes in Central andEastern Europe, much of his written work has turned out to be prophetic.Professor Kornai joined the faculty ofHarvardUniversityon a part-time basis in 1986 and was named the Allie S. Freed Professor of Economics there in 1992. His ties toHungaryremain strong: In 1992, he became a Permanent Fellow of the Collegium Budapest, Institute for Advanced Study; and, since 1967, he has been a Research Professor at theInstituteofEconomics,HungarianAcademyof Sciences. He has been President of the Econometric Society and the European Economic Association. He is a Member of theHungarianAcademyof Sciences and of five other Academies. He has received the highest Hungarian prizes for scholarship, as well as the Seidman Award (USA), and the Humboldt Prize (Germany); he has also been made an Officier of the Legion d’Honneur.- Read More or

– Read the interview: “Turning Visions into Reality

Kornél Szilvay

Officer in the Fire Brigade: Father of the Dry Fire Extinguisher!Kornel Szilvay patented his dry extinguisher in 1923. This device sprayed a powder (sodium bicarbonate) onto the fire with compressed inert gas. His equipment came on the market in 1925.- See “Innovators and Innovations

Kálmán Tihanyi (b. 4/28/1897 d. 2/26/1947)

Physicist: Father of the Picture Tube and Television Pioneer (NOT Zworykin) – Invented the Picture Tube (Iconoscope), Infrared-sensitive (night vision) television, and Flat TV TubeBorn in Uzbeg, Coloman Tihanyi studied electrical engineering and physics in Pozsony (nowBratislavaafter Slovak annexation) andBudapest. His most important inventions – bought and developed by RCA, Loewe, and Fernseh AG – concerned the design of the cathode ray tube for television.He patented his fully electronic television system in 1926. Though superficially similar to such earlier proposals, it represented a radical departure. Like the final, improved version he would patent in 1928, it embodied a new concept in design and operation, building upon a phenomenon that would become known as the “storage principle.” The invention was received with enthusiasm by Telefunken and Siemens, but in the end they opted for continued development of mechanical television.RCA approached Tihanyi in 1930, after the publication of his patents in Englandand France. Negotiations continued until 1934, when RCA, ready to unveil its new television system based on Tihanyi’s design, purchased his patents. These covered controlling features that the U.S. patent examiners, citing Tihanyi’s prior publications, had denied Zworykin’s 1930 – 31 applications.U. S. patents assigned to RCA were issued to Tihanyi in 1938-39 with 1928 priority. Now it is became clear that the originator of this pivotal invention was Kalman Tihanyi. Tiahnyi’s device was manufactured from 1930 on for transmitting television programs. Charge-storage has remained the basic principle of modern television. In 1939 he submitted a patent application inEngland for the flat TV tube.- See Memory of the World Register at Unesco with history and details on his patents

– Read the 1998 “Electronics World” article, “Rewriting History” about the truth behind RCA and the Picture Tube

– See “Innovators and Innovations” or


Miksa Herz

Architect – known in Egypt as Pasha Herz…Played the greatest role in the architecture ofEgyptin general and in that of modernCairoin particular. The Egyptian Museum, visited by millions of people every year, stands out among the many public buildings designed by him on his own or together with the Frenchman Eiffel.- See the The birth and achievements of Hungarian oriental studies

Count Ede László Almásy (b. Borostyanko, Hungary 1895 [now called Bernstein after Austrian annexation], d. 1951, Salzburg)

Explorer, Double Agent! Immortalized in “The English Patient”Almasy exhibited a penchant for new technology early on as he was already an aviation pioneer and expert driver by the age of 17. By the age of 20 he was a pilot in the Austro-Hungarian Air Force. Almasy ran several car and plane expeditions to Africain the 1920s and 30s. He engaged in exploring the Saharadesert, carried out cartographic surveys, and also discovered prehistoric cave paintings. His name is preserved to the present day by an airport near Cairo. During World War II Almasy served on the staff of Field Marshall Erwin Rommel as head of a group of desert scouts. Rommel also entrusted him with various intelligence missions, one of which was the exploit at the heart of the novel The Eye of the Needleby Ken Follett.When the Hungarian arrived inNorth Africain 1926 he was 31 and penniless, a bitter survivor of World War I in which he had served with the defeated Austro-Hungarian air force. In North Africa, the count’s only asset was a connection with some wealthy Egyptian princelings whom he had met on shooting parties inHungary. They were keen to enjoy some hunting and adventure in the desert to the south of their country, and turned to the veteran pilot for help. Despite his boy-scout looks, Almasy loved  intrigue. In the 1930s Almasy offered his services to British intelligence, but was turned down because he was suspected of being pro-German. He then started passing his hand-drawn maps to grateful officers of Mussolini’s army inLibya. By 1940, he was fully involved with the Abwehr – German military intelligence – and proposed a plan directly to its chief inBerlinto provoke an uprising in British-occupiedEgypt, led by a local pasha who was one of his pre-war contacts. The plan came to nothing when the pasha crashed his plane into a palm tree as he headed toGermanyfor his briefing. By the summer of 1942, Rommel’s Afrika Korps was pushing to within hours ofCairo, and the count seized his chance to impress with his boldest plan yet. He would motor with a small convoy 3370 kilometres across the great desert fromLibya, entirely through enemy territory, using his own sketch maps. When he reached theNilehe would drop off two agents, then head back the same way. He achieved this stupendous feat of endurance, and Rommel personally promoted him to the rank of major and awarded him an Iron Cross.Almasy survived the desert campaigns and continued to work for the Abwehr inTurkey, until he sensed he was again on the losing side of a world war. This time he fed his secrets to the British. Even so, when the war ended, he was sent by the Allies toHungaryand imprisoned in a Russian camp. He escaped with the help of friends in the Egyptian royal family, and was bundled into an aeroplane bound forCairo. Almasy’s published memoir of part of his service with and for Rommel, first published in the early 1940s, has just been republished inHungary.- See the The birth and achievements of Hungarian oriental studies

– Read The Real Count Almasy

– See the New York Times article, “The Real Hungarian Count Was No ‘English Patient‘”

– A great site in Spanish “El verdadero “Paciente Inglés

János Luppis (b. Reka, Hungary (Now Rijeka Croatia)

Naval Captain and Engineer: Co-Inventor of  the TorpedoIn 1860, Janos (Giovanni, John) Luppis, then captain in the Austro-Hungarian Navy, constructed a model of his “coast defender,” a form of the torpedo, in Fiume, theRoyalHungarianAdriaticPort(annexed byYugoslaviaafter WWI and now part ofCroatia). In 1864 he presented the invention to the Austro-Hungarian War Ministry, which rejected it. Luppis turned to Robert Whitehead, an English factory owner inFiume. They devoted the next two years towards perfecting a practical, mobile underwater weapon. On 26 December 1866 they introduced it to the Ministry with a new name, “torpedo” (electric stingray).  After many failures, because of its inability to run at a constant depth, Whitehead finally had the inspiration for a novel depth keeping device – which was to be his greatest contribution to torpedo design and the basis for his future success. In order to achieve a constant depth the “Whitehead-Luppis” torpedo used an hydrostatic plate to drive the depth rudder. The plate was regulated to a pre-established depth by a spring, connected to a pendulum that helped to absorb the more violent adjustments to the weapon’s depth. The weapon achieved some six and a half knots out to 200 yards.The Austro-Hungarian Defense Ministry purchased the invention the following year. In 1868, after seeing successful demonstrations of the torpedo’s ability, the Austrian Navy decided to place an order for the weapon. However, Robert Whitehead, aware of the commercial potential of the weapon, retained the rights to sell to other countries and from then on he devoted all his energies to its development. A new contract was negotiated with Luppis, which gave Whitehead full control of all future weapon sales. Luppis died inMilanin 1875, embittered by the fact that he had allowed an invention he still regarded as his own to have been taken away from him.Two more Hungarians made important contributions to this weapon: Lajos Obry, a foreman at the arsenal, developed the gyroscope and the alternative pistons component for maintaining horizontal direction, and János Gesztessy, a naval lieutant, invented the heating equipment that was needed to prevent rapidly expanding compressed air from freezing.- See “Innovators and Innovations

Magyar Tribes – (< 9th century) The settler of the Carpathian basin brought many new innovations with them:
  • The Stirrup and wooden-framed saddle
  • Leather Processing – So good was the Magyar method that by the fifteenth century, French tanners were familiar with the Hungarian method of tanning (hongroyage), which used the chemical alum. In the seventeenth century “Hungarian tanning” was used in several European countries and especially inFrance. In the middle of that century, the French tanner La Roche studied leather-making inHungary. Jean Baptiste Colbert, the finance minister of Louis XIV, invited Hungarian tanners (hongroyeurs) toFrance under highly advantageous conditions. Part of the Paris Leather Code, written in 1673, states that “Only leather prepared by the Hungarian method shall be used for straps used for coaches.” High resistance leather, manufactured by the Hungarian method, was used mainly for straps, load-bearing belts and girdles.
  • Weapons Making – especially the famous reflex bow.
  • Beef Jerky – Their eating of meat led to a unique invention: when cooked meat was dried and pounded, it could be kept for a long period of time. Boiled in water, meat prepared in this way could provide a nutritious soup. Their warriors took this meat and a shredded dried pasta (tarhonya still used in the Hungarian home) with them on raids that could last for months at a time.
  • Mint Methods – The first mint inHungary was established (in Esztergom, where the King held court). This mint introduced an old engraving method to minting, the edge of the coin (the silver Denarius) being decorated with a row of fine dots. There were several advantages: the dots on the most vulnerable part of the coin made clipping or removing the silver much harder). As a result,Hungary’s coinage became one of the most favored inEurope.

