robert clearywho played Corporal LeBeau in the long-running World War II comedy hogan’s hero, has died. He was 96 years old.
Deadline’s affiliate publication The Hollywood Reporter confirmed the news. Cited His granddaughter Kim Wright.
Clary was seen in the CBS show Generations, which was set in a German prisoner of war camp during World War II. His Corporal Labeau was a French POW and a member of the Allied sabotage unit operating inside the camp. did not do hogan’s hero ran from 1965–1971, but after that it ran endlessly in syndication.
Clary was one of the last two surviving members of the show’s main cast, the other being Kenneth Washington, who played Sergeant Richard Baker in the show’s final season.
were also survivors of Holocaust, Born in Paris in 1926 as the youngest of 14 children to a Jewish family, he was deported in 1942 to the Nazi concentration camp in Otmuth, Poland. Clary sang on the radio before his imprisonment and after being transferred to Germany’s infamous Buchenwald camp, he sang every other Sunday for an audience of SS soldiers.
“By singing, entertaining, and being in good health at my age, I survived,” he later recalled. “I was very immature and young and didn’t really fully realize the situation I was involved in… I don’t know if I really would have survived if I had known.”
A dozen members of Clary’s family were sent to Auschwitz and died during the war, including his parents. He was liberated from Buchenwald in April 1945 and later learned that three of his siblings had remained in occupied France and survived.
years later at a Television Academy Foundation asked Interview if he brought any of those experiences with him hogan’s hero Clary replied, “No, because it was completely different. If I wanted to bring [to my] character as it was Desperate,
He was also careful to draw a distinction between the show’s setting and his own experiences as a Jew interned in Nazi concentration camps. “Stalag 13 is not a concentration camp. It is a POW camp, and it is a world of difference. You never hear of a prisoner of war being gassed or hanged.”
After the war, Cleary returned to singing, and had some success in both France and the United States. He moved stateside in 1949 where he befriended singer Eddie Cantor, later marrying Cantor’s daughter, Natalie Cantor Metzger.
as seen in the show colgate comedy hour, martha ray show and on Broadway.
Later hogan’s heroAppeared in several soaps including Clary days of Our Lives, the young and the Restless And bold and beautiful,
Clary appeared in the 1975 film The Hindenburg, which explored a fictional plot to blow up a German airship. He played Joseph Spah, the real-life passenger on the last voyage of the airship.
Cleary toured Canada and the United States in his later years and spoke about the Holocaust.
Watch Robert Cleary’s Television Academy Foundation interview below.