On this Day in Movie History, November 8, 1847: Dracula Creator Bram Stoker Born

On this day, November 8, 1847, Irish novelist and short story writer, best known today for his 1897 Gothic novel Dracula, Abraham “Bram” Stoker was born. Stoker’s villainous, blood-sucking creation and pop-culture icon, has been featured in hundreds of movies, books, plays and other forms of entertainment.

Stoker’s novel has been adapted for the big screen several times and has proven to be box-office gold. In 1931, Universal Pictures released the well-received “Dracula,” which starred Hungarian-born actor Bela Lugosi (1882-1956) in the title role. Universal went on to release such related films as “Dracula’s Daughter” (1936), “Son of Dracula” (1943) and “House of Dracula” (1945).

In the 1950s, 60s and 70s, English actor Christopher Lee (1922-) starred in a series of Dracula productions from Hammer Films, including “Horror of Dracula” (1958), “Dracula: Prince of Darkness” (1966) and “Scars of Dracula” (1970). In 1992, director Francis Ford Coppola (“The Godfather,” “Apocalypse Now”) had a blockbuster hit with “Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” which featured English actor Gary Oldman (1958-) in the lead.

The Dracula oeuvre also includes such productions as the 1972 blaxploitation film “Blacula” and director Mel Brooks’ 1995 parody, “Dracula: Dead and Loving It,” starring Leslie Nielsen (1926-).

In 1994, Anne Rice’s 1976 novel “Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles” was made into a hit movie starring Tom Cruise (1962-) as the vampire Lestat. In 2008, the big-screen adaptation of “Twilight,” author Stephenie Meyer’s 2005 best-selling vampire novel for young adults, scored big at the box office.

Bram Stoker died at the age of 64 on April 20, 1912, in London. He published other novels after “Dracula,” but none achieved the same level of success.

Although Stoker created Dracula, vampires didn’t originate with Stoker: These mythical creatures, who cast no shadows, have no reflections in mirrors and can be killed with a stake through their hearts, actually first appeared in ancient folklore. English writer John William Polidori’s 1819 short story “The Vampyre” is credited with kick-starting modern literature’s vampire genre.

Birthdays
1912 – June Havoc (actress: Brewster’s Millions, Gentlemen’s Agreement, Sing Your Worries Away, Willy; died Mar 28, 2010)

1914 – Norman Lloyd (actor: St. Elsewhere, Journey of Honor, Jaws of Satan, Saboteur, The Southerner)

1920 – Esther Rolle (Academy Award-winning actress: Summer of My German Soldier [10/30/78]; Good Times, Maude, Scarlett, Driving Miss Daisy, A Raisin in the Sun, The Mighty Quinn; died Nov 17, 1998)

1921 – Gene Saks (actor: A Fine Romance, Prisoner of Second Avenue, A Thousand Clowns; director: Barefoot in the Park, Mame, The Odd Couple, Cactus Flower)

1921 – Walter Mirisch (Academy Award-winning producer: The Apartment [1960])

1924 – Joe Flynn (actor: The Tim Conway Show, McHale’s Navy, The Joey Bishop Show, The George Gobel Show, The Bob Newhart Show, The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, Superdad, Million Dollar Duck, The Barefoot Executive, The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes; died July 19, 1974)

1935 – Alain Delon (actor: Nouvelle Vague, The Concorde: Airport ’79, Gypsy, Red Sun, Is Paris Burning?, Honor Among Thieves, Rocco and His Brothers, Sois Belle et Tais-Toi)

1961 – Leif Garrett (actor: Spirit of �76, Thunder Alley, Kid Vengeance, Three for the Road; singer: I Was Made for Dancin�)

1967 – Courtney Thorne-Smith (actress: Melrose Place, Fast Times, Day by Day, Breach of Conduct, Side Out, Welcome to 18, Summer School, Revenge of the Nerds 2: Nerds in Paradise, Lucas)

1968 – Parker Posey (actress: Party Girl, The Daytrippers, You�ve Got Mail, Scream 3, Best in Show)

1969 – Roxana Zal (Emmy Award-winning actress: Something about Amelia [1984]; Shattered Spirits, Under the Boardwalk, Goodbye, Miss 4th of July, River’s Edge, Testament, Table for Five)

1972 – Gretchen Mol (actress: The Magnificent Ambersons, Donnie Brasco, Subway Stories: Tales from the Underground, Rounders, Finding Graceland, The Thirteenth Floor)

1975 – Tara Reid (actress: The Big Lebowski, American Pie series, Body Shots, Dr. T & the Women, Josie and the Pussycats)

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