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Eva Bartok
Eva Bartok.jpg
Bartok in 1959
Éva Márta Szőke Ivanovics

(1927-06-18)18 June 1927
Kecskemét, Hungary
Died1 August 1998(1998-08-01) (aged 71)
London, England
Years active1947–1966
Spouse(s)Géza Kovács (annulled)
Alexander Paal (1948–1950; divorced)
William Wordsworth (1951–1955; divorced)
Curd Jürgens (1955–1956; divorced)
Dag Molin (1980–1983; divorced)[1]
Partner(s)Frank Sinatra[2]
David Mountbatten, 3rd Marquess of Milford Haven
ChildrenDeana Jürgens (born 1957)[2]

Éva Márta Szőke Ivanovics (18 June 1927[3] – 1 August 1998), known professionally as Eva Bartok, was a Hungarian-British actress. She began acting in films in 1950 and her last credited appearance was in 1966. She acted in more than 40 American, British, German, Hungarian, French and Israeli films. She is best known for appearances in Blood and Black Lace, The Crimson Pirate, Operation Amsterdam, and Ten Thousand Bedrooms.[4]

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • "Der Arzt von Stalingrad" - Russia gets the girl - Hannes Messemer, Eva Bartok, Walther Reyer
  • The Challenge 1948
  • Segítség, felszarvaztak!


Early life

Bartok was born Éva Márta Szőke in Kecskemét, Hungary, to a Jewish journalist father and a Catholic mother.[5][2] As a young child she performed in school productions from the age of six, and later in charity events and for wounded soldiers during the Second World War.

Following the outbreak of the war her father stayed in Budapest. Bartok and her mother moved to live in Kecskemét, to the south of the city, where her mother had relatives. Her father would visit them on Sundays, but later disappeared without a trace during the Nazi period.

To avoid persecution as the daughter of a Jewish father the teenage Bartok was forced aged 15 to gain protection by marrying Géza Kovács, a Hungarian officer who had Nazi connections.[2]

Kovács disappeared following the occupation of Hungary by the Communists. Bartok was able to get her marriage annulled on the grounds of coercion of a minor.[6][7]


Following the end of the Second World War Bartok decided to enter the acting profession and successfully sat an examination at the Drama Centre in Budapest. One of the examiners was the director of the prominent Belvárosi Szinház theatre and he was impressed enough to in 1945 offer Bartok a three-year contract. She made her professional debut in a performance of J. B. Priestley's A Conway család (Time and the Conways) which ran at the Belvárosi Szinház for three months. She also performed at the Nemzeti Kamara in 1947. She then performed in Gáspár Margit's Új Isten Thébában (New God in Thebes) in 1946 followed by Áron Tamási's drama Hullámzó vőlegény in 1947, George Bernard Shaw's Androkles és az oroszlánok (Androcles and the Lion) and Jean-Paul Sartre's A tisztességtudó utcalány (The Respectful Prostitute).

She first appeared in front of the camera was in the 1947 Hungarian film Mezei próféta which was banned by the communist censors for political reasons.

Feeling threatened and persecuted by the new Communist regime in Hungary, she asked for help from Hollywood-based Hungarian producer Alexander Paal, who had been a friend of her father. Paal arranged a "passport marriage", and took her to London. Bartok was later able to smuggle her mother out of Hungary via Austria and Germany to eventually settle her in France. As one of its producers Paal was able to arrange for Bartok to appear in the British-Italian international co-production drama film A Tale of Five Cities (which was released as A Tale of Five Women in the US). It was filmed in 1948 but due to due to financial difficulties it was not released until 1951. As her surname would have been an hindrance to Western audiences she changed her professional name to "Bartok" after the well-known Hungarian composer Béla Bartók. After divorcing Paal, Eva was introduced though the Hungarian expatriate community to fellow emigre Alexander Korda, who arranged for her to be put under contract to London Films.[5] She received a small salary of £80 a month and received the opportunity to audition for the studio's various film projects. At the same time she undertook English language lessons. To assist in gaining parts on the advice of theatrical publicity agent William Wordsworth, (who later became her third husband) she attracted attention by attending theatre premieres. As she had little money, she made most of her own dresses, displaying a flair for doing much with little.

Bartok came to the attention of an Italian stage producer who was in London looking for an English actress. He asked her to join his company with the provision that she could learn enough Italian in three weeks to perform a monologue in a variety show that incorporated singing, dancing, comedians, magicians, acrobats and novelty acts. With Korda's permission Bartok flew to Rome to join the show's rehearsals prior to the show opening in December 1951 at the Teatro Manzoni in Milan. The show was a success and over the following four months there were performances in Florence, Venice, Genoa and other cities, ending with a six-week long run in Rome at the Teatro Quirino.

In 1951 A Tale of Five Cities was finally released in the United Kingdom. It was seen by actor-producer Burt Lancaster and director Robert Siodmak, who were visiting England looking for an actress to play opposite Lancaster as his romantic interest, Consuelo in the upcoming production of the comedy-adventure film The Crimson Pirate. Impressed by Bartok's performance and appearance they telegraphed her in Italy asking for her to attend a screen test. Bartok by now wary of countless unsuccessful auditions replied "No test. Send script." To her surprise she was offered the role and was asked to report for location shooting on the island of Ischia. In total she spent over three months working on the project.

Also in 1952 Bartok appeared alongside Richard Todd in The Venetian Bird.

The success of The Crimson Pirate bought Bartok numerous role offers, though most were either in "B" movies and German language movies. In 1953 Bartok made her first German film Rummelplatz Der Liebe (Circus of Love), starring opposite actor Curd Jürgens. Their on-screen chemistry led to a demand for more collaborations, which came one after another in rapid succession: Der letzte Walzer, Meines Vaters Pferde I. Teil Lena und Nicoline and Orient Express.

