Leonid Kinskey

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Leonid Kinskey
Leonid Kinskey.jpg
as Sascha in Casablanca
Born(1903-04-18)18 April 1903
Died8 September 1998(1998-09-08) (aged 95)
Years active1932–1971
Spouse(s)Tina York (1983–1998; his death)
Iphigenie Castiglioni (1943–1963; her death)
Josephine Tankus (1930–1939; her death)

Leonid Kinskey (c. 1894[1]or 18 April 1903 – 8 September 1998) was a Russian-born film and television actor who enjoyed a long career. Kinskey is best known for his role as Sascha in the film Casablanca (1942).[2]

Life and career[edit]

Kinskey was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. He started his career as a mime in various imperial theatres in Russia in the mid 1910s.[3] In 1921, he fled Russia for Germany.[4] He acted on stage in Europe and South America before arriving in New York City from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in January 1924. He joined the road production of Al Jolson's musical Wonder Bar, and in 1926 he made an appearance in the silent film The Great Depression,[4] although his scenes were deleted, before making his appearance in Trouble in Paradise (1932).[2] His looks and accent helped him gain supporting roles in several movies, including the Sylvanian "agitator" in the Marx Bros. film Duck Soup (1933). He told Aljean Harmetz, author of Round Up the Usual Suspects: The Making of Casablanca, that he was cast in his best-known role, Sascha in Casablanca, because he was a drinking buddy of star Humphrey Bogart.[2] He replaced Leo Mostovoy because the latter was deemed not funny enough.[2][5]

Kinskey performed in episodes on no less than three dozen television series between the 1950s and early 1970s. His first appearances on the "small screen" were in 1954 on Passport to Danger, The Spike Jones Show, and Lux Video Theater. Later, in 1962, he portrayed a visiting Soviet dignitary (with most of his dialogue in Russian) in the episode "The Good Will Tour" on the sitcom The Real McCoys.[6] In 1965, Kinskey was also a cast member in the pilot episode of Hogan's Heroes, performing as another Soviet character, who was an allied soldier and fellow prisoner-of-war. He, however, decided not to join the cast when that series went into formal production, for he reportedly "was uncomfortable playing let's-pretend with people in Nazi garb."[7] His final roles on television were in 1971, as a professor on the series Mayberry R.F.D.; a mortician on O'Hara, U.S. Treasury; and as a deli butcher on the sitcom The Chicago Teddy Bears.[6]

Kinskey married three times, first from 1930 to 1939 to Josephine or Sonja[8] Zossia Tankus (1901[9] or 1902[10]–1939).[11] His second wife was actress Iphigenie Castiglioni (1895–1963),[12] from 1943 until her death in 1963. He then married an almost four decades younger[4] Tina York (born 1941) in 1985.[13] They remained together until 1998, when, at the age of 95, Kinskey died of complications of a stroke in Fountain Hills, Arizona.



  1. ^ Jan 1924 passenger list stating his age as 30. "Ancestry.com".
  2. ^ a b c d Lawrence Van Gelder (12 September 1998). "Leonid Kinskey, 95, Bartender in 'Casablanca'". The New York Times.
  3. ^ Interview with Kinskey. "www.JSTOR.org". JSTOR 3815321.
  4. ^ a b c Obituary. "Latimes.com".
  5. ^ Leo Mostovoy on IMDb
  6. ^ a b "Leonid Kinskey," (IMDb). Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  7. ^ "Hogan's Heroes' unceremonious finale comes from the era before TV "endgames"". Retrieved May 25, 2015.
  8. ^ Naturalisation petition. "Ancestry.com".
  9. ^ February 1924 passenger list, Age is given as 22. "Ancestry.com".
  10. ^ Naturalisation petition. "Ancestry.com".
  11. ^ Details about Josephine kinskey. "Ancestry.com".
  12. ^ Birth date of iphigenie castigloni. "Ancestry.com".
  13. ^ Date of marriage to Tina York. "Ancestry.com".

External links[edit]