PASSINGS: Dr. Hans von Leden

Dr. Hans von Leden

Treated voice ailments in entertainers, attorneys, ministers and politicians

Dr. Hans von Leden, 95, an ear, nose and throat specialist who taught at UCLA and USC and treated voice disorders in singers, attorneys, teachers, politicians, pastors and other professionals, died March 5 at his home in Los Angeles, his family announced. No cause was given.

Known as a go-to doctor for entertainers stricken with laryngitis, Von Leden traveled to Las Vegas, Reno and elsewhere on short notice to relieve a singer’s or actor’s symptoms. For decades in his private practice, he treated all manner of patients whose voices had been strained or overused.

Hans Victor von Leden was born Nov. 20, 1918, in Breslau, in what is now Poland. His father was a prominent Catholic physician who fled to the United States in the late 1930s to avoid the advancing Nazis. The younger Von Leden followed and settled in Chicago with his family.


After receiving his medical degree from Chicago’s Loyola University in 1941, Von Leden focused on the fields of otolaryngology and plastic surgery while at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., then became a throat specialist in Chicago.

During his tenure as a professor at Northwestern University in the 1950s, Von Leden and a colleague gained notice for using a camera mounted on a helmet that a doctor wore while examining patients. On closed-circuit TV, medical students were able to watch the transmissions from a periscope lens pointed into the body cavity.

In 1961, Von Leden and his wife, Mary Louise, moved to Los Angeles, where he took a teaching position at the UCLA Medical School and opened his practice. In 1966, he moved across town to become a professor at USC; he retired from the university in 1985. He also served for a time as president of the Los Angeles County Medical Assn.

Times staff reports