Richard Marner

Richard Marner
Richard Marner.jpg
Alexander Pavlovich Molchanov

(1921-03-27)27 March 1921
Died18 March 2004(2004-03-18) (aged 82)
Perth, Scotland
Years active1950–2002
Pauline Farr
(m. 1947)

Richard Marner (born Alexander Pavlovich Molchanov, Russian: Александр Павлович Молчанов, romanizedAleksandr Pavlovič Molčanov; 27 March 1921 – 18 March 2004) was a Russian-British actor. He was probably best known for his role as Colonel Kurt von Strohm in the British sitcom 'Allo 'Allo!.

Early life[]

Born in Petrograd, Russian SFSR, Molchanov (nicknamed "Sasha" by his family) was the eldest son of Colonel Pavel Molchanov, of the Semyonovsky Regiment, one of two that were set up for children of children who had played with Peter the Great of Russia.[1] In 1924, his entire family left the Soviet Union and went to Finland and then Germany, before ending up in Britain and London, where Alexander's grandmother, author Olga Novikov (known in the family as "Babushka London") lived in Harley Street.[2]

After being educated at Monmouth School in Wales, Molchanov became an assistant to the Russian tenor Vladimir Rosing, where he performed at Covent Garden.[2] During World War II he joined the RAF, and was posted to South Africa with the Air Training Corps.[1] After being invalided out, he changed his name to Richard Marner and began his long successful career as a stage and film actor.[2]


One of Marner's early stage roles – as Dracula, with Howard Dean – is still regarded by some as the definitive interpretation of the role.[3] In 1967, well before his role as the German Colonel in 'Allo 'Allo Marner played the minor and uncred role of a German sentry in the classic war film The Dirty Dozen.[4] His other films include Ice Cold in Alex, The One That Got Away, The Password Is Courage, You Only Live Twice, The Boys from Brazil, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The African Queen and the Swiss film Four in a Jeep, in which he did all the Russian dialogue.[5] He was also in the television movie Birth of the Beatles, as Bruno Koschmider.[6]

Marner's best known role was in 'Allo 'Allo! as German Commandant Colonel Kurt Von Strohm.[1] He appeared in all nine series of the programme between 1984 and 1992.[2] He also appears in an episode of Secret Army, the programme that 'Allo 'Allo parodies.[4][7]

His other work included roles in The Protectors (1973), Mackenzie (1980), Triangle (1981), Lovejoy (1994), and the film The Sum of All Fears (as the Russian president).[8][4]

Marner starred as a disgruntled father in the Gorbachev Pizza Hut commercial, starring the last leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev.

In 1991, when the President of Russia, Boris Yeltsin, convened a "Congress of Compatriots" (an olive branch to some of the post-1917 White Russian diaspora), Marner was one of the 600 people who returned to the motherland. Despite being caught up in a coup, he stayed long enough to watch, through tearful eyes, the raising of the first Imperial Russian flag flown in Moscow since 1917.[3]

Personal life[]

Marner died nine days before his 83rd birthday on 18 March 2004 in Perth, Scotland, and left a wife, actress Pauline Farr,[3] who retained Molchanoff as her off-stage name.[9] Marner was fluent in Russian, English, French and German.[1] He is survived by a daughter and three grandchildren.[9]

Selected filmography[]


  1. ^ a b c d "Obituary: Richard Marner". the Guardian. 25 March 2004.
  2. ^ a b c d "Richard Marner – Russian-born actor who played Russians in spy films and Colonel von Strohm in 'Allo 'Allo'". The Independent. 22 March 2004. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  3. ^ a b c "Obituaries – Richard Marner". The Daily Telegraph. 24 March 2004. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
  4. ^ a b c "Richard Marner".
  5. ^ "Richard Marner | Movies and Filmography". AllMovie.
  6. ^ "Birth of the Beatles (1979)". BFI.
  7. ^ "BFI Screenonline: 'Allo 'Allo (1984–92)".
  8. ^ "Richard Marner". BFI.
  9. ^ a b "MOLCHANOFF – Deaths Announcements – Telegraph Announcements".

External links[]