John Banner

John Banner
John Banner in 1965.jpg
Banner as Sergeant Hans Georg Schultz on Hogan's Heroes, 1965.
Johann Banner

(1910-01-28)28 January 1910

Died 28 January 1973(1973-01-28) (aged 63)

Vienna, Austria
Resting place Friedhof Mauer, Vienna, Austria
Occupation Actor
Years active 1939–1972
Spouse(s) Christine[1]

John Banner (born Johann Banner, 28 January 1910 – 28 January 1973) was an Austrian-born American film and television actor. He is best known for his role as Master Sergeant Schultz in the situation comedy Hogan's Heroes (1965–1971). Schultz, constantly encountering evidence that the inmates of his stalag were planning mayhem, frequently feigned ignorance with the catchphrase, "I see nothing! I hear nothing! I know nothing!" (or, more commonly as the series went on, "I know nothing, nothing!").

Early years [ edit ]

Banner was born to Jewish parents in Stanislav, Austria-Hungary (now Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine). He studied for a law degree at the University of Vienna, but decided instead to become an actor.[2] In 1938, when he was performing with an acting troupe in Switzerland, Adolf Hitler annexed Austria to Nazi Germany. Banner emigrated to the United States, where he rapidly picked up English.

World War II [ edit ]

In 1942, he enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces, underwent basic training in Atlantic City and became a supply sergeant.[2][3] He even posed for a recruiting poster.[3] He served until 1945.[1]

According to fellow Hogan's Heroes actor Robert Clary, "John lost a lot of his family" to the Holocaust.[4]

Acting [ edit ]

Broadway [ edit ]

Banner appeared on Broadway three times — in a musical revue called From Vienna, which ran for two months in 1939; and in two comic plays, Pastoral, in which he had a leading role,[5] but which had a very brief run in November 1939; and The Big Two, which also ran briefly in January 1947.[6] Early on, before he became fluent in English, he had to learn his lines phonetically.[1]

Films [ edit ]

Banner appeared in over 40 feature films. His first credited role was a German captain in Once Upon a Honeymoon (1942), starring Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers. He played a Gestapo agent in 20th Century Fox's Chetniks! The Fighting Guerrillas (1943). His typecasting did not please him – he later learned that his family members who had remained in Vienna all perished in Nazi concentration camps[citation needed] – but it was the only work he was offered.

From the 1950s and Hogan's Heroes [ edit ]

Banner made more than 70 television appearances between 1950 and 1970, including the Lone Ranger (episode "Damsels In Distress", 1950), Sky King (premiere episode "Operation Urgent", 1952), Sheena, Queen of the Jungle ("The Renegades", 1955), Adventures of Superman ("The Man Who Made Dreams Come True", 1957), Father Knows Best ("Brief Holiday", 1957), Mister Ed, Thriller (episode "Portrait Without a Face", 1961), The Untouchables ("Takeover", 1962), My Sister Eileen, The Lucy Show, Perry Mason, The Partridge Family, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea ("Hot Line", 1964), Alias Smith and Jones, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. ("The Neptune Affair", 1964), and Hazel ("The Investor", 1965).

In the late 1950s, a still slim Banner portrayed Peter Tchaikovsky's supervisor on a Disneyland anthology series about the composer's life. This followed a scene with fellow Hogan's Heroes actor Leon Askin (General Burkhalter) as Nikolai Rubinstein. In 1953, he had a bit part in the Kirk Douglas movie The Juggler as a witness of an attack on an Israeli policeman by a disturbed concentration camp survivor.

In 1954, he had a regular role as Bavarro in the children's series Rocky Jones, Space Ranger. Two years later, he played a train conductor in the episode "Safe Conduct" of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, appearing with future co-star Werner Klemperer (Colonel Klink), who played a spy. He played Nazi villains in several later films: the German town mayor in The Young Lions (1958); Rudolf Höss in Operation Eichmann (1961); and Gregor Strasser in Hitler (1962). The year before the premiere of Hogan's Heroes, Banner portrayed a soldier in the World War II German "home guard" in 36 Hours (1964). Although it was a serious role in a war drama, Banner still displayed some of the affable nature that became the defining trait of the character he would create for television the following year. By coincidence, during the final moments of 36 Hours, John Banner's character meets up with a border guard played by Sig Ruman, who had portrayed another prisoner-of-war camp chief guard named Sergeant Schulz, in the 1953 film Stalag 17, starring William Holden.

