A former captain of the Life Hussars of the King of Saxony, William von Brincken came to America as a military attaché at the German embassy in Washington. Stranded in the U.S. after WWI, von Brincken moved to Hollywood, where he joined the so-called Elite Guard, a group of former mittel-European officers brought together for film work by director Erich Von Stroheim. As a recognized military expert, he served as a technical advisor for such films as Flesh and the Devil (1927) and All Quiet on the Western Front (1930). His film-acting career began in von Stroheim's Queen Kelly (1929); he went on to play such roles as Von Richtofen in Hell's Angels (1930), and during WWII was one of several German expatriates called upon to play Nazis. Whenever it seemed politically expedient to do so, William von Brincken acted under such Anglicized stage names as Roger Beckwith and William Vaughan.