Born July 13, 1928 in Waterbury, Connecticut. Bludgeoned to death with a camera tripod on June 29, 1978 in Scottsdale, Arizona by an unknown assailant.
Crane is best known as the lead actor of Hogan's Heroes, a popular 1960s television series about Allied soldiers in Stalag 13, a Nazi POW camp. Before that, he worked in radio in Los Angeles and Connecticut.
He divorced Anne Terzian, his wife of 21 years and mother of his two daughters, in 1970, a year before Hogan's Heroes ended its run on television. Shortly after, Crane married Sigrid Valdis (aka Patricia Olson), who played Hilda on the show since 1965. Sigrid and Bob had a son together and were separated at the time of Crane's death.
By the time Crane was finished with Hogan's Heroes, home video technology was emerging, just within reach of wealthy celebrities, but still way too expensive for the average Joe. Crane used his new video toys to record his various and sundry extramarital affairs, sometimes showing the footage to friends. To say that Bob Crane was getting more ass than a toilet seat would not be a terrible exaggeration.
Even after Crane's career slid into dinner theater obscurity, he still got enough action to attract hangers-on like fellow pussy hound and video enthusiast John Carpenter (not the director). While Crane was living in Scottsdale and acting in Beginner's Luck with Victoria Barry, Carpenter and Crane spent a lot of time carousing together. Carpenter is still the lead suspect in Crane's unsolved murder, but it is also possible that Crane could have been killed by any of a number of cuckolded husbands.
In 2002, Sony Pictures released Auto Focus, a Crane biopic starring Greg Kinnear and Rita Wilson and directed by Paul Schrader.
Bob Crane is also mentioned in the Dead Milkmen song "Life Is Shit". My father balanced the books for the Hogan's Heroes television series for a while, but never got a chance to visit the set or meet any of the cast members. So it goes.