Mostly Credited As: Bob Crane (1)
Birth Name: Robert Edward Crane
Date Of Birth: July 13, 1928 (Age 49)
Country Of Birth: USA
Birth Place: Waterbury, Connecticut
Date Of Death: June 29, 1978
Cause Of Death: Homicide (Scottsdale, Arizona)
Height: 5' 10" (1.77 m)
Bob Crane was born Robert Edward Crane, in Waterbury, Connecticut, July 13th 1928. In 1942, at the age of 14, Bob began drumming for the Connecticut Symphony Orchestra. He was dismissed a year later because he was not considered "serious enough." Shortly thereafter, Bob began a radio career which eventually took him west to Los Angeles, and landed him in the morning drive slot at CBS powerhouse KNX, where he became known as "The King of the Los Angeles Airwaves." His show was not only wildly successful, it was revolutionary. Bob filled the broadcast booth with wry wit and charisma, not to mention drums, chimpanzees, and movie stars. His show was the number-one-rated morning show in Los Angeles, and Hollywood's biggest stars were regular guests on his show; Marilyn Monroe, Ronald Reagan, Jayne Mansfield, Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Hope, and Frank Sinatra, to name only a handful.
It was during his reign as "King of the L.A. Airwaves" that Crane captured the attention of CBS television executives. He began making guest appearances on The Dick Van Dyke Show, among others. Soon he landed himself a regular role on The Donna Reed Show as "Doctor David Kelsey." However, Crane's character was dropped after two seasons because executives decided the flirtatious Kelsey, was "too suggestive." Then, in 1965 Crane was offered the starring role in a highly controversial television pilot about Allied prisoners in a German P.O.W. camp. The pilot made a splash and Hogan's Heroes went on to become one of the most successful sitcoms of all time. In 1966 and 1967, Bob was nominated for two Emmy awards - this would be the peak of his career. In 1971, after a six-year run, CBS inexplicably canceled Hogan's Heroes when management decided to take the entire network in a different direction.
In the years following the cancellation of Hogan's Heroes, Bob stayed busy with various film and television appearances, including two Disney films, Superdad and Gus. Bob also remained a regular guest on the talk show circuit, as well as a guest host for Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. In 1975 NBC gave Bob another shot at prime time with The Bob Crane Show. However, the show was not a critical success, and it was canceled after only thirteen episodes. For the next several years Bob showed his wares on the dinner theater circuit, acting and directing in Beginner's Luck, among other productions. It was during a 1978 run of Beginner's Luck that Bob Crane was brutally murdered in a Scottsdale hotel room.
His murder remains unsolved and one of Hollywood's biggest mysteries.