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Hungarians in the World


There's an old joke from the '30s about a sign on a movie studio wall in Hollywood 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.

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.

Some of the world-famous Hungarians in Hollywood and beyond:


Adolph Zukor

1873 Ricse, Hungary – 1976 Century City, CA, US

“Mr. Motion Pictures", Oscar winner

Producer and founder of Paramount Pictures and Loew's Theaters. 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.


Joseph Pulitzer

1847 Mako, Hungary – 1911 South Carolina, US


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 university level. The lasting influence of the Pulitzer Prizes in journalism, literature, music, and drama is to be attributed to his visionary acumen.


George Cukor

1899 New York, US – 1983 Los Angeles, US

Two-time Oscar winning director

Cukor lead eight of his leading ladies to Best Actress Oscar nominated performances and himself received five Best Director nominations over the course of his career.


Sir Alexander Korda

1893 Pusztatúrpasztó, Hungary – 1956 London, England

Film producer, director and screenwriter, who founded his own film production studios and film distribution company.


William Fox

born as Vilmos Fried in 1879 Tolcsva, Hungary – 1952 New York, US

Producer and founder of Fox Studios


Michael Curtiz 

born as Manó Kertész Kaminer in 1898 Budapest, Hungary – 1962 Hollywood, CA, US

Oscar winning director of "Casablanca"


Béla Lugosi

born as Bála Blaskó in 1882 Lugos, Hungary – 1956 California, US

Actor - the original Dracula


Tony Curtis

born as Bernard Schwartz in 1925 New York, US – 2010 Nevada, US

Oscar-nominated actor and Hollywood legend.


Harry Houdini

1874 Budapest, Hungary – 1926 Detroit, US

The "Greatest Magician on Earth" – actor and pioneer pilot


Béla Bartók

1881, Nagyszentmiklós, Hungary – 1945

Composer and pianist


Franz Liszt

1811 Hungary – 1886 Germany

Classical composer


Imre Kertész

1929 Budapest, Hungary – 2016 Budapest, Hungary

Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2002


Edward Teller

1908 Budapest, Hungary – Stanford, California, US

Physicist; co-developed the atomic bomb, father of the H-bomb


Leó Szilárd

1898 Budapest – 1964 La Jolla, California, US

Physicist; co-developed the atomic bomb


John von Neumann 

1903 Budapest Hungary – 1957 Washington DC, US

Legendary mathematician; physicist and computing pioneer, father of the binary code and the stored program computer - the keys to modern computer programming


Tivadar Puskás

1844 Budapest, Hungary – 1893 Budapest, Hungary

Inventor who devised the idea of using telephone exchanges between subscribers; builder of Europe's first telephone exchange


József Bíró

1899 Budapest, Hungary – 1985 Buenos Aires, Argentina

Inventor of the ballpoint pen and the automatic gearbox for automobiles.


Joseph Galamb

1881 Makó, Hungary – 1955 Detroit, US

Designer of the Ford Model T and Model A


Ferenc Puskás

1927 Budapest, Hungary – 2006 Budapest, Hungary

One of the greatest football (soccer) players of all time.


Erno Rubik

1944 Budapest, Hungary –

Inventor of the Rubik’s Cube


George Soros

1930 Budapest, Hungary –

Hungarian-American business magnate, investor and philanthropist.

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