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Obituaries

Sigrid Valdis, 72; sexy secretary on 'Hogan's Heroes' married its star

November 18, 2007|Dennis McLellan | Times Staff Writer

Sigrid Valdis, who played Col. Klink's sexy blond secretary on "Hogan's Heroes" and married the show's star, Bob Crane, has died. She was 72.

Valdis died of lung cancer Oct. 14 at her daughter Ana Sarmiento's home in Anaheim, her son, Scotty Crane, said Friday.

"One of her last wishes in her will was that the funeral have no press, so we didn't contact the press [when she died], to honor her wishes," he told The Times.

Valdis played Hilda for five seasons on "Hogan's Heroes," the 1965-71 CBS situation comedy about Allied prisoners in a World War II German POW camp. She and Crane were married on the TV show's set in 1970. Crane was found bludgeoned to death in a Scottsdale, Ariz., apartment in 1978.

Scotty Crane, a Seattle record producer, said his mother and father had been separated for a few months in 1977 "but had reconciled quite a while before he passed away."

Bob Crane's murder remains unsolved; the actor's life and death were the subject of director Paul Schrader's 2002 movie "Auto Focus," starring Greg Kinnear. The film portrayed Crane as a sex addict who videotaped his encounters.

Scotty Crane said his mother was "very against" the movie. "There are a ton of untruths in it."

Knowing that the film was going to be made, he said, "was a strain for her, and she was in and out of the hospital quite a few times" for stress-related illnesses before the film came out. About two years after the movie was released, she was diagnosed with lung cancer, he said.

Valdis was born Patricia Olson in Bakersfield on Sept. 21, 1935. She grew up in Westwood and launched a modeling career as a teenager, working as a runway and print model for Bullock's and other department stores.

After graduating from Marymount High School, she moved to Europe and then to New York City, where she continued her modeling carer and studied acting with Stella Adler.

She appeared on television series including "Kraft Mystery Theater" and "The Wild Wild West." Her film credits include "Two Tickets to Paris," "Marriage on the Rocks," "Our Man Flint" and "The Venetian Affair."

Valdis retired from acting after her son's birth in 1971, but she returned to it in 1998 when she joined the cast of his syndicated weekly sketch comedy radio show, "Shaken, Not Stirred," which originated in Seattle.

"She was in almost every single weekly episode," her son said. "She played a ton of bit parts," including the recurring role of his mom.

Valdis lived in Seattle from 1980 to 2004, when she moved back to her childhood home in Westwood.

In addition to her son and daughter from her marriage to Crane, the twice-widowed Valdis is survived by a daughter from her first marriage, Melissa Smith; and five grandchildren.

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dennis.mclellan@latimes.com

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