Paul Henreid

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Paul Henreid
Paul Henreid - publicity.jpg
Publicity photograph, 1940s
Paul Georg Julius Freiherr von Hernried Ritter von Wasel-Waldingau

(1908-01-10)January 10, 1908
DiedMarch 29, 1992(1992-03-29) (aged 84)
  • Actor
  • director
  • producer
  • screenwriter
Years active1933–1977
Elizabeth "Lisl" Camilla Julia Gluck
(m. 1936; his death 1992)

Paul Henreid (January 10, 1908 – March 29, 1992)[1] was an Austrian-British-American actor, director, producer, and writer. He is best remembered for two film roles; Victor Laszlo in Casablanca and Jerry Durrance in Now, Voyager, both released between 1942 and 1943.

Early life[edit]

Born Paul Georg Julius Hernried in the city of Trieste, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Italy), Henreid was the son of Maria-Luise (Lendecke) and Karl Alphons Hernried, an ennobled Viennese banker, born Carl Hirsch, who converted in 1904[citation needed] from Judaism to Catholicism, due to anti-semitism. Henreid's father died in April 1916,[2] and the family fortune had dwindled by the time he graduated from the exclusive Theresianische Akademie.[3][4]

Stage and film careers[edit]

Henreid trained for the theatre in Vienna, over his family's objections,[3] and debuted there on the stage under the direction of Max Reinhardt. He began his film career acting in German and Austrian films in the 1930s. During that period, he was strongly anti-Nazi, so much so that he was later designated an "official enemy of the Third Reich" and all his assets were seized.[4]

Career in the United Kingdom[edit]

In 1937 Henreid played Prince Albert in the stage production Victoria Regina in 1937.[3] With the outbreak of World War II, Henreid risked deportation or internment as an enemy alien, but Conrad Veidt (later Major Heinrich Strasser in Casablanca) spoke for him, and he was allowed to remain and work in British films. Veidt himself was an avowed anti-Nazi, with a Jewish wife.[5] Thanks to such support, Henreid was able to continue his work in British films. In 1939 he had a notable supporting role as Staefel in Goodbye, Mr. Chips and the next year third billing as a German espionage agent in the thriller Night Train to Munich. In 1940 he also performed in a minor role in the British musical comedy spy film Under Your Hat.

RKO, Warner Bros., and MGM[edit]

After relocating to the United States and having a successful run on Broadway in Flight to the West, Henreid was put under contract by RKO in 1941.[6] The studio changed his name from von Hernried to the simpler and less overtly Germanic Henreid. That year, Henreid became a citizen of the United States.[3] His first film for the studio was Joan of Paris, released in 1942, that became a big hit.[7]

Moving to Warner Bros. in 1942, Henreid was cast in Now, Voyager, playing the romantic lead opposite Bette Davis. His next role was as Victor Laszlo, a heroic anti-German resistance leader on the run, in Casablanca (1942) with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. Warners then tried to consolidate Henreid's new status by co-starring him with Ida Lupino in a romantic drama, In Our Time (1944) then putting him in Between Two Worlds (1944), a remake of Outward Bound. The Conspirators (1944) was an attempt to repeat the success of Casablanca with Henreid fighting Nazis in an ostensible neutral city with a supporting cast that included Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre. Henreid turned down the male lead alongside Bette Davis, in Watch on the Rhine (which went to Paul Lukas) and Mr Skeffington (which went to Claude Rains).[8]

Henreid returned briefly to RKO to play a pirate swashbuckler in the studio's 1945 release The Spanish Main. Returning to Warner Bros., he was cast the following year in Devotion, a biopic of the Brontë family in which Henreid portrays Arthur Bell Nicholls. He was next cast opposite Eleanor Parker in an adaptation of Of Human Bondage (1946). Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer then borrowed Henreid from Warners to play Robert Schumann in Song of Love (1947) opposite Katharine Hepburn. Henreid wrote in his memoirs that he bought out his Warner Bros contract for $75,000 and was offered a long term contract at MGM for $150,000 a year but turned it down.[9]

Blacklisting and brief return to European films[edit]

In his 1984 autobiography Ladies Man Henreid recounts that he was one of a group of Hollywood stars who went to Washington to protest the excesses of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, following which he was semi-blacklisted.[3] He says he was blacklisted from the major studios for five years – apart from Rope of Sand which was directed by a friend – before the blacklist was lifted and never understood why.[10]

After leaving Warner Bros., Henreid decided to turn producer, making the film noir Hollow Triumph (1948) in which he also appeared. He was a villain in a Burt Lancaster adventure film Rope of Sand (1949). In 1950 he made a low-budget film for Edward and Harry Danziger, So Young, So Bad, which was followed by an offer from Sam Katzman to play pirate Jean Lafitte in Last of the Buccaneers (1950).[11] He then went to France for Pardon My French (1951) before returning to Katzman for Thief of Damascus (1951). He directed and played the lead role in For Men Only (1952). Later, in England, he made film noirs Stolen Face (1952) and Mantrap (1953), then went back to Katzman for Siren of Bagdad (1953). In 1954, once again working for MGM, Henreid performed in a minor role in Deep in My Heart, his first "A" film in several years. He moved next to Columbia Pictures, where he appeared in Pirates of Tripoli for Katzman; and then, yet again, to MGM for a part in Meet Me in Las Vegas. He also appeared at this time on Broadway in Festival.[12]

Directing and final performances[edit]

In the early 1950s, Henreid began directing both film and television productions. His "small-screen" directorial credits include episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Maverick, Bonanza, The Virginian, and The Big Valley. He also directed on the "big screen" A Woman's Devotion (1956) in which he played a supporting role, Girls on the Loose (1958), and Live Fast, Die Young (1958). In 1964, he directed Dead Ringer, which stars Bette Davis and features in a minor role Henreid's daughter Monika.

