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Leon Askin Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trivia (4) | Personal Quotes (16)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 18 September 1907Vienna, Austria-Hungary [now Austria]
Date of Death 3 June 2005Vienna, Austria  (natural causes)
Birth NameLeo Aschkenasy
Height 5' 10½" (1.79 m)

Mini Bio (1)

As a nine year-old boy, Leon Askin recited a 17-stanza eulogy for Emperor Franz Josef in front of the city hall in Vienna's 9th District. Little did the son of a salesman know then that he would one day be the student of Max Reinhardt and Louise Dumont, and discover Jura Soyfer while directing the political cabaret "ABC". Emigration brought him into contact with even more 20th-century luminaries: in 1938 he met Erwin Piscator, the founder of the school of Epic Realism, and worked with him for the next 30 years. On the set of Billy Wilder's One, Two, Three (1961), Wilder once exclaimed, "Here comes my professional!" Askin, who was often cast as the "funny villain", performed alongside Richard Burton, Doris Day and James Cagney. It is not merely exposure to big stars that distinguishes Leon Askin, though. He captured the hearts of critics and audiences with his impressive stage performances of "Faust" and "Shylock" on Broadway, which he also directed, and "Othello" in Hamburg. In addition, Askin made TV history as Gen. Burkhalter in the series Hogan's Heroes (1965).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: <avacca@psmedia.com>

Spouse (3)

Anita Wicher (2002 - 3 June 2005) (his death)
Annelies Ehrlich (1955 - 1994) (divorced)
Louise Huntington-Smith (1945 - 1955) (divorced)

Trivia (4)

He will probably be best remembered as the German general in Hogan's Heroes (1965); who perpetually threatened to send Col. Klink to the eastern front.
Returned to Vienna to live in 1994, started to perform cabaret and appeared in various productions with the Volksoper, one of Vienna's finest opera companies.
He received Vienna's Gold Medal of Honor, one of the city's most distinguished prizes.
He received many honors after returning to Vienna, his homeland. In 1988, he was awarded the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art; in 1994, he was presented with the Silver Cross of Honor, and; in 2002, he was honored with the Gold Cross of Honor for service to the City of Vienna. He was granted the honorary title of Professor by Minister Scholten in 1996 and honored with the Austrian Cross of Honor, First Class, for Science and Art in 2002.

Personal Quotes (16)

The journalists in Vienna and Austria and also in Germany call me a legend. I'm a man who lived through difficult times. I'm a man who survived the monster of all times, Adolf Hitler, and I'm still, at my high old age of 93, successful in my profession and that is the pride with which I live and survive.
We wanted to bring the political situation in Austria on stage. Naturally we could not do that without pointing to Austrian's northern neighbor Germany.
In the morning we received some very thin coffee. For lunch we had potato soup with a few pieces of meat in it, in the evening we had a very thin meat soup with some potatoes in it.
The interest of my mother was more in the entertainment field. She loved to go to concerts and to the theatre.
To be a Dumont actor was considered to be a great honor for an actor, yet it also had its disadvantages.
Directors and producers were afraid of a Dumont actor while at the same time they admired him.
At the end of my life, I have achieved belated fame and recognition in the city of my birth.
From that moment on I knew my profession in life was and has remained until today an actor's life.
It is a great deal of difference to receive an honorary title or a title in his profession.
A Dumont actor was considered to be too stilted - the way we Dumont actors used to speak.
It was one of the great chances in my life to become a Dumont actor.
Especially for my father it was a great change. He used to be a socialist and even a member of the socialist party. But then he became an orthodox Jew.
1988 I also received from the city of Vienna the cross of honor for art and science. These titles and the various honors mean a great deal to me, most of all for the reason that they would mean a great deal to my parents too.
Unfortunately I put the opening date on the 5th of December 1941 and on the 7th of December the Japanese bombarded Pearl Harbor. My dream of a theater in Washington D.C. came to a prompt end.
I was put in the Air Corps. I was never educated to serve in the military, but soon my activities in the American Air Corps became very interesting to me.
My father was an ardent socialist for many years.

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