Before he played Corporal Louis LeBeau on “Hogan’s Heroes,” Robert Clary had a different career. That career? A French musician.
According to MeTV.com, Clary was announced as a new singer with Capitol Records during 1950. He rose to popularity outside of the United States thanks to his humorous takes on American music. The label described his talents in a press release shared at the time. He was described as a “sensation.”
“Physically he is best described as another Mickey Rooney because of his slight stature and bounding personality,” the press release also said.
The label also started to share Clary’s music with the world. Songs of his that were released in the early 1950s included “Alouette,” “Cecila,” and “Put on an Old Pair of Shoes.”
It was during 1955 that Capitol Records released Clary’s first album. It was titled “Meet Robert Clary.” It included Clary singing in both French and English. Among the list of tracks on the album was a song from the beloved film “The Wizard of Oz.”
Even while he was making a name for himself in the music business, Robert Clary was also making appearances on television. These early appearances took place on “variety shows.”
“The Colgate Comedy Hour” and “The Ed Wynn Show” were among the shows Clary was seen on. The Frenchmen also performed on the Broadway stage during the 1950s.
It wasn’t until 1965 that Robert Clary joined the cast of “Hogan’s Heroes” as Corporal Louis LeBeau. He appeared on 167 episodes of the show, according to IMDb.com. The popular comedy aired from 1965 until 1971. And, as fans will know, it follows the antics of prisoner of war camp in Germany during World War II.
‘Hogan’s Heroes’ Actor Was Imprisoned in Concentration Camp, Lost Family Members There
The fact that Robert Clary was even alive to pursue a career in entertainment and appear on “Hogan’s Heroes” is very impressive. He was one of 12 children. Sadly, the family was torn apart during World War II.
According to MeTV.com, Clary was a Holocaust survivor. He and members of his family were held in a Nazi concentration camp. The camp where Clary was held was called Buchenwald. And, while he was able to make it through, several members of his family were not so lucky. His parents and many of his siblings perished in concentration camps.
Following the conclusion of World War II, the future “Hogan’s Heroes” cast member went to Paris. He arrived there “homeless and hungry.” Fortunately, he used his talent to lift himself up. Within a few years, he was recording songs with an orchestra supporting him.
Interestingly, according to MeTV.com, Clary wasn’t the only Holocaust survivor in the cast of “Hogan’s Heroes.” The cast of the show was reportedly “filled” with Holocaust survivors.
The Frenchman was also able to put his singing talents to use while working on the show. He sang two songs on the album, “Hogan’s Heroes Sing the Best of World War II.” The album allowed members of the show to showcase their musical talents. Clary sang both “The Last Time I Saw Paris” and “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree” on the album.
You can listen to Robert Clary sing in this video below.