– See “Innovators and Innovations

Ödön Riszdorfer

Engineer / Inventor: Co-Developed Automatic Camera and Automatic Shutter for Movie Cameras. Father of the hand held, battery operated light meter  In 1930, Odon and his younger brother, László, following an agreement with Kodak, started production of the hand held, battery operated light meter (in their workshop in Budapest) under the trade name Kodalux, later Superlux. He improved the device and also developed an automatic shutter for movie cameras. His inventions, which were purchased and adopted by leading companies, revolutionized the photographic industry. More than 120 patents were registered under his name.A new product from Kodak, the Kodak Six-20 attracted special interest at the 1939 EXPO inNew York, as this was the world’s very first automatic camera. Patents registered by two Hungarians, Ödön Riszdorfer from Budapest and József Mihályi, employed by Kodak at Rochester since 1923, contributed to the manufacture of this camera.- See “Innovators and Innovations

Stephen (Steven, Istvan) Kaali

Medical Pioneer, Inventor – Patented Bio Electrical Blood Cleansing Device for AIDS and other blood diseasesIn the Fall of 1990, Kaali with fellow researcher Dr. William Lyman working atAlbertEinsteinMedicalCollegeinNew York Citymade an important discovery. They found that they could inactivate the HIV virus by applying a low voltage direct current electrical potential with an extremely small current flow to AIDS infected blood in a test tube. Initially, they discovered this in the lab by inserting two platinum electrodes into a glass tube filled with HIV-1 (type 1) infected blood. They applied a direct current to the electrodes and found that a current flow in the range of 50-100 microamperes (uA) produced the most effective results. Practically all of the HIV viral particles were adversely affected while normal blood cells remained unharmed. The viral particles were not directly destroyed by the electric current, but rather the outer protein coating of the virus was affected in such a way as to prevent the virus from producing reverse transcriptase, a necessary enzyme needed by the virus to invade human cells.This process may also reverse Epstein Barr (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), Hepatitis and Herpes B. Responsible users of this technology who are HIV positive, may expect a Negative P24 surface antigen or PCR test (no more HIV detectable in blood) after 30 days. A simplified version of this unit now makes self help feasible. The potential to clean and potentize the blood banks of the world with this instrument is truly staggering. Bob Beck’s Sept. 96 Explore Magazine Article notes a study on the life span of blood cells sealed under cover slips on microscope slides. While the average life of “normal” blood is about 4 days; blood cells treated with a mild microcurrent live for well over a month!Steven G. Kaali is Medical Director of the Women’s Medical Pavilion, Diplomate of the American board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Member of the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists, and Fellow of theAmericanCollegeof Obstetricians and Gynecologists.- See http://www.riferesonator.com/bio-electro.htm or

– His homepage is http://www.gynpages.com/wmp/md.html

– He also invented a low-voltage birth control device http://www.bikereader.com/Bokeh/stories/pulp/edison.html

– Read his patents at http://www.bioelectric.ws/eng/patent.html or http://www.toolsforhealing.com/Health/Beck/Kaali_Patent.htm

József Mihályi

Engineer / Inventor: Co-Developed Automatic Camera, Chief Designer at KodakA new product from Kodak, the Kodak Six-20 attracted special interest at the 1939 EXPO inNew York, as this was the world’s very first automatic camera. Patents registered by these two Hungarians, Ödön Riszdorfer fromBudapestand  employed by Kodak atRochestersince 1923, contributed to the manufacture of this camera. Mihályi became the chief designer at Kodak for approximately 30 years and held more than 200 patents.- See “Innovators and Innovations

Franz (Gabriel) Alexander (1891-1964)

Physician and Psychoanalyst: Psychoanalytic Pioneer – Father of Psychosomatic MedicinePlayed leading role in identifying emotional tension as a significant cause of physical illness delineating three “elementary tendencies“, (to take, give and receive) the balance of which determine the severity of neurotic anxiety. He attended one of several academically excellent secondary schools inBudapest, the Minta Gymnasium, also called the Trefort Gymnasium because of its location onTrefort Street. Among its other famous alumni are Tódor von Kármán, “Father of Supersonic Flight”; Edward Teller, “Father of the Hydrogen Bomb”; Nobel Prize winning chemist George de Hevesy; and physicist Leo Szilard.Alexander is one of the most important members of the group to which we often refer as “the second generation of psychoanalysts”. He was trained inBerlin, where he had several contacts with Freud. He was an independent thinker, and his research interests are so wide that it would be too long to list them here (suffice to mention his renown work on psychosomatics). He was the leading figure of what became to be known as the “Chicagoschool”, characterized by an emphasis on the emotional relationship rather than intellectual insight as the main curative factor in psychoanalysis.- Read his work “The corrective emotional experience” (1946) with a historical preface

Business & PoliticsThis list is far from inclusive, but exemplifies, along with the other sections, the Hungarian Genius!  The Atomic Bomb, Model T, Matches, Television, Hollywood Movies, modern Computers and Binary, Supersonic Flight, the Telephone Exchange, the Carburetor, the Zeppelin, the Automatic Gearbox, the Moon Rover, and the Intel Corporation, all owe their existence to Hungarians!I receive contributions to this list from all over the world. As I indicated earlier, I do get quite a bit of hate mail regarding this site and this list.  I assure you that names are not added to this list until verified.  Click to [Submit] a Famous Hungarian. Please include a resource for verification purposes.
Andy Grove (b 1936, Budapest)

Former President/CEO, and Chairman of IntelTime‘s Man of the Year for 1998! That’s the secondHungarian to be awarded this honor!He graduated from the City College of New York in 1960 with a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering degree and received his Ph.D. from the Universityof California, Berkeleyin 1963. Upon graduation, he joined the Research and Development Laboratory of Fairchild Semiconductor and became Assistant Director of Research and Development in 1967.In July 1968, Dr. Grove participated in the founding of Intel Corporation. In 1979 he was named its President, and in 1987 he was named Chief Executive Officer. Andy’s goal to get a computer in front of everyone skyrocketed. In May 1997 he was named Chairman and CEO, and in May 1998 he relinquished his CEO title and remains as Chairman of the Board. He passed on his title of CEO to Craig Barrett in 1998, and now lectures at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He has written many books, including “Only the Paranoid Survive,” and patented several semiconductor technologies.Read the Time Magazine Article, “The Digital Age . . driven by the passion of Intel’s Andrew Grove.” Visit Intel’s Official Site or see Who’s Who in Computing where you can read about other Hungarians such as the Fathers of BASIC and the Stored Program Computer (see also Science, Mathematics, & Technology).

Charles Simonyi (b. 9/10/1948, Budapest)

Billionaire Computer Scientist and Chief Architect, Microsoft Corporation

Father of WYSIWYG and Hungarian Notation During the 1970s at Xerox PARC, Charles Simonyi led a team of programmers in the development of Bravo, the first WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get, pronounced wizzywig, i.e. MS Word) word processing editor. Bravo was a fundamental departure from the way information was previously displayed and organized and it was part of PARC’s contribution that changed the face of computing and ultimately led to personal computing.Simonyi, born inBudapest,Hungary, holds a bachelor of science degree in engineering mathematics from theUniversityofCaliforniaatBerkeleyand a doctorate in computer science fromStanfordUniversity. He worked for theXeroxPalo AltoResearchCenterfrom 1972-80 and joined Microsoft in 1981 to start the development of microcomputer application programs. He hired and managed teams who developed Microsoft Multiplan, Word, Excel, and other applications. In 1991, he moved to Microsoft Research where he has been focusing on Intentional Programming. He is generally thought of as one of the most talented programmers at Microsoft.Dr. Simonyi, whose long career has made him independently wealthy, has endowed two chairs: the Charles Simonyi Professorship For The Understanding Of Science atOxfordUniversitywhich is held by the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins; and the Charles Simonyi Professorship in Theoretical Physics at the Institute for Advanced Study.Trivia: Dating Martha StewartResources:

Interview with Simonyi, The Edge.org, Intentional Programming

Calvin Klein – (b. 11/19/1942, New York)

American Fashion King!“Calvin’s stooped, subdued, Hungarian-born father, Leo Klein, was less comfortable with his son’s interest in women’s clothing than his wife, but Leo didn’t have much to say about it – or about anything else in the household…A grocer by trade, he had come to this country at age eleven with his older brother Ernest, and together the two had worked six and seven days a week building up a series of superettes.” pg 15, OBSESSION, The Lives and Times of Calvin Klein, 1994. ISBN:0-380-72500-2 [Buy]Calvin Klein graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in 1962 at the age of twenty and then worked five years for the Seventh Avenuemanufacturer Dan Misstein. In 1968, longtime friends Calvin Klein and Barry Schwartz opened their first apparel company, designing and selling women´s coats – an anterprise that combined Klein’s design talent and Schwartz´s business acumen. A chance meeting with a Bonwit Teiler buyer lead to a substantial order and Klein’s achievements soon earned the recognition of the fashion world. By 1969 he had landed the cover of Vogue. In 1973 he won the first three consecutive Coty awards. By 1975 Calvin Klein had become a celebrity, and he changed his somewhat homespun earlier image (a 1973 advertisement quoted him as saying about his new collection, “I made a lot of things that go with things.”) for a more glamorous one. Actress Brooke Shields created a stir with her 1980 ads for Calvin Klein jeans, which carried the tagline “Nothing comes between me and my Calvins.”- See also the article www.fashion.at or more bios at about.com

– See runway shows and more at fashionwindows.com

Steven Ferencz Udvar-Hazy

Business Tycoon, Aircraft Leasing Pioneer, and GREAT Philanthropist – Father of the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy Center President and chief executive officer of International Lease Finance Corporation, the international leader in the leasing and remarketing of new-generation commercial jet aircraft to airlines around the world. ILFC owns nearly 400 aircraft valued at more than $17 billion. Under Udvar-Hazy’s leadership, ILFC has become the largest aircraft lessor in the world, measured by fleet value. ILFC’s fleet is also the most modern in the world, with an average age of less than four years.Udvar-Hazy’s family came to theUnited Statesin 1958, fleeing the Soviet occupation ofHungary. He found early success in his adopted homeland. In 1966, while still attending theUniversityofCaliforniaatLos Angeles, Udvar-Hazy formed Airlines Systems Research Consultants, a firm specializing in airline routes and fleet and planning analysis. His first clients included Aer Lingus and Air NewZealand.In 1973 Udvar-Hazy and two partners formed Interlease Group Inc., which is now known as International Lease Finance Corporation. ILFC went public in 1983 with $220 million in assets and $8 million in profit. Since 1990, ILFC has been a wholly owned subsidiary of American International Group Inc., the leading international insurance organization.The Great Gift – The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

The National Air andSpaceMuseum’s yet-to-be-finished annex in Northern Virginia will be called theStephenF.Udvar-HazyCenter after the man who last year gave the museum $60 million, the biggest individual donation in the Smithsonian’s 153-year history. The museum is scheduled to open in December 2003 and will house more than 100 spacecraft and 180 aircraft. Among the exhibits will be a supersonic SR 71 Blackbird spy plane, the B 29 “Enola Gay” which bombedHiroshima in World War 2 and the Space Shuttle Enterprise.Visit the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy CenterJoin the National Air and Space Society, Donate, Volunteer, get a Special Virginia License Plate, or place a name on the Center’s Wall of Honor!

