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Did A Member Of The Hogan’s Heroes Cast Commit Bob Crane’s Murder?

by Your Everyday Heroes

Did A Member Of The Hogan’s Heroes Cast Commit Bob Crane’s Murder?

The grisly murder of Bob Crane remains one of the most mysterious unsolved celebrity murders of all time. The charming, all-American lead of the 1960s TV sitcom Hogan’s Heroes was found brutally slayed in his apartment 42 years ago, and despite multiple investigations, law enforcement authorities have never been able to identify his killer.

What Was Hogan’s Heroes Star Bob Crane’s Cause of Death?

The horrifying nature of Bob Crane’s murder darkly contrasted the campy comedic role he played on Hogan’s Heroes for six seasons, as a wise cracking colonel who led a squad of World War II prisoners in outsmarting their inept German captors.

Did A Member Of The Hogan’s Heroes Cast Commit Bob Crane’s Murder?
Did A Member Of The Hogan’s Heroes Cast Commit Bob Crane’s Murder?

There was nothing funny about Bob Crane’s cause of death. He was found violently murdered in his Scottsdale apartment on June 29, 1978, when one of his costars came over to check up on him after he didn’t show up for an arranged meeting.

She found Crane’s lifeless body sprawled out on the bed with an electrical cord tied around his neck and half of his face bashed in by a blunt object with such force, that blood was splattered from the walls to the ceiling.

Police called in Ed Beck, the manager of the dinner theater he had been performing at, to determine if the brutally beaten body belonged to the actor. “There was no way I could identify him from one side,” Beck said. “The other side, yes.”

Hogan’s Heroes Mystery: How Did Bob Crane Die?

Crane was at the point in his profession that he was doing dinner theater in Arizona, instead of taking on glamorous roles in Hollywood. In the seven years since Hogan’s Heroes ended its impressive 168 episode run on CBS, Crane’s star had fallen far from leading man to a sporadic guest star on television series like Quincy M.E. and The Love Boat.

The downturn in his career wasn’t due to aging or a lack of acting chops, Crane had an addiction that turned Hollywood producers against him. He wasn’t shooting up drugs or showing up to sets drunk, but Crane had a hobby that made him made him un-castable and may have even led to his death.

The married father of three loved the ladies and regularly stepped out on his high school sweetheart, Anne Terzian, by using his celebrity status to woo women. Not only was the leading Lothario a serial cheater, he also had a habit of documenting his sexual conquests with photos and videos.

When police found Crane’s body in 1978, his apartment was full of home video equipment that he regularly used to film amateur pornography, and the only thing missing was a camera tripod that police believe he was bludgeoned to death with.

“Eventually, you’ll find out there’s a husband of theirs that’s lurking out there,” Crane chillingly foreshadowed in a 1969 interview. “I think all single people should have a card verified by the pope that they’re single, so you don’t wake up someday and find a gun to your head because you didn’t hear footsteps.”

Hogan’s Heroes Star’s Sex Addiction

Bob Crane’s obsession with pornography and keeping photographic evidence of his conquests has been speculated to be the cause of his untimely demise, but it was definitely the reason behind his Hollywood downfall.

The Hogan’s Heroes’ actor had a penchant for porn and wasn’t afraid of showing it. His on-set dressing rooms were littered with visible erotica that he enjoyed sharing with the crew on his productions.

Hogan’s Heroes Star’s Sex Addiction

“He made some bad moves,” Robert Crane said about his father. “He collected photographs of women and put together these books — ‘Oh, here’s Sally from Jacksonville, Florida’ — and then he started showing them to people.”

Crane’s public image became tarnished when gossip rags like the National Enquirer published stories about his on-set show and tell, and film executives became leery of hiring him for roles after his major post-Heroes Disney starrer tanked at the box office.

The actor had been hired to portray an all-American father in Disney’s Superdad, where his character tries to protect his teenage daughter from running off with an unsavory type, but audiences balked at watching sex-crazed Crane flexing his moral compass and the movie did not manage to break $240,000 in ticket sales.

