Biography for Werner Klemperer
Date of Birth - 22 March 1920, Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
Date of Death - 6 December 2000, New York City, New York, USA (cancer)
Height - 5' 10" (1.78 m)
Spouse(s) - Kim Hamilton (1997 - 6 December 2000) (his death)
Louise Troy (28 October 1969 - 1975) (divorced)
Susan Dempsey (1959 - 1968) (divorced) 2 children
Werner Klemperer, everyone's favorite TV German Air Force colonel, was best known for his role as the bumbling Col. Wilhelm Klink on the comedy series "Hogan's Heroes" (1965). Although he'll forever be known as the blustering but inept German commandant of Stalag 13, Klemperer was in fact a talented dramatic actor, as evidenced by his acclaimed performance as an arrogant, unrepentant Nazi judge being tried for crimes against humanity in Judgment at Nuremberg (1961). His identification with Nazi roles notwithstanding, Klemperer was in real life the son of a Jew who fled with his family from Nazi Germany in the 1930s. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II. When he was offered the Col. Klink role, Klemperer only agreed to do it if the show's producers promised that Klink would never succeed in any of his schemes. "Col. Klink" earned Klemperer five Emmy nominations, and he took home the trophy twice, in 1968 and 1969. After the series, Klemperer carved out an impressive musical career as a conductor and also served as a narrator with many major U.S. symphony orchestras. He was an accomplished concert violinist.
-- IMDb Mini Biography By: Morgan De Sade (additional info by Susan Cohen)
Klink's cry "Hooo-gaaann!" whenever Col. Hogan foiled him (later "Hooo-meerrr!" as the voice of Homer Simpson's conscience).
The Shouting of "SCHUUUUUULTZ", for his Sergeant of the Guard Schultz
Served in the U.S. Army from 1942-1945.
He conducted the Buffalo Orchestra.
Son of conductor Otto Klemperer.
He appeared as Pasha Selim in the Mozart opera "The Abduction From the Seraglio".
Klemperer also appeared as a narrator with nearly every major symphony orchestra in the United States. His repertoire included such works as Beethoven's "Egmont" and "Fidelio," Stravinsky's "L'Historie du Soldat" and "Oedipus Rex."
One of his favorite works was as narrator in "Peter and the Wolf," which he performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Although he was most famous for playing a colonel in the German Luftwaffe (air corps), Klemperer's family were German Jews who fled Nazi Germany in the 1930s.
For many years, he served as an elected member of the National Council of Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
Immersed himself into teaching himself English so completely, that he found himself actually thinking and dreaming in English.
Was nominated for Broadway's 1988 Tony Award as Best Actor (Featured Role - Musical) for a revival of "Cabaret."
Is portrayed by Kurt Fuller in Auto Focus (2002).
His last acting role was as Colonel Klink, his most famous character, on a 1993 episode of "The Simpsons" (1989).
During World War II, served in the U.S. Army and was assigned to Maurice Evans' Special Entertainment Unit serving with fellow actor Carl Reiner.
Klemperer agreed to take the role of Col. Klink in "Hogan's Heroes" (1965) only on the condition that none of Klink's schemes would ever succeed and that he would always wind up looking foolish.
He was nominated for a 1975 Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Guest Artist for his performance in "The Great Sebastians," at the Ivanhoe Theatre in Chicago, Illinois.
During his guest appearance on "The Pat Sajak Show" (1989) he was presented with a monocle by Pat Sajak, as the host had learned that Werner's original monocle from his "Hogan's Heroes" (1965) days had recently been taken from his personal collection.
He made guest appearances on both of the longest running prime time dramas in US television history: "Gunsmoke" (1955) and "Law & Order" (1990).
-- Above from the Internet Movie Database
-- Below from other website sources
Werner Klemperer, Klink in 'Hogan's Heroes,' Dies at 80By BERNARD WEINRAUB
Published: in The New York Times, December 08, 2000
Werner Klemperer, an Emmy Award-winning actor in television, film and theater whose role as the bumbling Nazi Col. Wilhelm Klink on ''Hogan's Heroes'' dominated an eclectic career, died on Wednesday at his home in New York. He was 80.
The cause was cancer, said John A. Anderson, his manager.
A love of music dominated the life of Mr. Klemperer, the son of the conductor Otto Klemperer, who was the music director for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The younger Mr. Klemperer performed in many opera productions and, in the last two decades, served as narrator with virtually every symphony orchestra in the United States. His narration of Mozart's ''Impresario'' with the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra was broadcast by PBS on ''Live From Lincoln Center.''
