Beni Gabor was a former-French Foreign Legionnaire who became guide of a party of treasure-seekers that intended to reach Hamunaptra, the fabled City of the Dead and later died in the service of the cursed mummy Imhotep. He is the secondary antagonist and comic relief of The Mummy.
A small, thin thief motivated by greed and avarice, Beni Gabor was a man of superstition and an opportunist, seizing whatever chance he could to ensure that he walked off free of trouble and laden with swag. Throughout his life, Beni stole from virtually everyone that he could, his thievery earning him the worst trouble once he went too far and was compelled to enter military service so as to escape the ramifications.
|“||They're after me in Budapest for robbing a synagogue.||”|
–Beni Gabor explains his motives for joining the Legion, The Mummy (novelization)
Beni Gabor, formerly of Budapest, Hungary, was wanted in Hungary for robbing a synagogue, and had apparently robbed more than that before from places of worship, justifying his motives by saying that "prime swag" was in places of worship, with no-one to guard it but altar boys. To escape persecution, Beni joined the French Foreign Legion, and in doing so met Rick O'Connell, whom he claimed as a friend during their enlistment with the real intent of having a bodyguard so as not to end up in trouble. Trouble came, however, when a marauding band of Tuaregs came roving to the ruins on horseback, eliminating a number of legionnaires. O'Connell rushed to the ruins to hide from the bullets, but Beni rushed there too, forcing shut a great stone door so that O'Connell could not enter. O'Connell, forced to fight, stood alone and eventually made it back to civilization, while Beni escaped the desert by taking the camels of a few dead legionnaires and making it back alone through the desert.
Journey to Hamunaptra
|“||So you're the one leading these Americans, I might have known. So what's the scam, Beni, you take them out into the middle of the desert and then you leave 'em to rot?
Unfortunately, no: these Americans are smart. They pay me only half now, how half when I get them back to Cairo, so this time I must go all the way.
–Rick O'Connell and Beni upon re-meeting., The Mummy
Beni eventually made his living as the guide of a rowdy trio of Americans seeking the City of the Dead, but Beni's idea was simply to take the money given him by the Americans, lead them out into the desert and leave them all to die. The Americans, however, knew better than to do that and decided to pay Beni only half of his commission once they met and the other half once they were safely back in Cairo. At around the beginning of this venture, Beni found himself face-to-face with his old Foreign Legion comrade, Rick O'Connell, who was furious at Beni for his treachery back at the ruins three years prior and almost killed the Hungarian on the spot only to relent upon hearing Beni's pleas to think of his children, to which O'Connell dryly replied that Beni had none. Beni derided O'Connell for falling for Evelyn Carnahan, a woman who had hired O'Connell as a guide to find Hamunaptra, to which O'Connell replied with by picking Beni up by his garments and throwing him straight into the Nile. Later on, Beni made it to the riverbank with the Americans accompanying him. From his side, Beni mockingly pointed out to O'Connell that Beni's team had all the horses, only to have O'Connell point out that Beni was on the wrong side of the river to travel to Hamamptra. Cursing fluently in several languages, Beni made his way on, alongside his American employers.
After two days, O'Connell and his group met up once again with Beni and his group, now much larger due to the presence of about three dozen native diggers. To get to the city first meant racing their camels, horses, and occasional mule until either group reached it first, a race which held five hundred dollars to whichever group made it first. At this point, one of the Americans, a man named Daniels, having made a wager with O'Connell to reach Hamunaptra first, promised Beni that if he could lead Daniels and the other Americans to the ruins first, one hundred dollars would be given to him. Beni failed as both groups raced towards the ruins, and Beni lashed out at O'Connell with his camel whip. O'Connell quickly reciprocated by grabbing Beni by the shirt collar and throwing him off his mount, left Beni Gabor in the dust to move out of the way of the other participants in the race. The race was eventually won by O'Connell's group, winning them five hundred dollars.
Once camp was set up at the ruins, Beni took his job as guide, informing his three employers about the dangers of the desert as he sat and smoked tobacco from a hookah: Beni gave such information as what should be done in the case of a snakebite, which was received with skeptical views from his employers.
Beni then accompanied his charges to the locale that they chose to visit: the base of the statue of Anubis, where Beni and his employers, along with a group of native diggers met at gunpoint with O'Connell and his group. Beni pointed out cruelly that there were only four in O'Connell's group and fifteen in Beni's. The other, smaller group beat out, Beni's employers, the Americans, began to inspect the idol and a compartment that seemed to contain something. As one of the Americans, a man named Henderson, was about to pry open the compartment, Dr. Allen Chamberlain, another treasure seeker in their group pointed out that the compartment had hieroglyphs upon it that dared a looter to try prying it open. The suggestion was given to have the diggers open it instead. As soon as three such diggers had opened it, a torrent of pressurised salt acid burst out of the stone, killing the three diggers, a sight which Beni was forced to behold.