An artist’s rendering of the main aviation hangar of the Smithsonian’s Air andSpaceMuseum’sStevenF.Udvar-HazyCenterto be built atDullesInternationalAirportinChantilly,Va.

George Soros

The world’s greatest money manager” and Great Progressive Philanthropist.

One of the wealthiest men in Americaand keen investor, Mr. Soros founded the multi-million dollar “Soros Fund,” and actively develops and supports philanthropic endeavors throughout the world, including Hungaryand former Hungarian lands. He has also established educational institutions such as the CentralEuropeanUniversity. Soros achieved his lasting fame early on: Back in 1981 he was hailed as “the world’s greatest money manager” by the bible of the trade, Institutional Investor, which wrote: “As Borg is to tennis, Jack Nicholas is to golf and Fred Astaire is to tap dancing, so is George Soros to money management.” Read this article.

See the Soros Foundation for more.

George Pataki

Governor, New YorkHis is the classic second-generation-American-makes-good story. The Hungarian Patakis were poor farmers in Peekskill, NY; George worked hard on the farm; they didn’t have much, but they were rich in other ways, he describes in his autobiography “Pataki: Where I Come From.”From his Website:  “During his nearly 6-year tenure asNew York’s 53rd chief executive, Governor Pataki has spoken often of the inherent greatness of the individual. Indeed, the policies he has fought for are all based on the fundamental principle that a strong society is built upon a spirit that springs to life when men and women enjoy, embrace, and exercise freedom in the pursuit of personal greatness — individually, but not independently of one another. He attributes these beliefs to the lessons he learned on his family’s farm inPeekskilland from the example of his mother and late father — a postman, a farmer and, in the words of the Governor, “a hero who lived the American Dream.””His deep reverence for freedom was established early in life. In 1956, as an 11-year old boy, he recalls watching the unfolding events of the Hungarian Revolution with his father. He still speaks of the euphoria he felt at the prospect of a liberatedHungary, only to be followed by the despair of seeing Russian tanks rolling through the streets ofHungary. “These were our people, our family. All they wanted was freedom and all the Soviets wanted was to deny them that freedom.”Read about his life and record on GeorgePataki.com!

See Hungarian-American Panorama (in Hungarian)

Read “A better candidate than Rudy?” at the New Republic Online

Col. Ágoston Haraszthy – (b. 8/30/1812, Futak, Bacska County, Hungary, d. 7/6/1869)

“Father of California Wine Culture!” – Ronald Reagan.Hungarian Nobleman.  After serving in the Hungarian Diet, took up the cause of the democratic revolutionary Louis Kossuth. Feeling the heat after teh arrest of Kossuth, by the Austrians, he traveled throughout Europe and eventually came toAmericain 1840. Invited toWashingtonby Daniel Webster and other leading Democrats, he was introduced to President Tyler to discuss commercial relations between theUSandHungary. During 1840-41, Haraszthy was the darling of theWashingtonsocial season in his full dress Hungarian Guard uniform. He travelled West, and impressed by what he saw, he purchased a small plot along the Wisconsin river and then in partnership with Robert Bryant, an English aristocrat immigrant, bought 10,000 acres from the US Government for a townsite and founded Szeptaj (beautiful view) and, in addition to building the town from teh ground up and attracting settlers, he founded the first steamboat transport company on the Wisconsin River.  In spite of these successes, Haraszthy was disappointed in not being able to establish the high quality vineyards of his nativeHungary. By 1848 the Haraszthy family decided to answer the common call toCalifornia. Szeptaj was later renamedSaukCity.He travelled the frontier extensively visiting many Indian groups and living amongst them for three and a half months. He wrote in detail about his travels and his resulting book is the first authentic source about Native American culture in Hungarian. He said of the Indians in defending their interests, “These people are not as cruel as many have claimed…they carry out all their promises, and it is easy to win their friendship.”He found his way  toCaliforniaand became sheriff and state representative inSan DiegoCounty. He built his beautiful home – the Buena Vista Ranch – and was among the first to notice the state’s great wine-growing potentialities. The eighteenth century Franciscans had already laid out vineyards and the missions had their wineries. Haraszthy decided to work on that foundation. He introduced cuttings of Muscat Alexandria grape and Zinfandel red wine grape. Later he imported two hundred thousand vine cuttings, including the most important European varieties such as the famous Hungarian Tokay grape at hisSonomawinery.  Haraszthy then headed forNicaragua, lured by the reports of’ its untapped resources. He developed a sugar plantation and a rum distillery. He fell into a river filled with crocodiles near his estate Hacienda San Antonio at Corinto on July 6, 1869 and lost his life. What a way to go! Due largely to Haraszthy’s initiative,Californiawas to produce most of the nation’s wine. Half a millionCaliforniaacres were to be turned over to viticulture, second only to orange growing in the State’s agricultural economy.His book, “Grape Culture, Wines, and Winemaking,” with notes on Agriculture and Horticulture, published in.New York, 1862, is an extremely important work and describes his tour of Europe in 1861 where he collected over 100,000 rooted vines for shipment toCalifornia.Maj. Geza Haraszthy, of the Civil War era 18th New York Cavalry Regiment, was the eldest son.

Read a more detailed biography in English at the San Diego Historical Society

Read about his time as Sheriff of San Diego County and his building of the first jail!

See another biography with pictures of the Buena Vista Winery in Sonoma County in Hungarian

Read The Grape Vine (.pdf format) for a history onCalifornia wine and notables.

Hon. Tom Lantos – (b. 2/1/1928, Budapest, Hungary)

11-term U.S. Congressman fromCaliforniaLantos was elected to his eleventh term in the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2000. He was first elected to Congress in November 1980 by the lowest plurality of any Member of Congress that year — 46% to his opponent’s 43%. In 2000, he was reelected with 75% of the vote. His landslide victories show strong bi-partisan support. He was first elected on 13th of January, 1981 at the age of  52.Lantos was 16 years old when Nazi Germany occupied his native country. As a teenager, he was a member of the anti-Nazi underground and later of the anti-Communist student movement. Tom was awarded an academic scholarship to study in the United States, and he arrived here in 1947. He received a B.A. and M.A. in Economics from the University of Washington in Seattle and later earned a Ph.D. in Economics from theUniversity ofCalifornia,Berkeley. For three decades before his election to Congress (1950-1980), Tom Lantos was a professor of economics, an international affairs analyst for public television, and a consultant to a number businesses. He also served in senior advisory roles to members of the United States Senate. He and his wife Annette have 17 grandchildren.- See his Official Website

Chef Louis Szathmáry – (b. 6/2/1919, Budapest, d. 1996)

Legendary Chef and founder of Chicago’s “The Bakery” – father of the “Stouffer’s frozen dinner”Founder of the internationally acclaimedChicagorestaurant “The Bakery.” Chef Louis had a doctorate in psychology from theUniversityofBudapestand a master’s degree in journalism. Szathmary was born on a freight train while his family fled invading Soviet troops. He learned to cook in the Hungarian army. After service in the Hungarian army during World War II, Szathmary spent time in a succession of German and Soviet prison camps and thereafter was a displaced person confined to the American occupation zone inAustria. Szathmary lived inAustriaand other Western European countries before coming to theUSAin 1951.An ardent book collector, Szathmary confessed that he worked two jobs in the beginning, one during the day and another at night–and spent all the money he made on books. Of his early days inAmerica, Szathmary said that he would spend hours in the Salvation Army basement searching for books, which he purchased for as little as five cents each. He said, “I rummaged through books in bins, on tables outside the door, and amid the garbage that accumulates in the back of used bookshops. I found treasures–valuable items–because I had the time.” On the seventh day, he recalled, “I spent all the money I have on books.” He would eventually become the owner of the largest collection cookbooks, culinary literature and artifacts. He donated his entire collection to theUniversityofIowaandJohnson & WalesCollege. Chef Louis also had one of the largest collections of materials by and related to Franz (Ferenc) Liszt, Bartok and Kodaly which he donated toBostonUniversity. His large collection of Hungariana was donated to the Regenstein Library of theUniversityofChicagoand, like his other collections is regarded as one of the most important in the world.Szathmary and his wife Sadako Tanino owned and operated The Bakery Restaurant inChicagofor 26 years. It grossed more than $1 million a year for much of the time he was in business–and this was a restaurant that served only five dinners a week, no lunch, no bar and no “early birds”. He dominated the dining room with his commanding presence. He’d walk around in rolled up sleeves, wearing an apron, often telling diners in his booming voice, what to order – – or to ask them why something was left on a plate.Not well known is that Szathmary developed the first frozen dinners for Stouffer Food Corp. He worked as produce development manager for Armour, coming up with new foods and ways to prepare them. According to Basbanes, Szathmary also designed a kitchen for military field hospitals that could be dropped by parachute and assembled quickly in combat zones.- Read about his life story

