'Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography'

By Carol M. Ford
With Dee Young and Linda J. Groundwater

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Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography was released on September 17, 2015, coinciding with the 50th Anniversary of Hogan's Heroes.
A portion of the book's profits will be donated to various charities in Bob Crane's memory.

Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography is published by AuthorMike Ink Publishing, an independent book publisher since 2010.


Deluxe, expanded hardcover edition contains:

  • Exclusive, never-before released historical documents chronicling Bob Crane’s life and career.
  • More than 200 family and professional photographs, many exclusive, courtesy of Bob Crane's family, friends, and colleagues.
  • 660 pages containing first-hand accounts from nearly 200 people from Bob Crane's life.
  • A pre-print of Bob Crane’s original signature.

All editions contain the same editorial content. The softcover contains fewer photographs and documents than the hardcover. The electronic edition contains editorial content only (no photographs).

About the Book

Since his untimely death on June 29, 1978, Bob Crane's unofficial biography has become akin to a broken record. Like a skip in the acetate, his murder and the scandal that grew from it have been the repeated focus of attention, to the exclusion of nearly everything else. Over time, the line between fact and fiction blurred, and his life story became distorted. All perspective on Bob Crane as a human being was lost, and he became nothing more than a two-dimensional cartoon character without depth, understanding, or definition.

Now, nearly two hundred people who knew the Hogan's Heroes star personally and better than most—family; friends as far back as elementary school; colleagues in radio, television, theatre, and film—have spoken out on Bob Crane's behalf, and in many instances, for the first time. Within the pages of this book, they share their memories and thoughts about a man whom they knew as an exceptional and talented musician, a genius in radio, a sharp-witted comedian, a gifted actor and director, a man driven to success, a doting and loving father, a loyal friend, and a kind and gentle spirit with a sunny personality—a man who, while not perfect, was vastly different from how he has been presented over the decades. Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography balances the scales and sets the record straight, providing a full and complete history of Bob Crane, clarifying who he really was—and just as importantly, who he was not.

Author's Note: I am deeply indebted to Mike Aloisi and AuthorMike Ink Publishing for publishing Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography. This book contains 600 pages of content, with another 60 pages composed of resources and the index, bringing the total to 660+ pages. Needless to say, this is not an inexpensive book to publish. However, Mike understands its importance and has worked with me to ensure my satisfaction, the satisfaction of my co-authors and contributors/supporters, and most importantly, you, the reader. We have priced the hardcover edition of the book at $26.99, barely enough for a profit for anyone involved. That is how much this book means to me, my co-authors, and my publisher.

This project has been far more than just researching, writing, and publishing a book for me. It has been nearly a life-long journey. I first discovered Hogan's Heroes in the mid-1980s when I was just fourteen years old. Hogan's Heroes quickly became my favorite television show, and Bob Crane was my favorite among the cast. There was no Internet in 1985, so I didn't discover any details about the life and death of the show's star right away. But soon, I did learn about Bob's unsolved murder, and I was crushed. And my little, fourteen-year-old self made a promise that somehow, some way, I would fix it and make it better. As a kid, I had no idea how I was ever going to do that. But that didn't stop me.

This inexplicable determination to "fix it" grew. On weekends, other kids went to the movies or to the mall; my parents took me to the county library to "research" Bob Crane. Over the years, I started to understand who Bob Crane really was, and the more I understood, the more tenacious I became. When Linda Groundwater, Dee Young, and I crossed paths and began collaborating on this book in 2006--a project Linda started in 2003--all of the pieces started to come together.

It took a little while, but now, more than thirty years later, I have finally made good on that promise. 

This unbiased work took twelve years to research (officially), across two continents and many time zones. It contains the first-hand accounts from 200 prominent individuals from Bob's life--many of whom I am humbled and honored to now count as a part of my own life. To all of them and to everyone who contributed and/or supported this endeavor, I extend my deepest gratitude and thanks. And to all of you who choose to learn more about the talented, complex, and remarkable man Bob Crane was, I thank you, from the bottom of my heart and on behalf of so many who cared so deeply for him. 