The comedy series Hogan's Heroes, in which Banner played Sergeant Schultz, the role for which he is most often remembered, debuted on American network television in 1965. According to Banner, before he met and married his French wife Christine, he weighed 178 pounds (81 kg); he claimed her good cooking was responsible for his weight gain to 260 pounds (120 kg), which helped him land the part. Schultz is that of a bumbling, but ultimately lovable German guard at a World War II prisoner-of-war camp. The camp is used by the prisoners as a secret staging area for sabotage and intelligence-gathering. Schultz is forever becoming indebted to the prisoners, which they use for their ends. His main goal is to avoid trouble from his superiors, which often leads him to ignore the clandestine activities of the prisoners. (On those occasions he would often say his catchphrase "I hear nothing, I see nothing, I know nothing!" As the series went on this became simply "I know nothing. Nothing!!"). Banner was loved not only by the viewers, but also by the cast, as recalled by cast members on the Hogan's Heroes DVD commentary. The Jewish Banner defended his character, telling TV Guide in 1967, "Schultz is not a Nazi. I see Schultz as the representative of some kind of goodness in any generation." Banner appeared in almost every episode of the series, which ran for six years.

In 1968, Banner co-starred with Hogan's Heroes alumni Werner Klemperer, Leon Askin and Bob Crane in the Cold War comedy The Wicked Dreams of Paula Schultz, starring Elke Sommer in the title role. After Hogan's Heroes was cancelled in 1971, Banner starred as the inept gangster Uncle Latzi in a short-lived television situation comedy, The Chicago Teddy Bears. His last acting appearance was in the March 17, 1972, episode of The Partridge Family. He then retired to France with his Paris-born second wife.

Death [ edit ]

Less than one year after moving back to Europe, while visiting friends in Vienna, John Banner died on his 63rd birthday, following an abdominal hemorrhage.[1][7]

Filmography [ edit ]

Year Title Role Notes
1940 Spring Parade Cymbalist Uncredited
1941 Accent on Love Austrian Tenant Uncredited
1941 It Started with Eve Party Guest Uncredited
1941 Pacific Blackout Unknown character Uncredited
1942 Desperate Journey Conductor on Empty Troop Train Uncredited
1942 Once Upon a Honeymoon German Capt. Von Kleinoch
1942 Seven Miles from Alcatraz Fritz Weinermann
1943 Immortal Sergeant Officer Uncredited
1943 Chetniks! The Fighting Guerrillas Gestapo Agent Uncredited
1943 The Moon Is Down Lt. Prackle Uncredited
1943 Tonight We Raid Calais Kurz Uncredited
1943 They Came to Blow Up America Gestapo Agent Uncredited
1943 This Land Is Mine German Sergeant Uncredited
1943 The Fallen Sparrow Anton
1946 Tangier Ferris Wheel Operator Uncredited
1946 Rendezvous 24 Ernst Uncredited
1946 Nocturne Charles Shawn Uncredited
1947 The Beginning or the End German Laboratory Assistant Uncredited
1948 My Girl Tisa Otto
1948 To the Victor Jacques Lestrac
1948 The Argyle Secrets Winter
1950 Guilty of Treason Dr. Szandor Deste
1950 King Solomon's Mines Austin - Safari Client Uncredited
1951 Go for Broke! German Officer Uncredited
1951 The Star Said No Headwaiter at Mocambo's Uncredited
1953 The Juggler Emile Halevy
1954 Executive Suite Henri (Stork Club Maître D') Uncredited
1955 The Rains of Ranchipur Rashid Ali Khan Uncredited
1956 Never Say Goodbye Oskar, the Baker
1956 The Power and the Prize Mr. Ruloff Uncredited
1958 The Beast of Budapest Dr. Kovach
1958 The Young Lions German Town Mayor Uncredited
1958 Fräulein Ulick, German Health Dept. Uncredited
1959 The Blue Angel Principal Harter
1959 The Wonderful Country Ben Sterner
1960 The Story of Ruth King of Moab
1961 Operation Eichmann Rudolf Höss
1961 20,000 Eyes Kurt Novak
1961 One, Two, Three Krause / Haberdrasher Voice
1962 Hitler Gregor Strasser
1962 The Counterfeit Traitor Uncredited
1962 The Interns Dr. Duane
1963 The Yellow Canary Sam Skolman
1963 The Prize German Correspondent Uncredited
1964 Bedtime Story Burgermeister Uncredited
1964 Kisses for My President Vasiliovich Alexminitch Uncredited
1965 36 Hours Sgt. Ernst
1968 The Wicked Dreams of Paula Schultz Weber
1968 Star Spangled Salesman Chef Short
1970 Togetherness Hipolitas Mollnar

