Born into a musical family, his mother was Johanna Geisler, a soprano, and his father the famous conductor Otto Klemperer. A Halbjude (1/2-Jew), his family fled the Nazi regime in 1933, making their way to Los Angeles, California in the United States.
Klemperer began acting in high school, and, although an accomplished concert pianist, he enrolled in acting school in Pasadena before joining the U.S. Army to fight in World War II. While stationed in Hawaii, he joined the army's Special Services unit, spending the next few years touring the Pacific entertaining the troops. At the end of the war, he worked on Broadway and the advent of rapid growth in the television industry opened new doors to him. Most remembered as Colonel Klink in Hogan's Heroes, which ran on CBS from 1965 to 1971, Klemperer was very conscious of the fact that he was playing a German officer under the command of Nazis, and agreed only to play Klink on the condition that he would be portrayed as a fool and that he never succeeded. For his performance, Klemperer received four Emmy Award nominations for best supporting actor in each of the show's six seasons, winning in 1968 and again in 1969.
With his famous father's passing in 1973, Werner Klemperer felt confident enough to enter into a musical career as an opera baritone and a singer in Broadway musicals, earning a Tony Award nomination for his performance in Cabaret. A member of the Board of Directors of the New York Chamber Symphony, Werner Klemperer served as a narrator with many other U.S. symphony orchestras.
Klemperer reprised the role of Klink in an episode of The Simpsons in 1993 as Homer's guardian angel/spirit guide in the episode: "The Last Temptation of Homer (episode # 5.9).
Werner Klemperer passed away on December 6, 2000. His body was cremated and his ashes were scattered at sea.
Werner Klemperer Facts
|Birthday||March 22, 1920|
|Date of death||December 31, 2000 (New York, New York, USA, age 80)|
|Hogan's Heroes: The Complete Series|
|Hogan's Heroes: The Komplete Series, Kommandant's Kollection|