 Carol M. Ford, author   

Support for the Book

I totally back their book and feel honored on my dad's behalf that they invested so much time and thoughtfulness into getting the truth out about his life. Awesomeness to the max! Thank you from myself and my dear dad. —Karen Crane, daughter

I need to say it again. You are amazing. Thank you. Much love. —Scott Crane, son

The family really appreciates what you're doing for Bobby. We sure do. Bobby was just a big teddy bear. He was; he was a big teddy bear, and everybody loved him, and they didn't want to hear any bad things. Strange, people probably think he walked around with horns sticking out of his head, but he was a good guy. —Jim Senich, cousin 

The mountain you seek to climb, though admirable, is formidable. I applaud you for your quest, but the media does not want to hear what you have to say. You know that already, so you will not be disappointed with the response that you receive. The quest is for you, so blessings on you through it all. —Reverend Edward Beck, addiction counselor and former vice president, Windmill Dinner Theatre Corporation

Bob was such a many-faceted guy. I would like him to be remembered for the positive things he did with his life. —Charlie Zito, best school friend, Stamford High School, Class of 1946

I say these things that are the flaws are specks on the Parthenon. Let's look at the Parthenon, and let's not look at the specks. Let's lift our eyes up to the man's eyes and soul and not look down on the gutter. Thanks so much, and Mahalo to you! —Joseph Cosgrove, KPOL (Los Angeles) staff announcer, founder of KTHO (Lake Tahoe, CA), and was one of the first people to welcome Bob Crane to California in 1956

Everybody has so many layers, and so many people [in their life]. There is more than just the top layer. That's not all anybody is. If all they are doing is condemning [someone] based on an addiction...then they are losing the true picture. To me, truth is the whole picture of something, and if you were to focus on any one thing and blow that up, that's already a distortion. So I think that's what you are after. You [are] after the whole picture. Ask me any questions, and I'll tell you! —Arlene Martel, actress, Hogan's Heroes 

I'm happy to set right a wrong... [Bob Crane was] a true professional. A well-together, fun gentleman. Full of laughs. The most well-adjusted person you'd ever want to meet. I wish you nothing but success [for your book]. —Derek Smith, owner and producer, Celebrity Cooks 

Thank you, because I appreciate something good for a change. Thank you. I thank you from the bottom of my heart that you're doing this [book]. I'm very grateful. So thank you. —Cynthia Lynn, actress, Hogan's Heroes

I'm delighted [to participate in your book]! Good luck. Be brilliant! —Robert Butler, director, Hogan's Heroes

I'm really happy you're doing this because I'm really proud of ["Hogan's Heroes"]. It was one of life's great experiences. —Jerry London, director, associate producer, and film editor, Hogan's Heroes

I am really pleased that somebody is doing this. There is a lot to be said about Bob. There were many sides to [him], and not all were bad! —Leo McElroy, KNX booth announcer (1960-1063) and friend

I hope your book's a big success! —Gordon Mason, KNX general manager of sales (1958-1961)

[Your book] is an upper for Bob. I hope I have helped in some small way for you. —Gary Owens, KMPC morning announcer; Laugh-In performer/actor

I'm glad we had a chance to talk because I want the parts of Bob that I knew and respected to be a part of his life story, and have people think about it. I'm so glad [I was able to help you with this]. You hang in there! Keep looking for the [truth]! There are different parts of all of us! —Maureen Arthur, actress, The Wicked Dreams of Paula Schultz

There's been a lot of negative stuff, and I think it would be nice if there were a positive thing about him. You know people say "You're only as good as your last record," and it's sad because you have a whole life here. So why should your legacy be based on what happened at the end? —Bob Maryon, KMPC engineer

