Robert Clary

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Robert Clary
Robert Clary 1953.JPG
Clary in 1953.
Born(1926-03-01) March 1, 1926 (age 87)
Paris, France
OccupationActor
Known forCorporal LeBeau in Hogan's Heroes
Spouse(s)Natalie Cantor Metzger (1965-1997; her death)
 
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Robert Clary
Robert Clary 1953.JPG
Clary in 1953.
Born(1926-03-01) March 1, 1926 (age 87)
Paris, France
OccupationActor
Known forCorporal LeBeau in Hogan's Heroes
Spouse(s)Natalie Cantor Metzger (1965-1997; her death)

Robert Clary (born Robert Max Widerman; March 1, 1926) is a French-born American actor, published author, and lecturer, best known for his role in the television sitcom Hogan's Heroes as Corporal LeBeau, and is the series' last surviving male original cast member.


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Early life and career[edit]

Born in 1926 in Paris, France, Clary was the youngest of 14 children. At the age of twelve, he began a career singing professionally on French radio and also studied art at the Paris Drawing School.[1] In 1942, because he was Jewish, he was deported to the Nazi concentration camp, Ottmuth. He was later sent to Buchenwald where he was liberated on 11 April 1945. Twelve other members of his immediate family were sent to Auschwitz. Clary was the only survivor.[2][3] When he returned to Paris after World War II, he learned that some of his siblings had not been taken away and had survived the Nazi occupation of France.

Clary circa 1950, as a Capitol recording artist.

He returned to the entertainment business and began making songs that not only became popular in France, but in the United States as well. Clary made his first recordings in 1948; they were brought to the United States on wire and were issued on disk by Capitol Records.[1] He went to the U.S. in October 1949. One of Clary's first American appearances was a French language comedy skit on The Ed Wynn Show in 1950. Clary later met Merv Griffin and Eddie Cantor. This eventually led to Clary meeting Cantor's daughter, Natalie Cantor Metzger, whom he married in 1965. Cantor later got Clary a spot on the Colgate Comedy Hour. In the mid-1950s, he appeared on NBC's The Martha Raye Show and on CBS's Appointment with Adventure, a dramatic anthology series.

Clary's comedic skills were quickly recognized by Broadway, where he appeared in several popular musicals including New Faces of 1952, which was produced as a film in 1954. In 1952, he appeared in the film Thief of Damascus which also starred Paul Henreid and Lon Chaney Jr. In 1958, he guest starred on NBC's The Gisele MacKenzie Show.

LeBeau on Hogan's Heroes[edit]

As LeBeau in Hogan's Heroes with Fräulein Hilda (Cynthia Lynn).

In 1965, Clary was offered the role of Corporal Louis LeBeau on a new TV sitcom called Hogan's Heroes, and he accepted the role when the pilot sold. The series was set in a German POW camp during World War II, and Clary played a prisoner who was a member of an Allied sabotage unit operating from inside the camp. After Hogan's Heroes, he appeared in a handful of feature films with World War II themes including the made-for-television film, Remembrance of Love about the Holocaust. Clary also made notable appearances on Days of our Lives and The Young and the Restless, where he played Pierre Roulland (1973–79).

Clary appeared in the 1975 film The Hindenburg which dramatized a fictional plot to blow up the Nazi airship after it arrived at the Lakehurst, New Jersey Air Station. His character was a song and dance man who hoped to use the airship as a set in one of his shows.

Later Life and Career[edit]

After Hogan's Heroes went off the air he maintained close ties to fellow Hogan's Heroes cast members Werner Klemperer and John Banner, who also had their lives affected by the Holocaust. He also spent years touring Canada and the United States, speaking about the Holocaust. He is a painter, painting from photographs he takes on his travels. [4]

He wrote a memoir From the Holocaust to Hogan's Heroes : the autobiography of Robert Clary in 2001. [5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Robert Clary Biography". Capitol Records. 1950. Retrieved 25 October 2012. 
  2. ^ The Buchenwald Report, prepared and finished three weeks after the liberation of Buchenwald by the Psychological Warfare Division of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force; first published in its entirety by Westview Press, with translation by David A. Hackett, 1999.
  3. ^ Go-star.com "Robert Clary"
  4. ^ Robert Clary a survivor in life and entertainment
  5. ^ [1]

External links[edit]