John van Dreelen

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John van Dreelen in 1964

John van Dreelen (5 May 1922, Amsterdam – 4 September 1992, Cap d'Agde) was a Dutch-born American-based actor, who frequently performed on television from the 1960s through the 1980s. He was born as Jacques van Drielen Gimberg and until 1950 his stage name was Jack Gimberg, at which time he changed it to John van Dreelen.

The son of Dutch actor and director Louis Gimberg, van Dreelen was fluent in several languages, he escaped the Emslandlager labor camp near Papenburg by disguising himself as one of the German officers he would later play so often on both big and small screens. Though he appeared in many European films, van Dreelen is best remembered as an A-list guest star in dozens of American television shows from the early sixties to the mid-1980s-such as 12 O'Clock High, The Twilight Zone ("The Jeopardy Room"), The Man from UNCLE, and Mission: Impossible (TV Series). In 1964 he played a movie producer (and murderer) in the Perry Mason (TV series) episode, "The Case of the Bountiful Beauty." In 1965 he was again cast as the murderer in the episode, "The Case of the Feather Cloak."

In 1962, he played the part of Ulrich in the episode "The Immigrants" on CBS's Rawhide.

Never a major player in American theatrical films, he nonetheless scored a few choice roles, including the Danish concert pianist who rescues and woos Lana Turner during an extended sequence in Madame X (1966). Van Dreelen also enjoyed an international stage career and starred in a Dutch staging of My Fair Lady as well as the original American touring production of The Sound of Music. (According to the actor, Richard Rodgers wanted van Dreelen and Audrey Hepburn to play the film's leads.)

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