Leon Askin has died at 97

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Hogan's Heroes actor Leon Askin passed away on Friday, June 3, at the age of 97. Askin was most famous for his Heroes role of Nazi General Albert Burkhalter, but he also appeared in several other TV shows and Hollywood films.

Askin was born Leo Aschkenasy in Vienna on September 1, 1907. He studied acting at night school and held day jobs as a bookkeeper and salesman until he began to find steady work as an actor, but World War II put a halt to his early career. Askin was thrown out of Vienna's Dumont Playhouse for being Jewish, fled twice to Paris to avoid Nazi persecution, spent time in a French internment camp, and lost both parents to concentration camp deaths.

In 1940, Askin managed to reach the United States. He served in the Army Air Corps until the war ended and he could resume his acting career. He acted and directed on Broadway and found work as a drama teacher before entering the world of American feature film and television. In 1994 Askin returned to Vienna, where he remained until his death last week.

A statement released by Vienna's Mayor Michael Haeupl says: "We have lost a huge actor and a wonderful man."

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