Henry Brandon (actor): German-American character actor (1912 - 1990) | Biography
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Henry Brandon (actor)
German-American character actor

Henry Brandon (actor)

Henry Brandon (actor)
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro German-American character actor
Was Actor Stage actor Film actor
From United States of America
Field Film, TV, Stage & Radio
Gender male
Birth 8 June 1912, Berlin
Death 15 February 1990, Los Angeles (aged 77 years)
The details (from wikipedia)


Henry Brandon (June 8, 1912 – February 15, 1990) was a German-American film and stage character actor with a career spanning over almost 60 years, involving more than one hundred films; he specialized in playing a wide diversity of ethnic roles.

Early life

Born Heinrich von Kleinbach in Berlin, Germany in 1912, his parents emigrated to the United States while he was still an infant. After attending Stanford University, where he was a member of the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity, he trained as a theatre actor at the Pasadena Community Playhouse and subsequently performed on Broadway, continuing to return to the stage periodically throughout his career.

Film career

He made his motion picture debut in 1932 as an uncredited spectator at the Colosseum in The Sign of the Cross. In 1934 he played the role of "Silas Barnaby", the villain in the Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy classic Babes in Toyland. In 1936, having until then been performing under his real name of Henry Kleinbach, he adopted the stage name of "Henry Brandon".

He portrayed the villainous manager of an opera company in Our Gang Follies of 1938. He played the character of "Renouf", a deserter from the French Foreign Legion, in the 1939 remake of Beau Geste. In 1940 he featured in the title role of the successful Republic serial Drums of Fu Manchu. In 1943 he played "Major Ruck", a British Secret Agent in the guise of an SS officer in Edge of Darkness. Kleinbach, standing at 6 ft 4" in height, managed to make Errol Flynn look short in the scenes in which they appeared together in Edge of Darkness in spite of Flynn's height of 6 ft 2". In 1948 he appeared as Giles de Rais in Joan of Arc.

He played a French army captain in Vera Cruz (1954). In 1955 he portrayed Nate Champion, the first casualty of the Johnson County War of Wyoming, in the television series Stories of the Century. He portrayed Jesse James in Hell's Crossroads (1957). In 1958 he portrayed "Acacius Page" in Auntie Mame. In 1959, he played the role of Gator Joe in "Woman in the River" in the ABC/Warner Brothers crime drama, Bourbon Street Beat.

On October 12, 1959 he played the role of Jason in Euripides' Medea as a part of the Play of the Week television series.

As non-European characters

Brandon often played non-European characters, especially Native Americans in Westerns. He also played the Chinese villain Fu Manchu. The successful serial Drums of Fu Manchu (1940) with Kleinbach in the title role was cancelled by its producer Republic Pictures at the express request of the State Department in 1941 after the USA's entry into the World War 2 out of concern that it was inciting anti-Chinese sentiment in the American public, which conflicted both with the interests of the Chinese-American population and the international relationship with China as an allied power in the war against Japan.

He appeared as the African tribal chieftain "M'Tara" in Tarzan and the She-Devil (1953). In 1956 he played the chief villain, a Comanche chieftain called "Scar", in John Ford's The Searchers. In 1960 he played a Native American character again as "Running Wolf" in the episode "Gold Seeker" in the television series The Rebel. He played Oriental characters in two 1961 episodes, viz. "Angel of Death", and "The Assassins", of the ABC television series Adventures in Paradise. In 1961 he played an American Indian chieftain again in John Ford's Two Rode Together.

Personal life

Kleinbach had a long relationship with the actor Mark Herron.


Kleinbach lived in West Hollywood in his final years. He died on 15 February 1990 of a heart attack at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in his 77th year in Los Angeles. His body was cremated, and its ashes were reportedly scattered at an undisclosed theatre location.

