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Multiple Years / John Banner
Here's a face that fans of 1960s TV can't forget: John Banner who played the bumbling and thoroughly lovable Sgt. Hans Schultz on Hogan's Heroes from 1965 to 1971. Apart from his steady role on Hogan's Heroes, the Austrian-born Banner made over 70 other television appearances between 1950 and 1972, including roles on Mister Ed, The Lucy Show, Perry Mason, The Partridge Family, The Untouchables, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. In a 1954 episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Banner and Werner Klemperer--who would later be cast as Colonel Klink in Hogan's Heroes--both had roles. Banner, a Jew, was on tour with an acting troupe in Switzerland when the Nazis occupied Austria in 1938. Banner opted to emigrate to the United States and continue his acting career there. By the 1960s, the once lean Banner's weight had increased to 280 pounds. This helped gain him the part of the kindly inept German POW camp guard in Hogan's Heroes. The gentle Banner was loved not only by the viewers, but by the show's other cast members too. Banner defended his character, telling TV Guide in 1967: 'Schultz is not a Nazi. I see Schultz as the representative of some kind of goodness in any generation.' After Hogan's Heroes was cancelled in 1971, Banner starred as the inept gangster Uncle Latzi in the short-lived television sitcom, The Chicago Teddy Bears. His last acting appearance was in the March 7, 1972 episode of The Partridge Family. He then retired to his native Vienna. There he died suddenly of an aneurysm on his 63rd birthday on January 28, 1973.