Robert Clary, final of the “Hogan’s Heroes” stars, dies at 96


Robert Clary, a French-born survivor of Nazi focus camps throughout World War II who performed a feisty prisoner of struggle within the unbelievable Nineteen Sixties sitcom “Hogan’s Heroes,” has died. He was 96.

Clary died Wednesday of pure causes at his residence within the Los Angeles space, niece Brenda Hancock mentioned Thursday.

“He never let those horrors defeat him,” Hancock mentioned of Clary’s wartime expertise as a youth. “He never let them take the joy out of his life. He tried to spread that joy to others through his singing and his dancing and his painting.”

When he recounted his life to college students, he informed them, “Don’t ever hate,” Hancock mentioned. “He didn’t let hate overcome the beauty in this world.”

“Hogan’s Heroes,” by which Allied troopers in a POW camp bested their clownish German military captors with espionage schemes, performed the struggle strictly for laughs throughout its 1965-71 run. The 5-foot-1 Clary sported a beret and a sardonic smile as Cpl. Louis LeBeau.

Hogan's Heroes
Robert Clary as Corporal Louis LeBeau in “Hogan’s Heroes.” This scene was initially broadcast on September 17, 1965.

CBS through Getty Images

Clary was the final surviving unique star of the sitcom that included Bob Crane, Richard Dawson, Larry Hovis and Ivan Dixon because the prisoners. Werner Klemperer and John Banner, who performed their captors, had been each European Jews who fled Nazi persecution earlier than the struggle.

Clary started his profession as a nightclub singer and appeared on stage in musicals together with “Irma La Douce” and “Cabaret.” After “Hogan’s Heroes,” Clary’s TV work included the cleaning soap operas “The Young and the Restless,” “Days of Our Lives” and “The Bold and the Beautiful.”

He thought of musical theater the spotlight of his profession. “I loved to go to the theater at quarter of 8, put the stage makeup on and entertain,” he mentioned in a 2014 interview.

He remained publicly silent about his wartime expertise till 1980 when, Clary mentioned, he was provoked to talk out by those that denied or diminished the orchestrated effort by Nazi Germany to exterminate Jews.

A documentary about Clary’s childhood and years of horror at Nazi arms, “Robert Clary, A5714: A Memoir of Liberation,” was launched in 1985. The forearms of focus camp prisoners had been tattooed with identification numbers, with A5714 to be Clary’s lifelong mark.

“They write books and articles in magazines denying the Holocaust, making a mockery of the 6 million Jews — including a million and a half children — who died in the gas chambers and ovens,” he informed The Associated Press in a 1985 interview.

Twelve of his quick members of the family, his dad and mom and 10 siblings, had been killed underneath the Nazis, Clary wrote in a biography posted on his web site.

In 1997, he was amongst dozens of Holocaust survivors whose portraits and tales had been included in “The Triumphant Spirit,” a e book by photographer Nick Del Calzo.

“I beg the next generation not to do what people have done for centuries — hate others because of their skin, shape of their eyes, or religious preference,” Clary mentioned in an interview on the time.

Retired from performing, Clary remained busy along with his household, associates and his portray. His memoir, “From the Holocaust to Hogan’s Heroes: The Autobiography of Robert Clary,” was printed in 2001.

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA MARCH 22, 2013-Actor Robert Clary, 87, enjoys pencil painting at his house
Robert Clary, then 87, paints at his home in Beverly Hills.

Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times through Getty Images

“One Of The Lucky Ones,” a biography of one in all Clary’s older sisters, Nicole Holland, was written by Hancock, her daughter. Holland, who labored with the French Resistance in opposition to Germany, survived the struggle, as did one other sister. Hancock’s second e book, “Talent Luck Courage,” recounts Clary and Holland’s lives and their influence.

Clary was born Robert Widerman in Paris in March 1926, the youngest of 14 youngsters within the Jewish household. He was 16 when he and most of his household had been taken by the Nazis.

In the documentary, Clary recalled a contented childhood till he and his household had been pressured from their Paris condominium and put right into a crowded cattle automobile that carried them to focus camps.

“Nobody knew where we were going,” Clary mentioned. “We were not human beings anymore.”

After 31 months in captivity in a number of focus camps, he was liberated from the Buchenwald demise camp by American troops. His youth and skill to work saved him alive, Clary mentioned.

Returning to Paris and reunited along with his two sisters, Clary labored as a singer and recorded songs that turned common in America.

After coming to the United States in 1949, he moved from membership dates and recording to Broadway musicals, together with “New Faces of 1952,” after which to motion pictures. He appeared in movies together with 1952’s “Thief of Damascus,” “A New Kind of Love” in 1963 and “The Hindenburg” in 1975.

In current years, Clary recorded jazz variations of songs by Ira Gershwin, Stephen Sondheim and different greats, mentioned his nephew Brian Gari, a songwriter who labored on the CDs with Clary.

Clary was happy with the outcomes, Gari mentioned, and thrilled by a complimentary letter he acquired from Sondheim. “He hung that on the kitchen wall,” Gari mentioned.

Clary did not really feel uneasy concerning the comedy on “Hogan’s Heroes” regardless of the tragedy of his household’s devastating struggle expertise.

“It was completely different. I know they (POWs) had a terrible life, but compared to concentration camps and gas chambers it was like a holiday.”

Clary married Natalie Cantor, the daughter of singer-actor Eddie Cantor, in 1965. She died in 1997.


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