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EVA BARTOK: a biography
Copyright 2013 Omar Martinez


Eva was well received in Los Angeles, not only by the Subud enclave but also by the authorities and old friends from the film industry. She went to work right away and discovered the immensity of her mission.  With great diligence she organized her many duties which included latihans, witnessing about her experiences with Pak Subuh, counseling members and writing for Subud publications. Soon she expanded her activities to include lecturing at local colleges and universities which enable her to reach new and younger audiences which had never heard of Subud before.   Eva realized, she was "at the right place at the right time" and everything that had preceded in her life seemed like a preparation for this work that gave her such a feeling of accomplishment.  

Ironically, as her mission expanded, media interest for Eva Bartok began to decline and there is practically nothing that documents her life from then on. The beautiful, spirited, fun-loving, talented actress of the 1950s seems to have been totally forgotten by the early 1970s as she turned into Ilaina, a "missionary from an obscure Indonesian sect" according to the description on a popular tabloid.

In spite of an intense schedule and constant traveling throughout California, Eva missed her family.  No amount of work or sense of accomplishment could change that, but at this point we encounter serious difficulties in tracking her precise movements. We do know that in August 1971 Eva was back in Indonesia to attend the Subud World Congress but can not determinate if she returned to California after the event or remained with her family in Jakarta. Our research has produced conflicting data that we have tried to verify but our efforts have been so far unsuccessful.
Still gorgeous at a Subud convention in 1971
 Consequently we can only create a probable scenario of what transpired in Eva Bartok's life from then on. It has been impossible to provide the exact dates in which her mission to California was considered complete and she reunited with her family in Indonesia.    We have an eye witness account on our files which places Eva living with her daughter in Jakarta as late as 1974. This person recalls attending at the Subud compound a farewell gathering for Eva and her family.  On that day the information went out that Eva had signed a contract with a television station in Hawaii.  Bapack prayed that "Iliana would utilize her gifts for the benefit of mankind" and went on to blessed them and wished them well "in their new life." Our witness recalls how a tearful Eva "knelt down and thanked him for having saved her life."   This testimony is priceless and it connects directly with the next piece of information on record.

The book "Who is Who in Hollywood" by David Regan, published in 1975, places Eva Bartok as living in Hawaii but does not mention any involvement on her part with the television industry. Instead Mr. Regan wrote that "she was teaching Subud in the Islands." (It will be proper to interject here that Subud followers object to the term "teaching Subud" since, they claim, "Subud can not be taught, but received.") Besides the short reference to Eva's whereabouts, Mr. Regan adds in his book that she had "recently traveled to Brazil to costar with Pelé, the soccer wonder, in a film about his life." This piece of information is most probably false since there is no record anywhere about such a movie, a strange occurrence in a book which, otherwise, proves to be well-researched and trustworthy.

   There is a strong possibility that Eva's Hawaiian tenancy in 1975 and on, was combined with her earlier Subud mission in California and she had to travel often from the islands to the mainland and back. In March of that year, London's Sunday Times published a little note informing its readers that "Eva Bartok is now in Los Angeles producing and writing television and radio documentaries and writing a sequel to her autobiography."  By the end of the 1970s, we are almost certain that Eva and her family were firmly established in Los Angeles where Deana continued her formal education including some acting training, the first indication that the daughter was following in her mother's footsteps.

Eva and Curd back when they shared the screen in "Without You Is The Night"
Part 16: NEW WAYS

   Certain reports dating back to the late 1970s and early 1980s reveal that there was a new man in Eva Bartok's life. His name was Dag Moline and the couple set up a "production company in Los Angeles."  They were seen around Hollywood peddling film scripts and soliciting backing for several projects but there is no indication that the enterprise accomplished much. It has also been impossible, so far,  to find how long the marriage lasted.

On June 18, 1982, Eva was devastated to learn that Curt Jürgens had suffered a heart attack and had passed away in Vienna.  He was 66 years old.   A year later, Deana makes her film debut in "Tin Man" (1983) co-starring with Timothy Bottoms and John Phillip Law.  It is a low budget effort that gained some attention due to its frank approach to people with hearing disabilities.   It is also interesting to note that Deana chose to keep her legal name as she launched her film career.   She must have known then what we all know now,  that she was certainly not Curd Jürgens' daughter.  However, the fact that she used that name professionally makes us wonder if she enjoyed a father-daughter relationship with the actor throughout the years.   Considering that Deana grew up mostly in Jakarta and Los Angeles while Curd lived in Europe and had married twice after Eva a connection seems very unlikely.

Deana made another film appearance in "Code Name: Zebra" (1984), an odd action movie starring sons and daughters of famous artists, including Frank Sinatra Jr.  Around this time, Deana fell in love with an English Subud member and decided that family life was more attractive than a film career. Years later she confessed that she was probably looking for the "home life she never had."  In 1985 she became, by marriage, Mrs. Deana Moore, moved with her husband to Australia and had two sons, Oliver (born 1988) and Darmon (born 1992). We can only hope that she found true happiness as wife and mother.
 Meanwhile, Eva Bartok had made a much-publicized return to England as reported in the following Subud news item from 1983:
    Eva Bartok, as she is known outside of Subud, arrived in England in April. She had come home after 14 years "in exile."  The Evening Standard printed a two-page spread and the Daily Express gave her the diary lead. She was immediately asked to present the Sony Radio Awards at the London Hilton, with Princess Michael of Kent."   

The article goes on reporting that Eva "would be joining daughter Deana Jürgens at the Cannes Film Festival where "Tin Man" was showing and that Bartok would be returning in February 1984 to the London stage in the play "The Devil Takes Hindmost."            

