German Actor Hardy Krüger, Who Starred in Barry Lyndon and A Bridge Too Far , Dies at 93

·2 min read
hardy kruger
hardy kruger

Christian Augustin/Getty Images

Actor Hardy Krüger, who starred in A Bridge Too Far and Barry Lyndon, has died. He was 93.

Krüger died "suddenly and unexpectedly" on Wednesday at his home in Palm Springs, California, according to a statement from his German agency obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.

His agency added, "his warmth of heart, joie de vivre and his unshakeable sense of justice will make him unforgettable," via THR.

Krüger was born in Berlin in 1928 to parents who were Nazis. The actor spoke about his upbringing in a 2016 interview saying he was "raised to love Hitler."

Krüger, who was drafted to fight in World War II for the Nazi's SS at the age of 16, said by the end of the war his mother "felt guilty" about raising him with anti-Semitic beliefs.

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"After the war she understood what went wrong and that I was given the wrong upbringing," he said. "My father was arrested by the Soviets as a party member of Hitler and died in a camp. I was never able to talk to him about the subject again."

hardy kruger
hardy kruger

United Artists/Kobal/Shutterstock Hardy Krüger in A Bridge Too Far

In the interview, which was done in German, Kruger said he broke from the Nazi party after he refused to kill a group of captured U.S. soldiers during the war. He was sentenced to death but was saved when a fellow SS officer intervened.

In 1953, Krüger starred in the German version of The Moon Is Blue before setting his sights on acting in France, England and Los Angeles.

He starred in the 1957 British war film The One That Got Away, which tells the story of the only German prisoner of war to escape from the Allies and return to Germany.

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hardy kruger
hardy kruger

alamy Hardy Krüger in Barry Lyndon

Krüger's blond hair and blue eyes landed him several parts playing German soldiers and Nazis in films like Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon opposite Ryan O'Neal, A Bridge Too Far where he shared a scene with Laurence Olivier, and The Wild Geese with Richard Burton. Despite being type-casted, he played a Vietnam veteran in the French drama Sundays and Cybèle, which won the Oscar for Best International Feature in 1962.

He continued working with roles in movies like Bachelor of Hearts and Hatari! Krüger largely retired from acting in the 1980s, turning toward publishing books (of which he has written 16).

Krüger was married three times and is survived by three children, daughters Christiane and Malaika and son, German actor Hardy Krüger Jr.