Later that night, both camps were the host of an attack by Medjai warriors, a society dedicated for thousands of years to assuring that the evil mummy Imhotep did not arise from his grave. In the ennui, Beni ran for cover and encountered a member of the opposing group, Jonathan Carnahan, who had the bottle of whiskey of his late fellow treasure-seeker, warden Gad Hassan, and began drinking it. Beni snatched it away and took a swig when he saw one oncoming Medjai, blade raised to attack, and promptly spat it back out in Jonathan's face. Several people, both Medjai as well as on the side of the expeditions, were killed before Ardeth Bay, the leader of the Medjai, declared that no more blood would be shed, but all must leave the City of the Dead or die. This warning only served to convince the members of the American expedition that Seti's treasures really were under the sands. The two groups then decided to camp together so as to keep safe in numbers from the Medjai.
The next morning the Americans seeking the treasure found a wooden chest, engraved with hieroglyphs which Dr. Chamberlain translated as a warning: death befell any that opened the chest. Chamberlain was reluctant to open it, as were the diggers that accompanied them, who promptly ran off in fear. Beni, who was present at the time, also ran off, screaming of the curse. The chest was opened and with it, a great cloud of dust emitted, revealing what lay in the chest: the black Book of the Dead. The three Americans scoffed at the book, claiming that it was worthless while Dr. Chamberlain remained in awe at it. Henderson kicked at the chest in anger and opened a compartment of the chest, where four intact canopic jars and a fifth shattered jar were stored. As all this took place, O'Connell's expedition found something of their own: a mummy, which was apparently the subject of a curse.
The Mummy Awakens
|“||The language of the slaves; I might have use for you. And the rewards...will be great.||”|
–Imhotep upon meeting Beni., The Mummy
That evening, Beni sat at the campfire of both groups with a plucked rat on a stick, cooking the dead rodent so as to eat it. Jonathan saw that O'Connell and Beni both had the rat flesh burning on sticks and immediately thought that they were eating the late Warden's remains which the two guides laughed at, revealing that they were cooking rat meat, the best food that the desert could offer. Just then, Evelyn Carnahan arrived at the campfire, with Beni forced from his seat by O'Connell to give to Evelyn, and regaled all present on the mummy's fate: this mummy was the subject of a curse that condemned him to a pained existence not only in this life, but the next as well, and that if this mummy should ever arise, the ten Plagues of Egypt would come with him. Evelyn decided to prove to O'Connell that there was no curse by reading from the Book of the Dead (which she stole from a sleeping Dr. Chamberlain) the words that would re-animate the mummy. The words worked, and Dr. Chamberlain screamed out at her to not read, but the damage was done. The mummy had been awakened and with him came one plague: a swarm of locusts that befell on all at the ruins. Most of the members of the expedition ran down into the ruins below, among them the American named Burns, who tripped and fell, losing his spectacles, which Beni mistakenly crushed as he ran down the corridors, making no effort to help Burns.
Beni was separated from the others and ran off trying to find his way out of the ruins, but ran straight into the re-animated mummy himself, now with a set of recently plucked eyes and tongue (torn from the waylaid Burns). Beni stood in fear at this horrid sight and began brandishing several icons of different religions, the first being Christianity and chanting, "May the good Lord protect and watch over me, as a shepherd watches over his flock." Next was Islam and speaking the shahadah "lā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāh, muḥammadur-rasūlu-llāh" ("There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet") . The third was Buddhism, shouting in either Hindi or Chinese, "Qiú qiú púsà bǎoyòu wǒ, bùnéng ba" ("I beg the Buddha protect me, I beg not.") The mummy, who was approaching slowly toward Beni to silence him, immediately recognized Beni's last prayer, "Al tastir paneicha mimeni" ("Do not hide Your face from me", namely: do not deny me of your protection) as Hebrew, the language of the Jewish slaves, and decided that he might have use for Beni. Offering great rewards if Beni served him, the mummy introduced himself as Imhotep and, holding up the shattered canopic jar, commanded Beni to tell him where the four intact jars were.
Back in Cairo
|“||You came back from the desert with a new friend, didn't you, Beni?
What friend? You are my only friend.
–O'Connell interrogating Beni about his alliance with Imhotep., The Mummy
About three days after the ordeals at Hamanptra, Beni survived and made it back to Hamanaptra, along with Imhotep, who still sought the human victims of his curse. The first that Imhotep came across was Burns, who was without eyes or tongue and thus unable to see who Imhotep truly was. Imhotep reached Burns' quarters in Cairo disguised as an honoured visitor who, informed of the canopic jar's procural, wished to make an offer for it. Burns was pleased that with the money made from the jar he might be able to procure some help back in America, but it was then that Beni revealed all: "Prince" Imhotep thanked Burns for his hospitality and for his eyes and tongue but Beni stated that more was needed, and so Burns was killed as part of the curse, his remaining organs and fluids drained.
