Vilma Bánky was a Hungarian-born American silent film actress, although the early part of her acting career began in Budapest, spreading to France, Austria, and Germany.
She was born Vilma Koncsics on January 9, 1901 to János Koncsics and Katalin Ulbert in Nagydorog, Austria-Hungary. Her father was a bureau chief under Franz Joseph’s Austro-Hungarian Empire. Shortly after her birth, her father was transferred to Budapest, and the family relocated.
She had two siblings ? an older brother, Gyula, and a younger sister, Gisella. After graduation from secondary school, Bánky took courses to work as a stenographer, but was offered a role in a film. Acting had been her interest since she was a young girl.
Her first film appearance was in the now lost film, Im Letzten Augenblick, directed by Carl Boese in Germany in 1919. On a trip to Budapest in 1925, Hollywood film producer Samuel Goldwyn discovered and signed her to a contract. Both her mother and father were vehemently against Bánky’s acting career as was her fiancé; nonetheless she left for the United States in March 1925, arriving to a great deal of fanfare.