Selected filmography

  • The Sign of the Cross (1932) as Colosseum Spectator (uncredited)
  • Babes in Toyland (1934) as the evil Silas Barnaby
  • The Trail of the Lonesome Pine (1936) as Wade Falin
  • The Preview Murder Mystery (1936) as The Bat Man (uncredited)
  • Big Brown Eyes (1936) as Don Butler
  • The Garden of Allah (1936) as Hadj
  • Killer at Large (1936) as Mr. Zero
  • Black Legion (1937) as Joe Dombrowski
  • Jungle Jim (1937) as The Cobra
  • Secret Agent X-9 (1937) as Blackstone
  • I Promise to Pay (1937) as Henchman Fancyface
  • Island Captives (1937) as Dick Bannister
  • The Last Train from Madrid (1937) as Radio Announcer (uncredited)
  • West Bound Limited (1937) as Joe Forbes
  • Conquest (1937) as Staff Officer (uncredited)
  • Wells Fargo (1937) as Larry (uncredited)
  • I Met My Love Again (1938) as Bruno - the Painter (uncredited)
  • Three Comrades (1938) as Valentin - Man with Eye Patch (uncredited)
  • Spawn of the North (1938) as Davis (uncredited)
  • If I Were King (1938) as Soldier (uncredited)
  • The Last Express (1938) as Henchman Pinky
  • The Last Warning (1938) as Willie the Creep (uncredited)
  • Pirates of the Skies (1939) as Gang Pilot (uncredited)
  • Buck Rogers (1939) as Captain Laska
  • Beau Geste (1939) as Renouf - Another Deserter
  • Conspiracy (1939) as Carlson - Crewman
  • Nurse Edith Cavell (1939) as Lt. Schultz
  • The Marshal of Mesa City (1939) as Duke Allison
  • Geronimo (1939) (scenes deleted)
  • Drums of Fu Manchu (1940) as Dr. Fu Manchu
  • Half a Sinner (1940) as Handsome
  • Ski Patrol (1940) as Jan Sikorsky
  • Florian (1940) as Groom (uncredited)
  • The Ranger and the Lady (1940) as General Augustus Larue
  • Doomed to Die (1940) as Attorney Victor Martin
  • Under Texas Skies (1940) as Tom Blackton
  • Dark Streets of Cairo (1940) as Hussien
  • The Son of Monte Cristo (1940) as Lt. Schultz
  • Underground (1941) as Rolf
  • Two in a Taxi (1941) as Professor
  • The Shepherd of the Hills (1941) as Bald Knobber (uncredited)
  • Hurricane Smith (1941) as Sam Carson
  • Bad Man of Deadwood (1941) as Ted Carver
  • The Corsican Brothers (1941) as Marquis de Raveneau (uncredited)
  • Night in New Orleans (1942) as Croupier (uncredited)
  • Edge of Darkness (1943) as Maj. Ruck (uncredited)
  • Northwest Outpost (1947) as Chinese Junk Captain (uncredited)
  • Old Los Angeles (1948) as Larry Stockton
  • Canon City (1948) as Freeman
  • Hollow Triumph (1948) as Big Boy (uncredited)
  • Joan of Arc (1948) as Captain Gilles de Rais
  • The Paleface (1948) as Wapato (medicine man)
  • Wake of the Red Witch (1948) as Kurinua (uncredited)
  • The Fighting O'Flynn (1949) as Lt. Corpe
  • Tarzan's Magic Fountain (1949) as Siko
  • Cattle Drive (1951) as Jim Currie
  • The Golden Horde (1951) as Juchi, Son of Genghis Khan
  • Flame of Araby (1951) as Malik
  • Harem Girl (1952) as Hassan Ali
  • Scarlet Angel (1952) as Pierre
  • Wagons West (1952) as Clay Cook
  • Hurricane Smith (1952) as Sam
  • The War of the Worlds (1953) as Cop at Crash Site
  • Scared Stiff (1953) as Pierre
  • Pony Express (1953) as Joe Cooper
  • Raiders of the Seven Seas (1953) as Captain Goiti
  • Tarzan and the She-Devil (1953) as M'Tara, Locopo Chief
  • The Caddy (1953) as Mr. Preen
  • War Arrow (1953) as Maygro
  • Knock on Wood (1954) as Second Trenchcoat Man
  • Casanova's Big Night (1954) as Capt. Rugello
  • Vera Cruz (1954) as Capt. Danette
  • Lady Godiva of Coventry (1955) as Bejac
  • Silent Fear (1956) as Cliff Sutton
  • Comanche (1956) as Black Cloud
  • The Searchers (1956) as Chief Scar
  • Bandido (1956) as Gunther
  • The Ten Commandments (1956) as Commander of the Hosts
  • Hell's Crossroads (1957) as Jesse James
  • The Land Unknown (1957) as Dr. Carl Hunter
  • Omar Khayyam (1957) as Commander
  • The Buccaneer (1958) as British Major
  • Auntie Mame (1958) as Acacius Page
  • Okefenokee (1959) as Joe Kalhari
  • The Big Fisherman (1959) as Menicus
  • Two Rode Together (1961) as Chief Quanah Parker
  • Captain Sindbad (1963) as Colonel Kabar
  • The Ballad of Hector, The Stowaway Dog (1964, TV)
  • When the North Wind Blows (1974) as Avakum
  • Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) as Sgt. Chaney
  • Run for the Roses (1977) as Jeff
  • Mission to Glory: A True Story (1977) as Father Canion
  • Bud and Lou (1978, TV)
  • Hollywood Knight (1979) as Curley
  • Evita Peron (1981, TV) as General Ramirez
  • To Be or Not to Be (1983) as Nazi Officer
  • Wizards of the Lost Kingdom 2 (1989) as Zarz (final film role)

Selected Theatre Performances

  • Medea (play) (New York, 1949)
  • Twelfth Night (Broadway, 1949)
  • The Lady's Not For Burning (New York, 1957)
  • Arsenic and Old Lace (Florida, 1985)

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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