Let's take a trip back in time to the small German town of Hammelburg! The classic post wartime series Hogan's Heroes (1965-1971) takes place at the POW Camp "Stalag 13", where French, American, and British soldiers are being held captive. In an effort to indirectly support their allied troops by using the camp as a base of sorts and sabotaging the German war effort throughout the war. What seems to be a serious plot is turned into a delightful comedy show where the characters are represented in an extreme way according to their nationality.
"Sergeant Hans Georg Schultz", played by John Banner, is the second commanding officer of the "Stalag 13" POW camp. In addition to his drinking and eating, "Schultz" is very friendly with his prisoners occasionally playing games and drinking with them. He is somewhat of a clumsy soldier who sometimes has know idea what is actually going on around him.
After six years of being on the show, John Banner ended his role of "Schultz" along with the series. He was, in fact, Jewish and was therefore heavily criticized for his role as the German officer. He later regrouped with his earlier co-stars from Hogan's Heroes to star in the Cold War comedy The Wicked Dreams of Paula Schultz. After starring in a few other productions, he eventually moved to Europe with his Paris-born wife. Not even a year later, the beloved actor passed away in Vienna from an abdominal hemorrhage.
"Fräulein Helga" was a recurring character on the show performing various tasks for "Hogan" in exchange for the occasional kiss or small gift. The actress Cynthia Lynn, who played the role, was most known in the first season of the show, but later returned to other episodes in 1968 and 1971. Her last acting role was in an episode of Harry O back in 1975. Lynn eventually passed away in 2014 from Hepatitis.
"Corporal Peter Newkirk" is the portrayed as the man with all the street smarts including being a conman, lockpicker, magician, tailor, and safe cracker. He is the one who helps create disguises for the prisoners which help them escape the German camp.
After gaining television fame on the show Hogan's Heroes, Dawson moved on in a variety of games shows as well as TV shows such as The New Dick Van Dyke Show (1973-1974). He began hosting the show Match Game in 1975, but quickly changed switched to Family Feud, for which he later won a Daytime Emmy for Best Game Show Host in 1978. He continued his work in the genre until his death in 2012 at the age of 79.
Colonel Wilhelm Klink portrays the leading officer at the camp. Klink is an old Luftwaffe officer of Prussian decent who ineptly runs the Stalag 13, literally not aware that his prisoners escape regularly from his camp.
After the show ended in 1971, Werner Klemperer continued his career in both film and on Broadway. Whilst guest starring in numerous TV shows, he also appeared in the Broadway reboot of the show Caberet for which he earned a Tony Award Nomination. He final role in television was a voice acting role in the hit animated series The Simpsons once again playing the role of "Homer's" guardian angel "Colonel Klink". Werner died of cancer at the age of 80 back on December 6, 2000.
"Staff Seargant James Kinchloe" serves as the squad member responsible for electronic communications with the other Allies outside the camp. "Kinch" acts as second in command of the squad.
Ivan Dixon was one of the first African-American actors to have a supporting role in the 60's. After he left the show at the end of the 5th season, Dixon moved on to direct series and TV movies like The Waltons, The Rockford Files, The Bionic Woman, and The A-Team. He died at the age of 76 from kidney failure.
"Corperal Louis LeBeau" (Robert Clary) is the french master chef and singer of the group, often using his skills to get the gang out of sticky situations.
After the show was taken off the the air, Robert Clary kept close ties with other co-stars on the show who were actually affected by the Holocaust in real life. He continued to star in WWII related movies such as Rememberance of Love as well as popular daytime soaps such as The Young and the Restless and Days of our Lives. He is one of the only living members of the Hogan's Heroes cast and currently travels Canada and the United States speaking about the Holocaust.
"Fräulein Hilda" was also one of the girls "Hogan" could turn to for the ocasional favor when it came to information. The actress, Sigrid Valdis, went on to marry co-star Bob Crane with whom she had one child in 1971. After the murder of her husband in 1978, she went back to Seattle and eventually moved back to her childhood home in 2004. She passed away after suffering from lung cancer in 2007 at the age of 72.
"Col. Robert E. Hogan" is the leader of the rag-tag allied squad. He is mostly responsible to all of the sabotage plans during their stay in the POW camp. Hogan builds a fake friendship with the commanding officer of the camp which is how he gets a hold of secret files and information.
After Hogan's Heroes, Bob Crane was able to star in 2 Disney movies such as Superdad (1973) and Gus (1976). Shorty afterwards he guest starred in a number of shows such as Police Woman, Gibbsville, and The Love Boat. In 1978, Crane was found murdered in his apartment, beaten to death with what investigators believed to have been a tripod. An almost 40-year investigation commenced in which the killer still has not been found, even after advanced DNA testing. His life, as well as his murder, were the main topics of his movie biography Auto-Focus.