Henry Brandon (actor)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Henry Brandon
Henry Brandon.jpg
'Babes in Toyland' & 'Beau Geste'
Heinrich von Kleinbach

(1912-06-08)June 8, 1912
Berlin, Germany
Died February 15, 1990(1990-02-15) (aged 77)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Nationality American
Other names Harry Brandon
Harry Kleinbach
Henry Kleinbach
Heinrich von Kleinbach
Alma mater Stanford University
Occupation Actor
Years active 1932–1989
Dolores Brandon (m. 1941–1946)
Children Henry Brandon Jr.

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

Early life

Born 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,[1] 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. At age 22 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. In 1965, he played the Russian spy Derrick in the two-part "Coldfinger" episode on the TV sitcom Mister Ed. The same year, he played the Shug chief in the pilot episode of F Troop.

Personal life

Kleinbach married in 1941, the marriage being divorced with one son in 1946.[2] He subsequently had a long relationship with the actor Mark Herron.[3]


Kleinbach lived in West Hollywood in his final years. He died on 15 February 1990 at age 77 of a heart attack at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. His body was cremated, and its ashes were reportedly scattered at an undisclosed theatre location.[4][5]

Selected filmography

Selected Theatre Performances



  1. ^ Photograph of Kleinbach 1929/30, Stanford University Library, Photo ID:15352. http://insight.stanford.edu/luna/servlet/detail/stanford~4~1~18160~116875?qvq=w4s:/what/Kleinbach, Henry;lc:Stanford~11~1,Stanford~6~1,Stanford~3~1,Stanford~4~1&mi=0&trs=2
  2. ^ 'Henry Brandon: King of the Bogeymen', by Bill Cassara & Richard Greene (Pub. BearManor Media, 2018).
  3. ^ Lynn Kear, James King, Evelyn Brent: The Life and Films of Hollywood's Lady Crook, McFarland, 2009, p.224
  4. ^ Obituary for 'Henry Brandon', New York Times, 22 February 1990. https://www.nytimes.com/1990/02/22/obituaries/henry-brandon-77-stage-and-film-actor.html
  5. ^ Entry for Henry Brandon, Resting Places: The Burial Sites of more than 14,000 Famous Persons, by S. Wilson (Pub. McFarland, 2016).


  • Theatre appearances taken from a New York Times obituary, February 22, 1990.
  • Other information compiled from Classic Move Hub and IMDb

Further reading

  • Cassara, B. & Greene, R., "Henry Brandon: King of the Bogeymen" (Pub. BearManor Media, 2018).
  • Scapperotti, Dan. "Memories of Fu Manchu". Starlog (Jan 1987), 60-64. Article about Brandon's movie career.

External links

Retrieved from "https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Henry_Brandon_(actor)&oldid=889671691"
This content was retrieved from Wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Brandon_(actor)
This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article "Henry Brandon (actor)"; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA