Bella Darvi (Bayla Wegier)
Photos with Bella Darvi
BiographySosnowiec, Slaskie, Poland
Bella Darvi became a 50s symbol for one of the many movie "Cinderellas" whose bright and beautiful Hollywood fairy tale would come crashing down, ending in bitterness and tragedy. A self-destructive brunette beauty, her life was full of misfortune. Of Polish/French descent, she miraculously survived the tortures of a WWII concentration camp as a youth, only to get caught up in the phony glitter and high-living style of Monaco's casinos as a young adult in Europe. An inveterate gambler and drinker, she was, by chance, "discovered" by movie mogul Darryl F. Read more... foreign cinematic allure à la Ingrid Bergman. Despite her lack of acting experience, the Zanucks paid off her gambling debts and whisked her away to Hollywood to be groomed for stardom. Her marquee name "Darvi" was derived from the combined first names of her mentors. It should have been a dream-come-true opportunity. Fate, however, would not be so kind. After three high profile roles in The Egyptian (1954), Hell and High Water (1954) and The Racers (1955) opposite three top male films stars (Victor Mature, Richard Widmark and Kirk Douglas, respectively), Darvi's limited abilities were painfully transparent. Not only was she hampered by an ever-so-slight crossed-eyed appearance, she had a trace of a lisp which, combined with a foreign accent, made her speech appear slurred and difficult to understand. It didn't take long for the actress to go off the deep end. Within a short time, a major sex scandal involving Mr. Zanuck had wife Virginia packing Darvi's bags and any "career" she once had here in America was over. She retreated back to Europe, made a few inconsequential films, and quickly returned to her adverse habits -- liquor and the gambling tables. But this time there was no one to save her. Mounting debts and despair eventually turned her thoughts to suicide. After several attempts, Darvi finally succeeded in 1971 after turning on the gas stove in her apartment. She was only 42.