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Jewish Biography --> Biographies --> Werner Klemperer
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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.

Biography

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.

Half-Jewish, 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.

Career

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.

Later career

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. From 1997 until his death, Klemperer was married to African-American actress Kim Hamilton.

Trivia

Trivia sections are discouraged under Wikipedia guidelines.
The article could be improved by integrating relevant items and removing inappropriate ones.

Between 1970 and 1978, Klemperer owned a Mercedes Benz 6.9 V8, which was initially intended for Roman Polanski. When parked on the set of Hogan's Heroes, Bob Crane always joked about it being "The Colonel's staff car".

Was a friend off-set of Bob Crane. After Crane's murder, Werner sold his Mercedes-Benz because it brought back too many memories of his dead friend.

Klemperer was a pole vaulter in high school. In an episode of Hogan's Heroes, Colonel Klink tried to see if he could pole vault over a fence.

When Klemperer's father, the famous conductor, saw his first episode of Hogan's Heroes, he said to his son, "Your work is good...but who is the author of this material?"
He was once asked by a town in California to be the Grand Marshal of its Memorial Day parade. The protests about having a "Nazi" as Marshal caused the town to disinvite him. Klemperer kindly agreed but wrote a letter to the local paper stating that as a man who had been persecuted by the Nazis as a Jew and as a WWII veteran of the U.S. Army, he felt somewhat confused at the uproar.

He can be seen playing in the violin section of the New Philharmonia Orchestra on the EMI Classics DVD "Otto Klemperer — Beethoven Symphony No. 9." The concert was performed on November 8, 1964, at London's Royal Albert Hall.
As Colonel Klink, he was a pretentious but dreadful violin player, in contrast with his virtuosity with the instrument in real life.

According to the particular episode's DVD commentary, when he guested on The Simpsons, he had to be given a reminder of how to play Colonel Klink. Essentially, he imitated an imitation of the character.

During 80's lived in the famous Sunset Towers in West Hollywood in the penthouse for many years when the building was being restored and was mostly vacant.

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