Turhan Bey, 90, an actor whose exotic good looks earned him the nickname of "Turkish Delight" in films with Errol Flynn and Katharine Hepburn before he left Hollywood for a quieter life in Vienna, died Sept. 30 in the Austrian capital after a long struggle with Parkinson's disease. His friend Marita Ruiter, who exhibited Bey's photos in her Luxembourg gallery, confirmed his death, according to the Austria Press Agency.
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 from Vienna with his Jewish Czech mother to escape the Nazis and being discovered by talent scouts from Warner Bros. studios.
Bey was celebrated for supporting roles alongside Flynn, Hepburn, John Wayne, Peter Lorre and other film greats of the 1940s. His popular name of "Turkish Delight" was a reference to his suave good looks, which made him an ideal partner to exotics like Maria Montez in escapist Technicolor adventure fantasies set in faraway places.
He starred or had major roles in films such as "A Night in Paradise," "Out of the Blue" and "The Amazing Mr. X" until the popularity of the genre faded in the 1950s.
Moving back to Vienna, he made 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.
-- Los Angeles Times wire reportsCopyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times