Every time I watch a rerun of Hogan's Heroes, I think of Bob Crane's radio days, which included WLEA, where I had the pleasure of working many years later. When I was in LA radio, I had the chance to hear Bob Crane. I consider him to be the best radio personality I ever heard. He was marvelous at the microphone and would always do something unexpected, like playing drums. What a kick! He was one of a kind. —Gary Gray, former radio personality, WLEA, Hornell, NY (1960s); KBIG/KBRT (1970-1980), Los Angeles

I want to applaud you in your efforts to shed light on the life of Bob Crane. I wish you all the best in your endeavor, and from the looks of the work that you've already done, you are accomplishing a most noble task. Again, I wish you great success. —Ed Begley, Jr., actor, director, and producer

I hope my stories have been helpful to you. We had a lot of stars pass through the portals of The Love Boat, but I do remember Bob with fondness. —Ted Lange, actor and director, The Love Boat

Bob was a very classy guy and universally nice to everyone. It's been delightful chatting away with you both. I think you may do a real service in showing that somebody can be a little bit wounded in his or her life and yet have a huge success and everybody adore, and really not deserve what happened to them. People need to see the whole picture. Anybody deserves that. And we're into this with you! —Tom Thornton (KNX salesman) and Diane Thornton (KNX librarian)

I salute your good intentions regarding writing about the "whole man," rather than the sexual compulsiveness for which he is better known. —Jim French, writer and producer, Imagination Theatre, Jim French Productions

Bob was a witty and talented man, and I liked him. But all the sensationalism, all the salacious stuff, that's all anybody cared about. I'm very happy you're doing a very positive book about him. —Jane L. Golden, Stamford High School, Class of 1946

To have known Bob has been a privilege of mine. May God bless you in all of your efforts to clear his memory. —Eric Ericson, Stamford High School, Class of 1946

I am constantly amazed that such false and exaggerated rumors are generated about celebrated people and have such an extended lifespan. Good luck and success on your endeavor to restore Bob's dignity and good name. —Nathan W. Gottfried, Stamford High School, Class of 1946

What a splendid idea you have developed [to write this book]! A chance for a much-deserved redemption for the life of an all-American lad who deserved it but didn't have the opportunity to explain... —Doris Sidney Leidecker, Stamford High School, Class of 1946


Editorial Reviews and Praise

        Bob Crane was a broadcasting pioneer who made landmark contributions to the industry on both coasts, but until now, has never received proper credit for much of it. Ford and her colleagues delve into Crane's radio career like never before. What they have discovered and presented here is nothing short of amazing. —Danny Lyons, WICC 600-AM and WEBE 108-FM operations manager/WEBE on-air personality, Bridgeport, Connecticut

     Carol Ford and company have ripped the lid off the real story of Bob Crane—talented drummer, radio veteran, and comic genius, who, like so many other great television actors, found himself hampered by typecasting. The public has had too much useless information about Crane—here is the real deal they need to know to understand one of entertainment's most gifted and complex performers. —Marakay Rogers, Broadway World

     If you're a Bob Crane fan, this book is a must. Loved the old pictures of Crane in his WLEA days. —Kevin Doran, former owner, WLEA 1480 AM, Hornell, New York

     Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography is the most extensive biography I've read about a movie or TV actor. I'm impressed with the amount of research authors Carol Ford, Dee Young, and Linda Groundwater did over the last 12 years. The authors captured fond memories and perspectives from Bob's friends and relatives who knew him best, from early childhood in Stamford, Connecticut, to his time on Hogan's Heroes, and his work afterwards. Professional and family photographs provided by Bob Crane's children, Karen and Scott, are priceless and add greatly to this biography. 
 I also wanted to know more about Bob Crane's career in radio before Hogan's Heroes, and this book does an excellent job. I enjoyed the stories told by Bob's co-workers and friends at WICC in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and KNX in Los Angeles. Generations of fans know Bob Crane's work in Hogan's Heroes, which is still on TV today. However, this biography explains how Bob Crane worked tirelessly day and night to become an innovative, entertaining, and highly rated morning show host on major radio stations in Connecticut and Los Angeles. Bob Crane was also a successful interviewer at KNX, and spoke extensively on the air with celebrities like Ray Charles, Bette Davis, Bob Newhart, and Mary Tyler Moore. While he was on Hogan's Heroes, Bob continued his radio work through the U.S. Armed Forces Radio Network, and later, at KMPC in Los Angeles.
 Nothing is held back in this book because the authors interviewed people who knew about Bob Crane's struggles and sex addiction. Because books and documentaries have been written one-sided about Bob's death, this unfortunate part of his life needed to be added for a full and extensive biography.
 Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography is a must read for anyone who is a fan of his TV show and legendary radio work. —Bill Dillane, NHTV, North Haven, Connecticut

