Graduate, New School for Dramatic Arts (now Reinhardt Seminar), Vienna, 1927. Postgraduate, Columbia University, 1951.
Askin emigrated to the United States in 1940 and, served in World War II as a Staff Sergeant in the US Army Air Forces. After the war, went to Hollywood to begin a career in films, invariably portraying foreign characters who speak English with a strong accent. Askin appeared as the Russian composer Anton Rubinstein in a Disneyland anthology episode of the life of Peter Tchaikovsky.
Fans of the television series Adventures of Superman recall his portrayals of an eastern European diamond smuggler (Joseph Ferdinand) in the 1953 black-and-white episode "Superman in Exile", and as a South American prime minister in a color episode. He appeared in 20th Century Fox's biblical epic The Robe in 1953 as a Syrian guide named Abidor. In 1960, he appeared in the film Pension Schöller, and the following year was prominently featured in Billy Wilder's film One, Two, Three, co-starring with James Cagney.
He gained wide recognition and popularity by appearing as the stern General Albert Burkhalter in the sitcom Hogan's Heroes in the late 1960s. Askin made guest appearances on The Monkees 1967 episode "The Card Carrying Red Shoes", as Nicolai, on Daniel Boone in its 1969 episode "Benvenuto. Between 1977 and 1979, he appeared in Steve Allen's PBS series, Meeting of Minds, portraying Martin Luther and Karl Marx.
He portrayed a psychology professor in a season six episode of Happy Days. In 1979 he portrayed the character Mr. Hoffmeier of Hoffmeier’s Bakery, judging a pie contest in an episode in the third season of Three’s Company titled, “The Bake-Off”.
His other film credits include roles in Road to Bali (1952), Desert Legion (1953), The Veils of Bagdad (1953), Knock on Wood (1954), Secret of the Incas (1954), Son of Sinbad (1955), The Last Blitzkrieg (1959), Lulu (1962), Do Not Disturb (1965), What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? (1966), Double Trouble (1967), The Caper of the Golden Bulls (1967), The Perils of Pauline (1967), The Wicked Dreams of Paula Schultz (1968), A Fine Pair (1968),Guns for San Sebastian (1968), The Maltese Bippy (1969), Death Knocks Twice (1969), Hammersmith Is Out (1972), The World's Greatest Athlete (1973), Going Ape! (1981) and Frightmare (1983). In 1982 he had a brief appearance as a Moscow Anchorman in the film Airplane II: The Sequel. Askin died in Vienna on June 3, 2005, at age ninety-seven.
His interment was at Zentralfriedhof Cemetery. 1988: Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art.
With United States Army, 1942-1946. Editor in chief The Orientation Digest Air Technology Svc. Command (15 citations).
Member American Federation television and Radio Artists, American National Theatre and Academy (national board ), Actors Equity (director West Coast advising committee 1952-1955), Screen Actors Guild (director 1973), American Film Institute, Academy Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (member committee for selecting best foreign language film), Academy television Arts and Sciences, American National Theatre and Academy West (Chairman of the Board 1976-1978, president 1979-1982, president emeritus since 1983, organized and presented National Artist award to Fred Astaire, Henry Fonda, Helen Hayes, Bob Hope, Jimmy Stewart and Roger Stevens), Equity Library (honorary lifetime board directors). M C.
Married Annelies Ehrlich, April 12, 1955. 1 child, Irene Hartzell.