Television credits [ edit ]

Year Title Role Notes
1950 The Lone Ranger Von Baden Episode: "Damsels in Distress"
1954 Cavalcade of America Unknown character Episode: "Plume of Honor"
1954 The Public Defender Mr. Lambert 2 episodes
1954 Rocky Jones, Space Ranger Bovaro 6 episodes
1954 Adventures of the Falcon Coldroski Episode: "A Very Dangerous Bedfellow"
1954 The Whistler Van Loovan Episode: "Fatal Fraud"
1954–1955 Fireside Theatre Joe / Josef Novak / Amos 5 episodes
1954–1955 Captain Midnight Van Ronk / Goronov 2 episodes
1955 Schlitz Playhouse of Stars Morris Odvarka Episode: "The Cool One"
1955 Topper Ali / Henri 2 episodes
1955 Damon Runyon Theater Sgt. Heinz Episode: "The Lacework Kid"
1955 The Adventures of Ellery Queen Buehler Episode: "Night Visitors"
1955–1956 NBC Matinee Theater Unknown characters 2 episodes
1956 Sheena, Queen of the Jungle Brunner Episode: "The Renegades"
1956 Jungle Jim Wilhelm Camphausen Episode: "Wild Man of the Jungle"
1956 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Train Conductor Episode: "Safe Conduct"
1956 Private Secretary Sandor Episode: "Cat in the Hot Tin File"
1956 Screen Directors Playhouse Prefect of Police Episode: "The Dream"
1956 You Are There Nazi News Dealer Episode: "Hitler Invades Poland (September 1, 1939)"
1956 The Adventures of Hiram Holliday Count Courtebiche Episode: "Monaco Hermit Crab"
1956 Navy Log Unknown character Episode: "The Pilot"
1957 The Gray Ghost Major Von Borcke Episode: "An Eye for an Eye"
1957 Father Knows Best Artist Episode: "Brief Holiday"
1957 Conflict Unknown character Episode: "Blind Drop: Warsaw"
1957 The Gale Storm Show Hans Schlosser Episode: "Swiss Miss"
1957 The Lineup Unknown character Episode: "The Bay Meadows Case"
1957 Letter to Loretta Hans Episode: "Louise"
1957 Adventures of Superman Bronsky Episode: "The Man Who Made Dreams Come True"
1958 Studio 57 Unknown character Episode: "A Source of Irritation"
1958 Telephone Time Unknown character Episode: "War Against War"
1958 Man Without a Gun Max Brenner Episode: "Headline"
1958 Cimarron City P.B. Minscher Episode: "I, the People"
1958 The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin Baron Carlisle Episode: "Grandpappy's Love Affair"
1958 Behind Closed Doors Prosecutor Hoxa Episode: "A Cover of Art"
1959 Shotgun Slade Corneilus Episode: "Barbed Wire Keep Out"
1959 Walt Disney's Disneyland Office Supervisor Episode: "The Peter Tchaikovsky Story"
1959 The Third Man Steiner Episode: "Castle in Spain"
1960 This Is the Life Carl Brandt Episode: "Red Tape"
1960 Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond Dr. Molhaus Episode: "The Peter Hurkos Story: Part 1"
1960 Markham Police Commissioner Langres Episode: "The Cruelest Thief"
1960 My Sister Eileen Unknown character Episode: "Ruth Becomes a Waitress"
1960 The Roaring 20's Otto Bauer Episode: "The Velvet Frame"
1960 Michael Shayne Dr. Hess Episode: "The Poison Pen Club"
1960 Perry Mason A. Tobler Episode: "The Case of the Nine Dolls"
1960 Dante Baron Von Zenger Episode: "The Bavarian Barbarians"
1960 77 Sunset Strip Carl Neuman Episode: "The Antwerp Caper"
1960 The DuPont Show with June Allyson Popper Episode: "Silent Panic"