Charles A. Csuri

Artist – “Father of Digital Art“A Pioneer in Computer Graphics and Art. Co-founder ofCranstonand Csuri Productions whose credits include the acclaimed “Living Body” series. He has directed over 25 major research projects for the National Science Foundation, Navy and Air Force and the findings have been applied to flight simulation, computer aided design, and the special effects industry. One of his computer films is part of the collection atNew York’sModernArt Museum.- Read more detail on this site at Film, the Arts, & Media

Ernô Rubik –

Mathematician, Inventor of the Rubik’s Cube!A brilliant logical games inventor. Invented Rubik’s cube in 1974 and many more logical, mind-teasing toys since. Turned his inventions into multi-million dollar enterprises. Though his name is now a household word, at the time, Erno Rubik was a lecturer in the Department of Interior Design at theAcademyofApplied Artsand Crafts inBudapest.Although 1974 marks the inauguration of the Cube, the processes that led to the invention began a few years earlier, nor was the identity of the inventor a fortuitous accident. Erno Rubik had a passionate interest in geometry, in the study of 3D forms, in construction and in exploring the hidden possibilities of combinations of forms and material in theory and in practice. He is now one of the wealthiest men inHungary.The difficulty of solving the Cube and the absolute compulsion to solve it generated over 60 books offering desperately needed help. They in turn generated more addicts, displaying with evident pride their newly acquired prowess. After winning the highest prize for outstanding inventions inHungary, in 1980 the Cube won top toy awards inGermany,France,Britainand theU.S.by 1981 it entered the New York Museum of Modern Art as an exhibit. The Cube achieved such a universal presence and penetrated so deeply the fabric of our society that “Rubik’s Cube”, by 1982 a household term, became part of the Oxford English Dictionary.Trivia:

  • Over 100 million Rubik’s Cubes were sold in the period 1980-1982

– See the official site, rubiks.com

Adrienne Vittadini (b. 1945, Budapest)

Renowned Fashion DesignerWhen she was 12, her family fledBudapestduring the 1956 Hungarian revolution. In 1979, she started what would become a multi-100 million dollar business as a hobby. The brand name Adrienne Vittadini is synonymous with designs that have a “Euro-American” point of view. She uses vibrant colors and prints and she is known for her clothing, handbags, swimsuits, shoes, and perfumes. Her company was purchased by Retail Brand Alliance in 2001.Trivia:

  • Her home in theHamptonswas sold for a record $8 million! You go girl!
  • Adrienne was also ranked in People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People in the World (1992).
  • Her designs are worn by Kim Basinger, Candice Bergen and Joan Lunden.

– See Am I Annoying.com

Anna M. Rosenberg – (b. 1902, Budapest, d. 1983)

Assistant-Secretary of Defense in Truman Cabinet. Medal of Freedom in 1945 and Medal of Merit in 1947.Her family immigrated to theUnited Stateswhen her father lost his business after a large customer cancelled his order. They settled in the Bronx borough ofNew York Cityin 1912 and in 1919, she became a naturalized American citizen and married Julius Rosenberg.Anna M. Rosenberg would eventually shatter the glass ceiling that had divided women from the senior national military establishment when she was appointed assistant secretary of defense in 1950. Rosenberg began her political involvement in the early 1920s and quickly developed a reputation for expertise on personnel and labor issues that brought her into contact with Democratic politicos. It was during this period of time that Rosenberg first met the Roosevelts, and in 1928 FDRsought her advice on labor policy in his campaign for governor. InAlbany, as inWashington, FDR continued to seekRosenberg’s counsel, and throughout the 1930s he continually tapped her to serve the federal government in a variety of labor-related positions.Although Rosenbergspent a considerable amount of time in Washingtonduring this period, she remained active in New Yorkstate politics as well, serving as chairwoman of the New York State Constitutional Committee in 1937 and as a member of the New York City and state war councils. Rosenberg began her specific association with defense-related labor issues in the early 1940s with appointments to the Manpower Consulting Committee of the Army and Navy Munitions Board and the War Manpower Commission. This experience was deepened in July 1944 when President Roosevelt sent her to Europe to make manpower observations about the American military. For her service to Presidents Roosevelt and Truman, Rosenberg would be awarded the Medal of Freedom in 1945 and the United States Medal for Merit in 1947. Even after the war was over, however, Rosenberg remained active in the defense community, eventually serving as an advisor to Air Force Secretary W. Stuart Symington and then as assistant secretary of defense from 1950 to 1953. While at the Pentagon, Rosenberg worked hard to bring about the effective implementation of the National Security Act, took steps to promote racial integration of the services, and lent support to legislation that would safeguard the rights of minorities in the military.As a prominent Democrat,Rosenbergreturned to private life after the Republican victory in 1952, briefly returning to government service at the end of the Johnson administration to serve on the Commission on Income Maintenance. In 1962, theRosenbergsdivorced and she married Paul G. Hoffman, the first administrator of the Marshall Plan and a top United Nations official. Anna Rosenberg Hoffman died in 1983, at the age of 81.

Andrew Sarlos (b. 11/24/1931, Budapest d. 4/28/1997, Canada)

Hungarian-born Canadian investor and financial guru, author, and great philanthropistEducated at theUniversityofBudapest, Faculty of Economics, Andrew “Andy” Sarlos took part in the 1956 Hungarian freedom fight. He was also imprisoned during the Stalinist purges. Sarlos emigrated toCanadain1957. As Chairman of Andrew Sarlos and Associates, a financial consulting company, Sarlos both made and lost fortunes and came to be known as the “Buddha of Bay Street” because of his expertise and daring in deal making and playing the stock market; he shared his knowledge and his money, and he was awarded the Order of Canada in recognition of the contributions he made to charities.- See a great article called “building Bay Street” in globalinvestor.com

Peter Goldmark

Engineer, Inventor: Invented the Color Television and LP Record. Became Head of CBS Labs.See Famous Hungarians: Science Math and Technology

Peter Goldmark, Jr. –

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the International Herald TribuneSon of the genius inventor and father of color television and the LP record Peter Goldmark, Sr. Before reaching his current post, he was the eleventh President of The Rockefeller Foundation. Prior to this appointment he was Senior Vice President in charge of five Eastern Newspapers for the Times Mirror Company. Before joining the Times Mirror Company in 1985, Mr. Goldmark served for eight years as Executive Director of The Port Authority of New York andNew Jersey. He served as Director of the Budget for the State ofNew York, Secretary of Human Services for theCommonwealth ofMassachusetts, Assistant Budget Director for Program Planning and Analysis forNew York City and Executive Assistant toNew York City’s Mayor in 1971. He also serves on the World Bank Institute’s External Advisory Council. Mr. Goldmark received a BA in Government fromHarvardUniversity.This from Business Hungary:”For Peter Goldmark, one could almost make the argument that the possibilities of media were imprinted on his DNA. With a pedigree of scientific prowess from a parent who helped invent television, the first long-playing record and the forerunner to the VCR system, Goldmark seemed born to make a mark in this realm. But it didn’t happen instantly; Goldmark’s CV is like a public servant’s ten commandments of social concerns addressed, be it as head of the Rockefeller foundation or of the Port Authority inNew York.”- See an article by him entitled, “Spotting a Winner

– Another article by him entitled, “‘CAN YOU HEAR IT?’: A Challenge to Media C.E.O.s”

– Listen to a presentation at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development where Peter is a council member.

Estée Lauder – (b. 1908, Corona, Queens, NY)

Cosmetic Queen! Founder of the current world cosmetics leader!The Estee Lauder Companies Inc., employs some 10,000 people around the globe and today controls 45 per cent of the cosmetics market in US department stores and is sold in over 100 markets under well recognized brand names: Estee Lauder, Aramis, Clinique, Prescriptives, Origins, M.A.C., Bobbi Brown essentials, Tommy Hilfiger, Jane, Donna Karan Cosmetics, Aveda, Stila, Jo Malone and Kate Spade! www.esteelauder.com

Measure your success in dollars, not degrees

Estée Lauder’s name connotes beauty and healthy skin through her profitable cosmetics lines: Estée Lauder, Clinique, Aramis, Lauder for Men, and Prescriptives. An astute businesswoman, she made a fortune manufacturing, marketing, and distributing cosmetics to women around the world. Estée Lauder was born Josephine Esther Mentzer inQueens,New York, to Max and Rose (Schotz Rosenthal) Mentzer, a Hungarian immigrant with a French Catholic mother and Jewish father. She grew up in theCoronasection ofQueens,New Jersey. Estée was about nineteen when she met Joseph Lauter, son of Lillian and William Lauter, immigrants fromGalicia. They married on January 15, 1930, and their son Leonard Allen was born on March 19, 1933 and Ronald in February 1944. In about 1937, Estée Lauder began to use the Lauder spelling of her name for her products. After 20 years of slow hard work in the cosmetics industry, starting by selling a face cream made by her Hungarian uncle, she brought out her Youth Dew scented bath oil, which was an enormous success in the 1950s and 1960s. Innovative, with a talent for adapting, marketing and promotion, she built up an estimated $1 billion a year business.

