In 1956, which actor was buried in a Dracula costume?
And the answer: Bela Lugosi.
Born in 1882 in Hungary, Lugosi is known for portraying Count Dracula in the 1931 film. Although he resented the years of typecasting after his breakout performance, Lugosi asked to be buried in Dracula's cape. The original cape went to his son, and Lugosi was buried in a replica.
In his heyday, Bela Lugosi was hailed as the King of Horror. Even today, some 85+ years after his portrayal of Count Dracula, Lugosi's legacy remains intact. His role of the Count is hailed as the accepted portrayal of the ever-replicated vampire of myth, and his look has been replicated countless times in film and television.
Fun fact: Universal Studios almost didn't cast Lugosi in the starring role. After Bram Stoker's work was adapted to the stage in 1924 London, American playwrights took a preemptive action to cast their own touring production, with Lugosi in the lead. It was a smash hit, and soon the rights to the film were purchased. However, Lugosi was still a relatively unknown actor, and his name was not on the top of the list to play Count Dracula on the silver screen. Luckily, though, Lugosi was ultimately tapped to take the part, and went on to reap great box office successes.
Later, Lugosi was also asked to play Universal's adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Whether it was the heavy makeup, the extensive, monstrous grunting, or perhaps the similarity of the role to the Count, Lugosi rejected the offer. Instead, Universal went with Boris Karloff, another soon-to-be great in the horror industry. Interestingly, though, the two horror stars were considered to be bitter rivals for most of their careers (later reports of their relationship reveal that it was largely cordial between the two, who went on to share the screen together in five feature films).
Learn more about Bela Lugosi and his vampiric legacy here.