In Cairo, the Ten Plagues began manifesting themselves as part of the curse, and Beni was running from the residence that Burns was killed in when he was caught by O'Connell, who was about to get some answers from Beni as to what was going on, when Imhotep, who was now on the roof of the building, emitted a roar that signalled his presence, and Beni escaped. Later that day, Beni was rifling through Dr. Chamberalin's office in Cairo for the missing canopic jar and the Book of the Dead, unaware that the professor had run off from his office, taking both artifacts with him, when he was once again approached by O'Connell, who almost caught him, and as Beni made his way for the door, was hit by the professor's office chair that O'Connell had flung at Beni. O'Connell demanded that Beni tell him what he would gain from being under Imhotep's service, with Beni replying that it was better to be in the right hand of the Devil than in his path, and that as long as he served Imhotep, he was immune to whatever curses Imhotep would throw. O'Connell demanded that Beni tell him more, but Beni refused, cursing in Hungarian, when O'Connell forced Beni to talk by forcing him close to a ceiling fan, where Beni revealed that Imhotep was after the Book of the Dead, and told Beni that it would be worth its weight in gold. Beni told O'Connell that the book was to revive Imhotep's "dead girlfriend", but that all Imhotep wanted was the book and Evelyn as a sacrifice, and as Beni was about to say more, a bloodcurdling scream of terror sounded outside the office window. As O'Connell, who was accompanied by Jonathan at the time, ran to the window to see what had happened, Beni made good his escape and leapt out the window, leaving O'Connell and Jonathan to see where, or rather, from whom the scream came: it was Dr. Chamberlain, now a skeleton whose life had been taken by Imhotep, as the semi-regenerated mummy removed a canopic jar and the Book of the Dead from Chamberlain's withered grip.
As Imhotep continued to regenerate, killing and exsanguinating Henderson in the process, Beni continued on with his service to the mummy. At the final stages of his occupation of Cairo, Imhotep had placed all of its inhabitants, tourist and native alike, under a spell that would press them all into being his boil and sore covered slaves, patrolling the streets for any resistors. Beni resented being among these "zombies", but continued to serve, giving away O'Connell and his group's (consisting of Jonathan Carnahan, Ardeth Bay, Daniels, and Dr. Terence Bey, curator of the Cairo Museum of Antiquities) location once Beni spotted them. O'Connell and his friends barely escaped in Jonathan Carnahan's car, as O'Connell shouted out to Beni that he'd get his, Beni replying that he'd heard that before.
The last man that was subject to the curse was Daniels, who fell from the car as it drove off, and was left to shoot at any entranced people that came towards him, Daniels soon running out of bullets. Imhotep calmly strode towards Daniels, who knew that now his time was up, and in a last resort, Daniels showed Imhotep the last canopic jar. Imhotep roared in acknowledgment and proceeded to exsanguinate Daniels, as Beni watched on with cruel glee. Imhotep was regenerated fully at last once he found O'Connell and his friends, and put forth words for Beni to translate: if Evelyn came forward and took her place with him, O'Connell and the others would be spared. Evelyn obliged reluctantly, O'Connell at first being against it, but Rick understood that Evelyn still had to be taken to Hamanaptra for the ritual to take place, and vowed to fight Imhotep again. At that moment, Imhotep went against his word, ordering his mind-controlled slaves to kill the survivors, Beni following his master suit and pick-pocketing Jonathan for the puzzle box before he left. O'Connell, Jonathan, and Ardeth Bay made it out alive as they headed down the sewers to escape, as Dr. Bey fought off the enslaved assailants to the death.
Return to Hamunaptra
Imhotep headed back to the City of the Dead in the form of a great sandstorm, taking Evelyn and Beni along with him. As Evelyn gazed around in despair, she caught sight of a plane in the sky and knew that it must be O'Connell, coming to her rescue. Imhotep saw this and used his great powers to shake the sands from the desert and create another sandstorm, attacking the plane and its riders as Beni watched on with cruel amusement. After it seemed that Imhotep had succeeded and the plane was brought down for good, he proudly strode off, leaving Beni to remark on his approval of the sandstorm. What neither knew was that O'Connell, along with Jonathan and Ardeth Bay had survived and snuck into the ruins.
