The Death of Victor Kilian

Victor Kilian
March 6, 1891 – found March 11, 1979“A great fear is coming overme.”

Kilian was born in Jersey City.  Hisfamily was in the laundry business.  If the family had it’s way, Victorwould have continued the family trade but an argument sent him reeling to NYC tobecome an actor. 

Victor Kilian began his acting career on thestage.  He became successful in vaudeville and in plays.  One play, Valley Forge, he appeared without pants.  The running joke was that hecould never find a pair that fit.  It was a hit but people kept wanting himto do “the pants routine”. 

“Imagine making a bid to fame on ano-pants basis.  Imagine being condemned never to wear pants again. They have me scared.  I go over my clothes daily in the closet to see thatno one has absconded with my trousers, thus forcing me into my terrifyingroutine.” 

Kilian went to Hollywood in 1930 and signed acontract with Columbia Pictures.  He didn’t have leading-man looks so he gratefully accepted “character” work, though I don’t knowwhat the hell that means.  Isn’t every role a “character”? 

In 1942 he lost use of an eye during amovie-shoot with John Wayne in Reap the Wild Wind.  He was one of theunlucky ones that were blacklisted in Hollywood due to McCarthyism.  He returned to the stage.

Victor was married for three years toDaisy.  Their union produced a son, Victor.  Junior, I suppose.

Trivia: Victor was a co-star in Dr. Cyclopswith Dirty Bird Dekker.

In 1976 Norman Lear called, and Kilian was castas Grandpa Larkin in the TV show Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.  Thiswas a bit before Louise Lasser was found gurgling on a jewelry store floor..  MaryHartman, Mary Hartman was very cutting edge.  I learned so much as a 14year old.  Sex surrogates, Gore Vidal, country music and blue nail polish.  Kilian was the icing on the cake. Shucking the no-pantsroutine was a lost cause.  Kilian was cast as aflasher who exposed himself to the residents of Fernwood, USA.  TheFernwood Flasher. Top left.

“I used to feel sorry for people whoworked in soap operas and I still do.  I tell you, it’s SUCH hardwork.”

One description of his building called it a”luxury” apartment.  I would not call The Lido luxury, though I’m sure it wasn’t the slum it came tobe.



What we know:  He was last seen gettinghis newspaper by neighbors on the 9th.

He was found by his son on March 11, 1979.

Victor was found slouched on his left side in front of hisrecliner which was located in front of his television.  The television wason.  He had a hearing aid in his left ear and an earplug for the TV in hisright ear.  According to one report, “He appeared to be preparing alate-night snack.”  The poor guy probably never saw it coming.  The apartmentwas ransacked.  There was no forced entry.

The Coroner noted a stab wound on his innerright elbow made by a “sharp instrument.”

 Whoever did this beat the crap out of Victor.  One of the marks left somesort of triangular shape.  The murder weapon has never been found.

 The autopsy also noted a defense injuryon hisleft middle finger.  I hope that was from Victor’s goodbye to thekiller.

His official cause of death: Cranialcerebral injuring

Multiple blunt force trauma to the head.

He was 88-years-old.

He died with his pants on.  Brown. Socks too.

There are several theories about themurder.  Some say he met someone at the bar in the Hollywood RooseveltHotel earlier in the week and that person went home with him.  It makessense that Kilian knew the person and let them enter, but he had a hearing aidAND a tv earplug in.  My guess is that he left the door to his placeunlocked.  Perhaps he did know his killer.  I doubt we’ll ever know.

Regret department.  When I first starteddoing the Dearly Departed Tour 10 years ago, one of my first customers was alovely lady who, after quite a while, mentioned that she worked for an old actorwho was murdered in Hollywood.  She confirmed it was Victor Kilian.  Imisplaced her contact information.  I screwed up any chance of asking herproper questions.  I’m a fool.

He was cremated at Grand View Cemetery and his cremains werescattered in the rose garden (I beg your pardon?) in Westwood MemorialPark.  Among is fellow scatterees is fellow thespian Edith Massey. Watch and learn.