In 1955, Bartok acted on the stage in The Lovers, at the Opera House in Manchester, England. Directed by Sam Wanamaker, it was an adaptation and translation of Émile Zola's novel, Thérèse Raquin by Marcelle Maurette.[8] In 1957 Bartok appeared in the musical Ten Thousand Bedrooms, opposite Dean Martin. The movie was filmed in Italy and in Hollywood and for a time she resided in Los Angeles.

Following that production, her best known roles were in The Doctor of Stalingrad which was released in 1958, and in 1961's It Can't Always Be Caviar [de], opposite O. W. Fischer.

In 1955, Bartok published a novel, Fighting Shadows and in 1959 an autobiography, Worth Living For.[6]

Later life

Bartok had been introduced to the philosophy of the Subud sect while being treated for ovarian cancer in the late 1950s. As her career declined in the mid-1960s she began spending more and more involvement with the sect and ended up spending three years studying with the sect near Jakarta, Indonesia.[5] She later taught its philosophy in a school she opened in Honolulu.

In the last years of her life, she lived as a permanent paying guest in a small London hotel.[6]

She died on 1 August 1998 at St. Charles's Hospital in London.[2][5]

Personal life

Bartok with daughter, Deana Jürgens (1958)
Bartok with daughter, Deana Jürgens (1958)

Bartok was married from 1944 to Hungarian officer Géza Kovács until it was annulled after the Second World War on the grounds of coercion of a minor.

Her second husband was the producer Alexander Paal, who had assisted her in her escape from Hungary in 1948. They divorced in 1951.

She acquired British citizenship through her third marriage to English theatrical publicity agent William "Bill" Wordsworth in 1952. Wordsworth was the great-great-grandson of the poet of the same name.[6] That marriage fell apart with him claiming that she had deserted him within a month of their marriage to move to Rome to make a movie in 1952, but the divorce was not finalised until 7 March 1955 with Bartok not contesting Wordsworth's application.[9]

She met the British aristocrat David Mountbatten, 3rd Marquess of Milford Haven at a London dinner in 1952.[10][5] They embarked on a high-profile relationship that lasted for several years. Romaine, Marchioness of Milford Haven, cited Bartok in her divorce petition.[11] Mountbatten was prominent part in the London demi-monde of the 1950s, which brought together a colourful mix of aristocrats and shadowy social climbers such as osteopath Stephen Ward.

Her relationship with Mountbatten ended after Bartok began a relationship with German actor Curd Jürgens when they acted in a movie together in Germany. Amidst great media interest, she married Jürgens on 13 August 1955 in Schliersee, Germany.[12] It was Jürgens's third marriage. They divorced on 6 November 1956. Shortly after her marriage to Jürgens had ended Bartok gave birth to a daughter Deana in London on 7 October 1957.[13][14]

Three decades later, Bartok claimed Deana's biological father was actually Frank Sinatra as a result of a very brief affair in 1956 with him following the break-up of Sinatra's marriage to Ava Gardner.[15][13] Bartok had first met Frank Sinatra at a party while she was in Hollywood in 1955 while appearing in the film Ten Thousand Bedrooms, alongside Dean Martin.[5] Sinatra never acknowledged that he was the father.

In 1980 Bartok married her fifth husband, the American producer Dag Molin, and lived with him in Los Angeles until their divorce in 1983.

Partial filmography

Among the films that Bartok acted in are:[8]


  1. ^ Weikard, André (9 May 2019). "Retro News: Eine Frau und ihre Männer" (in German). Retrieved 31 January 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e Vallance, Tom (3 August 1998). "Obituary: Eva Bartok". The Independent. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
  3. ^ Some sources cite 1926, 1928 or 1929 as possible years of birth.
  4. ^ "Continuing the Eva Bartok story". The Sunday Mail (Brisbane). 29 November 1953. p. 23. Retrieved 26 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Eva Bartok, 72, Actress in Films of 50's and 60's". The New York Times. Associated Press. 5 August 1998. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d Oliver, Myrna (5 August 1998). "Eva Bartok; Acted in U.S., Foreign Films". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 29 January 2022.
  7. ^ Eva Bartok, Turner Classic Movies; accessed 22 April 2018.
  8. ^ a b "Eva Bartok". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 31 January 2022.
  9. ^ "Eva Bartok Divorced". The New York Times. 8 March 1955. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  10. ^ "Eva Bartok". Variety. 17 August 1998. Retrieved 3 November 2021.
  11. ^ "David, 3rd Marquess of Milford Haven". Lord Mountbatten of Burma. Retrieved 29 January 2022.
  12. ^ "Eva Bartok Wed to Actor". The New York Times. 14 August 1955. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  13. ^ a b "Sinatra's secret child speaks out". The Indian Express. 19 May 1998.[dead link]
  14. ^ Emond, Bruce (23 October 2010). "The Star Who Came to Jakarta". The Jakarta Post. Archived from the original on 6 February 2012.
  15. ^ "British woman, 36, claims she is Sinatra's daughter". Chicago Tribune. 17 August 1994. p. 2. Retrieved 29 April 2012.

Further reading

  • Banville, John (2003). Prague Pictures: Portrait of a City. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 978-0747564089. Discusses Bartok at some length.
  • Bartok, Eva (1959). Worth Living For. Putnam.
  • Lamparski, Richard (1989). Whatever became of ...? (11th ed.). New York: Crown Publishers. ISBN 978-0517571507.

External links

This page was last edited on 14 April 2023, at 13:37
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