WERNER KLEMPERER Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Werner Klemperer                                                                     
Born: 22 March 1920 Cologne, Germany                                                       
Died: 6 December 2000 New York City, New York, U.S.                                         
Werner Klemperer (March 22, 1920 - December 6, 2000) was an Emmy Award-winning             
comedic actor, best known for his role as Colonel Klink on the television sitcom,           
Hogan's Heroes.                                                                             
Born into a musical family, he was the son of the renowned conductor Otto                   
Klemperer and Johanna Geisler, a soprano. Klemperer was also musically talented,           
being a violinist and an accomplished concert pianist. He also broadened his               
acting career by performing as an operatic baritone and a singer in Broadway               
musicals. He was a second cousin of Victor Klemperer.                                       
A "Halbjude" (half-Jew), Klemperer fled the Nazi regime with his family in 1933;           
they all made their way to Los Angeles, where his father obtained a conducting             
post. Klemperer began acting in high school and enrolled in acting courses in               
Pasadena before joining the United States Army to fight in World War II.                   
While stationed in Hawaii, he joined the Army's Special Services unit, spending             
the next few years touring the Pacific entertaining the troops. At the end of               
the war, he worked on Broadway, and the advent of rapid growth in the television           
industry opened new doors to him.                                                           
Klemperer received significant notice for his role in the award winning 1961               
film Judgment at Nuremberg. The film presents a fictionalized account of the               
post-World War II Nuremberg Trials, with Klemperer portraying Emil Hahn, a Nazi             
judge and one of the defendants at the trial. Prior to this, he had a small role           
in the 1957 Errol Flynn film Istanbul and a pivotal part in the "Comstock                   
Conspiracy" episode of Maverick that same year. He also played the title role in           
the film Operation Eichmann.                                                               
He is best remembered as Colonel Wilhelm Klink, the bumbling and self-serving               
Commandant of Stalag 13 on Hogan's Heroes, which ran on CBS from 1965 to 1971.             
Klemperer was very conscious of the fact that he was playing a German officer               
under the command of Nazis, and agreed to play Klink only on the condition that             
he would be portrayed as a fool that never succeeded. For his performance,                 
Klemperer received six Emmy Award nominations for best supporting actor, winning           
in 1968, and again in 1969. It was on the set of Hogan's Heroes that he met                 
actress Louise Troy, who was making a guest appearance. They fell in love, got             
married and eventually divorced (she died in 1994).                                         
Klemperer reprised the role of Klink in an episode of The Simpsons in 1993 as               
Homer's guardian angel/spirit guide in the episode: "The Last Temptation of                 
Homer" (episode # 5.9). Additionally, he appeared in character and costume as               
Klink in a "Batclimb cameo" on the campy original Batman television series and             
as Officer Bolix in the Lost in Space episode "All That Glitters" in 1966.                 
In an episode of Law & Order he played a non-comic role as the father of a                 
murder suspect.                                                                             
After his famous father's death in 1973, Klemperer expanded his acting career               
with musical roles in opera and Broadway musicals. He earned a Tony Award                   
nomination for his performance in Cabaret. A member of the Board of Directors of           
the New York Chamber Symphony, Klemperer served as a narrator with many other U.S.         
symphony orchestras. He also made occasional guest appearances on television               
dramas, and took part in a few studio recordings, notably a version of Arnold               
Schönberg's Gurrelieder in 1979.                                                           
Werner Klemperer died from cancer on December 6, 2000, at the age of 80. His               
body was cremated and his ashes were scattered at sea.