Eberhard Hoffman in this film is a composite character of three separate people. This was in order to consolidate and simplify the use of too many supporting cast members in the movie. This is according to one of the writers of the screenplay, Darryl Wimberly. The author of the book, Pilgrim Aflame, Myron Augsburger, confirmed this when he told me that he knew of no such person historically, and that the Hoffman in the film was one of the very few semi-fictional characters used in the movie. That being said, there was an actual Eberhard Hoffman who was appointed by Count Joachim von Zollern to assist with the trial proceedings against Michael Sattler. He was City Clerk of Ensisheim, a town close to Rottenburg. This is where the trial was eventually held after the change of venue from Binsdorf where there was too much public support of the Radicals. One of the other individuals who made up the Eberhard Hoffman character for the movie was a prelate, or bishop, in the Catholic Church where Michael Sattler was a monk. Little is known of him, other than that, in general, the Catholic clergy members were harsh opponents of the Reformation and anyone else who bucked their authority or power. It is widely believed that any prelate would have formed an unfavorable opinion of any monk who left the church, especially if they then joined the Anabaptists.The third individual that comprises Hoffman, is partly that of Archduke Ferdinand. Some of his words, as well as some of the words of the actual Eberhard Hoffman, are lines said by the character Eberhard Hoffman in the movie during the torture and trial scenes as taken from the actual recorded transcripts. Ferdinand is the person that arrested Michael Sattler and over a dozen other Anabaptists and put them in prison to await trial. Count Joachim von Zollern was a regent of Ferdinand’s, who was known as a militant Catholic, and was his selection to head up the trail against Michael and the other Radical believers. It is said that Ferdinand wanted Michael Sattler drowned immediately without trial as his third baptism, but Count von Zollern insisted that there be at least some semblance of justice.While it was Ferdinand that spied on the Radicals and arrested them instead of Hoffmann as depicted in the film, it was Hoffman who played a large role in the trial of Michael Sattler, often twisting the context of his words. Hoffman was selected to assist Count von Zollern with the trial when two Catholic law students from the Catholic University of Tubingen in the area refused to participate in the trial as requested by Count von Zollern. They knew the outcome was supposed to be the death sentence, and this would then disqualify them from the priesthood. Hoffman and the City Secretary of Neuenburg, Jodokus Gundersheim, were then the ones selected to act as attorneys.According to trial transcripts, the real Eberhard Hoffman was just as harsh in his treatment of Michael Sattler as the composite character in the movie portrayed by Mark Lenard. He also participated in Michael’s torture and death after his sentence was passed down.
Mark Lenard 1924 - 1996While Mark Lenard is no doubt most famous for his role as Spock’s father Sarek in the Star Trekfeatures, he had a long a varied career.Mark worked in the theater, soaps, television episodics, and films -- having never planned on being an actor, he got talked into it by friends in the theater. He had several recurring roles such as in Here Come the Brides and Planet of the Apes series.He often appeared in several television episodics more than once, but as different characters! He appeared in several Hawaii5-0 and Mission Impossible episodes as different characters. Mark is remembered and loved by his family and friends for his devotion to his family and his craft, and was the consummate professional. You can find great stories and a tribute to Mark in the Tributethat was done for the 20th anniversary of The Radicals. Rest in eternal peace, Mr. Leonard.
Mark wanted to be a paratrooper during WWII, but got a late start at it. He did some jumping for post-war air shows.Mark originally intended on becoming a writer, and started work on an autobiography. His daughter, Catherine, is working at completing his manuscript.Mark is one of the few actors to portray three different Star Trek characters: a Romulan, a Klingon and a Vulcan. Mark had his hair dyed and needed heavy make-up to play Spock’s father in Star Trek as he was not much older than Leonard Nimoy.Mark attended all but the last of the major Star Trek conventions -- his illness forced him to cancel. After cancer surgery, he developed pneumonia and died on the day Star Trek: First Contactopened at the theaters.