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Victor Kilian

Personal information
Birth nameVictor Arthur Kilian
Birth dateMarch 6, 1891
Place of birthJersey City, New Jersey, U.S.
Date of deathMarch 11, 1979(age 88)
Death placeHollywood, California, U.S.
SpouseDaisy Johnson (1915-1961) (her death)

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Victor Arthur Kilian (March 6, 1891 March 11, 1979) was an American actor who was blacklisted by the Hollywood movie studio bosses in the 1950s.

Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, Victor Kilian began his career in entertainment at the age of eighteen by joining a vaudeville company. In the mid 1920s he began to perform in Broadway plays and by the end of the decade had made his debut in motion pictures. For the next two decades he made a good living as a character actor in secondary or minor roles in films such as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1938). Frequently cast as a villain, while staging a fight scene with John Wayne for a 1942 film, Kilian suffered a serious injury that resulted in the loss of one eye.

He was an early resident of Free Acres, a social experimental community developed by Bolton Hall in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey.

During McCarthyism of the 1950s, Victor Kilian was blacklisted for his political beliefs but because the Actors' Equity Association refused to go along with the ban, Kilian was able to earn a living by returning to perform on stage. After Hollywood's blacklisting ended, he began doing guest roles on television series during the 1970s. He is best known for his role as Grandpa Larkin (aka The Fernwood Flasher) in the television soap opera spoof Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (1976). Kilian's wife, Daisy Johnson, to whom he had been married for 46 years, died in 1961.

In the Spring of 1979, Kilian appeared in an episode, ‘The Return of Stephanie's Father', in TV’s All in the Family, portraying a desk clerk of a seedy hotel. In the same episode fellow veteran Hollywood character actor Charles Wagenheim appeared as a ‘bum’ in the hotel’s lobby. Just weeks before the episode aired, on March 6, 1979 (coincidentally Kilian’s birthday), the 83-year-old Wagenheim was bludgeoned to death in his Hollywood apartment after he was surprised coming home from grocery shopping during an act of robbery.

By coincidence, just five days later on March 11, 1979, Victor Kilian, who lived alone just blocks from Wagenheim, was also beaten to death by burglars in his Hollywood apartment (Lido Apartments-6500 Yucca St.). He was killed just five days after his 88th birthday. On March 20, 1979, TV's All in the Family posthumously aired Wagenheim’s and Kilian’s last screen performance, in the episode, 'The Return of Stephanie's Father'.

Kilian's cremated remains were scatterred in the rose garden at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.

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