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Walter Slezak Overview:

Character actor, Walter Slezak, was born on May 3, 1902 in Vienna, Austria-Hungary [now Austria]. Slezak died at the age of 81 on Apr 21, 1983 in Flower Hill, NY .


Tubby, mustachioed Walter Slezak was an Austrian actor just as likely to play affable or menacing characters. A welcome part of any film, he was probably most memorable as the German on Hitchcock's Lifeboat. He had two bursts of intense film activity, in Germany from 1924 to 1928 and in Hollywood from 1942 to 1954, having been in America since the early 1930s. Otherwise he appeared mostly on stage. He was also a writer and humorist. He retired in 1972, but in 1983 committed suicide by shooting himself.

(Source: available at Amazon Quinlan's Illustrated Dictionary of Film Character Actors).



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Walter Slezak Quotes:

Don Juan Alvarado: Commandante, in the future, we will apply the word "beautiful" to all the ladies who have previously appeared on these premises. You will now invent a new word meaning "much more than beautiful", which will be applied exclusively to La Contessa Francesca.

Robert L. Talbot: [looking at his villa] Isn't that a new color?
Maurice Clavell: I beg your pardon?
Robert L. Talbot: I said, isn't that a new color?
Maurice Clavell: [chuckles] Houses are like women; The older they get, the more paint they need.

Emir: What a clothead! I doubt if he knows anything.
Melik: Sufficient my posturing peafowl, to addle your thick pate.
Emir: A maggot dreaming of power.
Melik: From a thousand tiny islands, all of a contour, can you select the exact isle? Where is it - East, West, North, South? As close as you think or as far as you suppose? No, you'll never find the isle of Dariabar without the benevolence of Prince Ahmed and myself.

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Walter Slezak Facts
Father-in-law of actor Brian Davies.

He was the son of Leo Slezak, operatic tenor (Aug. 18, 1873 - June 1, 1946), later a comedian in Austrian films. Leo Slezak was a famous Lohengrin, and is credited with this story: during one production of the opera "Lohengrin," when the mechanical swan that was to carry the hero across the lake malfunctioned and "floated" off too soon, he was heard to say, "What time is the next swan?". This quote became the title of Walter Slezak's autobiography.

He was married to Johanna Van Ryn, with whom he had three children, including daughter Erika Slezak, actress, born August 5, 1946. Daughter Ingrid was the first, followed by Erika and then son Leo, named after his father.

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