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Leonid Kinskey

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Leonid Kinskey
Leonid Kinskey in Broadway Limited.jpg
Kinskey in Broadway Limited (1941)
St. Petersburg, Russian Empire
DiedSeptember 8, 1998
Years active1922–1971
Josephine Tankus (née Sonja Zosia Wolk)
(m. 1930; died 1939)
Iphigenie Castiglioni (née Buchmann)
(m. 1943; died 1963)
Tina York
(m. 1985)

Leonid Kinskey (1893/1894[1] – September 8, 1998) was a Russian-born American film and television actor, best known for his role as "Sascha" in the film Casablanca (1942).[2] His last name was sometimes spelled Kinsky.[3]

Life and career

Kinskey was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. He started his career as a mime in various imperial theatres in Russia in the mid-1910s.[4] In 1921, he fled Russia for Germany.[5] He acted on stage in Europe and South America before arriving in New York City from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in January 1924. He joined the road production of Al Jolson's musical Wonder Bar, and in 1926 he made an appearance in the silent film The Great Depression,[5] although his scenes were deleted, before making his appearance in Trouble in Paradise (1932).[2]

His looks and accent helped him gain supporting roles in several movies, including the Sylvanian "agitator" in the Marx Bros. film Duck Soup (1933). He told Aljean Harmetz, author of Round Up the Usual Suspects: The Making of Casablanca, that he was cast in his best-known role, Sascha in Casablanca, which he reportedly landed because he was a drinking buddy of star Humphrey Bogart.[2]

Kinskey in That Night in Rio (1941)
Kinskey in That Night in Rio (1941)

Kinskey performed in episodes on no less than three dozen television series between the 1950s and early 1970s. His first appearances on the "small screen" were in 1954 on Passport to Danger, The Spike Jones Show, and Lux Video Theater. Later, in 1962, he portrayed a visiting Soviet dignitary (with most of his dialogue in Russian) in the episode "The Good Will Tour" on the sitcom The Real McCoys.[citation needed]

In 1965, Kinskey was a cast member in the pilot episode of Hogan's Heroes, performing as another Soviet character, who was an allied soldier and fellow prisoner-of-war. He, however, decided not to join the cast when that series went into formal production, for he reportedly "was uncomfortable playing let's-pretend with people in Nazi garb."[6] His final roles on television were in 1971, as a professor on the series Mayberry R.F.D.; a mortician on O'Hara, U.S. Treasury; and as a deli butcher on the sitcom The Chicago Teddy Bears.

Personal life and death

Kinskey married three times, first to Josephine Tankus from 1930 until her death in 1939.[7][8] Four years later he married actress Iphigenie Castiglioni, a union that lasted until her death in 1963.[9] His final marriage, in 1985 in New York, was to Tina York, who was 38 years his junior.[5][10] They remained wed until 1998, when Kinskey died in Fountain Hills, Arizona from complications of a stroke.[3]




Date Title Role Notes
Feb 3rd 1962 Have Gun Will Travel Prince Boris Koslov Radachev Episode: 21, Series 5, "The Hunt"
Nov 1st 1964 My Favorite Martian Prof. Hammershlag Episode: 6, Series 2, "Extra! Extra! Sensory Perception!"
Sep 17th 1965 Hogan's Heroes Sergeant Vladimir Minsk Episode: 1, Series 1, "The Informer"
Jan 4th 1967 Batman (TV Series) Professor Overbeck Episode: 35, Series 2, "The Contaminated Cowl"
Jan 5th 1967 Batman (TV Series) Professor Overbeck Episode: 36, Series 2, "The Mad Hatter Runs Afoul"


  1. ^ "Jan 1924 passenger list stating his age as 30".
  2. ^ a b c Lawrence Van Gelder (12 September 1998). "Leonid Kinskey, 95, Bartender in 'Casablanca'". The New York Times.
  3. ^ a b Bergan, Ronald (14 September 1998). "'Why, you crazy Russian'". The Guardian. England, London. p. 15. Retrieved 9 March 2019 – via
  4. ^ Tsivian, Yuri; Kinskey, Leonid (1999). "Leonid Kinskey, the Hollywood Foreigner". Film History. 11 (2): 175–180. JSTOR 3815321.
  5. ^ a b c Oliver, Myrna (1998). "Leonid Kinskey; Actor in 'Casablanca'", obituary. Los Angeles Times, September 11, 1998. Retrieved April 24, 2019.
  6. ^ "Hogan's Heroes' unceremonious finale comes from the era before TV "endgames"". The A.V. Club. 4 April 2013. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  7. ^ "Naturalisation petition".
  8. ^ "Details about Josephine Kinskey".
  9. ^ "Details about Iphigenie Castiglioni".
  10. ^ "New York City Marriage Licenses Index, 1950-1995", Leonid Kinskey and Tina York, 1985, Manhattan, New York City Clerk's Office. FamilySearch, archives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah. Retrieved April 24, 2019.
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Leonid Kinskey
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