Biography by Gerd Gemünden
Professor of German Studies, Film and Media Studies, and Comparative Literature
(b. Trieste, Austria 1908 – d. Santa Monica, California 1992)
Born as Paul von Hernried. Actor. Paul Henreid’s acting career began in Max Reinhardt’s theater in Vienna. Refusing to join the Nazi’s actor guild in Berlin cut short his German career, but he became a celebrated stage actor in London. When resentments and regulations against Germans mounted in England, he accepted an offer from New York, yet the play for which he was hired was never produced; he thus moved to Hollywood. After roles in Night Train (1939) and Joan of Paris (1941), Now, Voyager (1942) established Henreid’s image of the “continental lover,” with his signature gesture of lighting two cigarettes to comfort a distraught Bette Davis. He is best remembered today as Victor Lazlo in Casablanca (dir. Michael Curtiz, 1942), a role which he felt made him famous for the wrong reasons. He considered equally misleading the title of his autobiography, Ladies Man, which he had originally called “Naked in Four Countries.” In 1948, Henreid was blacklisted by the Hollywood studios for joining the Committee for the First Amendment, so he turned to television. In this second career, he proved even more successful, directing more than eighty Hitchcock TV shows as well as many others. As a result of his multifaceted career, Henreid was one of very few Hollywood professionals to have been awarded not one but two stars on the Walk of Fame.