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Werner Klemperer

Werner Klemperer

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Also Known As: Died: December 6, 2000
Born: March 22, 1920 Cause of Death: tongue cancer
Birth Place: Germany Profession: actor, narrator, director, conductor, singer, musician, usher, waiter

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

An actor who fled Nazi Germany with his family at age 13 because of the his father's Jewish birth, the USA-raised Werner Klemperer (like so many other emigres from fascism) ironically spent a good part of his acting career playing Nazis. Klemperer is perhaps best recalled as the monocled, vain, and rather foolish Colonel Klink from the CBS sitcom, "Hogan's Heroes" (1965-1971), for which he won two Emmy Awards as Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy. Yet his resume contains such "serious" roles as Nazis in feature films like "Operation Eichmann" (1961), which cast him as the administrator of the Final Solution Adolf Eichmann, "Judgment at Nuremberg" (1961), in which he was one of the Nazi war criminals, and "Ship of Fools" (1965), as the compliant Lt. Heebner.

An actor who fled Nazi Germany with his family at age 13 because of the his father's Jewish birth, the USA-raised Werner Klemperer (like so many other emigres from fascism) ironically spent a good part of his acting career playing Nazis. Klemperer is perhaps best recalled as the monocled, vain, and rather foolish Colonel Klink from the CBS sitcom, "Hogan's Heroes" (1965-1971), for which he won two Emmy Awards as Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy. Yet his resume contains such "serious" roles as Nazis in feature films like "Operation Eichmann" (1961), which cast him as the administrator of the Final Solution Adolf Eichmann, "Judgment at Nuremberg" (1961), in which he was one of the Nazi war criminals, and "Ship of Fools" (1965), as the compliant Lt. Heebner.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Return of the Beverly Hillbillies (1981) Cd Medford
2.
 Assignment: Munich (1972) Inspector Hoffman
3.
 Wake Me When the War Is Over (1969) Major Erich Mueller
5.
 Dark Intruder (1965) Professor Malaki
6.
 Ship of Fools (1965) Lieutenant Heebner
7.
 Youngblood Hawke (1964) Mr. Leffer
8.
 Escape From East Berlin (1962) Brunner
9.
 Operation Eichmann (1961) Adolf Eichmann
10.
 Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) Emil Hahn
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1933:
Immigrated to USA
:
Had first professional role at the Pasadena Playhouse in "The Trojan Horse"
1942:
Served as a military policeman in the US Army during WWII; later transferred to special service unit in which he acted in and directed plays
1947:
Made Broadway debut in "Heads or Tails"
1955:
Appeared with Tallulah Bankhead in the Broadway play "Dear Charles"
1956:
Made TV debut in episode of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (CBS)
1956:
Made feature film debut in "Death of a Scoundrel"
1961:
Played title role in "Operation Eichmann"
1965:
Appeared in "Ship of Fools"
1965:
Played Colonel Klink on "Hogan's Heros" (CBS)
1969:
Made TV movie debut, "Wake Me When the War Is Over" (ABC)
1986:
Had recurring role on "Mr. Sunshine" (ABC)
:
Played Herr Schultz in revival of "Cabaret" on Broadway; earned Tony nomination
1988:
Narrated "Views of a Vanishing Frontier" for "The American Experience" (PBS)
1998:
Hosted radio show which featured broadcasts of the Vienna Philharmonic
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Pasadena Playhouse: Pasadena , California -

Notes

Though rarely active as a conductor, Werner Klemperer has worked as such and once conducted at The White House.

Klemperer's father, Otto, born and raised Jewish, had become a Christian to advance his career, which was common in the 19th and 20th Century (before World War II) in most of Europe. Werner, though of Jewish descent, was not raised in the Jewish faith. Still, due to the Nuremberg laws, all the Klemperers were at risk in Nazi Germany. Otto later returned to the Jewish faith before his death in Switzerland.

"He's always humming and moving his hands, conducting this music only he can hear." --wife Kim Hamilton to People, September 9, 1996.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Susan Dempsay. Third wife; divorced in 1968.
wife:
Kim Hamilton. Actor. Met in 1975; together from c. 1976; married in April 1999; survived him.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Otto Klemperer. Conductor. Immigrated to USA in 1933.
mother:
Johanna Geisler. Opera singer.
sister:
Lotte Klemperer. Born c. 1923.
son:
Mark Klemperer. Born in 1959; diagnosed with schizophrenia.
daughter:
Erika Klemperer Webster. Dermatologist. Born c. 1963.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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