Robert Clary, a Holocaust survivor and French actor who famously portrayed Cpl. LeBeau on the World War II-set sitcom "Hogan's Heroes," has died at 96.
Clary's grandaughter Kim Wright confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that he died Wednesday morning at his home in Los Angeles.
Born in Paris on March 1, 1926, Clary was the youngest of 14 children in an Orthodox Jewish family. He was 12 years old when he began singing and performing and this, he previously told THR, was one of the reasons why he survived after his family was rounded up and sent to Auschwitz. Clary was 16 when his parents were murdered in the gas chambers. In Buchenwald, he would sing with an accordionist to SS soldiers.
"Singing, entertaining and being in kind of good health at my age, that's why I survived," he told THR in 2015.
Clary was incarcerated for 31 months and after being liberated, returned to France in 1945. He sang at dance halls for several years before moving to Los Angeles in 1949. He went on to appear in such films as "Ten Tall Men" (1951) and "Thief of Damascus" (1952) before the iconic entertainer Eddie Cantor took him under his wing.
Clary made his Broadway debut in the 1952 musical revue "New Faces" in which he sang "Lucky Pierre" and "I'm In Love With Miss Logan." The production was filmed by Fox and played in movie theaters in 1954.
The following year, Clary returned to Broadway with an appearance in the musical "Seventh Heaven." The actor went on to appear in the Paul Newman-Joanne Woodward film "A New Kind of Love" in 1963 before he was cast in "Hogan's Heroes," which starred Bob Crane as Col. Robert E. Hogan, an American who led an international group of Allied prisoners of war in a mission to beat the Nazis from the Luft Stalag 13 camp.
The show ran for six seasons, from September 1965 to April 1971.
Clary's other acting credits include the 1975 Robert Wise-directed film "The Hindenburg" as well as the soap operas "Days of Our Lives," "The Bold and The Beautiful" and "The Young and the Restless."
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