Actor with Aspen ties dies of stroke | AspenTimes.com

Actor with Aspen ties dies of stroke

Naomi Havlen

Kurt Kreuger

Kurt Kreuger, an Aspen second-home owner and actor in a number of 1940s war movies, died in July after suffering a stroke at the age of 89.

Aspen resident Tori Thomas was Kreuger’s neighbor and bought his condo when he sold it in 2005. She said he was an avid skier who split his time between Beverly Hills and Aspen, and retained his movie-star good looks until the end of his life.

“When I met him in 1986 he was handsome then, and he was handsome until the very end,” she said. “He was a charmer.”

Kreuger starred in more than 20 films in the 1940s, including “Paris Underground” and “Unfaithfully Yours.” His German accent frequently got him typecast as a Nazi soldier, and when he got sick of the stereotype, he made a career in real estate, one of his friends told the Los Angeles Times.

Kreuger was born in Michenberg, Germany, and raised in St. Moritz, Switzerland. His father disapproved of his quest to be an actor, but Kreuger attended the London School of Economics before transferring to Columbia University in New York City. He became a U.S. citizen in 1944, and began acting on stage before making his movie debut in “Edge of Darkness,” a war film with Errol Flynn about Nazis in Norway.

Thomas said people would frequently stop and listen to Kreuger tell stories about his life in Hollywood and the film industry.

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“I sensed some kind of hatred from neighbors after I had bought my first home in Hollywood, but for the rest of it, I was welcome everywhere,” Kreuger told the San Francisco Chronicle in 1992 about his time portraying Nazis. “I’ve never very much considered myself a German. This may well be the key to why I’ve always felt like a cosmopolitan.”

Thomas said he was adventurous up until the end of his life, and had been on an African safari in January. According to an obituary in The Washington Post, Kreuger also owned many German shepherds and schnauzers.

Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is nhavlen@aspentimes.com