As His Son Reveals, There Was Much More to Actor Bob Crane Than ‘Hogan’s Heroes,’ Murder and Scandal

Have you ever seen a New Yorker’s map of the United States? It consists of New York, New Jersey, desert and California. Strangely, it’s a tunnel vision approach that’s not far removed from the way people view the late Bob Crane, star of 1965 to 1971’s Hogan’s Heroes. As far as they’re concerned, his life has been reduced to that Classic TV sitcom from the 1960s, his unsolved 1978 murder and the scandal that followed it.

That assessment of his father is something that his journalist son, Robert Crane, has had to deal with over the past 40 years, which he attempted to do in his 2015 book (co-written with Christopher Fryer) Crane: Sex, Celebrity and My Father’s Unsolved Murder. That tome also focuses on their relationship and Robert’s own struggles with growing up in Hollywood. What’s interesting about speaking to him regarding his dad is that there’s a duality in feeling that quickly becomes evident. A recognition of the light and the dark within him.

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Courtesy Robert Crane

When asked about what would surprise people about Bob Crane, without missing a beat, Robert says, “He was a big kid and just loved to have fun. Here’s an example: my dad and I created a pool league — played in the pool with a little rubber ball and a short bat — and we had a full schedule. We had the baseball teams of the day, and this was back in the fifties and sixties. We each took different teams and played in the pool. We even had our own World Series! He would also take me and my two sisters to the park, go down the slide and just have fun with us. Again, like a big kid.”

But almost within the same breath, there’s this assessment: “The other side of him is I don’t know whether or not he should have been married, even though he was married twice. My mom [Anne Terzian] was first, and then Patty Olson, who played Klink’s secretary on Hogan’s Heroes (currently airing on the MeTV network). But the thing is, fidelity was not a big word in my dad’s vocabulary. He just loved women. Part of that was ego and part of that was that he was a photographer as well, and he loved to photograph women … with their consent. No hidden cameras, no drugs.

bob-crane-and-his-kids
Courtesy Robert Crane

“He would meet women on the road while he was doing a play or even in town,” he adds. “While he was shooting Hogan’s Heroes, plenty of beautiful women came by the set to see the cast members, so, yeah, he was in the right place at the right time. His behavior wouldn’t pass muster today, but he appreciated women, the way they looked, the way they behaved. But I want to stress that all of the photos and films that he shot was consensual with the women as far as I know.” The reason for that emphasis is to come.

Please scroll down for much more about Bob Crane.

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