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Sig Ruman

Ruman as Herman Gottlieb in A Night at the Opera.
Born Siegfried Albon Rumann
October 11, 1884(1884-10-11)
Hamburg, Germany
Died February 14, 1967 (aged 82) (heart attack)
Julian, California, U.S.
Occupation actor

Sig Ruman (born Siegfried Albon Rumann) (11 October 1884 – 14 February 1967) was a German-American actor known for his comic portrayals of pompous villains.


Life and career

Born in Hamburg, he studied electrical engineering before serving with the Imperial German army during the First World War. Subsequent to his migration to the United States in 1924, his acting career blossomed. Befriending playwright George S. Kaufman and theater critic Alexander Woollcott, he enjoyed success in many Broadway productions.

After the advent of talkies, Ruman became a favorite of the Marx Brothers, appearing in A Night at the Opera, A Day at the Races, and A Night in Casablanca. His German accent and large stature kept him busy during World War II, playing sinister Nazi characters in a series of wartime thrillers. During this period, he also appeared in several films by Ernst Lubitsch, a fellow German émigré. In 1941, he played the role of Professor Herman Von Reiter in Shining Victory, an adaptation of an A. J. Cronin play.

According to Leonard Maltin in the DVD commentary for A Night at the Opera, Ruman had modified his screen name to make it a little less German-sounding, to lessen potential anti-German prejudice against him.

Despite poor health during the 1950s and 1960s, Ruman continued to find work, making many guest appearances on television, including an appearance on The Addams Family. In 1953, he played what is perhaps his most famous role — that of "Schultz", the two-faced POW camp guard in Stalag 17. He died of a heart attack on February 14, 1967 in Julian, California.

Partial filmography


External links



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