wrote his first Sketches while still a schoolboy and published them under
the pen name Szöke Szakall (blond beard in Hungarian).
During WWI, he served on the front lines in
Then, upon his return after the war,
launched his acting and comedy career.
Success came quickly and he gained fame in
Hungary, as well as abroad in Vienna and then Berlin where he was
successful not only as a writer but also as a comedian.
Paul Davidson introduced him into the film
industry, where he was first hired as a writer for Reinhold Schünzel's
movies, but soon began his own movie acting career.
Szöke Szakall's classic silent films
Der Himmel auf Erden (1927), Mary Lou (1928), Rutschbahn (1928) and Wer
wird denn weinen, wenn man auseinandergeht (1929).
transition into sound allowed him to truly
show his acting talent. Some of his most
successful films include: Zwei Herzen im 3/4 Takt (1930), Kopfüber ins
Glück (1930), Ich heirate meinen Mann (1931), Der Zinker (1931), Gräfin
Mariza (1932), Eine Frau wie Du (1933) and Fräulein Lilli (1936).
Joe Pasternak brought Szöke Szakall to
Hollywood for his movie "It's a Gift". By this time, life in
Europe had become uncomfortable for Jews and so he seized the opportunity
to gain a foothold in the US, working
under the name S. Z. Sakall, initially for
Universal... and then for Warner Bros after 1941.
well-known movies from the 1940's and 1950's
include: "The Devil and Miss Jones (1941), Ball of Fire (1941),
Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), Casablanca (1942), Never Say Goodbye (1946),
Cynthia (1947) and It's a Great Feeling (1949), Montana (1950), Sugarfoot (1951), It's a Big
Country (1951) and Small Town Girl (1953).