Read more about her at the Jewish Virtual Library or

read Close encounters with Estée Lauder

See various books about her

Ronald S. Lauder (b. February 1944)

US Ambassador to Vienna, Deputy Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Policy, philanthropist and businessman.Appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, he served as Ambassador toAustriaand brought to his diplomatic post the knowledge and experience in European affairs gathered from his previous position as Deputy Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Policy. He serves as Chairman of The New York State Commission on Privatization, appointed by fellow Hungarian, Governor Pataki. He is the founder, Chairman of the Board, and controlling stockholder of Central European Media Enterprises Ltd. (NASDAQ:CETV), the leading commercial television company in Central andEastern Europe. He also is a co-founder, Chairman of the Board and controlling shareholder of RSL Communications, Ltd. (NASDAQ:CETV), an independent, global, facilities-based telecommunications company. He also is a member of the Board and a principal shareholder of The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. (NYSE:EL).He has long been committed to civic causes and public policy issues. As a son of Estée Lauder, who earned her fortune with cosmetics, he started the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation. He founded the Lauder Javne Jewish Community Schools were founded inVienna,Prague, Pozsony (Bratislava) andBudapest. The Foundation provided a major financial donation for the construction of the campus in the Buda Hills and continues to give yearly contributions for the school’s activities. The school has 680 students in Kindergarten, Elementary and High School. In 1995, Mr. Lauder was elected Chairman of the Board of Trustees of theMuseumofModern ArtinNew York. He serves as a trustee for the New York Landmarks Conservancy and the World Monuments Fund, and is a member of the Board of Governors of the Joseph H. Lauder Institute of Management and International Studies at theUniversityofPennsylvaniaand the Visiting Committee of theWhartonSchool.He andNew York Cityrestaurateur and fellow Hungarian George Lang boughtBudapest’s 105-year-old Gundel restaurant. Their dream was to refurbish the “sleeping beauty,” which, in the early 1900s, was the most famous restaurant in centralEurope.Read more about him, George Lang, and the famed Gundel Restaurant.

See Move over Paris – there’s another ‘City of Light’

Leonard A. Lauder (b. March 19, 1933, NY)

White House Advisor and Chairman, The Estée Lauder Companies, Inc.Mr. Lauder has been Chairman of the Board of Directors since 1995. He was Chief Executive Officer of the Company from 1982 through 1999 and President from 1972 until 1995. Mr. Lauder formally joined the Company in 1958 after serving as an officer in the United States Navy. Since joining the Company, he has served in various positions, including executive officer positions other than those described above. He is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Whitney Museum of American Art, a Charter Trustee of theUniversityofPennsylvania, a Trustee of The Aspen Institute and a Director of RSL Communications, Ltd. He also served as a member of the White House Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations under President Reagan.Leonard Lauder’s fortune is estimated between 6 and 7 billion Swiss francs!  He received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the Whitney’s American Art Award, “Philanthropists of the Year” (with his wife Evelyn) by the Greater New York Chapter of the National Society of Fund Raising Executives, and France honored him for his support of the arts with the insignia of the Order of Arts and Letters.Read more Celebrities in Switzerland: Léonard A. Lauder

Ernõ László – (b. 1898, Budapest, d. 1973 New York)

Dermatologist and Cosmetics Tycoon: Father of Modern Skincare ProductsFrom the Erno Laszlo Institute and Cosmopolis:Erno Laszlo studied skin pathology and skin disease at the Royal Hungarian Elisabeth University of Medical Sciences inBudapest. His legend begins in 1920’sHungarywhere Dr. Erno Laszlo achieved notoriety when Princess Stephanie of Habsburg tried one of his skin preparations — and was transformed into a beauty. Soon women from all ranks of society were running to the doctor for skin advice. A chemist at heart, he began experimenting with different formulas in search of a new generation of treatment that would correct rather than hide complexion problems.In 1927 Dr. Laszlo opened his first Institute in Budapest. His formulations and practices seemed radical, but brought astounding results. In 1939 Dr. Laszlo finally moved to Americaopening his famed Fifth Avenue Institute in New York City. The Erno Laszlo Institute was a closed society of the rich, famous and powerful. One needed to be recommended to gain admittance, and a single reference alone was often not good enough. Among his clients were the Duchess of Windsor, Gloria Vanderbilt, Doris Duke, Greta Garbo, Lilian Gish, Truman Capote, The Begum Aga Khan and the Duke of Windsor.  In the 1960s, the list was enlarged by Audrey Hepburn, Yul Brynner, Hubert de Givenchy, Mrs. John Fitzgerald Kennedy and many more. In the pictures of Marilyn Monroe’s death bed in August 1962, her Laszlo preparations could be seen on her bedside table. In the 1970s, Barbra Streisand, Diane Keaton, Yoko Ono, Madonna, Woody Allen, Sting, Val Kilmer and James Spader joined. Later, Erno Laszlo products could be seen in films like Bonfire of the Vanities, Working Girl, Annie Hall and Final Analysis.His company would eventually grow far beyond the Institute to become a retail giant, merging with Chesebrough-Ponds in 1966. The merger allowed him to re-focus on research. In 1973, at the age of 75, he died from heart failure.

George Rosencrantz – (b. 1916, Budapest)

Chemist, Businessman, Founder of Syntex, the number seventeen world-ranked drug firm, the developer of Aleve.Syntex is a firm prominent in agribusiness as well. Its founder-chairman, George Rosencrantz recently moved to Mexicodue to a bizarre kidnap scheme involving his wife. The Syntex/Procter & Gamble Co. joint venture, launched Aleve® (naproxen sodium) in 1994.Read a controversial excerpt from the book, ‘Murder by Injection’ by Eustace Mullins.

St. Elizabeth of Hungary (b. 1207, Pozsony, Hungary [now called Bratislava after Czech annexation], d. November 17, 1231 Marburg, Hesse)

Giver of Charity, Patroness of HospitalsElizabeth (also known as St. Elizabeth of Thuringia) was a daughter of King Andrew II of Hungary (1205-35) and his wife Gertrude, a member of the family of the Counts of Andechs-Meran; Elizabeth’s brother succeeded his father on the throne of Hungary as Bela IV; the sister of her mother, Gertrude, was St. Hedwig, wife of Duke Heinrich I, the Bearded, of Silesia, while another saint, St. Elizabeth (Isabel) of Portugal(d. 1336), the wife of the tyrannical King Diniz of that country, was her great-niece.Betrothed at the age of four to Louis, the son of Landgrave Herman I of Thuringia,Elizabethwas raised at the court of her future in-laws. She was a very devout child and was taunted for her faith by her caretakers inThuringia. When Louis succeeded his father in 1221, he and Elizabeth were married. It was a very happy marriage, and they had three or four children (accounts vary). But their happy life together was short; Louis felt called to go on a Crusade in 1229 and died of the plague three months later.His brother usurped his throne and forcedElizabethand her children to leave court in the dead of winter. After finding suitable people to take care of her children, she put herself into a very strict convent under the guidance of a severe spiritual mentor. She lived in dire poverty and privation inBambergwhere she spent her time ministering to the poor. Her charity and generosity were legendary, even while she was married to Louis. She founded many hospitals and was especially concerned with the plight of lepers and orphans.One story in her legend says that on one of her missions of charity, she came upon a child with leprosy who had been cast out of his house. She brought the child home and put him to bed in her own bed. When her husband heard of it and came in to see him, ready to reproachElizabeth, he turned back the covers, and they saw the Christ Child smiling at them. Then the child vanished.Shortly before her death at the age of 24, her son regained control of the government ofThuringiaand summoned her back to court.Elizabethwas canonized in 1235 by Pope Gregory IX. The shrine of her remains inMarburgwas a popular pilgrimage in the middle ages.

She is usually depicted holding a basket of roses because of another part of her legend, which tells of her being out distributing bread to the poor. Louis happens upon her, and the bread was miraculously changed into roses to hide her true mission. Records show, however, that Louis was very supportive of her charity. Her feast day is November 17.

– Read her life story

– Read the Litany of Saint Elizabeth

Donald Lawrence Ritter (b. New York City, 10/1/1940, d.)

US Congressman, Republican fromPennsylvaniaRitter attended public schools in the Bronx, N.Y. and obtained a B.S. atLehighUniversity,Bethlehem,Pa., in 1961. He went on to obtain his M.S. and Sc. D at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Ritter was a scientific exchange fellow, United States National Academy of Sciences-Soviet Academy of Sciences, Baikov Institute, Moscow, U.S.S.R., from 1967-1968 and then an assistant professor at California State Polytechnic University. He was a metallurgy professor and assistant to the vice president for research, Lehigh University, 1969-1976, manager of research program development, Lehigh University, 1976-1978, and then engineering consultant to industry.Ritter was elected as a Republican to the Ninety-sixth and to the six succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1979-January 3, 1993), but was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1992.Don Ritter was a leader of the American effort to help the people ofAfghanistanthroughout the 1980s, working closely with Afghan community and resistance leaders here and abroad. He was the first member of Congress to act publicly using his position as senior member of the Congressional Helsinki Commission to engage that body in the Afghan human rights and policy debate. Ritter is founder and chairman of the Afghanistan-America Foundation, formed to bring peace and stability to that country.

Eugene Jerome Hainer – (b. 8/16/1851, Hungary – d. 3/17/1929, Omaha, Nebraska)

US Congressman, Republican fromLincoln,Nebraska.Eugene (Jeno) immigrated to theUnited Stateswith his parents, who settled inColumbia,Mo., in 1854, and in the new Hungarian settlement, New Buda,Iowa, in 1861. He spent his boyhood on a farm nearGarden Grove,Iowa, until 1873 and attended the public schools ofDecaturCounty, Garden Grove Seminary, andIowaAgriculturalCollege. He graduated from the law department ofSimpsonCentenaryCollege,Indianola,Iowa, in 1876 and was admitted to the bar the same year and commenced practice atAurora,Nebr., in 1877.Hainer became interested in banking and in a group of creameries in southernNebraska. He was elected as a Republican to the Fifty-third and Fifty-fourth Congresses (March 4, 1893-March 3, 1897), but was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1896. He resumed the practice of law inAuroraand, after 1904, inLincolnand retired in July 1928 and moved toOmaha,Nebraskawhere he resided until his death on March 17, 1929. He is interned inWyukaCemetery, inLincoln.

