Cabaret Through Time Fridays At McElrath Cabaret: Robert Clary–Join Us!

 

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Fridays are the day when we at the McElrath Cabaret Blog present blog posts in our Cabaret Through Time series. We present historical cabaret singers, entertainers, venues, writers, and musicians, and often include cabaret videos. We hope that you find it informative!

 

Robert Clary–Holocaust Survivor To Entertainment Star

 

Robert Clary 1953

 Robert Clary, 1953

Source:  By William Morris Agency (management) (eBay item photo front photo back) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

 

If you are of a certain age (mine and above, although I did see it in re-runs!), then you will likely remember a television show called “Hogan’s Heroes.”  It showed American GIs during World War Two in a German prisoner of war camp.  It was, surprisingly for the subject matter, a successful comedy that ran from 1965 until 1971.  One of the actors from this show is today’s subject for Cabaret Through Time, and his name is Robert Clary.

 

There are many sources of information about Robert Clary that I would recommend you look at in order to understand this entertainer’s amazing background.  The best source is his own autobiography, entitled From The Holocaust To Hogan’s Heros.  Another is Mr. Clary’s website.  Wikipedia offers an overview of the television show “Hogan’s Heros,” as well as Robert Clary.  He is also mentioned by author James Gavin in his Intimate Nights, a volume about “The Golden Age of New York Cabaret.”  He has an IMDB listing as well as a fair amount of the work, mostly from television, of Robert Clary on You Tube.

As a brief overview, Mr. Clary was Jewish and born in Paris, France in  1926.  He started singing professionally at age 12, but he and his family were deported by the Nazis in 1942, and he ended up at several concentration camps before being liberated in 1945.  After the war, he continued singing in France, and eventually came to the United States to further his entertainment career in 1949.  He went on to several television shows in the 1950s, and then to Broadway roles and film appearances.  Gavin, in Intimate Nights, says that Leonard Sillman cast Clary in New Faces of 1952, along with Alice Ghostly, Eartha Kitt, and so many others that went on to fabulous entertainment careers, but just prior to that Clary was performing at, “La Vie en Rose, an East 54th Street club owned by Monte Proser, proprietor of the Copacabana” (96).

His singing led to recordings, several of which were hits not only in France but also in the United States.  His albums, all of the following of which were recorded from 1997 to 2003, include songbook albums of tunes by Dietz and Schwartz and Dorothy Fields, Harry Warren and Jule Styne, Lerner and Loesser, Cole Porter and Stephen Sondheim, Ira Gershwin and Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin and Yip Harburg, Rogers and Hart and Mercer, as well as a CD entitled “Robert Clary Sings At the Jazz Bakery In Los Angeles.”  Robert Clary has also two albums that he recorded for Epic in 1955 and  1956 that have been re-released as a single CD, containing the albums “Meet Robert Clary” and “Hooray For Love.”

I am looking forward to reading his biography soon.  In the meantime, here is a You Tube of a song for which Robert Clary is noted–”Put Your Shoes On, Lucy”:

 

 

What are your favorite songs performed by Robert Clary?  Have you a favorite Clary film or television role?  Please leave a comment below and tell us about it–I would love to hear from you!

 

 

Till next time, 

 

ps–The Cabaret Soiree Link Party will begin anew on Monday–you can visit anytime to click on the links and see what others have posted, or you can share your own recent cabaret blog or website link every Monday through Thursday.  Link is below.

 

Weekly Post Lineup At McElrath Cabaret:

Mondays:  Cabaret Soiree Cabaret Blog Link Party

Tuesdays:  Cabaret Tip Tuesday

Wednesdays:  Ask A Cabaret Question

Thursdays:  Featured Cabaret Blog, Website, Performer

Fridays:  Cabaret Through Time

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About Athena at McElrath Cabaret

Athena McElrath is an entertainer with a love for theatre and singing. She enjoys delving in the area of historical cabaret, researching the singers and clubs that were in business from before 1920 to the present, in New York and beyond.
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3 Responses to Cabaret Through Time Fridays At McElrath Cabaret: Robert Clary–Join Us!

  1. Jeanne Deau says:

    Fascinating account…I had not known any of this about Clary.

    I vaguely remember “Hogan’s Heroes”…seemed a bit offensive, given how many survivors of the “stalags” and concentration camps were still around, only 20-25 years after the war (my uncle was one of them). But, as Alan Alda said in a Woody Allen movie, “Comedy = Tragedy + Distance.” Maybe it would play a little better today.

    Curious: Clary was a contemporary and compatriot of Edith Piaf. Did they ever work together?

    • He doesn’t mention that he worked with Edith Piaf in his brief biography on his website, but perhaps I will learn more in this regard once I have opportunity to read his full-length autobiography. Good question! If I find out an answer, I will post it here.

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