Francis Lederer was a debonair international star of stage and screen in the 1920s and '30s who later created a gallery of offbeat character roles in American films from 1933 to 1959.
Lederer's earliest films included the French movie "Maman Colibri" and the German films "The Wonderful Lie of Nina Perovna" and "Pandora's Box," considered a classic of German cinema and one of the greatest films of the silent era.
On this side of the Atlantic, Lederer achieved success as an actor on the Broadway stage, on Hollywood studio back lots and later on television screens, where he made guest appearances on "Mission: Impossible," "Ben Casey," "The Untouchables" and "It Takes a Thief," among other programs.
With his film career winding down, Lederer became active in civic affairs, having served on the boards of the Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Department and the Greek Theater and as honorary mayor of Canoga Park.
In 1957, Lederer, one of the earliest members of the Screen Actors Guild, founded the American National Academy of Performing Arts in Studio City, where he continued to teach a weekly actors' workshop. The school's walls are covered with photos of former students, including Helen Hunt, who won the 1998 Academy Award for lead actress.