Because of his heavy generically “European” accent and Slavic-sounding surname (not an uncommon one among Czechs or Slovaks), many people assumed Oscar Homolka was Eastern European or Russian. In fact, he was born in Vienna (then Austria-Hungary), the multicultural capital of a large multi-ethnic empire at the time. It was there he began his successful stage career, which eventually led him to Hollywood. Homolka was one of the many Austrian and specifically Viennese actors (many of them Jewish) who fled Europe for the U.S. with the rise to power of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party. Although often typecast in villainous roles – Communist spies, Soviet-bloc military officers or scientists and the like – he was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of Uncle Chris in I Remember Mama (1948).
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