Herman Bing (March 30, 1889 – January 9, 1947) was a German-American character actor. He acted in more than 120 films and many of his parts were uncredited.

Herman Bing
Herman Bing in The Great Ziegfeld trailer.jpg
Bing in The Great Ziegfeld trailer
Born(1889-03-30)March 30, 1889
DiedJanuary 9, 1947(1947-01-09) (aged 57)
Cause of deathSuicide
Years active1921–1946
Spouse(s)Carla Lichtenstein
(m. ?–1947; his death)


Bing was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. [1]: 115  He was son of the opera singer Max Bing (1865-1919) and Frieda Seckback (1869-1939), and brother of actor Gustav Bing (1893-1967), Clara Bing (1895-1976), and Erna Bing Swarzchild. He was married to Carla Lichtenstein and had one daughter.[citation needed]

Bing began his career at the circus, at age 16, and vaudeville showing comedic talent.[2]: 25  In 1921 he made his film debut in "Ciska Barna, die Zigeunerin".

He was production chief of several films in Germany before he went to America, in 1923, with director Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau as Murnau's interpreter and assistant director. He also worked under John Ford and Frank Borzage, before establishing himself as a successful character actor well known for his wild-eyed facial expressions and thick German accent.

He provided the voice for the Ringmaster in Walt Disney's Dumbo (1941). The start of World War II in Europe caused all things German to be unpopular with audiences. His German accent was no longer in demand in the years following World War II. He became increasingly depressed in the mid-1940s, as he was unable to secure work in Hollywood, and committed suicide by gunshot in 1947.[3]



  1. ^ Ellenberger, Allan R. (2001). Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory. Jefferson, North Carolina, and London: McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 115. ISBN 978-0-7864-0983-9 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ Hischak, Thomas S. (2011). Disney Voice Actors: A Biographical Dictionary. Jefferson, North Carolina, and London: McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-7864-8694-6 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ "COMEDIAN KILLS HIMSELF; Herman Bing, of Films, Leaves Note Ascribing Act to Nerves". The New York Times Archives. January 10, 1947. Retrieved May 5, 2018.

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