Robert Clary, the last Hogan’s Heroes star, dies aged 96

Robert Clary, a French-born survivor of Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War who played a tempered prisoner of war on the unbelievable 1960s sitcom Hogan’s Heroes, passed away at the age of 96.

lary died Wednesday night of natural causes at her home in Beverly Hills, California, granddaughter Brenda Hancock said.

“He never let those horrors knock him down,” Ms. Hancock said of Clary’s wartime experiences as a young man.

“He never let them take away the joy in his life. He tried to spread that joy to others through his voice, dance and painting.”

I don’t let hatred overwhelm the beauty in this worldBrenda Hancock, granddaughter of Robert Clary

When he recounted his life to the students, he told them “Never hate,” Ms. Hancock said.

“He didn’t let hate overwhelm the beauty in this world.”

Hogan’s Heroes, in which Allied soldiers in a POW camp defeat their clown German army captors with spying schemes, takes the fight seriously to laugh throughout. took place 1965-71.

The 5ft 1in tall Clary wears a beret and smiles sarcastically as Cpl Louis LeBeau.

Clary is the last surviving original star of the sitcom that includes Bob Crane, Richard Dawson, Larry Hovis and Ivan Dixon as prisoners.

Werner Klemperer and John Banner, who play their captors, were both European Jews fleeing Nazi persecution before the war.

Clary began her career as a nightclub singer and appeared on stage in musicals including Irma La Douce and Cabaret.

After Hogan’s Heroes, Clary’s television work includes the soap operas The Young And The Restless, Days Of Our Lives and The Bold And The Beautiful.


Actor, artist and singer Robert Clary (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

He considers musical theater as a bright spot in his career. He said in a 2014 interview: “I like to go to the theater at 8:15, put on stage makeup and entertain.

He remained silent in public about his wartime experience until 1980, Clary said, when he was provoked to speak out by those who denied or downplayed the Nazi-orchestrated effort to exterminate people. Jewish.

A documentary about Clary’s childhood and the horrifying years at the hands of the Nazis, Robert Clary, A5714: A Memoir Of Liberation, was released in 1985. Arms of the prisoners in the concentration camp. center is tattooed with an identification number, with A5714 being Clary’s lifelong mark.

He told The Associated Press in a 1985 interview: “They wrote books and articles in magazines that denied the Holocaust, mocking the six million Jews — including a million and a half children — who died in the war. gas chamber and oven.

12 of his immediate family members, his parents and 10 siblings, were killed during the Nazis, Clary wrote in a biography posted on his website.

In 1997, he was among dozens of Holocaust survivors whose portraits and stories were included in The Spirit of Victory, a book by photographer Nick Del Calzo.

Clary said in an interview at the time: “I beg the next generation not to do what people have been doing for centuries – hate people for their skin, the shape of their eyes, or their religious preferences. surname.

Retiring from her acting career, Clary remains in good health and is busy with her family, friends and painting business.

No one knew where we were going. We are no longer humanRobert Clary

Robert Widerman was born in Paris in March 1926, the youngest of 14 children. He was 16 years old when he and most of his family were captured by the Nazis.

In the documentary, Clary recalls a happy childhood until he and his family were forced out of their Paris apartment and put into a crowded cattle truck that took them to a concentration camp.

“Nobody knows where we’re going,” Clary said. “We’re not human anymore.”

After 31 months of imprisonment in many concentration camps, he was freed by the US military from the Buchenwald death camp. His youth and ability to work kept him alive, Clary said.

Returning to Paris, where he reunited with his two sisters who had escaped the death camp, Clary worked as a singer and recorded songs that became famous in America.

After arriving in the United States in 1949, he moved from club dates and recording to Broadway musicals, including New Faces Of 1952, and then cinema. He appeared in films including 1952’s Thief Of Damascus, 1963’s A New Kind Of Love, and 1975’s The Hindenburg.

He doesn’t feel uncomfortable with comedy on Hogan’s Heroes despite the tragedy of his family’s brutal war experience.

“It’s completely different. I know they (prisoners) had a terrible life, but compared to the concentration camps and gas chambers it was like a vacation.”

Clary married Natalie Cantor, the daughter of singer-actor Eddie Cantor, in 1965. She died in 1997. Robert Clary, the last Hogan’s Heroes star, dies aged 96

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