Some sources list actor Paul Henreid's birthplace as Italy. In fact, at the time of his birth, Henreid's hometown of Trieste was still part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Of aristocratic stock, Henreid felt drawn to theatrical activities while attending college. He briefly supported himself as a translator before Max Reinhardt's assistant Otto Preminger officially discovered him and launched his stage career. Still billed under his given name of Von Hernreid, he made his film debut in a 1933 Moroccan production. Relocating to England in 1935, he was often as not cast as Teutonic villains, most memorably in the 1940 melodrama Night Train.
In 1940, Henreid became an American citizen--and, at last, a leading man. Henreid's inbred Continental sophistication struck a responsive chord with wartime audiences. He spent his finest years as an actor at Warner Bros., where he appeared as Jerry Durrance in Bette Davis' Now Voyager (1942), as too-good-to-be-true resistance leader Victor Lazslo in Casablanca (1942), and as troubled medical student Philip Carey in the 1946 remake of Of Human Bondage (1946). Henreid exhibited a great deal of vivacity in such swashbucklers as The Spanish Main (1945), Last of the Buccaneers (1950) and The Siren of Bagdad (1953); in the latter film, the actor engagingly spoofed his own screen image by repeating his lighting-two-cigarettes bit from Now Voyager with an ornate water pipe. He was also an effective villain in Hollow Triumph (1948, which he also produced) and Rope of Sand (1949).