Leon Askin (German pronunciation: [ˈleːɔn ˈaskin]; September 18, 1907 – June 3, 2005) was an Austrian actor best known for portraying the character "General Burkhalter" on the TV situation comedy Hogan's Heroes.

Life and career

Askin was born Leon Aschkenasy into a Jewish family in Vienna, the son of Malvine (Susman) and Samuel Aschkenazy.[1]

Askin in Summer 2001

Askin emigrated to the United States in 1940[1] and, served in World War II as a Staff Sergeant in the US Army Air Forces. After the war, he went to Hollywood to begin a career in films, invariably portraying foreign characters who speak English with a strong accent. Askin appeared as the Russian composer Anton Rubinstein in a Disneyland anthology episode of the life of Peter Tchaikovsky.[2] Fans of the television series Adventures of Superman recall his portrayals of an eastern European diamond smuggler (Joseph Ferdinand) in the 1953 black-and-white episode "Superman in Exile",[3] and as a South American prime minister in a color episode. He appeared in 20th Century Fox's biblical epic The Robe in 1953 as a Syrian guide named Abidor. In 1960, he appeared in the film Pension Schöller, and the following year was prominently featured in Billy Wilder's film One, Two, Three, co-starring with James Cagney. He gained wide recognition and popularity by appearing as the stern General Albert Burkhalter in the sitcom Hogan's Heroes in the late 1960s.

Askin made guest appearances on The Monkees 1967 episode "The Card Carrying Red Shoes", as Nicolai, on Daniel Boone in its 1969 episode "Benvenuto... Who?" as Roquelinm and in the "Fiddler in the House" episode of the 1974 situation comedy Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers as a violin virtuoso. Between 1977 and 1979, he appeared in Steve Allen's PBS series, Meeting of Minds, portraying Martin Luther and Karl Marx. He portrayed a psychology professor in a season six episode of Happy Days. In 1979 he portrayed the character Mr. Hoffmeier of Hoffmeier’s Bakery, judging a pie contest in an episode in the third season of Three’s Company titled, “The Bake-Off”.

His other film credits include roles in Road to Bali (1952), Desert Legion (1953), The Veils of Bagdad (1953), Knock on Wood (1954), Secret of the Incas (1954), Son of Sinbad (1955), The Last Blitzkrieg (1959), Lulu (1962), Do Not Disturb (1965), What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? (1966), Double Trouble (1967), The Caper of the Golden Bulls (1967), The Perils of Pauline (1967), The Wicked Dreams of Paula Schultz (1968), A Fine Pair (1968), Guns for San Sebastian (1968), The Maltese Bippy (1969), Death Knocks Twice (1969), Hammersmith Is Out (1972), The World's Greatest Athlete (1973), Going Ape! (1981), and Frightmare (1983). In 1982 he had a brief appearance as a Moscow Anchorman in the film Airplane II: The Sequel.

Askin died in Vienna on June 3, 2005, at 97. His was interred at Zentralfriedhof Cemetery.

Decorations and awards

  • 1988: Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art[4]
  • 1994: Silver Medal for Service to the City of Vienna
  • 1996: Award of the title "professor"
  • 2001: Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art, 1st class[5]
  • 2002: Gold Medal of Honour for Services to the city of Vienna
  • 2003: Goldener Rathausmann of Vienna to mark the 75th anniversary
  • 2007: Naming of Leon-Askin-Platz in Vienna-Penzing
  • 2007: A bust of Leon Askin in Türkenschanzpark (Vienna)
  • 2007: Plaque unveiled at Hütteldorferstrasse 349 in Vienna-Penzing, to mark 100th anniversary of Askin's birth
  • 2009: At Sechsschimmelgasse 19 in Vienna-Alsergrund a public housing block was named after him
  • 27 May 2010: Leon-Askin-Park at Grundsteingasse in Ottakring (Vienna's 16th District) named after Askin

See also


  1. ^ a b "Leon Askin Biography (1907-)". Filmreference.com. Advameg. Retrieved 2011-07-09. 
  2. ^ Video on YouTube
  3. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0506592/?ref_=ttep_ep7
  4. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question" (pdf) (in German). p. 811. Retrieved 14 January 2013. 
  5. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question" (pdf) (in German). p. 1383. Retrieved 14 January 2013.