Robert Strauss (actor)
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November 8, 1913|
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Died||February 20, 1975
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Virginia Deeb (1951–60; divorced)
Audrey Bratty (1961–75; his death)
Strauss began his career as a classical actor, appearing in The Tempest and Macbeth on Broadway in 1930. He was known best as Stalag 17's Stanislas "Animal" Kasava, a role he created in the original 1951 Broadway production and reprised in the 1953 film adaptation, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He was also in the 1955 comedy film The Seven Year Itch and in the 1956 war film Attack! with Jack Palance, Eddie Albert and Lee Marvin. He also had an important supporting role in the acclaimed 1955 movie The Man with the Golden Arm, starring Frank Sinatra, Kim Novak, and Eleanor Parker.
Additional Broadway credits include Detective Story, Twentieth century, and Portofino. Following his appearance in the latter, a short-lived 1958 disaster, Strauss went on to character roles in The Bridges at Toko-Ri, Romeo Scragg in the movie version of Li'l Abner in 1959, and a number of low-budget films for producers like Albert Zugsmith.
Strauss became familiar to television viewers through his appearances in The Beverly Hillbillies, Bonanza, The Monkees, and a recurring role on Bewitched as conniving private investigator Charlie Leach, who was one of the few mortals who knew that Samantha was a witch. He also appeared on The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, The Phil Silvers Show, and Green Acres. He played a goldfish-poking bad guy who was the murder victim in the 1959 Perry Mason episode, "The Case of the Dangerous Dowager." He also played Pete Kamboly in the 1965 episode, "The Case of the Thermal Thief." His final film consisted of a solo "tour de force" performance in the experimental feature The Noah.
Strauss was a familiar voice in not a few radio dramas from the 1930s to the 1950s. His recurring roles included "Pa Wiggs" in the soap opera Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch (1936–1938) and "Lively," a miner, in the 15-minute serial Our Gal Sunday that was broadcast on CBS from 1937 to 1959.
Strauss was incapacitated during the final years of his life from the effects of a paralyzing stroke. He died from an additional stroke on February 20, 1975.
- Sailor Beware (1952)
- Jumping Jacks (1952)
- Stalag 17 (1953)
- Here Come the Girls (1953)
- Act of Love (1953)
- Money from Home (1953)
- The Atomic Kid (1954)
- The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954)
- The Seven Year Itch (1955)
- The Man with the Golden Arm (1955)
- Attack! (1956)
- I Mobster (1958)
- 4D Man (1959)
- Li'l Abner! (1959)
- Wake Me When It's Over (1960)
- The Last Time I Saw Archie (1961)
- Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962)
- The Thrill of It All (1963)
- The Wheeler Dealers (1963)
- Harlow (1965)
- The Family Jewels (1965)
- That Funny Feeling (1965)
- Frankie and Johnny (1966)
- The Noah (1975)
- Robert Strauss at the Internet Movie Database
- Robert Strauss at the Internet Broadway Database
- AllMovie.com listing
- Robert Strauss at Find a Grave