Upon reaching the City of the Dead, Beni rudely ordered Evelyn to keep moving as they went into the catacombs, led by Imhotep, as Evelyn remarked that fellows like himself always got their just desserts in life. This amused Beni for a moment, but he remained on guard. As Imhotep resurrected his mummified priests and beckoned them to kill the rescuers, he apparently released Beni from his service (as there was little more he could do for Imhotep now) and allowed him to leave Hamunaptra with his promised reward. Beni immediately went for the treasure chamber, giddily laughing at his good fortune.
Imhotep had seen O'Connell fighting off his priests and brought forth mummified soldiers to fight O'Connell in a rough battle inside the ritual chamber. As the battle went on, Beni seized his chance to steal as many treasures as he could, loading a satchel of the pilfered gold and jewels onto the camels of the legionnaires that still lingered about the ruins. The gold that he collected, however, did not seem enough and so Beni returned inside, taking more treasures out, not knowing that the battle between Imhotep and his minions and O'Connell was over. While Beni left the treasure chamber with another bag in hand, he placed the already heavy bag onto what seemed like a horizontal column on the wall. The column was actually the lever that would bring the City of the Dead down to its foundations, and as the lever gave way, the ruins began to crumble and fall.
–O'Connell reluctantly leaves Beni behind after the door closes., The Mummy
Beni ran as fast as he could with his prize before finally leaving it and running for the exit. As he did, he encountered O'Connell and tried to escape with him, almost succeeding as he made it to a stone doorway, which was soon blocked off by a stone wall coming from the ceiling. Then a large part of the ceiling started to come down, forcing Beni to scramble to safety, with him barely managing to escape. But as he ran to find another exit, the remaining escape routes were blocked off, and as the rest of the ceiling came down, it was stopped by a mirror which helped to emanate light in the chamber and which within a minute gave way to the weight of the stone ceilings, thus leaving Beni's torch as the last source of light in the treasure chamber.
As Beni remained in the treasure chamber seeking a way out, a carnivorous scarab beetle emerged on a statue's head and hissed menacingly at Beni, who tried to stave the bug off with his torch. With this, swarms of the scarabs came out to greet a horrified Beni. He tried to stave them off as well, only succeeding in causing more to emerge. Realizing that his end was near and that there was no running from it, Beni stood in the treasury trembling and whimpering with terror as his torch quickly died out, leaving Beni to be devoured alive in the pitch black darkness.
Personality and Traits
|“||It is better to be the right hand of the Devil than in his path.||”|
–Beni on his allegiance to Imhotep., The Mummy
Beni Gabor was motivated by greed and powerful self-preservation as well as extreme cowardice, marking some men his "friends" only so that they would be his protection should trouble arise, in which case Beni would often betray them by leaving them to die if the situation allowed. Made honest only by money, Beni was easily tempted by promises of wealth, turning to whichever individual might offer him the most. Knowing no limits to thievery, Beni never missed the chance to steal something from someone, from tithe paid in a synagogue to a pocket watch filched from the Egyptologist. Along with his greed, Beni was very superstitious and easily frightened; though more superstitious than religious, he believed it best to maintain knowledge of each faith so as to remain protected in every aspect, a choice embodied as he carried various religious icons with him at all times, along with memorisations of holy verses for each belief in English, Latin, Arabic, Chinese, and Hebrew, having known seven languages. Despite his goliath lack of courage and duplicious nature, Beni holds an intention of having a wife and children of his own someday, therefore mentioning when re-meeting with his former Legion comrade, Rick O'Connell.
Beni was a small, thin Hungarian man aged roundabout mid-thirties with a pallid complexion, a small thin moustache, unkempt stubble, unclean teeth, sunken eyes, a stringy build and short stature. Beni kept the sides of his head shaved but kept the hair on the top of his head longer, which stayed oily and was concealed constantly by his hat. Once in the Foreign Legion, Beni wore the garb of his rank as a foot soldier: a white shirt and trousers, boots, blue-green sash and belt, with a kepi. After he had deserted his post, Beni took to wearing a dark set of pyjama-like garments, with suspenders, sandals, a worn-out neckcloth, Sam Browne belt, and a red felt fez; Beni maintained many religious emblems as necklace charms with him as well, and wore a faded purple blazer and green shemagh when in a setting such as Giza, wearing the jacket at night in the desert cold. He used these charms in an attempt to ward off Imhotep, though they weren't successful in doing so.
Behind the Scenes
Beni Gabor was portrayed by actor Kevin J. O'Connor. In the original film script, Beni was to be a "doughy little Frenchman", changed into a Hungarian for his appearance in both the film and novel.
☞Notes and References
In many ways, Baltuz Hafez can be considered his spiritual successor in The Mummy Returns. Both of them are servants of Imhotep, and both are cowards who are willing to sacrifice others to save their own lives. They also both suffer gruesome deaths.