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Home / Robert Clary

‘Hogan’s Heroes’ star Robert Clary dies at 96

French actor Robert Clary, best known for his portrayal of war prisoner Cpl. Louis LeBeau in the quirky sitcom “Hogan’s Heroes,” died Wednesday at age 96.

His daughter, Kim Wright, told The Hollywood Reporter that Clary died Wednesday morning at his home in Los Angeles.

Clary was the last surviving principal cast member of “Hogan’s Heroes,” which aired from 1965 to 1971, comically portraying a group of Nazi prisoners who led covert spy operations from their Stalag 13 cabin.

His participation in the show was an especially personal turn for Clary, who spent roughly three years in a Nazi concentration camp in the 1940s. The youngest of 14 children, 10 of his siblings died in the Holocaust, as did his parents.

After he was liberated in 1945, Clary — who previously worked as a singer on French radio — returned to his singing career. He later turned his sights to acting, making small television appearances and taking on roles in several musicals on Broadway.

He said later that he had no reservations about accepting the role of LeBeau in “Hogan’s Heroes,” saying the prisoners portrayed in the sitcom were housed at a stalag, which he said was a far cry from a concentration camp, where prisoners were routinely executed.

As LeBeau, Clary portrayed a member of a troupe of imprisoned spies — led by Bob Crane’s Colonel Hogan — who ran covert missions and regularly duped the gullible Nazis who ran the camp, most notably commanding officer Colonel Klink and camp guard Sgt. Schultz.

He appeared in several films during his career, including “Thief of Damascus,” “A New Kind of Love” and “The Hindenburg,” portraying a passenger on the doomed zeppelin. He also appeared in the soap operas “Days of Our Lives,” “The Bold and the Beautiful” and “The Young and the Restless.”

His wife, Natalie, was a daughter of the comedian, actor, singer and dancer Eddie Cantor. She died in 1997.

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