Paul Henreid, whose birthname was Paul Georg Julius Henreid Ritter von Wassel-Waldingau, was an Austrian actor and film director. Henreid’s most famous showing was that of anti-Nazi hero Victor Laszlo in Casablanca.
Born in Trieste, which was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Henreid was the son of an aristocratic Viennese banker. He studied theatre in Vienna and debuted on the stage under the direction of Max Reinhardt. He began his film career acting in German films in the 1930s, but left Austria in 1935 for Britain. With the start of World War II, Henreid risked deportation or internment as an enemy alien, but Conrad Veidt spoke for him and he was allowed to remain free in England. A small role in Goodbye, Mr. Chips then led him to Hollywood.
In 1942, Henreid appeared in his two most important films. In Now, Voyager, he and Bette Davis created one of the screen’s most imitated scenes, in which he lights two cigarettes and hands one to her. Henreid’s next role was as Victor Laszlo, heroic anti-Nazi leader, in Casablanca with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.
In 1946, Henreid became a citizen of the United States.