BOB CRANE Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Robert Edward Crane                                                               
Born: 13 July 1928 Waterbury, Connecticut, United States                                 
Died: 28 June 1978 Scottsdale, Arizona, United States                                   
Robert Edward Crane (July 13, 1928 – June 28, 1978) was an American disc jockey       
and Emmy award-nominated actor, best known for his performance as Colonel Robert         
E. Hogan in the television sitcom Hogan's Heroes from 1965 to 1971, and for his         
violent and unsolved death.                                                             
Crane was born in Waterbury, Connecticut. He dropped out of high school in               
1946 and became a drummer, performing with dance bands and a symphony orchestra.         
In 1949, he married high school sweetheart Anne Terzian; they eventually had             
three children, Deborah Ann, Karen Leslie, and Robert David (known as "Bob, Jr.").       
He later divorced and remarried, producing another son, Robert Scott Crane.             
In 1950, Crane started his broadcasting career at WLEA in Hornell, New York. He         
quickly moved to WBIS in Bristol, Connecticut, followed by WICC in Bridgeport,           
Connecticut. This was a 500-watt operation where he remained until 1956, when           
the CBS radio network plucked Crane out to help stop his huge popularity from           
affecting their own station's ratings. Crane moved his family to California to           
host the morning show at KNX AM radio in Hollywood. He filled the broadcast with         
sly wit, drumming, and guests such Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, and Bob Hope.         
It quickly became the number-one rated morning show in the LA area, with Crane           
known as "The King of the Los Angeles Airwaves."                                         
Crane's acting ambitions led to his subbing for Johnny Carson on the daytime             
game show Who Do You Trust? and appearances on The Twilight Zone, Alfred                 
Hitchcock Presents, and General Electric Theater. When Carl Reiner appeared on           
his show, Crane persuaded him to book him for a guest shot on The Dick Van Dyke         
Show, where he was noticed by Donna Reed, who suggested him for the role of             
neighbor Dr. Dave Kelsey in her eponymous sitcom from 1963 through 1965.                 
In 1965, Crane was offered the starring role in a television comedy pilot about         
a German P.O.W. camp. Hogan's Heroes became a hit and finished in the Top Ten in         
its first year on the air. The series lasted six seasons, and Crane was                 
nominated for an Emmy Award twice, in 1966 and 1967. During its run, he met             
Patricia Olsen who played Hilda under the stage name Sigrid Valdis. He divorced         
his wife of twenty years and married Olsen on the set of the show in 1970. They         
had a son, Scotty (Robert Scott), and adopted a daughter named Ana Marie.               
Crane's drumming ability can be seen in the sixth season episode, "Look at the           
Pretty Snowflakes," where he has an extended drum solo during the prisoners'             
performance of the jazz standard "Cherokee".                                             
Following the cancellation of Hogan's Heroes in 1971, Crane continued to act,           
appearing in two Disney films and a number of TV shows, including Police Woman,         
Quincy, M.E., and The Love Boat. A second series of his own, 1975's The Bob             
Crane Show, was cancelled by NBC after three months.                                     
During the run of Hogan's Heroes, sitcom costar Richard Dawson introduced Crane         
to John Henry Carpenter, an electronics expert who sold VCRs. Carpenter is               
alleged to have turned Crane onto a life of sex and pornographic movies made by         
the two. Although Crane's family contests this version of the story, it is a             
fact that Crane made home videotapes of numerous sexual orgies, using video             
technology supplied by Carpenter, with Carpenter often participating in the             
orgies. Crane is known to have made pornographic films as early as 1956.                 
On a late night in 1978, Crane allegedly called Carpenter to tell him that their         
friendship was over. The following day, Crane was discovered violently                   
bludgeoned to death with a weapon that was never found (but was believed to be a         
camera tripod) at the Winfield Place Apartments in Scottsdale, Arizona. Crane           
had been appearing in Scottsdale in a production of a play titled Beginner's             
Luck at the Windmill Dinner Theatre.                                                     
According to an episode of A&E's Cold Case Files, police officers who arrived at         
the scene of the crime noted that Carpenter called the apartment several times           
and didn't seem surprised that the police were there. This immediately raised           
suspicion, and the car Carpenter had rented the previous day was impounded by           
the police. In it several blood smears were found that matched Crane's blood             
type. At that time DNA testing didn't exist to confirm if it was Crane's or not.         
Due to a lack of sufficient evidence, the district attorney declined to file             
charges and the case went cold.                                                         
In 1992, fourteen years after the murder, the case was reopened. An attempt to           
test the blood found in the car Carpenter rented failed to produce any result           
due to improper preservation of the evidence. The detective in charge instead           
hoped a picture of what appeared to be a piece of subcutaneous tissue found in           
the rental car (which had been lost since the original investigation) would             
incriminate Carpenter. He was arrested and indicted. During Carpenter's trial in         
1994, the prosecution showed a videotape of Crane and Carpenter engaging in sex         
with the same woman to demonstrate their close relationship. However, Carpenter         
was acquitted on a lack of convincing evidence. Both the murder and the motive           
remain officially unsolved. Carpenter maintained his innocence until his death           
on September 4, 1998.