"I don't smoke, I don't drink. Two out of three ain't bad."
Wow. Too much information. Loads of help with this story, it's been a popular request. Thanks especially to Kevin Hassell, my right hand man at Findadeath. Much photography and information from a friend, Courtney, and Nick.
Bob Crane started out in show business as a disk jockey. He wanted to be a musician when he was younger and turned out to be a terrific drummer. His son Bob Jr. is also a musician. They say that Bob was offered the Jack Paar slot on the Tonight Show, but refused. He is best known as the star of the hit TV series, Hogan’s Heroes. He is also well known for being the victim of a brutal murder which is still unsolved, 26 years later.
On June 28, 1978, Crane had been bar hopping with a friend, John Carpenter. Carpenter and Crane had become friendly during the Heroes run, having been introduced by Hogan's Heroes costar - Survey Says: The late Dickie Dawson.
Carpenter was a video salesman, and he and Crane had a lot in common. One of Bob’s favorite pastimes was to frequent topless bars and strip clubs in search of
potential conquests, i.e.: buxom women. Not a fussy eater, he was also having an affair with actress Cynthia
Lynn who played Colonel Klink’s secretary. Later he had an affair with actress Patti
Olsen eventually leaving his wife of 21 years for her. He was in the process of divorcing Patti at the time of his death.
Update on the Winfield Apartments from Findadeath.com friend Courtney: "When Bob Crane lived there they were called the Winfield Apartments. They are now the Winfield Place Condominiums. Not really much that is condo-ish about them, if you ask me. Maybe they were a bit more posh back in the day, which wouldn't surprise me as Scottsdale at that time was not developed into the snoot-fest it is now.
His apartment is the door immediately to the right of the mailboxes (which were not there back in '78). The parking lot is one straight strip, with no room to turn around. There is a much publicized picture of his co-star in the play walking away from the apartment as escorted by police. That's the parking "lot" area she walked down. Thanks, Courtney.
Someone had entered the apartment during the night, and had crushed Crane’s skull, apparently with a (missing) camera tripod. His face was so badly beaten, he was unrecognizable. After killing Crane, the killer had tied an electric cord around his neck. Occupants in the neighboring apartments had heard nothing. Police would later remark, “It was a well planned murder.”
Crane was a light sleeper, and there was no forced entry, so it was assumed that Crane knew the killer. There was also a bottle of Scotch on the table, and Crane never touched Scotch.
Here are photographs of the murder scene.
If you are easily glitched out, don't go here.
His death certificate lists simply "Head Injury." Bob was 49.
In the meantime, Bob was taken to California, and buried in Oakwood Cemetery, in Chatsworth.
It was theorized that the person was very strong. The lack of splattered blood on the ceiling suggested a short swing of the murder weapon. Someone of less strength would have required a larger arc, and splattered blood.
The examiner also discovered flaky, white dry material around his groin, probably jizz. This led police to believe that either Crane had jerked off before bed (ahhhhhhhh. nite!), or after murdering Crane, his killer had jerked off over the body. Lovely.
A Findadeath.com friend sends us this: "His son Scott (who's mad at older half-brother "Bob Jr." [Scott says he's legally not Bob Jr. and may not be any relation to Crane] for serving as an advisor to the film Auto Focus for $20,000) preserves the integrity of his dad's image by selling T-shirts of him humping his conquests. Premium members can see Crane porn dating from the 50's to the post SuperDad stage. This is a new zenith for cashing in, though I suppose that if your inheritance was some anecdotes about Richard Dawson and seventy-eight linear feet of homemade 8 mm porn, this is your way of making lemonade. Website since removed.
Funny comment I got in my mailbox today: "If Bob Crane didn't do porn, his son Scott wouldn't be able to draw a crowd to his shit site with a crayon and construction paper!" - C
Bob Crane was exhumed and moved to Westwood Memorial Park, and left unmarked for a few years until relatively mid 2003. Weird thing, they reburied Bob with his old tombstone. He was moved by his second wife, without telling the children from the first marriage. It's very ugly, and rumor is that Bob was going to dump wife 2, go back to wife 1, and get psychiatric help for his sex addiction.
My friend also sends us this, "I noticed on the gravesite that Bob Crane's oldest son is not named. It is debated whether he is really Bob Crane's son or not as Scott took a DNA test and "Bob Jr." did not. There is bad blood between Pat Crane (Hogan's Hilda) and "Bob Jr." also about the Auto Focus movie and other things. I also included a pic from the funeral with Larry Hovis, Robert Clary, and Leon Askin. All were pallbearers except for Leon, who Pat Crane didn't like."
In June of 2003, the condo that Crane was murdered in, went up for auction on Ebay. I know the asking price was $180,000.00, but I don't know if it sold.
Crane was well off financially. He had a percentage of Hogan’s Heroes, and it was one of the most successfully syndicated series of the 1960’s. The show was produced by Bing Crosby Productions, which doesn't surprise me that much. It figures that Bing would produce a sitcom about a Nazi prison camp. I just wonder how the hell it got commissioned. Imagine the pitch meetings, trying to sell it to a network. "This is gonna be GREAT!"
I read that Bob was very generous to kids, often supporting children's organizations financially. Legend is that Alfred Hitchcock was a huge admirer of Bob, and sent him roses anonymously. Those two would probably have a hell of a coffee klatch.
One of Crane's costars, Larry Hovis, passed away in September of 2003. By all accounts a super likeable guy, and he is very much missed by his friends and fans. If you would like to learn more about him, go here.
For a very bizarre bit of TV history/trivia, go to this page and scroll down about 3/4 of the way, there is a Jello commercial with the cast of Hogan's Heroes and... Carol Channing. Stunning. TVparty.
UPDATE February 2005, from Findadeath friend Max:
A&E just did a cold cases thing on dead movie stars (watch out! they're trying to steal your gig! Some of the photos they showed were pretty gross!). Of course, being fascinated with this kind of stuff, I watched.
Bob Crane was originally from Waterbury, CT, about 10 minutes down the road from where I, your devoted servant, write this. He later moved to Stamford, CT, where he started dating his high school sweetheart that was his first wife. So when you write that there was a rumor that he planned to ditch the later model, and return to his first wife, I believe it (maybe I'm just a die-hard (!) romantic).
If you look at the second wife, the SECOND Colonel Klink secretary on Hogan's Heroes to get involved with Crane, you can see that she was a BEAST, and it HAD to be a sex addiction for him to even go NEAR her! Anyway, they had been married just a tad short of 20 years when they were divorced, and he was supposedly a devoted family man until he got hooked on video-sex.
Too bad he didn't "get clean" just a little sooner---& ditch that sleaze John Carpenter. GLAD HE'S DEAD! My money's on HIM as the wielder of the video tripod.
Thanks for the info, Max!
NEW April 2006:
I recently acquired the DVD for
"Auto Focus," the Greg Kinnear movie about Bob Crane, and one of the
DVD extras is a documentary called "Murder In Scottsdale." Don't
know if you've seen it, but it adds a few bits of info to the story, plus some
better pictures (color!) than the A&E Biography.
In the documentary during the
discussion about whether or not Patty Olson was involved in the murder, it was
brought up about the electrical cord being tied "in a bow" like a
woman would tie one, even though it's not in a bow in any of the pictures.
I think Victoria had mentioned it being tied in a bow when she found the body,
but for some reason it's un-bowed by the time the crime scene photos were
taken. Anyway, just another tidbit.
Read more about the murder HERE. Thanks to Findadeath friend Jerri for the link.