Charles Fleischmann – (b. 11/3/1834, Budapest, d. 12/10/1889, Cincinatti)

Founder of the famous Standard Brands Yeast Company of Fleischmann’s Yeast fame, former Ohio State Senator, Colonel, Delegate to Republican National Convention, Inventor, PhilanthropistCharles Fleischmann was born nearBudapest,Hungary, on November 3, 1834, son of Alois and Babette Fleischmann. He was educated inViennaandPragueand emigrated to American in 1866. He and brother Maximillian partnered with James W. Gaff and  founded a business inCincinnati,Ohioin 1868 to produce and sell compressed yeast and distilled spirits. The Fleischmann Manufacturing Company bought the 65 acres ofCharlesPointin 1899. Its first product was yeast. Then came vinegar, malt, syrup, gin and whiskey. The yeast production was the world’s largest, and vinegar production second largest by World War I. Active dry yeast was widely used in World War II, for which Standard Brands Company (known as Fleischmanns) was awarded an Army and Navy Production Award in 1943, with an “E” for Excellence. Gustav Fleischmann retired in 1953.His mechanical ingenuity led to a number of inventions which he patented between 1869 and 1888: an improved distilling apparatus, a new process for aging liquors, an improved cotton gin and a process of extracting oil from cotton seed, as well as improvements to the sewing machine, machine cranks, and motors. Among other business interests, Fleischmann was an organizer of the Market National Bank ofCincinnatiin 1887, and served as its president from 1889 until his death.In his later years, he entered into public service, rising in stature to become anOhiostate senator (he was serving his second term at the time of his death ). He also distinguished himself as a delegate to the Republican national conventions of 1880 and 1884, as fire commissioner ofCincinnatifrom 1886 to 1890, and as a colonel on the staff of Governor McKinley, 1892 to 1893.Charles Fleischmann died inCincinnation December 10, 1897. He was survived by his wife, Henrietta, and his two sons, Julius and Max. Julius in particular was to follow in his father’s footsteps and continue building the Fleischmann empire:Julius Fleischmann, Mayor of Cincinatti and President of The Fleischmann Co., Philanthropist (b. 6/8/1871,Riverside,Ohio – d.Miami, 1925)

Julius completed his education atFranklin, a private school inCincinnati, and began his business career in 1889 as a clerk in his father’s yeast and distilling establishment, Fleischmann & Co. He displayed such executive ability that in 1894, at the age of 22, he was made general manager. In 1905, it was incorporated with a capital of $6,000,000 as The FleischmannCo.of which Julius Fleischmann was president. Julius Fleischmann was also president of The Fleischmann Malting Co. of Chicago, the American Diamalt Co. of Cincinnati, and the Reliance Coal & Coke Co. of Cincinnati. From 1898 to 1918, he was president of the Market National bank ofCincinnati, founded by his father.

In 1900, he was elected mayor of Cincinnati, and though he was the youngest mayor the city had ever had, Julius Fleischmann was so popular that when he ran for reelection, he won by a majority three times as large as that of the first election. He refused a third nomination. Following in his father’s footsteps, he was a delegate to the Republican national conventions of 1904, 1908, and 1912, and aide-de-camp on the staffs of Governors McKinley, Bushnell and Nash.

Julius Fleischmann became known as a generous patron of the arts and music. He owned a large collection of valuable paintings and served for many years as president and director of the Cincinnati College of Music. He was also keenly interested in various forms of sport. For a number of years, he was one of the owners of the Cincinnati Reds  National League Baseball Club, and in his earlier years was one of the best known turfmen in theUnited States.

Yachting was among his favorite sports, and two weeks before his death, he was reelected commodore of thePort Washington, NY, Yacht Club. He also played polo and owned a large string of polo ponies. He collapsed and died inMiamion February 5, 1925, while playing a polo game. His financial speculations were so heavy that the news of his sudden death caused a sharp decline in the stock market inChicago.

Julius Fleischmann Jr. also left his mark as a developer and Philanthropist

The botanical species inNaplesFloridaliterally got their start largely through the efforts of the gardens’ second owner, Julius Fleischmann jr. who resurrected the property after 20 years of languishment following park founder Nehrling’s 1929 passing. Julius foresawNaplesas the “Palm Beachof the West Coast” and toward that end helped with plantings around town, particularly alongThird Street South. Meanwhile, in the gardens itself, he added a waterfall, trails and tropical birds, opening his new “CaribbeanGardens” to the public in 1954. Though the property is still owned by the Fleischmann family, it did change operational hands in 1969 after the death of its benefactor.


  • Louis Armstrong was signed to host the Fleischmann’s Yeast Show, a national network radio program
  • The Fleischmann Foundation continues to support the Education, Arts and other good works

– Read about Julius

– Read the official history ad find yummy recipes at breadworld.com

Count Móric Benyovszky (9/20/1741, Verbo, Hungary – 5/24/1784, Madagascar)

Emperor of Madagascar and Adventurer!Count Benyovszky (Benyowsky) began his career as an officer in the Seven Years’ War. Seeking further adventures, he went toPolandand joined the Polish freedom fighters againstRussia. He fought so well that the Poles appointed him general and made him a count. He was eventually taken prisoner and deported to East Siberia (Kamchatka). Here he rallied his fellow prisoners and managed to capture the fort of the governor and the heart of his daughter. He then commandeered a Russian battleship and set out to explore the Pacific. Having visitedJapan, Hong Kong and various islands, he spent some time onFormosa(todayTaiwan) straightening out the local political situation. He then sailed on and inspected the hugeislandofMadagascaroff the African coast, then still independent and ruled by countless native chieftains. He eventually arrived inFrance, where he suggested to the king (Louis XV) that he should establish a French colony onFormosaorMadagascar. The king appointed him a general, gave him the title of count and a few promises, and sent him off toMadagascar. Equipped with his titles (and not much else) he landed inMadagascar, befriended some tribes, defeated the others and in 1776 was proclaimed by the assembled chieftains, Emperor of Madagascar. He ruled the island wisely for three years. Among other things he introduced Latin script – with Hungarian spelling – for theMadagascarlanguage. The islanders still use his script and spelling. Then – probably at the urging of his family (he had several, in fact) – he returned toFranceseeking closer trade and political ties.This time the French ignored him, so he returned to his nativeHungary, where queen Maria Theresa made him a count and appointed him general. But she was not interested in African colonies (she hadHungary, after all . . .) So Benyovszky went toBritainand then to the new Republic of theUnited States. There he loaded his ship with goods forMadagascar(before they could make him a count and appoint him general) and sailed back to his kingdom. To his surprise, he found a French military establishment there (led probably by a general who was also a count). He fought to regain his kingdom but died during the fighting. Some native legends and street names (and a few generals and counts) keep his memory inMadagascar.- Read the incredible Timeless Nation at Hungary.com or go directly to its Chapter 30 to read more of the above

– See this great essayon his life in Hungarian

Ernest Istook

US Congressman, Republican fromOklahoma, Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee, Co-Chair of the Hungarian Caucus in theUS House of RepresentativesThe Republican congressman fromOklahoma’s 5th district is a third generation Hungarian-American.   A self-made man, he worked full time as a radio news reporter while attending law school at night. Upon graduating from law school, he established his own law firm, and practiced law for 15 years.  Rep. Istook was elected to Congress in 1992, after a decade of public service on both local and state levels.In 2001, Congressman Istook was named chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee with jurisdiction over the White House, the Treasury (including the Internal Revenue Service) and many other key government agencies.  He also serves on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education.Ernest J. Istook and his wife Judy have five children and two grandchildren.   Proud of his ancestry, Congressman Istook spoke last year at the officialWashington,D.C.celebration of the 150th anniversary of Lajos Kossuth’s historic visit to theUnited States.

– See the official Istook Online

Peter Munk (b. 11/8/1927, Hungary, d. )

Industrial Tycoon – One of the Richest Men in Canada: Founder of Barrick Gold and the multi-billion dollar Canadian construction and development firm TrizecHahn Peter Munk was born into a well-to-do Jewish family. With the recent Nazi takeover ofHungary, the Munks and family escaped toSwitzerland, arriving inBaselin late August 1944. Peter was put in a hostel for students, while his father, his stepmother and most of the other Munk family members were taken to the Hotel Belmont at Montreux, which served as the military internment camp for refugees. His family sent him alone to his uncle inToronto1950 and would receive a degree in Electrical Engineering from theUniversityofTorontoin 1952 at age 25, having paid for part of his tuition running a chain of Christmas tree lots.It didn’t take Munk long to become famous. After establishing himself inCanada, Munk first tried his hand at South Pacific hotels and then with high-born Canadian partner David Gilmour launched a company called Clairtone Sound Corp. in 1958, making high-priced, technically advanced sound systems. Clairtone flew high for 9 years, making millions. But a few years after theNova Scotiagovernment paid him 8 million to move his operations there, sales dried up, withNova Scotiaout 23 million! His adventure just began! Munk got into the gold business. His team took an interest in aNevadaproperty that had been explored by a mom-and-pop company, invested $62 million in it and produced what became an astounding success, one that miners talk about in reverential tones. About 18.6 million ounces of gold has been mined there since, providing a cash flow in 2000 alone of $315 million. The company has been able to take over 1,945 acres of onetime federal land with a gold deposit worth billions for less than $10,000 because of the generous terms of the 1872 Mining Law.Munk also founded TrizecHahn Corporation, a Toronto-based integrated real estate development firm, one of the largest in North America, which owns over US$ 8 billion in real estate assets and market capitalization has been shifting its focus from North America to European development projects such asCentral Europe’s largest mixed-use facility, The Westend City Center breaking ground in 1999. Situated on prime real estate in downtownBudapestnext to the historic Western railway station designed by the noted French architect Gustav Eiffel.He became an Officer of the Order ofCanadain 1993. Also in 1993, he shared The Northern Miner’s Mining Man of the Year award with partner Robert Smith. In 1999, he was named Canadian International Executive of the Year by the Canadian Council for International Business and was presented a Lifetime Achievement award by the Toronto Stock Exchange and Mining Works forCanada.- See the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame for more detail

– Read a great book review of “The Making of a Modern Tycoon” by Dan Healing of the Edmonton Sun