Who Killed Bob Crane, Was It A Hogan’s Heroes Cast Member?

Robert Clary, who played Corporal LeBeau on Hogan’s Heroes, didn’t mind the Crane indulged his sexual appetite while filming the show.

“Who cares? That’s his problem. Why waste my time saying, ‘How dare you like ladies?’ That is dumb, would not think about it,” he remarked. “All we thought was, your life is your life — as long as you’re doing your job properly.”

But Crane’s dark impulses impacted his castmates when he began having an affair with costar Cynthia Lynn, who played Colonel Klink’s hot secretary Helga in the first season of the show, while he was still married to Terzian.

Who Killed Bob Crane, Was It A Hogan’s Heroes Cast Member?

When executives replaced Lynn in the second season, possibly to curb the tawdry on-set behavior, Crane moved right on to her replacement.

Patricia Olson, known by the stage name Sigrid Valdis, stepped into the role of Hilda the following year, and not only replaced Lynn, but also Crane’s wife Terzian, who he divorced in favor of his co-star.

Crane and Olson married in 1970, shortly after he ditched his first wife, and had two children, Scott and AnaMarie. But the actor’s obsession with extra-marital sex continued and his interest in pornography advanced from taking still photos to making full blown homemade videos which he starred in.

As Crane’s star continued to fade in Hollywood, the marriage became rocky and Olson did not join the actor when he moved to Scottsdale, Arizona to pursue a career in dinner theater.

Is Hilda From the Hogan’s Heroes Cast Behind Bob Crane’s Death?

Crane was two weeks shy of fifty when he was murdered, and according to his son, was ready to break it off with Olson. Two days before his death, he called his oldest son Robert and told him that he planned to divorce his second wife.

Is Hilda From the Hogan’s Heroes Cast Behind Bob Crane’s Death?

Olson and Crane got into a heated telephone battle at a restaurant just before his death, and the demise of their marriage would have cut her off from receiving the Hogan’s Heroes star’s share of royalties from the hit show’s reruns.

Did Hogan’s Heroes Star Bob Crane’s Wife Kill Him?

Crane’s son Robert has pointed the finger at Olson, who was the only person that would have financially benefited from the actor’s death.

“She was in the middle of a divorce with my dad,” Robert commented. “If there’s no divorce, she keeps what she gets, and if there’s no husband, she gets the whole thing.”

Olson, who died of lung cancer in 2007 at the age of 72, indeed retained all of Crane’s assets and cut of his first three children from receiving any of the benefits from his fortune. The family rift became so intense that prior to her death, Olson moved Crane’s body to another cemetery without informing his and Terzian’s children.

Did Hogan’s Heroes Star Bob Crane’s Wife Kill Him?
Did Hogan’s Heroes Star Bob Crane’s Wife Kill Him?

However, police never bought into Robert’s theory about his stepmother, and instead chose to focus on who they considered the most likely suspect: A home video equipment salesman that facilitated Crane’s ability to make his own pornography.

Who Was Responsible For Hogan’s Heroes Cast Lead Bob Crane’s Murder?

Hogan’s Heroes cast member Richard Dawson, who played Cpl. Peter Newkirk, introduced Crane to Sony salesman John Henry Carpenter and the men formed a bond over the mutual interest in pornography and chasing women.

Carpenter not only sold Crane the video equipment he needed to film his sexual encounters, he often helped him shoot them. The two men became quick friends, and Carpenter happily rode Crane’s coattails in good times and bad.

Who Was Responsible For Hogan’s Heroes Cast Lead Bob Crane’s Murder?

Carpenter was in Arizona at the time of Crane’s death. He had flown in to spend some time with the former star, and no doubt try to reel in some willing women, but Crane’s son Robert testified that his father had phoned Carpenter the night before his murder to end their relationship. The pair were allegedly seen arguing at a night club hours before his death.

