Robert Clary

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Robert Clary

Born

3/1/1926, Paris, France

Birth Name

Robert Max Widerman

Gender

Male
8.4
out of 10
User Rating
8 votes

Biography

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Robert Clary is well known for playing Corporal Louis Lebeau on the television series Hogan's Heroes (1965-1971). Clary, of Jewish faith, spent 1942 - 1945 in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. He survived his incarceration, but, sadly, his parents, two sisters, two half-sisters, and two nephews…more

Credits

Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

  • Quotes

    • Clary: Today, at that apartment house where I spent the first 16 years of my life, there is a plaque over the door which says: 'In memory of the 112 inhabitants of this house, including 40 young children, deported and dead in German camps, 1942.'

    • Clary: Stalag 13 is not a concentration camp. It's a POW camp, and that's a world of difference. You never heard of a prisoner of war being gassed or hanged. Whereas we were not even human beings. When we got to Buchenwald, the SS shoved us into a shower room to spend the night. I had heard the rumors about the dummy showerheads that were gas jets. I thought, this is it. But no, it was just a place to sleep. The first eight days there, the Germans kept us without a crumb to eat. We were hanging on to life by pure guts, sleeping on top of each other, every morning waking up to find a new corpse next to you.

    • (on his portrayal of LeBeau on Hogan's Heroes)
      Clary: When the show went on the air, people asked me if I had any qualms about doing a comedy series dealing with Nazis and concentration camps. I had to explain that it was about prisoners of war in a stalag, not a concentration camp, and although I did not want to diminish what soldiers went through during their internments, it was like night and day from what people endured in concentration camps.

    • Clary: What did my parents, who were extremely religious, my sisters and the rest of my family do to deserve such an end to their lives? Where is the justice? These gentle people who tried to make decent lives for themselves -- why would God take them away so cruelly? To teach a lesson? Nothing has been learned from their deaths. Man's inhumanity to man still exists.

    • (breaking his personal silence about Nazi interment)
      Clary: For 36 years I kept these experiences during the war locked up inside myself. But those who are attempting to deny the Holocaust, my suffering and the suffering of millions of others have forced me to speak out.

    • (asked if his personal experience influenced his character on Hogan's Heroes)
      Clary: I never put myself, as LeBeau, as me, Robert Clary. Never. It was a very different. It was a part that I did, and we actors have to play all kinds of parts. If I have to play a German, I'll play a German. If I have to play something else and if I feel it's a good part, I will do it. That's why we are actors.

    • (asked about script revisions on Hogan's Heroes)
      Clary: No, we did not improvise. What we did, is during the first reading, we could put our two cents in. When we rehearsed the scenes, which was on Mondays, when the director or the producer was there, if you wanted to change a line, you could do that. But the days you were filming, no, you couldn't change anything at all. We had fun, because it was a good group to work with. But we did not improvise, no.

    • (asked if he had a favorite Hogan's Heroes episode)
      Clary: I can't think of one. I had fun. I had fun with them. I was very unhappy the first year. It was a small part, and I was very unhappy. And then I made peace with myself. I said, "if you're very unhappy, then you can quit, and that's it. But if you're going to stay, then just stop being unhappy," and it worked. But no, I don't have an episode that I can say, 'Oh God, that was great.'

    • (asked if Hogan's Heroes was a shining career moment)
      Clary: No, not really. I mean, I cannot complain, because it got somehow good, not great for me, it was never great. I was capable of doing better than that. But it was a good living, and a good association. And it's still playing all over the world. But I've done much bigger and better things that what I've done on Hogan's Heroes.

    • (on watching Hogan's Heroes reruns)
      Clary: No. I've seen enough of them. What do I need, an ego trip? No, I don't watch them. But you know, it's amazing, it's a tremendous success in Germany. It plays twice a day!

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