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|Born||Richard Anton Robert Felix
13 September 1885
|Died||December 22, 1965
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Richard Ryen (13 September 1885 – 22 December 1965) was a Hungarian born actor who was expelled from Germany by the Nazis prior to World War II.
Ryen was born Richard Anton Robert Felix in Hungary. He began working in Germany as an actor and later became a well-respected stage director at the Munich Kammerspiele (Munich Chamber Theater). His first movie was the comedy Die Verkaufte Braut (The Bartered Bride, 1932 ) followed by a bit part in Must We Get Divorced? (1933) with S. Z. Sakall. Felix made three more movies, Weiße Majestät, Peer Gynt and Das Erbe von Pretoria (all 1934) in Germany before the Nazi's expelled him.
Settles in Hollywood
Felix emigrated to Hollywood and changed his name to Ryen. Ironically in Hollywood, as was the fate for so many German actors and actresses of that time, like Conrad Veidt, he was mainly cast in Nazi roles, which kept him working during the war years.
Working for Warner Bros., his first movie was as an uncredited role as a Nazi radio station manager in the anti-Nazi movie Berlin Correspondent (1942) which starred Dana Andrews. Right after that movie, he received another small role as a German policeman in Desperate Journey starring Ronald Reagan, Errol Flynn and Raymond Massey. He appeared on screen for 15 seconds while he is checking a license plate.
Within weeks, at age 56, Ryen obtained the role which resulted in his best remembered performance, that of Colonel Heinze in Casablanca (1942), where he constantly had to tail his superior Major Heinrich Strasser (Conrad Veidt). His scenes took four week to shoot and, at $400 a week, he earned $1,600.
After Casablanca, Ryen appeared in 16 more films. His first credited film in America was The Constant Nymph (1943) with Charles Boyer and Joan Fontaine. He played the radio announcer in 20th Century Fox's Chetniks! The Fighting Guerrillas. Later in the year, Ryen played a Nazi officer in the war drama The Cross of Lorraine with Peter Lorre and Hans Twardowski. In 1944, he appeared with John Qualen in An American Romance and The Hitler Gang showing the rise of Adolf Hitler.
With the end of the World War II, German actors playing Nazis were less in demand and Ryen's appearances in films dried up by the end of the decade. He had small roles in three movies in 1945, This Love of Ours starring Claude Rains, Salome Where She Danced with Yvonne De Carlo and Paris Underground. Ryen appeared in one movie in 1946, playing a butler in Crack-Up with Pat O'Brien. His last film, another small role, was A Foreign Affair (1948) with Marlene Dietrich.
In 10 of the 19 films he made in America, including Casablanca, he was omitted from the credits. He also appeared on stage in America and after 1946 took guest roles at a theater in Basel, Switzerland, before becoming a freelance writer.
Ryen died in Los Angeles on December 22, 1965 at the age of 80.
- The Tunnel (1933)
- Peer Gynt (1934)
- Berlin Correspondent (1942)
- Casablanca (1942)
- The Cross of Lorraine (1943)