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Victor Kilian
AITF ep. 9x23 - Victor Killian as hotel clerk
Veteran actor Victor Kilian appeared as a hotel clerk in the episode titled "The return of Stephanie's Father" in Season 9 (#23).
Personal Information
Gender: Male
Born: (1891-03-06)March 6, 1891
Birthplace: Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.
Died: March 11, 1979(1979-03-11) (aged 88)
Deathplace: Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA, U.S.
Occupation/
Career:
Actor
Years active: 1909—1979
Spouse(s): Daisy Johnson (1915-1961) (her death)
Character/Series involvement
Series: All in the Family
Episodes appeared in: "The Return of Stephanie's Father" (Season 2)
Character played: Hotel clerk
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Victor Kilian made a guest appearance on All in the Family as a hotel clerk in the Season 9 episode "The Return of Stephanie's Father" (#23). A longtime veteran film/TV actor, Victor was featured on the Planet of the Apes television series. He appeared in the episode "The Legacy" as an elderly inhabitant of the ruined city of Oakland, CA. Victor also twice appeared on the AITF spinoff series The Jeffersons as Tom Willis's Uncle Bertram Willis in the Season 1 episode of The Jeffersons titled "Uncle Bertram" and "Jenny's Grandparents" in the show's second season.

Biography

Early Life and Career

Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, Victor Kilian began his career in entertainment at the age of eighteen by joining a vaudeville company. In the mid-1920s he began to perform in Broadway plays and by the end of the decade had made his debut in motion pictures. For the next two decades he made a good living as a character actor in secondary or minor roles in films such as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1938). He was frequently cast as a villain. While staging a fight scene with John Wayne for a 1942 film, Kilian suffered a serious injury that resulted in the loss of one eye.

He was an early resident of Free Acres, a social experimental community developed by Bolton Hall in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey.[1]

Later Career

During the McCarthyism of the 1950s, Kilian was blacklisted for his political beliefs but because the Actors' Equity Association refused to go along with the ban, Kilian was able to earn a living by returning to perform on stage. After Hollywood's blacklisting ended, he began doing guest roles on television series during the 1970s. He is best known for his role as Grandpa Larkin (aka The Fernwood Flasher) in the television soap opera spoof series Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (1976). Kilian's wife, Daisy Johnson, to whom he had been married for 46 years, died in 1961.

Victor enjoyed a lengthy, prolific career on Broadway and in dozens of films through the '30s and '40s. While shooting the John Wayne film Reap the Wild Wind (1942), he lost the use of his eye after an accident during a fighting scene. In the early 1950s, he was blacklisted for his political beliefs during the anti-Communist witchhunts (like Kim Hunter, Jeff Corey, John Randolph, John Ireland, Michael Wilson and Howard Dimsdale), and returned to the stage almost exclusively thereafter.

Death Mystery

In 1979, Kilian was murdered by burglars at his Hollywood apartment, just days after having appeared in another Bud Yorkin/Norman Lear CBS-TV sitcom, All in the Family, in the episode titled "The Return of Stephanie's Father".

Just a few days before his death, another veteran actor, Charles Waggenheim, who is, ironically, also a New Jersey native, was also murdered in his apartment, which just a few blocks away from the apartment complex in which Kilian had resided. While Waggenheim's murder was quickly solved as it was revealed by police that his maid, who was robbing his apartment, and who was caught by him after he returned from a nearby nightclub, had bludgeoned him, Kilian's murder, to this day, remains an unsolved mystery.

References

  1. Buchan, Perdita. "Utopia, NJ", New Jersey Monthly, February 7, 2008. Accessed February 27, 2011. "Free Acres had some famous residents in those heady early days: actors James Cagney and Jersey City–born Victor Kilian, writers Thorne Smith (Topper) and MacKinlay Kantor (Andersonville), and anarchist Harry Kelly, who helped found the Ferrer Modern School, centerpiece of the anarchist colony at Stelton in present-day Piscataway."

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