Skip to comments.Leon Askin, Actor who played General Burkhalter on "Hogan's Heroes" has died
Posted on 06/03/2005 11:30:36 AM PDT by Borges
VIENNA, Austria The actor who played General Burkhalter in "Hogan's Heroes" has died.
Officials say Leon Askin died in a hospital in Vienna, Austria. He was 97.
Askin was born into a Jewish family in Vienna and fled to the U-S to avoid persecution by the Nazis. He served in the U-S Army during World War Two before getting into acting.
In addition to co-starring in "Hogan's Heroes," Askin appeared in more than 50 films, and did voices for the "Scooby Doo and Scrappy Doo" cartoon series.
In honor of his passing, a repost of "A Very Hogan Christmas"
Classic lines were in no short supply from the original Hogan's Heroes, but oddly the much under-rated "A Very Hogan Christmas" (1979) reunion special gave birth to the most widely known.
In it, Colonel Klink and Sgt. Schultz travel to Shaker Heights Ohio to spend a special Christmas with Hogan, Carter, LeBeau, Kinch, and Newkirk. With Bob Crane indisposed, Mickey Rooney gives a sterling performance in which he captures the true essence of the Robert Edward Hogan and Ivan Dixon takes time out from directing the Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys Mysteries to revive his classic Kincheloe character.
Upon arriving in America, Colonel Klink is detained by Customs and Immigration when his name is found on a watch list of war criminals. Meanwhile, the restaurant Hogan has selected to host his Christmas dinner has a strict "No Negroes" policy and the owner, who bears a curious resemblance to General Burkholter, cannot be reasoned with. Therefore Hogan is torn between asking LeBeau to sacrifice much of his Christmas day to prepare a proper feast, or excluding Kinch, who, truth be told, never took part in any of the truly dangerous missions.
The old crew's undercover subversive skills come in handy and Klink is rescued, but Schultz is now torn between loyalty to his old colonel, and ridding himself of the guilt associated with unspeakable experiments conducted on Jewish P.O.W.s, that was only hinted at in the original series, by turning Klink into the authorities and testify against him.
Finally, LeBeau comes through with a great dinner, Kinch feigns thankfulness while secretly harboring a deep resentment for his comrades and country, and Schultz decides not to betray Klink and tells Hogan in a truly classic line, "Colonel Hogan, he may be the evilest man on earth, but at least he killed a lot of Jews."Owl_Eagle
(If what I just wrote makes you sad or angry,
The guy who played LeBeau was an Auschwitz survivor. (How he could stand to be around all those Nazi uniforms, I can't figure out.)
Werner Klemperer was the son of the famous classical orchestra conductor, Otto Klemperer. I believe the whole family left Germany in the 1930's for the US. Not sure whether they were Jewish, but I think they were.
Klink & Schulz also played chillingly real parts in the Adolf Eichman story, in 1962. Worth seeing.
Howard Caine, who played Major Hochstetter, was born Howard Cohen. IIRC, Howard was born in Nashville - and was quite the proficient banjo player. Hard to reconcile that with the Gestapo uniform, isn't it?
> I can't think of a better parody than a Jewish actor playing an incompetent Nazi-era German general.
Werner Klemperer was Jewish too. They were fully aware of the irony.
Was he the guy who used the stage name Nashville Katz?
Wonder if Burkhalter knows who killed Bob Crane?
I've looked it up. You're right. Klemperer's family left in 1933, and came to America in 1935. It seems his dad was stirring some serious stuff in Berlin, and had to leave due to several attempts on his life.
Klemperer specified that Klink never come out on top in any situation.
That was a great episode, but I think you left out a minor (but pretty important) detail; that being that a very young and budding Fran Drescher played a waitress in Burkhalter's restaurant.
(If what I just wrote makes you sad or angry,
The Hildebeast copied Major Hochstetter's coat at President Bush's first inaugural (remember that fashion "triumph?").
They wouldn't even ask Schultz.
He knew NOTHING!
He saw NOTHING!
It is a sad day.
Otto Klemperer was threatened by the S.A. several times, which led him to Switzerland for his and his family's safety. According to what I've read, he was a Jewish-born *Catholic*, which was basically two strikes against him.
Werner's dad came close to disowning him over the Col Klink role, until he saw that the show portrayed the Nazis as bumbling idiots.
I'm not positive, but I think Werner Klemperer served in the U.S. military, in the Pacific.
You vill be shot und sent to ze Russian Front, und believe me vee can do it!"