Hogan's Homicide: The Strange Life And Death Of Bob Crane

By | November 9, 2017

test article image
Left: Bob Crane with Sigrid Valdis, a fellow 'Hogan's Heroes' cast member and Crane's second wife, 1969. Right: Crane demonstrating his enthusiasm as an amateur photographer in 1965. Sources: Wikimedia Commons; CBS via Getty Images

As Colonel Hogan on Hogan's Heroes, Bob Crane played an American prisoner of war held by Nazi Germans during World War II. It was a strange premise for a sitcom, but American viewers suspended their disbelief and the show was a hit. Bob Crane's private life and untimely 1978 death were another matter -- the nation had a hard time reconciling the jovial TV personality with debauchery and murder.

Hogan’s Heroes aired from 1965 to 1971. Colonel Hogan and his men had the ability to escape but remained captive in German POW camp, Stalag 13, in an effort to advance the American cause. In short, Colonel Hogan and his men made fools of the German officers who were in charge of them.

Bob Crane Had Been Successful Before And After 'Hogan's Heroes'

test article image

There was much more to Bob Crane. He was also a musician, a radio host and a disc jockey. Prior to the series Hogan’s Heroes, he had been seen on The Donna Reed Show and The Dick Van Dyke Show. His celebrity acquaintances, including Johnny Carson, Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope, most definitely didn’t hurt his image. Crane appeared on popular shows including The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. After Hogan’s Heroes was cancelled, Crane appeared in a couple of Disney productions, and dabbled in some other projects -- he was a working actor, but never again became the sort of ubiquitous celebrity he'd been while the show was on the air.