But the most intriguing information imparted in the same article was that Bapak himself had just changed Ilaina's name to Maria, meaning "a human being who surrenders totally to Almighty God."  This can be taken as a confirmation that Eva Bartok's commitment to Subud was reaching new spiritual depths and that her work on its behalf was being officially recognized and rewarded. We can only guess that she remained committed to the philosophy for the rest of her life in spite of the lack of information on her activities . We do know that Eva returned to Jakarta in 1987 to attend the funeral services for Bapak who had quietly passed away on June 23rd. She must have felt extremely sad at this farewell to the man who had changed her life forever in the land where she had been so happy...                                                                                                                                                                                  
The next reference to Eva is from 1990 and it places her in San Francisco supervising "for several years" an art gallery named Magna owned by Rashad Hopkins, a Subud collegue.  People who met her at this time could not even guess that the still attractive brunette, known at this time as Dr. Maria Jürgens, had been an international celebrity and film star. No word as to her activities at the gallery.
Eva and her paintings


   The mystery that surrounded Eva Bartok's life in the 1990s is both baffling and frustrating. It is also highly improbable that a woman who had been a major film star could have spent the last years of her existence in total obscurity. Most of her former friends and associates are quick to point out that this was her decision and should be respected as such. No argument from this writer although it hurts deeply that those friends, relatives and former associates prefer silence before sharing information that will be helpful to preserve the legacy of this remarkable lady. The only fact we can safely post is that some time, after those "years" in San Francisco, Eva returned to her beloved London.

 We did receive a precious message from a British gentleman who remembered working with Eva.
"I had the pleasure to work for a company in London in 1996 for which Eva Bartok worked intermittently as well.   Ms. Bartok, who introduced herself as Eva Jürgens, and I had many a pleasant chat in the smoking room or sin bin, as we both liked to call it. She never mentioned she had been an actress in films."  

   We treasure this man's short statement since it reveals Eva's sense of humor at this late point of her life and shows her still active when she had reached retirement age. However, it is quite frustrating not to know what kind of company this was or what was Eva's capacity within the structure.
   We are also in the dark regarding one of the biggest controversies of her later years. At some point she revealed, for the first time ever, that her daughter Deana was fathered by none other than Frank Sinatra.   It is impossible to determine if the revelation was made publicly to the world or privately only to Deana. The following information was printed in an Australian newspaper right after Sinatra's death and from there it made its way to an astonished world press:
Sydney Woman Sinatra's Daughter?
(Los Angeles Times - Los Angeles, Calif. Author: Jerry Crowe, May 19, 1998)

A Sydney, Australia, woman says she is the unrecognized daughter of the late Frank Sinatra and Hungarian actress Eva Bartok.  Deana Moore, who lives in the Sydney beach suburb of Avalon, was quoted in Monday's Sydney Daily Telegraph as saying that she still hoped for a few words of recognition in Sinatra's will, even if she saw none of his fortune. Sinatra, the world's greatest singing star of the past half-century, died in Los Angeles of a heart attack last Thursday. He was 82.
The Telegraph said Moore was born 40 years ago after an affair between Bartok and Sinatra, who was then breaking up from second wife Ava Gardner. Moore was not answering the telephone to reporters on Monday, but the daily tabloid quoted her as saying that Sinatra had not kept in touch with her mother. His only acknowledgment of her existence came when he replied to a telegram from her mother after her birth with the words: "Thank you."  "I am so deeply saddened," the newspaper quoted Moore as saying. "How could it have hurt him at the end to be a gentleman? It is theoretically possible that he will acknowledge my existence in his will. I really don't want money--just the words that I am his daughter. His cowardice makes me feel endlessly angry."

There was nothing in Sinatra's will that clarified the matter. Rumor has it that Deana wrote several letters asking for recognition to both the singer, when he was still alive, and to his family but so far, Deana's appeals have gone unanswered. Since neither Eva nor Deana ever filed a formal paternity suit against "old blue eyes" any suspicion of financial motivation is totally unfounded. As of this writing, the Sinatras have preferred silence rather than admit a new member to the clan.
In 2003 Eva´s daughter Deana, posing here with Phil Avalon, attended The Rat Pack show at the Enmore Theater in Sidney.

Part 17:  FAREWELL

By all accounts, Eva Bartok lived alone the last years of her life. This does not mean she was lonely since she had good friends in London and was always in touch with Deana and her children in Australia. It is also known that Eva worked to the very end and earned enough to cover her needs. Of course she did not live the extravagant life of a rich movie queen but she was not interested in such a lifestyle. That was all in the past and she was smart enough to know that forever laid ahead with the promise of bringing the answers to all her questions. Those same questions that had bothered her since childhood. Of course her faith in God was there all the time specially when she collapsed and passed away a few days later on August 1st, 1998. The cause of death was written as cardiac arrest.

The heart! Of course, it had to be! Looking back it couldn't be anything else but the heart. In retrospective, it is amazing that it had lasted so long and through so much turmoil. It is even more amazing that inside that big burdened heart lived forever an innocent little girl from Budapest. Deana flew to London and arranged for the funeral and burial. It was all done with great dignity and love in spite of all those horrible and false press reports. Eva Bartok took that last trip surrounded by her beloved daughter and some good friends just as she had wanted. Many others around the world were there in spirit and said silent prayers for the woman they will never forget.

In fact, Eva Bartok is still alive in the hearts of those who knew her personally and in those who admired her on the silver screen. A beautiful talented gentle lady who did it all her way....

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