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TAMAS, ISTVAN

TAMAS, ISTVAN (8 Aug. 1097-5 May 1974) was a Hungarian-born writer and inventor who lived in Cleveland after WORLD WAR II. He was born of Hungarian parents in Pecsvarad, Hungary, (some accounts indicate the city of Subotica, which became part of Yugoslavia). After studying literature and chemistry at the Univ. of Budapest and the Sorbonne, he became editor of Magyar Magazin in Budapest. During the next 12 years, he wrote more than a dozen novels and children's books and 4 movie scenarios. His story "Moscow-Paris and Return" became the basis of the 1939 Greta Garbo film, Ninotchka. Shortly after his marriage to Ilona Farkas, a Hungarian heiress, he came to the United States in 1940 at the invitation of the DuPont Corp. which was interested in his formula for a cigarette paper made from cellophane. Though the war curtailed the commercial development of his invention, his novel about the Chetnik brigades in Yugoslavia, Sergeant Nikola, was a Book-of-the-Month-Club selection. In 1943, Tamas was persuaded to settle in Cleveland by ZOLTAN GOMBOS, publisher of the Hungarian-language daily, SZABADSAG. He became an associate editor of the paper. Another novel of guerrilla warfare in Yugoslavia, The Students of Spalato (1944), proved to be his last. During the Cold War, four of his books were banned by the Communist government of Hungary. Tamas concentrated his attention on invention, coming up with a coating for sharper razor blades that was marketed in 1960 as the Gillette Super Blue blade. He lived in LYNDHURST until 1967 when he moved to St. Petersburg, FL. He died there, survived by his wife and a son, Paul Farkas.