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Carl Esmond, 97; Vienna Native Acted in More Than 50 Films

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Carl Esmond, 97, a versatile actor who appeared in more than 50 films in Germany and the United States over a 50-year period, died Saturday of natural causes in his Brentwood home.

Born Willy Eichberger in Vienna, he studied at the city’s State Academy of Dramatic Arts and began his acting career in Berlin with the 1933 German-language movie internationally titled “The Emperor’s Waltz.” After making 16 films that made him a matinee idol in Germany and Austria, he moved to England to act on stage in such plays as “Victoria Regina.”

Then he went to Hollywood.

Initially billed as Charles Esmond, the actor made his U.S. film debut in the 1938 version of “Dawn Patrol,” starring Errol Flynn. Esmond’s final movie was the 1985 “My Wicked, Wicked Ways: The Legend of Errol Flynn.”

Esmond also acted on television, beginning with the live theatrical anthologies of the early 1950s such as “Lux Video Theatre,” where he played Victor Lazlo in a 1955 presentation of “Casablanca.”

Esmond also had guest roles in such television series as “Soldiers of Fortune,” “77 Sunset Strip,” “Maverick,” “The Big Valley” and “McMillan and Wife.”

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