Actor Robert Clary died on November 16 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 96. While the actor is best known for his role as Corporal Louis LeBeau on “Hogan’s Heroes,” he also appeared on The Bold and the Beautiful, Days of our Lives, General Hospital, and The Young and the Restless.
Robert Clary — Brooke and Eric’s Guardian Angel
Clary joined B&B in 1990, playing an integral role in the show’s newest romance. Brooke Logan (Katherine Kelly Lang) went to visit her parents after becoming pregnant with Eric Forrester’s (John McCook) child. There, she was befriended by Pierre Jourdan (Clary), owner of Pierre Cafe. Brooke confided in Pierre that she was going to terminate her pregnancy. Pierre snooped through Brooke’s room and found Donna Logan’s phone number back in California. After Pierre contacted Donna, she let Eric know where Brooke was. He got to Paris before Brooke had the procedure. A grateful Eric relocated Pierre to Beverly Hills, where he opened his own restaurant.
Born Robert Max Widerman in Paris on March 1, 1926, Clary was the youngest of 14 children. He began singing and performing when he was 12. At the age of 16, he was sent to Ottmuth and eventually to Buchenwald while 12 members of his family were taken to Auschwitz. Incarcerated for 31 months, Clary was forced to work in a factory where he made 4,000 wooden shoe heels daily. His left arm was tattooed with an identification number. Clary was the only member of his family to survive World War II.
Robert Clary — West and East
He returned to France in 1945, where he sang in dance halls. Next, Clary moved to Los Angeles, where he recorded a record for Capitol Records. In 1950, he appeared on a CBS variety show that Ed Wynn, a vaudevillian, hosted. Movie roles in Ten Tall Men and Thief of Damascus followed. Clary met Eddie Cantor, a comedian, actor, dancer, singer, songwriter, film producer, and writer, who brought him to New York, where he appeared in the Broadway musical revue “New Faces” in 1952. He also appeared in the musical “Seventh Heaven” along with Gloria DeHaven (Bess Shelby, Ryan’s Hope), Ricardo Montalban (Fantasy Island), and Bea Arthur (Maude, Golden Girls).
Clary was an original cast member of Y&R, appearing in the show’s first episode. His character, Pierre Roulland, owned Pierre’s, a Genoa City eatery where Sally McGuire (Lee Crawford) worked as a waitress. Pierre stepped up and married Sally to give her son with Snapper Foster (David Hasselhoff) a name and a father. Sadly, Pierre was killed before Sally’s son Chuckie was born.
Clary’s DAYS and GH Turns
In 1972, Clary played singer Robert LeClair on DAYS; he performed at Doug’s Place alongside Doug Williams (Bill Hayes). Hope’s nanny, Rebecca North (Brooke Bundy), became pregnant with Doug’s son “Dougie,” whom Robert adopted. In 1986, Clary reprised Robert to sing at Blondie’s; he was reunited with his brother Eli Jacobs (S. Marc Jordan), Robin Jacobs’s (Derya Ruggles) father. Clary didn’t leave GH off his resume; he played the part of “French Man” on the ABC soap opera in 1985.
In addition to his acting career, Clary worked with the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. He spoke at colleges and universities across the country for over two decades. A painter, Clary was preceded in death by his wife, Natalie Cantor, the daughter of Eddie Cantor. She died in 1997. In 2007, Clary released his autobiography, “From the Holocaust to Hogan’s Heroes: The Autobiography of Robert Clary.”
Soap Hub sends condolences to Clary’s family and loved ones at this difficult time.