– Buy “Golden Phoenix: The Biography of Peter Munk” by Richard Rohmer

Henrietta Szold (b. 12/21/1860 Baltimore – d. 2/13/1945, Jerusalem)

Founder of HadassahHenrietta Szold’s father was a Rabbi. After graduating from public high school in 1877 she taught French, German, Latin, science, mathematics, and history at the Misses Adams’ School girls’ academy inBaltimorefor 15 years. Having studied Hebrew and the Talmud with her father, she also taught classes in her father’s synagogue. In 1889 she organized a night class in American history and customs for newly arrived Jewish immigrants from eastern Europe, and the experiment was so successful that several more classes were formed to meet the demand. In 1893 she helped aBaltimoreimmigrant group organize Hebras Zion, perhaps the first Zionist society inAmerica. After the death of her father in 1902 she and her mother moved toNew York City, where she took courses at the Jewish Theological Seminary.A trip abroad in 1909, including a visit to Palestine, confirmed Szold in the belief that the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestinewas of overriding importance. On her return to New Yorkshe involved herself more deeply in Zionist activities, becoming secretary of the Federation of American Zionists in 1910. On Purim (February 24) in 1912 she led the women of her Hadassah Study Circle, to which she had belonged since 1907, in forming the Hadassah Chapter of Daughters of Zion, known from its first national convention simply as Hadassah. The organization sent a team of two public health nurses toPalestine in 1913.Szold traveled widely to organize chapters of Hadassah. Through the efforts of Justice Louis D. Brandeis and Judge Julian W. Mack she was provided a modest income in 1916 that allowed her to resign from the Jewish Publication Society and to devote full time to Zionist work. In 1918 she led in organizing the American Zionist Medical Unit–sponsored jointly by Hadassah, the Zionist Organization of America, and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee–and in forwarding its 44 doctors, nurses, other health personnel, and some 400 tons of equipment and supplies toPalestine.In 1920 Szold went toPalestineherself. She worked indefatigably for three years to supervise and to raise funds for the Unit, which in 1922 was reorganized as the Hadassah Medical Organization. She also organized and became first president of the Histadrut Nashim Ivriot (Jewish Women’s Organization). She returned to theUnited Statesin 1923. In 1926 she resigned as president of Hadassah, and she was again inPalestinein 1927-30 and from 1931 to her death. In 1931-33 she served in the Vaad Leumi, the executive committee of the Knesset Israel (Palestinian Jewish National Assembly). From its creation in 1933 she was director of the Youth Aliyah, an agency created to rescue Jewish children from Nazi Germany and bring them toPalestine. Late in life she founded Lemaan ha-Yeled, an institution dedicated to child welfare and research; after her death it was renamed Mosad Szold (The Szold Foundation). Szold died inJerusalem, in theHadassah-HebrewUniversityHospitalshe had helped make possible, on February 13, 1945.

Kati Marton (b.,Hungary, 195?)

Acclaimed journalist & best-selling authorAs a child in her native Hungary, Kati Marton saw both parents imprisoned as spies. Her mother was a reporter for United Press International (UPI), her father a reporter for the Associated Press (AP). After the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, they managed to emigrate to the United States.Marton has spent two decades writing and reporting from around the globe. She was Bureau Chief and Foreign Correspondent for ABC News, reporting from Poland, East and West Germany, Italyand Northern Ireland. She was a reporter for National Public Radio in Washingtonwhere she was involved with the development of NPR’s program, All Things Considered. For years Marton hosted America and the World, a weekly half-hour broadcast on international affairs for NPR. Kati Marton has successfully combined a career as a reporter and writer with human rights advocacy. Contributing to major news organizations such as ABC News, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Newsweek, Public Broadcasting Service, National Public Radio, Atlantic Monthly, The Times of London and The New Republic, she has covered everything from terrorist attacks in Northern Ireland to the peace efforts in the Middle East and the Balkans. Drawing compassion from her journalistic experiences in many of the political hotbeds of the globe, Marton is actively involved in humanitarian causes and was Chief of Outreach at the United Nations, where she was the primary advocate for children in war zones for the Secretary General of the U.N. Marton was Bonn Bureau Chief and Foreign Correspondent for ABC News and covered Breznyev’s visit to East Germany.Marton is currently a director and formerly chair of the Committee to Protect Journalists, an organization founded to monitor abuses against the press and promote press freedom around the world. She also serves on the board of directors of the International Rescue Committee, Human Rights Watch’s Europe-Central Asia Advisory Committee, the New America Foundation and the Central European University. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, P.E.N. International and the Author’s Guild.An accomplished writer, her books include Wallenburg, An American Woman and The Polk Conspiracy: Murder and Cover-up in the Case of CBS News Correspondent George Polk (which is being developed into a feature film by Mel Gibson) and A Death in Jerusalem: The Assassination by Extremists of the First Middle East Peacemaker. Marton has received several honors for her reporting, including a fellowship atColumbiaUniversity’sSchool ofJournalism, and aPeabody award for her one-hour documentary onChina. Most recently, Marton was awarded the Marc H. Tanenbaum Foundation for the Advancement of Inter-religious Understanding Media Bridge-Builder Award, Greece-based Kayriazis Foundation prize for the promotion of press freedom and the Matrix Award from New York Women in Communications, Inc.Marton attendedWellsCollegeinAurora,NY, the Sorbonne, and the Institute des Etudes de Science Politiques inParis. Ms. Marton was awarded a BA in Romance Languages and an MA in International Relations fromGeorgeWashingtonUniversityin 1971. After her divorce from ABC’s Peter Jennings, Marton married Richard Holbrooke, the Special Envoy and Permanent Representative of theUnited Statesto the United Nations, and lives inNew York Citywith her children, Elizabeth and Christopher.- Hire her for a speech at GreaterTalent.com

– Buy her books at Amazon.com

Nicholas Deák

Banker, Finanacier. Received the surrender of the Japanese in Burma in WWII.  Founder of Deak-Perera, the nation’s “oldest and largest foreign exchange and precious metals investment firm.Nicholas Deak once owned the Bank of Vienna (established in 1890) which became part of the Anglo Irish Bank Group in 1995.  He also founded Deak Bank and Deak-Perera, the nation’s “oldest and largest foreign exchange and precious metals investment firm until its sale in 1985.”His books include “International Banking” and “The Deak-Perera Group Story

Robert Deák

Banker, Financier and Father of the Secured Credit CardNicholas Deak’s son, Robert, of Scarsdale, New York, served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Deak-Perera. He was also the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of American National Bank of New York, the originator of the Secured Credit Card. Managing Director of National Loan Recoveries, LLC, one of the leading receivables management companies in theUnited States.See his site: The Credit Card Information Center

Charles Gati (b. 1934, Budapest)

Political Scientist, Author, Foreign Policy Advisor, ProfessorCharles Gati fled Hungaryafter the failed 1956 Hungarian Freedom Fight. He is currently a lecturer in American foreign policy at the prestigious Johns Hopkins University Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Senior Adjunct Professor of European Studies; FPI Fellow. Former senior adviser with the Policy Planning Staff of the U.S. Department of State; former professor atUnionCollege andColumbiaUniversity; and served on the Council on Foreign Relations. He is also senior vice president of Interinvest, a global money management firm. He received his Ph.D., international relations fromIndianaUniversity. He is author of numerous books and periodicals.In his book, “The 1956 Hungarian Revolution: A History in Documents'” he researched newly de-classified documentation concerning Radio Free Europe broadcasts during the 1956 Hungarian uprising against the Soviets and confirmed what many Hungarians remembered and others suspected: that commentators encouraged the Hungarians to battle on in the false understanding that they would receive reinforcements from the West. TheUSrepeated this horrible mistake after the first Gulf Wart inIraq. Gati said the Hungarian government had made some progress, but not enough. “You can open up a controversial event and think you’ve done your job. But the daily activities of a police state don’t emerge from a sensational event — a lot of Hungarians want to understand the sociology of a police state,” he said.His daughter, Adrienne, is a freshman atIndianaUniversity.- Read about his book on 1956 (in Hungarian) or buy it on Amazon

Eugene Fodor
Theodor Herzl (b. 5/2/1860, Budapest d. 1904)

Founder of the Zionist MovementYoung Herzl was educated in the spirit of the German-Jewish “Enlightenment.” The family moved toViennain 1878 after the death of his sister. He received a doctorate in law in 1884 and worked for a short while in courts inViennaandSalzburg. Within a year, he left law and devoted himself to writing, for which he had demonstrated ability from an early age.In 1891 he becamePariscorrespondent for the New Free Press (Vienna), the influential liberal newspaper of the time. Herzl was inParisto witness the rise of anti-Semitism which resulted from the court martial of Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish army officer, who was divested of his rank. After considering a number of possibilities, Herzl became convinced that the only solution to the Jewish problem was the mass exodus of Jews from their places of residence. Originally he wrote that it didn’t matter where Jews went. He eventually felt that a national home inPalestinewas the answer.He published a pamphlet, The Jewish State in 1896. Although others had suggested solutions to anti-Semitism, Herzl was the first to call for immediate political action. Jewish reaction to his plan was mixed. Many Jews rejected it as too extreme, although there were those who responded with enthusiasm and asked him to head what was to become the Zionist movement. He succeeded in convening the first Zionist Congress inBasle,Switzerland, August 29-31, 1897. The congress adopted the Basle Program and established the World Zionist Organization to help create the economic foundation for the proposed Jewish state. Herzl was elected president of the organization and chaired the first six Zionist congresses. He spent much of his time in his remaining years meeting with world leaders, both Jewish and non-Jewish, trying to enlist financial and political support for his dream of a Jewish state. He died in 1904 before his dream could become reality.In 1949 his remains were transferred to a mountain in westernJerusalemwhich becameMountHerzl, and is today a major military cemetery.

