MELCHIOR LENGYEL was born in Hungary in 1880. He started his career as a journalist in Košice, then later in Budapest. His first play, A nagy fejedelem (The Great Prince) was performed by the Thalia Company in 1907. The Hungarian National Theatre performed his next drama A hálás utókor (The Grateful Posterity) in 1908 for which he received the Vojnits Award from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, given every year for the best play. Taifun (Typhoon), one of his plays, written in 1909, became a worldwide success and is still performed today. His story The Miraculous Mandarin (in Hungarian: A csodálatos mandarin) inspired Béla Bartók, the famous Hungarian composer, to create the ballet The Miraculous Mandarin in 1924. After World War I, Lengyel went to the United States and was active in the film industry through the 1920s. He moved to Hollywood, California in 1937 and became a screenwriter. Some of his stories became worldwide successes, such as Ninotchka (1939), for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Writing, Original Story, and To Be or Not to Be (1942). Lengyel returned to Europe in 1960.
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