Sig Ruman

Sig Ruman

Birthday: October 11, 1884
Born Place: Hamburg, Germany
Birth Name: Siegfried Carl Alban Rumann
Height: 6' (1.83 m)


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Wonderfully talented German-born actor, capable of tremendous comedic and dramatic performances, usually as some type of pompous bureaucrat or similarly arrogant individual. Ruman was born on October 11, 1884, in Hamburg, Germany, and actually studied electrotechnology in college before making the switch to acting. He served with the Imperial German Forces in World War I before coming to the United States in 1924. He became friendly with playwright George S. Kaufman and critic Alexander Woollcott and was regularly appearing in high-quality stage productions on Broadway.

With the advent of talkies, he was kept very busy in the cinema and became a favorite of the Marx Brothers, appearing as stiff-shirted NYC opera owner Herman Gottlieb in the comedy classic A Night at the Opera (1935). He played a know-it-all surgeon crossing swords with Groucho Marx over what exactly was wrong with hypochondriac Margaret Dumont in A Day at the Races (1937). and a dual role in A Night in Casablanca (1946). With his German accent, he was also a regular in several WWII espionage thrillers, including Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939), They Came to Blow Up America (1943), and The Hitler Gang (1944), and gave a superb portrayal of the two-faced POW guard Schulz in the splendid Stalag 17 (1953). He was also popular with famed director Ernst Lubitsch, who cast Ruman in Ninotchka (1939), and To Be or Not to Be (1942). In all, he notched up over 100 feature film appearances as well as guest star spots on many TV shows.

Ruman suffered ill health for the final two decades of his life and passed away on February 14, 1967, from a heart attack.

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