Mária Viola Terézia Mezei was born 27 March 1929 in Kecskemét, Bács-Kiskun County, Southern Transdanubia Region, Hungary to Paul Mezei (1882-c1950) and Mária Igo (1884-1910) and died 20 April 1983 Budakeszi, Pest County, Central Hungary Region, Hungary of unspecified causes. She married Tibor Paulovits . She married János Lelbach (1929-2007) .

Mária Mezei (16 October 1909 – 20 April 1983) was a Hungarian film actress. She appeared in 35 films between 1936 and 1970.


Mária Mezei was born on 16 October 1909 in Kecskemét (now in Bács-Kiskun County, Hungary. Her father, dr. Paul Mezei was a jurist, head of the local notary service. After giving birth, her mother fell sick of puerperal fever and died when Mária was just 11 months old. Being unable to raise his little daughter alone, Paul Mezei remarried. His new wife was six years younger than him and was also a widow, having a small daughter. A few days after their marriage, on 8 July 1911, an earthquake of 5.6 degrees magnitude hit the Kecskemét area. Their house was severely damaged but nobody in the family was hurt. With no place to stay, the Mezei family moved to Odorheiu Secuiesc in Transylvania where Paul Mezei's new inlaws were able to secure him a position of deputy notary. Paul Mezei was however dissatisfied of having to owe his career to his inlaws, and, at the end of World War II, when Hungary lost Transylvania, the Mezei family moved to Szeged where Paul Mezei opened his own attorney's office.


After graduating from high-school, Mária Mezei enrolled at the University of Szeged, first at the Law Faculty and then transferred to the Hungarian-French Philosophy Faculty. She then married Tibor Paulovits and transferred to the faculty of arts. For three years they had a difficult life, changing their lodging frequently.

These studies did not satisfy her. Since her childhood, Mária Mezei to become an actress. Her father was totally opposed to this career and had many arguments with his daughter about this issue. However, three years after she started her university studies, Paul Mezei finally ceded and Mária left the university and her husband and moved to Budapest. Her father even arranged her to meet Sandor Hevesi, who at that time was lecturer at the Budapest Drama School. After the interview, Sandor Hevesi stated that she had talent, but was not specially enthusiastic about Maria Mezei. He recommended that she loose weight and start formal training as an actress. Following Sandor Hevesi's relatively negative reaction. Maria Mezei decided not to enrol at the Theatre Academy, where Hevesi was teaching. Instead, Paul Mezei asked one of his friends, László Szabó-Tápay (1874-1941), a lawyer and journalist, for help and Szabó-Tápay was able to secure Maria's enrollment in the private Rózsahegy Acting School, which had been opened by Kálmán Rózsahegyi and his wife Angela Hevesi. She graduated successfully in 1931, in playing parts of Laszlo Fodor successful comedy "Dr. Szabó Juci".


Following her graduation examination, Mária Mezei was immediately hired by Mihály Sebestyén in the theatre of Miskolc where she had the main role in Imre Éri Halász's play "Meddig fogsz szeretni" (How long are you going to love ?). Her stage debut was not a success, but Mária Mezei continued her career, playing from 1933-1935 in the National Theatre of Pécs, and from 1935 at the Budapest Belvárosi Színház (Budapest Downtown Theatre). Her plans of moving to Paris in 1939 din not materialize, due to the war, and she continued acting in Budapest until the German invasion of Hungary in 1944. She restarted acting after the end of the hostilities in 1946, when she has the title role in Dezső Szomory's play "Alice Takáts".

She then played in various other theatres: 1949-1956 at the Budapest Operetta Theatre, 1956-1962 at the Budapest Madách Theatre, 1962-1964 at the Petofi Theatre, and from 1964 at the National Theatre in Budapest. In 1968 she had a tour in Canada at the invitation of director Sandor Kertesz and the performed at the Toronto Art Theatre as well as in Montreal.

Mária Mezei was forced to retire soon after her return from Canada, because of her health. In 1969 she contracted Hong Kong flu during the 1968 flu pandemic, which affected her lungs. Her last performance, was the title role in Friedrich Schiller's play "Mary Stuart", directed by Béla Both.

Selected filmography




Footnotes (including sources)


External links

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