By Carmel Dagan
Kim Hamilton, an African American actress who appeared onstage, in films and on television and was the wife of the late actor Werner Klemperer — Col. Klink on “Hogan’s Heroes” — at a time when mixed marriages were uncommon even in Hollywood, died of natural causes in Los Angeles on Sept. 16, four days after her 81st birthday.
Two of her early and most noted roles in a career that spanned more than six decades were as Brock Peter’s wife in “To Kill a Mockingbird” and as Harry Belafonte’s wife in “Odds Against Tomorrow.” She had most recently appeared in the 2010 film “The Beginners.”
She appeared in many other films, including “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” “Body & Soul,” “The Wild Angels” and the cult film “Leach Women.”
Her long career on television began with a role as Andy’s girlfriend on “Amos & Andy.” Other credits included “Ben Casey,” “Dr. Kildare,” “The Twilight Zone,” “Stony Burke,” “All in the Family,” “The Jeffersons,” “Sanford & Son,” “Quincy M.E.,” “Law & Order,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Private Practice.” She was the only African American to ever appear on the series “Leave It to Beaver” and she was the first black actress of color to appear on the daytime soap opera ”General Hospital”. She also appeared on “Days of Our Lives,” “Guiding Light” and “The Young and The Restless”
Onstage she played Ruth in the premiere production of Lorraine Hansberry’s “Raisin in the Sun” at the Adelphi Theater in London and appeared in many different productions in Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C., where she appeared in a production of August Wilson’s “Fences.” She appeared in a production of “The Blacks” at the Mark Taper Forum and at the Ivar Theater in Los Angeles and played Abbie in a production of “Desire Under The Elms” at Theater West.
Hamilton won an NAACP Image Award for her work in the play “Like One of the Family,” as well as a Dramalogue Award for that same Theatre West production, which starred Paul Winfield.
In 2007, Columbia University honored Hamilton with a Life Achievement Award.
Hamilton was married to actor Werner Klemperer for 24 years until his death in the year 2000. They appeared onstage together in a production of “Love Letters” in the 1990s.
Survivors include her daughter, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.