Leon Askin (Leon Askin)

Leon Askin

Actor. He is best remembered for playing the recurring role of ‘General Albert Hans Burkhalter’ on the CBS television World War II sitcom “Hogan’s Heroes” that ran from September 1965 until July 1971. Born Leon Aschkenasy into a Jewish family, his father was a salesman. At age 9 he recited a 17-stanza eulogy for Austrian Emperor Franz Josef, in front of Vienna, Austria’s 9th District city hall. He studied acting at night under Max Reinhardt while working as a bookkeeper and salesman. He later worked at the Louise Dumont Theater in Dusseldorf, Germany but was fired in 1933 due to being Jewish. In 1938 he fled to Paris, France when the Nazis occupied Austria and his parents were eventually imprisoned and killed in a Nazi concentration camp. In 1940 he emigrated to New York City, New York and became a naturalized citizen in 1943. He enlisted in the US Army Air Corps and following the end of World War II, he went to California to continue his acting career, invariably portraying foreign characters who speak English with a strong accent. He played the part of Russian composer Anton Rubinstein in a Disneyland anthology episode of the life of Russian composer Peter Tchaikovsky. In 1953 he played a Syrian guide named ‘Abidor’ in the 20th Century Fox’s biblical epic “The Robe.” In 1960 he appeared in the West German comedy film “Pension Scholler” and the following year he was prominently featured in Billy Wilder’s film “One, Two, Three,” with James Cagney. In 1965 he acquired the part of ‘General Albert Hans Burkhalter’ on “Hogan’s Heroes,’ who was always threatening to send the incompetent POW camp commandant ‘Colonel Wilhelm Klink’ (played by Werner Klemperer), to the Russian Front. His television appearances include “Adventures of Superman,” “Daniel Boone,” “Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers,” “Happy Days,” and “Three’s Company.” Between 1977 and 1979 he appeared in Steve Allen’s PBS series,” Meeting of Minds,” portraying Martin Luther and Karl Marx. In 1982 he had a brief appearance as a Moscow Anchorman in the film “Airplane II: The Sequel.” His other film credits include “Road to Bali” (1952), “Desert Legion” (1953), “Valley of the Kings” (1954), “Spy Chasers” (1955), “The Last Blitzkrieg” (1955), “John Goldfarb, Please Come Home” (1965), “What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?” (1966), “The Perils of Pauline” (1967), “The Maltese Bippy” (1969), and “Frighmare” (1983). In 1994 he returned to his native Vienna to live, and performed cabaret and appeared in various productions with the Volksoper Opera Company. He died at the age of 97. During his life he won many awards, including the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art (1988), the Silver Medal for Service to the City of Vienna (1994), the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art, 1st class (2001), and the Gold Medal of Honor for Services to the city of Vienna (2002). A bust in his honor is located at Turkenschanzpark in Vienna, Austria. (bio by: William Bjornstad)


  • September, 18, 1907
  • Austria


  • June, 06, 2005
  • Austria


  • Zentralfriedhof
  • Austria

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