Leon Askin

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Leon Askin
Leon Askin as Gen Burkhalter.jpg
as "Gen. Burkhalter" on Hogan's Heroes
Born Leon Aschkenasy
(1907-09-18)September 18, 1907
Vienna, Austria
Died June 3, 2005(2005-06-03) (aged 97)
Vienna, Austria
Years active 1930s–2005
Spouse(s) Mimi (divorced), Annelies Ehrlich (divorced), Anita Askin-Wicher

Leon Askin (German pronunciation: [ˈleːɔn ˈaskin] (About this sound listen); born Leon Aschkenasy, September 18, 1907 – June 3, 2005) was an Austrian actor best known for portraying the character "General Burkhalter" on the TV situation comedy Hogan's Heroes.

Life and career[edit]

Askin was born into a Jewish family in Vienna, the son of Malvine (Susman) and Samuel Aschkenazy.[1]

Askin in Summer 2001

Askin immigrated to the United States in 1940[1] and, served in World War II as a Staff Sergeant in the US Army Air Forces. After the war, he went to Hollywood to begin a career in films, invariably portraying foreign characters who speak English with a strong accent. Askin appeared as the Russian composer Anton Rubinstein in a Disneyland anthology episode of the life of Peter Tchaikovsky.[2] Fans of the television series Adventures of Superman recall his portrayals of an eastern European diamond smuggler (Joseph Ferdinand) in the 1953 black-and-white episode "Superman in Exile",[3] and as a South American prime minister in a color episode. He appeared in 20th Century Fox's biblical epic The Robe in 1953 as a Syrian guide named Abidor. In 1960, he appeared in the film Pension Schöller, and the following year was prominently featured in Billy Wilder's film One, Two, Three, co-starring with James Cagney.

He gained wide recognition and popularity for his recurring role as the stern General Albert Burkhalter in the sitcom Hogan's Heroes appearing in 67 episodes (including the pilot) of the show’s run from 1965 to 1971. Burkhalter was the gruff and rotund German commanding officer of Colonel Klink, the bumbling commandant of a World War II prisoner-of-war camp, manipulated by the American Colonel Hogan so the prisoners would get away with their clandestine activities.

Askin made guest appearances on The Monkees 1967 episode "The Card Carrying Red Shoes", as Nicolai, on Daniel Boone in its 1969 episode "Benvenuto... Who?" as Roquelinm and in the "Fiddler in the House" episode of the 1974 situation comedy Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers as a violin virtuoso. Between 1977 and 1979, he appeared in Steve Allen's PBS series, Meeting of Minds, portraying Martin Luther and Karl Marx. He portrayed a psychology professor in a season six episode of Happy Days. In 1979 he portrayed the character Mr. Hoffmeier of Hoffmeier’s Bakery, judging a pie contest in an episode in the third season of Three’s Company titled, "The Bake-Off".

His other film credits include roles in Road to Bali (1952), Desert Legion (1953), The Veils of Bagdad (1953), Knock on Wood (1954), Secret of the Incas (1954), Valley of the Kings (1954), Son of Sinbad (1955), The Last Blitzkrieg (1959), Lulu (1962), Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace (1962), Do Not Disturb (1965), What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? (1966), Double Trouble (1967), The Caper of the Golden Bulls (1967), The Perils of Pauline (1967), The Wicked Dreams of Paula Schultz (1968), A Fine Pair (1968), Guns for San Sebastian (1968), The Maltese Bippy (1969), Death Knocks Twice (1969), Hammersmith Is Out (1972), The World's Greatest Athlete (1973), Going Ape! (1981), and Frightmare (1983). In 1982 he had a brief appearance as a Moscow Anchorman in the film Airplane II: The Sequel.

Askin died from natural causes in Vienna on June 3, 2005 at the age of 97 and is interred at Zentralfriedhof.

Decorations and awards[edit]

  • 1988: Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art[4]
  • 1994: Silver Medal for Service to the City of Vienna
  • 1996: Award of the title "professor"
  • 2001: Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art, 1st class[5]
  • 2002: Gold Medal of Honour for Services to the city of Vienna
  • 2003: Goldener Rathausmann of Vienna to mark the 75th anniversary
  • 2007: Naming of Leon-Askin-Platz in Vienna-Penzing
  • 2007: A bust of Leon Askin in Türkenschanzpark (Vienna)
  • 2007: Plaque unveiled at Hütteldorferstrasse 349 in Vienna-Penzing, to mark 100th anniversary of Askin's birth
  • 2009: At Sechsschimmelgasse 19 in Vienna-Alsergrund a public housing block was named after him
  • 27 May 2010: Leon-Askin-Park at Grundsteingasse in Ottakring (Vienna's 16th District) named after Askin

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Leon Askin Biography (1907-)". Filmreference.com. Advameg. Retrieved 2011-07-09. 
  2. ^ Video on YouTube
  3. ^ https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0506592/?ref_=ttep_ep7
  4. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question" (pdf) (in German). p. 811. Retrieved 14 January 2013. 
  5. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question" (pdf) (in German). p. 1383. Retrieved 14 January 2013. 

External links[edit]