Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Babylon 5 star Turhan Bey has died

Turhan Bey with Tippi Hedren at the world premiere screening of 20th Century Fox: The First 50 Years

Turhan Bey, an actor whose exotic good looks earned him the nickname of 'Turkish Delight', has died aged 90.

The actor appeared in films with Errol Flynn and Katharine Hepburn before he left Hollywood to live a quiet life in Vienna, Austria.

Marita Ruiter, who exhibited Bey's photos in her Luxembourg gallery, told the Austria Press Agency that Bey died in Vienna on September 30 after a long struggle with Parkinson's disease, and was cremated on Monday.

While celebrated for supporting roles alongside Flynn, Hepburn, John Wayne, Peter Lorre and other film greats of the 1940s, friends described Bey as a modest, unassuming man who never bragged of his ties with the stars of the era.

"He was a man brimming with humour, with plenty of aplomb and self-irony, and was very popular," Ruiter was quoted as saying. "He wasn't the kind who cared a lot about honours."

Born in Austria as Gilbert Selahettin Schultavey, the son of a Turkish diplomat, Bey assumed his stage name shortly after moving to the United States with his Jewish Czech mother from Vienna to escape the Nazis and being discovered by talent scouts from Warner Bros studios.

His popular name was Turkish Delight - a reference to his suave good looks that made him an ideal partner to exotic stars such as Maria Montez in escapist Technicolour adventure fantasies set in faraway places, including A Night in Paradise, Out of the Blue, and The Amazing Mr X.

Moving back to Vienna, he made a living as a photographer and occasional stage director, again returning after a brief film and television comeback in the 1990s that earned him an Emmy nomination for his performance as the venerable Turval in the Babylon 5 space fantasy TV series.

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