But what stamped his career, and made him famous, was his role in the lowbrow ''Hogan's Heroes,'' the successful and unlikely sitcom set in a German prisoner-of-war camp during World War II. The show, which ran on CBS from 1965 to 1971, starred Mr. Klemperer as the monocled and inept Nazi commandant of the camp in which the American prisoners, led by Col. Robert Hogan (played by Bob Crane), actually controlled the camp.
Mr. Klemperer, whose Jewish family had escaped Germany in the 1930's for Los Angeles, found the role a double-edged sword. ''He sometimes felt he was too identified with that character,'' his wife, Kim Hamilton Klemperer, said. ''But it had such a major impact on his career. He loved it when people stopped him on the street. The fan mail he still gets is unbelievable.'' (The series has been rebroadcast on TV Land).
Mr. Klemperer was nominated for Emmys for each of the six years he appeared on the show, and won twice, in 1968 and 1969, in the category of best supporting actor.
What plainly dogged Mr. Klemperer was the criticism that a show based on the concept of bumbling Germans running a prisoner-of-war camp was simply not funny given the actual events of World War II.
When the idea of a movie version of ''Hogan's Heroes'' was discussed two years ago, and then dropped, a writer in The Boston Globe, Renee Graham, wrote: ''Call this political correctness if you like, but under no circumstances should a film of 'Hogan's Heroes' be made. For those who don't remember, this was the 1960's World War II comedy starring Bob Crane, Werner Klemperer and John Banner that presented the Nazis as the biggest cutups since the Keystone Kops. Let's be clear here: Nazis are never, ever funny. Ever. So it's with great joy that I report that the film version of 'Hogan' is on ice, at least for now.''
Such criticisms through the years bothered Mr. Klemperer. ''The show was never intended to be viewed in a serious light,'' he said in 1999. ''Whenever anyone tries to overanalyze 'Hogan's Heroes' I merely tell them that it was a funny show, a wonderful show, and I'm very proud of it. And that's the end of that.''
But Mr. Klemperer also had early misgivings about the series. He was offered the role as the Nazi commandant by CBS but his agent failed to tell him that it was humorous. When Mr. Klemperer learned that the show was a comedy, he said he was stunned.
''I had one qualification when I took the job: if they ever wrote a segment whereby Colonel Klink would come out the hero, I would leave the show.''
Mr. Klemperer played other Germans in two of his more memorable films. He was a Nazi on trial for war atrocities in ''Judgment at Nuremberg'' (1961) and Adolf Eichmann in ''Operation Eichmann'' (also 1961).
Years ago Mr. Klemperer was set to serve as grand marshal in a parade in Oregon, but a state legislator protested and said it was wrong to honor an actor who played Colonel Klink. Mr. Klemperer bowed out.
''I found that so ridiculous,'' he said, years later. ''I wrote an open letter to the paper in that particular area and I said that I certainly would bow out of this parade, but that it was saddening to me that I, a three-year World War II veteran, had to do that.''
Mr. Klemperer was born in Cologne, Germany, and fled to the United States when he was a teenager. He served in the Army for three years, mostly with a special services company that entertained troops. After serving in the Army he enrolled at the Pasadena Playhouse and pursued acting.
His film credits include ''The Goddess'' (1958), ''Flight to Hong Kong'' (1956) and ''Ship of Fools'' (1965). On the Broadway stage he appeared in such plays as the revival of ''Cabaret,'' in which he was nominated for a Tony in 1988.
In recent years he worked onstage in several dramas, including the Circle in the Square's revival of ''Uncle Vanya'' in 1995.
This interview was recorded on the telephone in July,
(along with recordings) were used on WNIB two months later, and again
in 1990, 1995 and
1999. The transcription was made and posted
website in 2013.
To see a full list (with links) of interviews which have been transcribed and posted on this website, click here.
Award - winning broadcaster Bruce Duffie was with WNIB, Classical 97 in Chicago from 1975 until its final moment as a classical station in February of 2001. His interviews have also appeared in various magazines and journals since 1980, and he now continues his broadcast series on WNUR-FM, as well as on Contemporary Classical Internet Radio.You are invited to visit his website for more information about his work, including selected transcripts of other interviews, plus a full list of his guests. He would also like to call your attention to the photos and information about his grandfather, who was a pioneer in the automotive field more than a century ago. You may also send him E-Mail with comments, questions and suggestions.