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Lili Darvas

Lili Darvas earned praise for acting both classic and modern roles with great dramatic range and, as critic Harold Clurman put it, “the dignity of sound human instincts.” Darvas studied at the Budapest Lyceum before making her professional debut at age twenty as the lead in Romeo and Juliet. She married one of Hungary’s leading playwrights, Ferenc Molnar, who wrote plays specifically for her, including Riviera and Olympia. In 1926 Darvas joined the acting troupe of Max Reinhardt, performing in both modern and stock plays in German and English in Vienna, Berlin, and New York. In the 1930s, she began working in film in Europe and America, playing the title role in Marie Baskirchev in 1936 and Meet Me in Las Vegas in 1956. In 1944, she made her Broadway debut in Soldier’s Wife to rave reviews. The following year, she played Gertrude in Maurice Evans’s celebrated “GI” production of Hamlet. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s she performed a variety of roles on the New York stage and on television; her last major role on Broadway was Madame Nielsen in Les Blancs in 1970.

Lili Darvas, 1922
Full image
Lili Anna Darvas in 1922.
Photograph by Miklos Labori, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Date of Birth
April 10, 1902
Place of Birth
Date of Death
July 22, 1974

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Lili Darvas." (Viewed on January 16, 2018) <>.


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