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Bob Crane's Death

Bob Crane

He started out as a wise-cracking disc jockey, who rose to fame as an actor in his role as a wise-cracking prisoner in a German POW camp in World War II. He also had a reputation of hopping from bed to bed, and ironically, died in bed. But not in a way that either he or anyone else could ever imagine.

Bob Crane was a successful morning DJ in Bridgeport, Connecticut and was lured by CBS Radio to their big West Coast station, KNX, in 1956. He became enormously popular as a morning radio star, and started to move into television.

He subbed for Johnny Carson on the "Who Do You Trust?" daytime game show. He had a guest shot on CBS's "Dick Van Dyke Show", where Donna Reed noticed him and gave him a role as a neighbor-doctor on her popular ABC-TV sitcom.

His career zoomed in 1965 when he landed the lead role in CBS-TV's "Hogan Heroes."

It ran six years and Crane was nominated for two Emmy's. But his personal life began to unravel. He divorced his wife of twenty years and married series co-star Patricia Olson, who acted under the name Sigrid Valdis

Bob Crane and Patricia Olson

After "Hogan's Heroes" was cancelled in 1971, he had some roles in minor movies and guest shots on other TV shows. He also started the dinner-theater phase of his career.

And along the way, he met and befriended John Henry Carpenter, who worked for SONY Electronics and often helped well-heeled clients with their video equipment needs. You see, Bob had this thing he liked to do: videotaping and photographing his sexual liaisons. Often, he and his buddy John would go out together looking for women. And they often succeeded! But over time, while Crane's sex addiction continued, the friendship with Carpenter deteriorated. And in June 1978, Crane was appearing in a dinner-theatre show in Scottsdale, Arizona when he was found dead in bed.

Bob Crane death photo

He was bludgeoned to death, with what investigators speculated was a camera tripod, although no weapon was ever found. Several years later, in 1992, Carpenter was arrested and charged with Crane's murder. But he was acquitted and Bob Crane's brutal killing is officially unsolved.

He's buried next to his second wife, Sigrid, who died of cancer in 2007.

Bob Crane tomb