Werner Klemperer


Werner Klemperer Trivia


  • Trivia

    • Klemperer is portrayed by Kurt Fuller in the movie "Auto Focus."

    • Werner Klemperer was the only member of the Hogan's Heroes cast to win an Emmy.

    • Klemperer is renowned for his work narrating orchestra concerts. Some of these stints were captured for TV, such as PBS's 1990 The Mostly Mozart Festival, 1993's PBS Barenboim Conducts Strauss and a recording with the Milwaukee Symphony in a 1994 performance of Berlioz's Lelio.

    • Klemperer first acted professionally at the Pasadena Playhouse in a production of The Trojan Horse.

    • Klemperer served as a United States Army military policeman in the second World War.

    • Werner Klemperer's immediate family includes his daughter Erika Klemperer Webster, son Mark, and sister Lotte.

    • Klemperer debuted on Broadway in 1947's Heads or Tails.

    • When CBS offered Klemperer the role of Colonel Klink in "Hogan's Heroes," he agreed only if Klink would never succeed in any of his schemes to undermine the Allies.

    • Klemperer, as an attorney, once successfully defended Hogan's Heroes co-star Robert Clary.

    • Klemperer played in the violin section of the November 8, 1964 New Philharmonic Orchestra's Otto Klemperer-- Beethoven Symphony No. 9.

    • Klemperer was invited to be the Grand Marshal of a California town's Memorial Day parade. He was uninvited after protests of a "Nazi" presiding over the affair.

    • From 1970 to 1978, Klemperer owned a Mercedes Benz 6.9 V8. When parked on the set of Hogan's Heroes, Bob Crane always joked about it being "The Colonel's staff car". Klemperer sold the car after Crane's murder, stating that it brought back too many memories of their friendship.

    • Klemperer received a Tony nomination in 1988 as a feature actor in a musical for his role in Hal Prince's revival of Cabaret.

    • Klemperer's film credits included Death of a Scoundrel, The Wicked Dreams of Paula Schultz, The Goddess, Judgment at Nuremburg, and Ship of Fools.

    • Klemperer's Broadway roles included starring opposite Jose Ferrer in "The Insect Comedy" and with Tallulah Bankhead in the 1955 production of "Dear Charles." Most recently, he co-starred in the Circle in the Square's production of Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya."

    • Klemperer won two Emmy Awards for his portrayal of Klink on Hogan's Heroes.

    • Werner was born into a musical family. His mother, Johanna Geisler was a soprano, his father Otto Klemperer was a great conductor. Werner was an accomplished concert pianist, an operatic baritone, and a singer in Broadway musicals.

    • Werner was half Jewish. His family fled the Nazi regime in Germany in 1933, and moved to Los Angeles, CA.

  • Quotes

    • (on accepting the Klink role)
      Klemperer: I had one qualification when I took the job. If they ever wrote a segment whereby Colonel Klink would come out the hero, I would leave the show.

    • (his father had asked about Werner's role on Hogan's Heroes)
      Klemperer: How do you explain? Then he asked me to send him a script. I didn't dare.

    • Klemperer: [My father] believed in the good old-fashioned idea that a son should learn and learn and learn. Acting was not in the learning category, and it took him a long time to accept the idea.

    • Klemperer: For fifteen years I was cast as a villain. My stock in trade a German officer's uniform and a monocle. It helped that I could click my heels smartly and say 'Achtung!' when necessary -- which was almost always. I achtunged my way to the bank.

    • (on Hogan's Heroes)
      Klemperer: What we are all doing is parody. For an actor, my role is satisfying because it challenges me to develop new little facets of the character. Here and there I can extend his pomposity while never forgetting that he is, basically, just a scared little man. Or, again, I can extend his naivete, or go further with what he believes is cunning. If he were a total idiot, the whole show would fall like a house of cards.

    • (on working with John Banner)
      Klemperer: We both had little ego trips, but mainly we got along well.

    • Klemperer: There is this musical addiction that I have. It always seems to come to the foreground. Music has always been a conflict. I've always been a frustrated musician.

    • (on typecasting)
      Klemperer: Sure, an actor takes a chance associating himself with a role for a long time, but I'm a character actor. Character actors usually survive that sort of risk better.

    • (about his role in "Cabaret")
      Klemperer: Herr Schultz is middle-aged, rather gentle, and representative of the average German Jew of those days. He believes in his country as any American would believe in his. He says, 'Come on, folks, everybody take it easy, and things will be all right.' There were thousands like him, and they were all killed.

    • (on his role in "Cabaret")
      Klemperer: And it's nice to be recognized, to be appreciated. When I walk on stage, I get a hand, and of course it's not because of what I'm about to perform. It's because everyone's glad to see Colonel Klink. I only worry if the applause isn't as strong or stronger after the end.

    • Klemperer: I'm very blessed to be involved as an actor/narrator with symphonic pieces. I go and work with most of the major symphonies.

    • Klemperer: You cannot take "Hogan's Heroes," look at it and take it totally seriously. I mean, that's ridiculous!

    • (about reprising a form of Colonel Klink for his appearance on "The Simpsons")
      Klemperer: I actually swore to myself privately that I was never going to do anything with that character again on television. But when they offered this little situation for me to do this voice in this special segment, I found it so incredibly humorous that I said yes, and I enjoyed it. It was fun.