The Sony salesmen quickly became the police’s prime suspect in Crane’s murder, which he vehemently denied, and offered to take a polygraph test and be hypnotized to tell the truth.

Law enforcement authorities searched Carpenter’s rental car and found blood in his car that matched Crane’s B blood type, which saturated the murder scene.

“There were some traces of blood on the back of the exit door, the front door, the doorknob. There was a red stain on the curtain. We found blood in [Carpenter’s] rental car and on the passenger door. It was Crane’s blood type. Nobody else who handled that car had the same blood type as Crane. It was type B blood, all of it,” said Scottsdale detective Barry Vassall.

But Crane died in 1978, far before DNA testing was available, and the murder weapon, which was believed to be his own tripod, was never recovered. Carpenter remained a suspect, but eventually went free.

Finally A Trial For Hogan’s Heroes Cast Lead Bob Crane’s Murder

Twelve years later there was a breakthrough in the case when detective Jim Raines found what appeared to be brain matter in a photograph of Carpenter’s rental car. Despite the evidence being destroyed over time, it was enough to file charges and send Carpenter to trial in 1994.

Carpenter maintained his innocence during the court proceedings. “I played around a lot, balled a lot of women, and I’ve made mistakes that hurt people close to me. I’m no saint. But I never even had a fight with Bob, goddammit. He was my friend. And he was the goose who laid the golden egg for me, in terms of meeting ladies,” he said.

Crane’s son’s assertion that the two men had a falling out was torn to shreds when witnesses placed them at a restaurant the night before, where they both had tried and failed to get lucky with two different women.

The prosecution’s key evidence, the photo of the brain matter, perplexed jurors. “What was the speck?” said jury foreman Michael Lake. “Nobody knows what it was, not even the doctors. … You can’t prove someone guilty on speculation.”

But the ultimate reason that Carpenter went free was the blood samples found in his car, which prosecutors alleged came from the tripod that was suspected to be the murder weapon leaning against the car’s interior. The blood was tested using new DNA technology, and the results indicated two separate profiles of blood, neither of which matched Crane’s.

If Not Carpenter, Who Killed Bob Crane?

Carpenter’s lawyers ran with a defense that Crane was a sexual deviant that could have been killed by an angry lover, or a jealous boyfriend or husband.

There was no sign of forced entry at his apartment, which was indicative that the actor knew his killer, and Carpenter told police that Crane had showed him a book of Polaroids of his recent conquests from the dinner theater, which was never located at the scene.

If Not Carpenter, Who Killed Bob Crane?

Crane had slept with eight women in the three weeks leading up to his death and one of them was Victoria Berry, who discovered his body. A witness placed a white Cadillac with California license plates at the crime scene, and Berry’s boyfriend owned a car that matched the description.

Another one of Crane’s conquests had a mutilated photo of her liaison with Crane taped to her back door by an ex-boyfriend.

Who Do Bob Crane’s Children Think Murdered Their Hogan’s Heroes Star Father?

Robert Crane is the only one of his siblings to speak out about his father’s death. He does not speak to Olson’s children, and his sisters refused to discuss the topic. While he subscribes to the theory that Carpenter killed his father, he still maintains that his stepmother could have been the person that orchestrated her husband’s death.

Who Do Bob Crane’s Children Think Murdered Their Hogan’s Heroes Star Father?

With Carpenter dead in 1998 and Olson passing in 2007, it’s unlikely that the more than 40-year-old murder will ever be solved.

“Carpenter’s dead. Patti’s dead. Time is just taking people away,” Robert concluded.

Are Any Members of The Cast Of Hogan’s Heroes Still Alive Today?

Follow the link to find out if any of the cast of Hogan’s Heroes are still alive more than five decades since the series’ final episode aired on April 4, 1971.

Read to find out Which Members of the Hogan’s Heroes Cast Are Still Alive?

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