Carl Esmond

Carl Esmond

Birthday: 14 June 1902, Vienna, Austria-Hungary [now Austria]
Birth Name: Willy Eichberger
Height: 180 cm
Born Willy Eichberger in Vienna, Austria, he changed his name to the ethnically nondescript Carl Esmond and went on to become a well-regarded actor both here and in Europe, a career that sustained itself for nearly 50 years. He initially studied drama in Vienna at the State Academy of Dramatic Arts and started things off with the German film Kaiser... Show more »
Born Willy Eichberger in Vienna, Austria, he changed his name to the ethnically nondescript Carl Esmond and went on to become a well-regarded actor both here and in Europe, a career that sustained itself for nearly 50 years. He initially studied drama in Vienna at the State Academy of Dramatic Arts and started things off with the German film Kaiserwalzer (1933) [The Emperor's Waltz]. He had developed into a matinée idol in both Germany and Austria with such films as Die Liebe siegt (1934) [Love Conquers] by the time he moved to London. He started treading the marquee boards there in such plays as "Victoria Regina" with a repertoire that would include everything from Shakespeare to Shaw.In the late 1930s Esmond made a strategic career move to the United States, where he briefly changed his name yet again to Charles Esmond before reverting back to Carl. He eventually became an American citizen. Over the years, the slick, mustachioed, well-groomed actor poured on the charm in a number of popular war-era films as both cultivated romancers and urbane villains, in addition to the nefarious Teutonic officers he customarily played. Making his debut with the classic The Prisoner of Zenda (1937), Esmond went on to appear opposite Errol Flynn in The Dawn Patrol (1938), Gary Cooper in both Sergeant York (1941) and The Story of Dr. Wassell (1944), Ray Milland in Ministry of Fear (1944), Susan Hayward in Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman (1947) and Gregory Peck in The World in His Arms (1952).By the 1950s Carl was a steady fixture on television drama and portrayed Victor Lazlo in a 1955 presentation of "Casablanca." A guest star of such series as "77 Sunset Strip," "Maverick," "the Big Valley" and "McMillan and Wife," his last film was the very forgettable Agent for H.A.R.M. (1966). Sporadically seen after that, he retired following his appearance in the TV mini-movie My Wicked, Wicked Ways: The Legend of Errol Flynn (1985), a biopic of his 30s co-star Errol Flynn. Long wed to literary agent Ruth Taub, who predeceased him, he died of natural causes at 102 years. Show less «