As Another Cast Member Passes, Will The Value of Hogan’s Heroes Collectibles Rise?

by Mike McLeod
Posted July 2014

“Helga” from Hogan’s Heroes passed away on March 11th of this year from organ failure after having hepatitis. She was 76. Of the show’s regular cast members, only one has not passed away—“LeBeau,” Robert Clary.1

Helga was played by Cynthia Lynn (birth name: Zinta Valda Zimilis) who was born on April 2, 1937 in Riga, Latvia. She acted in the first season of the groundbreaking series in 1965-1966, playing Colonel Klink’s secretary. She was followed by Sigrid “Hilda” Valdis for the last five seasons of the show.

Cynthia Lynn, “Helga” on Hogan’s Heroes, passed away on March 11.

Bob Crane and his future wife
Sigrid “Hilda” Valdis, in 1969.

Werner Klemperer (r.) won the Emmy Award twice for portraying the bumbling Col. Klink. Also pictured is actor Bernard Fox.

Hogan’s Heroes was the first television series to treat World War II in a humorous manner, and surprisingly, it worked. Even though it was based on the outrageous premise of prisoners of war remaining in a German concentration camp to aid the war effort, the American audience watched it and laughed each week as the prisoners outsmarted Col. Klink and Sgt. Schultz.

As silly as the premise of the show seemed, Werner “Col. Klink” Klemperer received five Emmy nominations for his role, and he won not once, but twice, for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. (His last job in 1993 before passing away in 2000 was on The Simpsons as Bart’s guardian angel, in the voice of Col. Klink, of course.2) Bob Crane received two nominations but was never awarded an Emmy.

This pristine thermos sold for $317 on eBay. (Photo: eBay seller stingerboy.)

Hogan’s Heroes Sing the Best of World War II sells for between $10 and $20. WIN THIS ALBUM! Be the first to email, and it is yours. (Employees of McElreath Publishing and their relatives are not eligible to win. Photo and album, courtesy of:

A 1967 Hogan's Heroes #7 comic book by Dell, rated NM 9.4, sold for $55.97 on eBay. (Photo: eBay seller jscomics.)

As most know, Bob Crane was murdered. On June 29, 1978, his body was found bludgeoned to death with an electrical cord wrapped around the neck. An arrest was finally made in 1992, but the suspect was found not guilty. At the time of his death, Crane was married to one of his co-stars from the show, Sigrid “Hilda” Valdis (birth name: Patricia Annette Olson). They were married on the set of Hogan’s Heroes in 1970.

The other members of Hogan’s Heroes who have passed away are: Richard Dawson on June 2, 2012 at the age of 79; Werner Klemperer on Dec. 6, 2000 at the age of 80; John “Sgt. Schultz” Banner (“I see nothing!”) at the age of 63 on Jan. 28, 1973; Larry “Sgt. Carter” Hovis, 67, on Sept. 9, 2003; and Ivan “Sgt. Kinchloe” Dixon, 67, on March 16, 2008.

In addition to Hogan’s Heroes, Cynthia Lynn also acted in many TV series: Mission Impossible, The Odd Couple, Love, American Style, Harry O, The Six Million Dollar Man, Gidget Grows Up, Dr. Kildare, Surfside 6, and others. Her autobiography, Escape To Freedom, describes her flight at the age of three with her mother and grandmother from the approaching Russian army as it invaded Latvia during World War II. On her first day on the set of Hogan’s Heroes, Cynthia became physically sick at the sight of the German uniforms.3

Collectibles abound for fans of Hogan’s Heroes. The most sought-after collectibles are the HH lunchbox and thermos. Although they sell for a variety of prices depending on condition, those that are near-mint can go for close to $300. One pristine 1966 HH thermos sold for $317 on eBay recently.

Other Hogan’s Heroes collectibles include comic books, record albums (it seems most of the cast could sing), a game, trading cards, autographed photos, notepads, videos and TV Guide covers featuring the cast.

The cast of Hogan’s Heroes were very popular, and in 1965, they even showed up in costume on a Bing Crosby Christmas special, including Col. Klink (who sings briefly) and Sgt. Schultz. For a kick, watch it on YouTube.


1 Robert Clary is 88 years old, and he was the only cast member who actually served time in Nazi concentration camps. At the age of 16, he was sent to one camp and then to Buchenwald; he survived a total of three years before being liberated. Twelve members of his family were sent to Auschwitz and did not return.




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