1960 Five Fingers Saphani Episode: "Final Dream"
1960–1963 The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis Chief / Dr. Otto von Schwering 2 episodes
1961 Thriller Prof. Martin Vander Hoven Episode: "Portrait Without a Face"
1962 Outlaws Wint Episode: "The Dark Sunrise of Griff Kincaid"
1962 The Untouchables Franz Koenig Episode: "Takeover"
1962 The Dick Powell Show Vandever Episode: "Safari"
1963 The Wide Country The Doctor Episode: "The Quest for Jacob Blaufus"
1963 GE True Hipp Episode: "Black Market"
1963 Theatre of Stars General Episode: "Four Kings"
1963 The Donna Reed Show Cruikshank Episode: "Moon Shot"
1963–1964 The Virginian August the Head Waiter / Gus Schultz 2 episodes
1964 Dr. Kildare Mr. Schultz Episode: "Goodbye, Mr. Jersey"
1964 The Alfred Hitchcock Hour Dutch Customs Man Episode: "Murder Case"
1964 My Three Sons Chief of Protocol Episode: "What's the Princess Really Like?"
1964 The Lucille Ball Comedy Hour Guard Special
1964 Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea Russian Chairman Episode: "Hot Line"
1964 The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Dr. Foster Episode: "The Neptune Affair"
1964 The Cara Williams Show Zinzer Episode: "Cara, Girl Genius"
1964 The Rogues Steiner / Fat Man 2 episodes
1964–1965 The Baileys of Balboa Hans 5 episodes
1965 Hazel Mr. Mueller Episode: "The Investor"
1965 Mister Ed Professor Meyerhoff Episode: "Ed the Artist"
1965 Kraft Suspense Theatre Martin Rutke Episode: "The Safe House"
1965–1971 Hogan's Heroes Sgt. Hans Georg Schultz / Wolfgang Brauner 168 episodes
1966 The Lucy Show Sgt. Schultz Episode: "Lucy and Bob Crane"
1967 The Red Skelton Show Sgt. Schultz Episode: "Freddie's Heroes"
1971 The Chicago Teddy Bears Uncle Latzi 13 episodes
1972 The Doris Day Show Bruno Episode: "The Crapshooter Who Would Be King"
1972 Alias Smith and Jones Otto Episode: "Don't Get Mad, Get Even"
1972 The Partridge Family Max Ledbetter Episode: "Who Is Max Ledbetter and Why Is He Saying All Those Terrible Things?", (final appearance)

See also [ edit ]

References [ edit ]


  1. ^ a b c d "Actor John Banner (Sgt. Schultz) dies". Long Beach Independent. February 2, 1973. p. 2. Retrieved September 12, 2014 – via open access
  2. ^ a b Charles Witbeck (April 16, 1967). "Ex-Villain John Banner Turns 'Good Guy'". Fresno Bee. p. 96. Retrieved September 12, 2014 – via open access
  3. ^ a b Erskine Johnson (October 2, 1965). "Meet John Banner, He Ate His Way to New Character". North Adams Transcript. p. 11. Retrieved September 12, 2014 – via open access
  4. ^ Susan King (March 24, 2013). "Robert Clary a survivor in life and entertainment". Los Angeles Times.
  5. ^ Arthur Pollock (November 2, 1939). "'Pastoral,' a Comedy by Victor Wolfson: Ruth Weston and John Banner Head Cast at Henry Miller's Theater". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. p. 10. Retrieved September 11, 2014 – via access Note his photo at the bottom left of the article.
  6. ^ John Banner at the Internet Broadway Database
  7. ^ "In Brief / Obit"(PDF). Broadcasting. February 5, 1973.

External links [ edit ]

What is this?