Robert Edward Crane (July 13, 1928 – June 29, 1978) was an American actor, drummer, radio host, and disc jockey known for starring
in the CBS situation comedy Hogans Heroes.
A drummer from age 11, Crane began his career as a radio personality, first in New York City and then Connecticut before moving to Los Angeles, where he hosted the number-one rated morning show. In the early 1960s, he moved into acting, eventually landing the lead role of Colonel Robert Hogan in Hogans Heroes. The series aired from 1965 to 1971, and Crane received two Primetime Emmy Award nominations for his work on the series.
After Hogans Heroes ended, Cranes career declined. He became frustrated with the few roles he was being offered and began performing in dinner theater. In 1975, he returned to television in the NBC series The Bob Crane Show. The series received poor ratings and was cancelled after 13 weeks. Afterward, Crane returned to performing in dinner theaters and also appeared in occasional guest spots on television.
While on tour in June 1978 for a dinner theater production, Beginners Luck, Crane was found bludgeoned to death in his Scottsdale apartment, the victim of a homicide. The murder remains officially unsolved. Due to the suspicious nature of his death and posthumous revelations about his personal life, Cranes image changed from a cultural icon to a controversial figure.