John Banner - Rotten Tomatoes

John Banner



Actor John Banner was forced out of his native Austria in 1938 when Hitler marched in. Though most familiar to filmgoers and TV viewers as a man of considerable heft, he was a trim 180 pounds when, while touring with an acting troupe in Switzerland, he found he couldn't return to Austria because he was Jewish. Banner came to America as a refugee; though unable to speak a word of English, he was almost immediately hired as emcee for a musical revue, From Vienna, for which he had to learn all his lines phonetically. Picking up the language rapidly, Banner was cast in several films of the 1940s, starting with Pacific Blackout. Because of his accent and Teutonic features, he most often played Nazi spies -- a grim task, in that Banner's entire family in Austria was wiped out in the concentration camps. Tipping the scales at 280 pounds in the 1950s, Banner worked steadily as a character man in films and on television; he can be seen as a variety of foreign-official types on such vintage TV series as The Adventures of Superman and Rocky Jones, Space Ranger. In 1965, Banner was cast as Sgt. Schultz in the long-running wartime sitcom Hogan's Heroes. A far cry from the villainous Nazis he'd played in the 1940s, Schultz was a pixieish, lovable blimp of a man who'd rather have been working as a toymaker than spending the war guarding American POWS, and who, to protect his own skin, overlooked the irregularities occurring in Stalag 13 (which as every TV fan knows was Colonel Hogan's secret headquarters for American counterespionage) by bellowing "I know nothing! I see nothing! Nothing!" John Banner enjoyed playing Schultz, but bristled whenever accused of portraying a cuddly Nazi: "I see Schultz as the representative of some kind of goodness in every generation," the actor told TV Guide in 1967. As to the paradox of an Austrian Jew playing a representative of Hitler's Germany, Banner replied, "Who can play Nazis better than us Jews?" Or who could play them funnier than John Banner?

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet The Argyle Secrets
  • Actor
2014
No Score Yet 36 Hours
  • Ernst
1965
No Score Yet The Prize
  • German correspondent
1963
No Score Yet The Interns
  • Dr. Duane
1962
No Score Yet Hitler
  • Gregor Strasser
1962
No Score Yet Operation Eichmann
  • Rudolf Hess
1961
No Score Yet The Story of Ruth
  • King of Moab
1960
No Score Yet The Blue Angel
  • Principal Harter
1959
No Score Yet The Wonderful Country
  • Ben Turner
1959
83% The Young Lions
  • Burgermeister
1958
No Score Yet Never Say Goodbye
  • Oskar
1956
No Score Yet The Rains of Ranchipur
  • Ranchid
1955
100% Executive Suite
  • Enrique, Stork Club Waiter Captain
1954
No Score Yet The Juggler
  • Emile Halevy
1953
No Score Yet Callaway Went Thataway
  • Headwaiter
1951
92% King Solomon's Mines
  • Austin
1950
No Score Yet Guilty of Treason
  • Sandor Deste
1950
No Score Yet My Girl Tisa
  • Otto
1948
No Score Yet Nocturne
  • Shawn
1946
71% This Land Is Mine
  • German Sergeant
1943
No Score Yet Tonight We Raid Calais
  • Kurz
1943
No Score Yet The Moon Is Down
  • Lt. Prackle
1943
No Score Yet Immortal Sergeant
  • German Officer
1943
No Score Yet They Came to Blow Up America
  • Gestapo
1943
No Score Yet Seven Miles from Alcatraz
  • Fritz Weinermann
1943
No Score Yet The Fallen Sparrow
  • Anton
1943
No Score Yet Once Upon a Honeymoon
  • Kleinoch
1942

Quotes from John Banner's Characters

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