Franciska Gaal

Franciska Gaal (born Franciska Silberspitz, 1 February 1903[4] – 13 August 1972) was a Hungarian cabaret artist and film actress of Jewish heritage. Gaal starred in a popular series of European romantic comedies during the 1930s. After attracting interest in Hollywood she moved there and made three films.

Franciska Gaal
Franciska Gaal
Born(1903-02-01)1 February 1903
Died13 August 1972(1972-08-13) (aged 69)[1]
Other namesSzidónia Silberspitz, Fanny Zilverstitch
Years active1921–1946 (film)
Spouse(s)Sándor Lestyán (1922–?)[2]
Francis Dajkovich (1934–1965) (his death)[3]

Early yearsEdit

Born in Budapest, Gaal was the last of the 13 children of a Jewish family. She studied at the Stage Academy in Budapest in 1919 and by 1920 appeared in theaters in that city.[5]

Early careerEdit

Gaal debuted in film in Máté gazda és a törpék (1919).[5]

She was groomed by Joe Pasternak as a singer to become a very popular stage and cabaret performer in Central Europe in the 1920s and 1930s.

She made her first film appearances in some Hungarian silent films of the early 1920s, but her cinema career didn't take off until the arrival of sound.


After appearing in several films made in Hungary, Germany and Austria, two of which were directed by Henry Koster, she came to Hollywood to star in Cecil B. De Mille's epic adventure film The Buccaneer, opposite Fredric March. She followed this with the comedy The Girl Downstairs (1938) with Franchot Tone, a remake of her Austrian success Catherine the Last. In 1939, Gaal co-starred with Bing Crosby in the musical Paris Honeymoon.[6]

Later lifeEdit

She returned to Hungary in 1940[6] because of her mother's illness[citation needed] and remained there for the duration of World War II.

In 1946, she began work on a new film in Budapest the Soviet-backed Renee XIV with Johannes Heesters and Theo Lingen, but filming was halted during production and was never completed, as another film Der König streikt, also with Theo Lingen and Hans Moser, where she had to play the protagonist role. She moved back to the United States in 1947 with her Budapest-born attorney husband Francis de Dajkovich (died in 1965),[4] but her return attracted little interest in Hollywood.[7] In 1951, she came to Broadway to replace Eva Gabor in The Happy Time.


Gaal died of thrombosis[5] in New York City.


Year Title Role Notes
1920 A bostonville-i kaland
1921 New-York express kábel Reporter
1921 A cornevillei harangok Serpolette, cselédlány
1932 Paprika Ilona von Takacs
1933 Greetings and Kisses, Veronika Veronika
1933 Scandal in Budapest Eva Balogh
1934 A Precocious Girl Lucie Carell, nicknamed Csibi
1934 Spring Parade Marika
1934 Peter 17-year old Eva
1935 Little Mother Marie Bonnard
1936 Catherine the Last Katharina, Küchenmädchen
1936 Fräulein Lilli Fräulein Lilli
1938 The Buccaneer Gretchen
1938 The Girl Downstairs Katerina Linz
1939 Paris Honeymoon Manya
1946 Renee XIV uncompleted, (final film role)


  1. ^ "Színház - Gaál Franciska színésznő". Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ "Francis Dajkovich". Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  4. ^ a b "May 1947 Passenger list listing her age 44".
  5. ^ a b c Bock, Hans-Michael; Bergfelder, Tim (2009). The Concise Cinegraph: Encyclopaedia of German Cinema. Berghahn Books. p. 144. ISBN 9780857455659. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  6. ^ a b Waldman, Harry; Slide, Anthony (1996). Hollywood and the Foreign Touch: A Dictionary of Foreign Filmmakers and Their Films from America, 1910-1995. Scarecrow Press. pp. 113–114. ISBN 9780810831926. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  7. ^ Bock & Bergfelder, p. 144.


  • Bock, Hans-Michael & Bergfelder, Tim. The Concise CineGraph. Encyclopedia of German Cinema. Berghahn Books, 2009.

External linksEdit