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In 1927 Bela Lugosi had only been in the US for 7 years and barely knew English, but he managed to score the part of a lifetime as Dracula in a Broadway stage play based on the Bram Stoker novel.  It ran for a year and toured for two, and it cemented the suave, cape wearing Bela Lugosi persona as what a vampire should be.  However, because he was not well known in America, filmmaker Tod Browning was reluctant to cast him as Dracula in his 1931 film adaptation of the Dracula stage show.  He finally chose Bela and the rest is history.  Unfortunately Bela was only paid $3,500 ($54,672 with inflation) for the role and did not receive a percentage of the box office or merchandising.   His career went down hill after that.  He was never good with money,  turned down the role of Frankenstein, was only offered secondary roles,  became addicted to morphine and other drugs, and died in 1956, broke, gaunt and mostly forgotten.  He was buried in his Dracula cape and remains in our hearts as king of the vampires.

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