Sigrid Valdis, best known for her role as Colonel Klink's secretary Hilda, has died. She died October 14 of lung cancer. Because her family wanted to ensure a private funeral, her death was just announced this week.
Born Patricia Olson on September 21, 1935, Valdis joined the cast of the hit comedy series Hogan's Heroes in the second season. She replaced Cynthia Lynn, who played Helga. Her character was given a new name, Hilda. She was the secretary to Stalag 13's bumbling kommandant, Colonel Klink, and the frequent love interest of Colonel Hogan.
Off screen, Valdis and Crane developed a romantic relationship. They married on the series set in October, 1970. Reports vary regarding the status of their marriage at the time of Crane's murder in 1978: some claim they were in the process of divorcing; however, their son, Scotty, says that, despite a separation, they had reconciled.
Valdis quit acting after Hogan's Heroes until three years ago. According to Scotty Crane, she was also vehemently opposed to the movie Auto Focus, the 2002 movie about Bob Crane's sexual addiction, relationship with John Carpenter, and 1978 murder (for which Carpenter was tried and acquitted). "There are a ton of untruths in it," she is reported to have said.
Hogan's Heroes was a very popular situation comedy set in a German prisoner of war camp during World War II. The series was initially controversial because a number of people mistakenly thought the show was set in a concentration camp, or that the show glorified the Nazis. In reality, several of the actors on the show, including John Banner (Sgt. Schultz), Werner Klemperer (Colonel Klink), Howard Caine (Major Hochstetter), and Leon Askin (General Burkhalter) were Jewish; and Robert Clarey, who played LeBeau, was a concentration camp survivor.
Sigrid Valdis was 72.
Book on Hogan's Heroes