MilitaryThis list is far from inclusive, but exemplifies, along with the other sections, the Hungarian Genius!  The Atomic Bomb, Model T, Matches, Television, Hollywood Movies, modern Computers and Binary, Supersonic Flight, the Telephone Exchange, the Carburetor, the Zeppelin, the Automatic Gearbox, the Moon Rover, and the Intel Corporation, all owe their existence to Hungarians!

I receive contributions to this list from all over the world. As I indicated earlier, I do get quite a bit of hate mail regarding this site and this list.  I assure you that names are not added to this list until verified.  Click to [Submit] a Famous Hungarian. Please include a resource for verification purposes.

Known Congressional Medal of Honor Recipients: 7

Col. Michael de Kováts  (1724 – 1779)

US Military Hero!Founding Father of the US Cavalry! Golden Freedom Cannot be Purchased with Yellow Gold.”  Letter to Benjamin Franklin, 1777A Nobleman born in Karcag and officer in Hungarian Cavalry under Maria Theresa. Captain in the famous Prussian Cavalry underFrederickthe Great. After hearing of American uprising, he offered his sword to Ben Franklin, then Ambassasor toFrance. US Congress made him Colonel-Commander of the legendary Pulaski Legion. He recruited, trained, organized, and led into battle the first American Cavalry. He died a hero’s death atCharleston, SC, 5/11/1779 and is the first Hungarian to give his life for American freedom and independence.A total of 141 Hungarians fought under the American flag – this does not include those enlisted in the French military. In the Civil War, over 4000 Hungarians served the Union.See Hungarian Soldiers in Foreign Armies, The Hungarian Art of War

Major Charles Zágonyi – (Szatmár, Hungary, 1826 [annexed by Rumania in 1920])

US Military Hero! “The Union Forever!” Led the famous Civil War “Zágonyi Death Ride” Raised into the military, he became a Huszar officer with Polish General Bem and Kossuth inHungary’s fight for democracy in 1848. He was wounded in battle and spent two years as an Austrian POW. After the war, he came to theUSand joined theUnion. Under General John Fremont, Major Zágonyi, the former Huszár officer, was commissioned to organize his first cavalry guard which came to be known as “Fremont’s Body Guard.” He trained his men as Huszárs and they all soon looked the part.The Death Ride:Despite being outnumbered 2000 to 300, Zagonyi convinced the hestitating Gen. Fremont to attack. Zágonyi went on to rout confederate forces atSpringfield,Missouriin October, 1861. Fremontcompared Zágonyi’s feat to that of the famed, “Charge of the Light Brigade.”  His surprise attack, a complete success, left over 300 enemy casualties. The monument commemorating this event inSpringfield,Missouridescribes it as one of the “most daring and brilliant cavalry charges of the Civil War.” The famous “death ride” was celebrated in poems, paintings and articles.TRIVIA! Wild Bill Hickock rode with Zagonyi, the “dashing Hungarian”- See Hungarian Soldiers in Foreign Armies, The Hungarian Art of War

– Read some of his letters from the Civil War battles

– See Notable Hungarians in the Civil War

– See Military.com for more details

Major-General Julius H. Stahel Számwald (b.  11/5/1825, Szeged, Hungary d. 12/4/1912, New York City)

US Military Hero! Congressional Medal of Honor At the outbreak of the War of Liberation with Louis Kossuth against the ruling Hapsburg dynasty in the spring of 1848, Stahel immediately joined various patriotic organizations and also enlisted in the revolutionary army. In the battle of Branyiszkó, February 5, 1849, Stahel sustained serious wounds and was decorated for bravery.By May 1849 the Hungarian insurgents inflicted a series of decisive defeats upon the Hapsburg Imperial Army and the Croat, Serb, Slovak and Rumanian irregulars supporting the House of Hapsburg. A small Russian army, which made an informal incursion into easternHungaryto help the hard-pressed Hapsburg troops there, was routed and expelled. Czar Nicholas I, the autocrat of Europe, was more than willing to extend a hand in stamping out liberalism and soon a Russian army of some 300,000 poured intoHungary. The revolutionaries felt confident that the Russian invasion would mobilize Western support on their side, but their hopes were cruelly dashed. Governor Lajos Kossuth and thousands of others, Stahel among them, fled abroad after the defeat.He moved toNew Yorkand worked, like Pulitzer, as a Journalist.  At the outbreak of the Civil War, Stahel and Ludwig Blenker, a flamboyant German expatriate, organized the 8th New York Volunteer Infantry, the first German-American regiment in the Union army. Stahel became the regiment’s lieutenant-colonel. At the First Battle of Bull Run, July 20, 1861, with his 8th New York Infantry, on his own initiative took command of the rear guard and made possible the withdrawal of the main forces, thus preventing Confederate forces from advancing onWashington. President Lincoln personally expressed his appreciation for this action. For their valiant conduct on the battlefield, Stahel was promoted to Colonel of the 8thNew York. Shortly afterwards, on November 12, Stahel received his star as a brigadier-general. A few days after John Singleton Mosby’s daring raid behind the Federal lines at Fairfax Court House during the night of March 8,Lincolnsummoned Stahel to the White House and ordered him personally to take charge of the cavalry atFairfax. He told Stahel in no uncertain terms that the raids upon the lines aroundWashingtonmust stop. The three brigades of cavalry in the Department of Washington were organized as a division, which together with the outposts were placed under Stahel’s command. On March 14, he was raised to the rank of major-general.Stahel received the US Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery at the Battle of Piedmont inVirginia. While wounded, the General led a cavalry charge which led to a Union victory. After the War, he was appointed U.S. Consul toJapan. In 1912 his remains were placed inArlingtonNationalCemetery.Early in 1866 Stahel was appointed by President Andrew Johnson consul atYokohama,Japan. There he succeeded in opening additional ports to American trade. Afterwards, he served as consul toOsakaand Hiogo. He remained inJapanuntil 1884, when he was made consul inShanghai,China.


  • When President Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address on November 19 at the dedication of the military cemetery established for those who had fallen at the battle ofGettysburg, Stahel commanded the guard of honor.

– See more at ArlingtonCemetery.com (Special thanks to Steve Beszedits for biographical data)

– See Hungarian Soldiers in Foreign Armies, The Hungarian Art of War

– See Stephen Beszedits’s detailed work

– See Notable Hungarians in the Civil War

Huba Wass de Czege (b.Kolozsvár (now Cluj after Rumanian annexation), Transylvania, in 1941)

Brigadier General, US Army Founding Director of the US Army’s School of Advanced Military Studies and Architect of AirLand Battle DoctrineAs one of the “Jedi Knights,” helped the planning of Operation Desert Storm. First in Class,West Point 1964. Chief of Arms Control Branch, Office of the Supreme Allied Commander, SHAPE,Belgium. Author of the 1982 and 1986 versions of Field Manual 100-5, “Operations,” the Army’s main warfighting doctrine publication.

“Knowing why, when and how to change is key to maintaining an Army’s effectiveness.” 

The will to fight is at the nub of all defeat mechanisms….One should always look for a way to break the enemy’s will and capacity to resist.”

Read Palmer McGrew’s experience in Vietnam with “A” Company Commander, de Czege. Here is an excerpt:

“Huba was a wonderful company commander, and he had excellent credentials. He was aWest Pointgraduate and had been a high-ranking cadet. This was his second tour inViet Nam, so he knew his way around. He was the bravest and smartest man in his company and personally manned an ambush position every night. His company headquarters, which amounted to him, his radio operators, his first sergeant and his forward observer, had killed and wounded more enemy than the entire rest of the battalion. Now Huba had decided that I showed promise.”

He and his brothers, in remembrance of their father, Count Albert Wass de Czege, the noted Transylvanian-Hungarian novelist (see Documented Facts and Figures on Transylvania), established the Czegei Wass Foundation in 1996.  The purpose of the Foundation is to provide economic and humanitarian aide to the small villages inTransylvania so that the villagers can improved their lives during the reconstruction period following Communism. Headquartered in theUnited States, it has established sister foundations both inHungary andRumania. The Home address is:

Can you help? Send a tax-deductible donation to:

Czegei Wass Foundation, Inc.

1602 Woodford Ave.

Fort Myers,FL33901

– Read about his Starry-Wass de Czege model.  Read “How to Change an Army” or the article on ABCNEWS.com: Army Fights Future Wars. You can also buy his book at Amazon: Air-Mech-Strike, 3-Dimensional Phalanx; full-spectrum maneuver warfare to dominate the 21st Century.

Count Lászlo Bercsényi (b. 1689)

Huszár, Founder of the modern French Cavalry! Marshal of FranceThe Light Cavalry of the Magyars – the Hussars – was widely imitated by other nations, both in terms of organization and detail of uniform. At the end of the 17th century, Louis XIV ordered the establishment of three separate Hungarian regiments.According to today’s French tradition, the founder of the modern French cavalry was Laszlo Count Bercsenyi (Bercheny in French spelling) son of the famous general under Rákoczi. Bercsenyi was promoted to the rank of general for his heroism in the War of Polish Succession. During the War of Austrian Succession (1741 1748) the hussar regiment of Bercsenyi covered the retreat of the French Army fromBohemia. For his services in this campaign he was appointed by Louis XV (1723-1774) to Inspector General of the French cavalry. In 1756 Bercsenyi, already 67 years old, was promoted to the highest rank of the French Army: Marshal of France. After receiving amnesty from Empress Maria Theresa, he went back toHungaryfor awhile, but, disillusioned, returned toFrancewhere he died in 1778 at the age of 89.Today the First Hussards are an active parachute regiment stationed inTarbe,France. The First Hussards were deployed in Indochina during theVietnamera and as part of the coalition forces in desert stormSee Hungarian Soldiers in Foreign Armies, The Hungarian Art of War

See History of the 1e Régiment de Hussards

See the French Folksong “Les Hussards de Bercheny” (in French)

Dr. Hans von Dohnanyi (b. 1/1/1902, d. 4/8/1945)

WWII hero of German resistance!Another son of Erno von Dohnanyi and brother-in-law of reknowned anti-Nazi pastor


About the author

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