While working as a director, Henreid continued to accept some small parts as well in Ten Thousand Bedrooms (1957), Holiday for Lovers (1959), Never So Few (1959), and Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1962). Additional film appearances include Operation Crossbow (1965), The Madwoman of Chaillot (1969), and The Failing of Raymond (1971). In 1973, prior to his last screen appearance in Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977), Henreid returned to Broadway to perform in Don Juan in Hell.

Personal life and legacy[edit]

Henreid's grave at Woodlawn Cemetery in Santa Monica

Henreid married Elizabeth Camilla Julia "Lisl" Glück (1908–1993) in 1936; the couple adopted two daughters. In 1992, at age 84, Henreid died of pneumonia in Santa Monica, California after suffering a stroke.[3] He was buried in nearby Woodlawn Cemetery.

In Los Angeles, California in 1960, to honor Henreid's significant contributions to the entertainment industry as both an actor and director, two stars were dedicated to him and installed on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. One of those stars, which recognizes his career in film, is located at 6366 Hollywood Boulevard; the other, for television, is at 1720 Vine Street.[1][5]

Complete filmography[edit]

As actor[edit]

As himself or narrator[edit]

  • Hollywood Canteen (1944) – himself
  • Peking Remembered (1967 documentary) – narrator

As producer[edit]

As director[edit]



  • Maverick "Passage to Fort Doom" (1959)
  • The Californians (1957–1959), various episodes
  • Alfred Hitchcock Presents TV series episode "The Landlady," "Cell 227," and 26 others (1957–1962)
  • The June Allyson Show (1960) episode 'The Lie'
  • The Virginian "Long Ride to Wind River" (1966)
  • The Big Valley (9 episodes)

(TV Series 1965-1968)

As writer[edit]


Radio appearances[edit]

Year Program Episode/source Notes
5/10/43 Lux Radio Theatre "Now, Voyager" w/ Ida Lupino
9/10/45 Lux Radio Theatre "Experiment Perilous" w/ Virginia Bruce
10/1/45 Lux Radio Theatre "Mr. Skeffington" w/ Bette Davis
1/3/46 Suspense "Angel of Death"[13]
3/14/46 Suspense "No More Alice"[14]


  1. ^ Also the French version Dans la vie tout s'arrange (1952).


  1. ^ a b "Paul Henreid". Los Angeles Times. April 3, 1992.
  2. ^ "Am 21 April um 2/3 5 Uhr nachmittags verschied Herr Karl Henreid leitender direktor der Deutschen Agrarbank fur Osterreich in Prag nach karzern schweren im 42 Jahre selnes arbeitsreichen sur dem Wohle meiner Famille und den Intercessen seines institutes gewidmsten Lebens" [On April 21 around 20 of 5 a.m., Mr. Karl Henreid, the chief director of the German Agricultural Bank for Austria in Prague, died after 42 years of difficult work for the well-being of his family and the interests of his employer.]. New Free Press (in German). April 25, 1916. p. 13. Retrieved April 12, 2020 – via Austrian National Library. Marie Henreid born Lendecke as wife, Paul Henreid, Robert Henreid as children...
  3. ^ a b c d e f Collins, Glenn (April 3, 1992). "Paul Henreid, Actor, Dies at 84; Resistance Hero in 'Casablanca'". The New York Times.
  4. ^ a b Folkart, Burt A. (April 3, 1992). "Paul Henreid, Who Gained Fame in 'Casablanca,' Dies". Los Angeles Times.
  5. ^ a b "Paul Henreid". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved April 12, 2020.
  6. ^ "Flight to the West". Internet Broadway Database. as "Paul Hernried" (cast not verified)
  7. ^ "Paul Henreid: Biography". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
  8. ^ Henreid, Paul; Fast, Julius (1984). Ladies man : an autobiography. St. Martin's Press. p. 166.
  9. ^ Henreid p 184-185
  10. ^ Henreid p 193
  11. ^ Schallert, Edwin (February 23, 1950). "Drama: Paul Henreid to Star as Pirate; Bel Geddes, Ball Both Stagebound". Los Angeles Times. p. A11.
  12. ^ "Festival – Broadway Play – Original". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
  13. ^ "Suspense – The Angel of Death". Escape and Suspense!. January 20, 2014.
  14. ^ Goldin, J. David (March 15, 2020). "Suspense!". Radio GOLDINdex. Archived from the original on July 20, 2018. Retrieved May 3, 2017.

External links[edit]