Bob Crane was born Robert Edward Crane, in Waterbury, Connecticut, on July 13th 1928. In 1942, at the age of 14, Bob began drumming for the Connecticut Symphony Orchestra. He was dismissed a year later because he was not considered “serious enough.” Shortly thereafter, Bob began a radio career, which eventually took him west to Los Angeles, and landed him in the morning drive slot at CBS powerhouse KNX, where he became known as “The King of the Los Angeles Airwaves.” His show was wildly successful and revolutionary. Bob filled the broadcast booth with wry wit and charisma, not to mention drums, chimpanzees, and movie stars. His show was the number-one-rated morning show in Los Angeles, and Hollywood’s biggest stars were regular guests on his show: Marilyn Monroe, Ronald Reagan, Jayne Mansfield, Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, and more.
It was during his reign as “King of the L.A. Airwaves” that Crane captured the attention of CBS television executives. He began making guest appearances on The Dick Van Dyke Show, among others. Soon, he landed himself a regular role on The Donna Reed Show as Doctor David Kelsey. Then, in 1965, Crane was offered the starring role in a highly controversial television pilot about Allied prisoners in a German P.O.W. camp. The pilot made a splash and Hogan’s Heroes went on to become one of the most successful sitcoms of all time. In 1966 and 1967, Bob was nominated for two Emmy awards.
In the years following Hogan’s Heroes, Bob stayed busy with various film and television appearances, including two Disney films, Superdad, and Gus. Bob also remained a regular guest on the talk show circuit, as well as a guest host for Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. In 1975, NBC launched The Bob Crane Show, and aired 13 episodes. For the next several years Bob acted and directed plays such as Beginner’s Luck, and other productions.