‘Hogan’s hero’ and real-life Holocaust survivor dies at 96

I must confess, Berkshire County, this news shook me a bit last week when I heard it. Some tears were also shed. When I was a kid, I always watched the TV show “Hogan’s Heroes” with my mom, who loved the show.

Having been captivated by my mother’s enjoyment and laughter, I also became a fan of the show. I am saddened to report that the last original “Hero”, actor Robert Clary, has died at the age of 96.

I loved all the characters in “Hogan’s Heroes”, but two of them were my favorites. The late Bob Crane, who played Hogan, and Robert Clary, who played Corporal Louis LeBeau.

My respect and admiration for Clary grew much later when I made a discovery that I considered quite remarkable. Remember, there was no “Internet” back then, so it wasn’t that easy to find out the backgrounds of your favorite actors and actresses.

As it turns out, Clary was a real-life Holocaust survivor. Clary, who was born in Paris in 1926 (real name Robert Max Widerman), and her family were sent to a concentration camp when she was 16 years old.

Clary spent more than two and a half years incarcerated in Auschwitz and was the only member of his family (he had 13 brothers and sisters) to survive. Both of his parents were murdered in the gas chamber.

After a brief acting stint in France, Clary finally made her way to Los Angeles in the late 1940s. Almost immediately she found success in the entertainment industry, which she loved.

Clary acted in a few movies (including the hindenburg in 1975, one of my favorites) and appeared in several daytime soap operas, including days of our lives Y The Young and the Restless.

Here’s a more recent photo of Clary:

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Presents Los Angeles Dinner 2016: What You Do Matters

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That photo was from a dinner at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. Mr. Clary, thank you for all the laughs and memories. You have more than earned a peaceful rest, good sir.

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