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Robert Clary, ‘Hogan’s Heroes’ star, dies at age 96

Robert Clary, a star of the 1960s sitcom “Hogan’s Heroes,” passed away on Wednesday at the age of 96.

Clary was a survivor of Nazi concentration camps during World War II. Clary died of natural causes at his Beverly Hills home on Wednesday night, according to the Associated Press.

“He never let those horrors defeat him,” his niece, Brenda Hancock, said of Clary’s childhood war experiences. “He never let them take the joy out of his life. He tried to spread that joy to others through his singing and his dancing and his painting.”

Clary had a special message that he always shared with his students. “Never hate,” Hancock said. “He did not let hatred overcome beauty in this world.”

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Robert Clary, star of the 1960s sitcom “Hogan Heroes,” has passed away at the age of 96.
(Chris Pizzello/Invision)

Clary portrayed Cpl. Louis LeBeau in “Hogan’s Heroes”, which was on the air from 1965 to 1971.

Clary was the last remaining original star of the sitcom with Bob Crane, Richard Dawson, Larry Hovis and Ivan Dixon as prisoners. Werner Klemperer and John Banner, who played their captors, were both European Jews who fled Nazi persecution before the war.

Clary began her career as a nightclub singer and appeared on stage in musicals such as “Irma La Douce” and “Cabaret”. After ‘Hogan’s Heroes’, Clary’s TV work included soap operas ‘The Young and the Restless’, ‘Days of Our Lives’ and ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’.

Robert Clary portrayed Cpl.  Louis LeBeau "Hogan's heroes."

Robert Clary portrayed Cpl. Louis LeBeau in ‘Hogan’s Heroes’.
(CBS)

In 2014, Clary said in an interview that he believed musical theater was the pinnacle of his career: “I loved getting to the theater at a quarter past eight, putting on the stage make-up and entertaining,” he said.

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Clary was silent about his wartime experiences until 1980. In 1985, a documentary about Clary’s childhood and years of horror at the hands of Nazis was released, “Robert Clary, A5714: A Memoir of Liberation”. Concentration camp prisoners’ forearms were tattooed with identification numbers, with A5714 as Clary’s lifetime mark.

“They write books and magazine articles denying the Holocaust and mocking the 6 million Jews — including a million and a half children — who died in the gas chambers and ovens,” he told the Associated Press in a 1985 interview.

Robert Clary died of natural causes at his Beverly Hills home on Wednesday evening, November 16, 2022.

Robert Clary died of natural causes at his Beverly Hills home on Wednesday evening, November 16, 2022.
(Amanda Edwards)

Twelve of his immediate relatives, his parents and 10 siblings, were killed by the Nazis, Clary wrote in a biography on his website.

“I beg the next generation not to do what people have been doing for centuries—hate others because of their skin, the shape of their eyes, or their religious affiliation,” Clary said in a 1997 interview.

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After he retired from acting, Clary remained in good health and busy with his family, friends and his painting.

Clary married Natalie Cantor, the daughter of singer-actor Eddie Cantor, in 1965. She died in 1997.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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