     There is a good reasons why the authors and publisher of Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography agreed on the choice of title: because it is indeed the definitive biography on Bob Crane. Carol M. Ford, Dee, Young, and Linda Groundwater have amassed a wealth of knowledge and present a remarkably detailed look at the life of the man most remembered as "Colonel Hogan" in the 1960s television hit Hogan's Heroes, his sensationalized prowess with beautiful women, and for the grotesque murder that took his life in 1978. However, this beautifully written, respectful biography presents amazing aspects of Crane's life that are mostly unknown by his fans and too often ignored by others. Bob Crane was a talented musician (having played drums with the likes of Gene Krupa), and a radio pioneer skilled at creating affable characters and contrived conversations during his top-rated show. He became the most popular radio personality in Los Angeles. During his tenure at the CBS affiliate there, Bob Crane also interviewed thousands of celebrities. Publicists and agents scrambled to get their clients interviewed by him. It became an honor to sit for an hour with the biggest and best voice of the air.  Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography is a 660-page heavyweight. Usually, books of such length are tedious, overly footnoted tomes best suited for Presidents, monarchs, and historic battles. But I was immediately pulled into the narrative's breezy style. Carol Ford writes beautifully. The research and anecdotal contributions of coauthors Young and Groundwater, and the quotes and recollections from interviews of 200 people who knew Bob Crane privately or professionally, are sprinkled expertly and evenly throughout. There are over 200 photographs in the [hardcover edition]—many never published until now. I have read hundreds of biographies...hundreds. Bob Crane's definitive book by Ford, Young, and Groundwater is easily one of the best Hollywood-related books I have seen. The research is fantastic. The pace is comfortable, and the overall presentation was extremely well thought out, with an emphasis focusing on what truly comprised the life and career of this all too often misunderstood man. With all the above consideration, and the simple fact that this book does what [no one else has done before for Crane], I would easily place Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography in a top ten list of performing arts nonfiction. —James Zeruk, Jr., Author, Peg Entwistle and the Hollywood Sign Suicide

     This book sheds light on an addiction that is tragically confined to the shadows, behind closed doors. Sex addicts are subject to immediate moral judgment, when we are ironically more accepting of other addictions. Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography can serve as an inspiration for anyone seeking to understand the often double world of the sex addict. —Susanne A. Quallich, ANP-BC, NP-C, CUNP, FANNP, University of Michigan Health System; Member, Urologic Nursing Journal Editorial Board; and an Expert on Men's Sexual Health

     Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography is an in-depth, well-researched look at a man with immense talent that has been, since his death, highly underrated. The authors have done an outstanding job. There are many biographies in the world of literature, and this is certainly up there with the best of them —Dean Mardon, former host, The Dave Dee Drivetime Show, Radio Kidnappers, 1431-AM/104.7 FM, Napier, New Zealand

     Carol Ford and her colleagues have exhaustively researched every conceivable detail of Bob Crane's life. This book shifts the focus from the sensational and the negative to a holistic, factual view of a talented individual whose life ended too soon. Even those who are not fans of Bob Crane will find this book worthwhile reading. —Cindy Vitto, PhD, Dean, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Rowan University, Glassboro, New Jersey

About the Authors

Carol M. Ford has twenty years of experience in the publishing industry. She earned her BA degree with Honors in English/Liberal Arts from Glassboro State College (now Rowan University) in Glassboro, New Jersey. She is currently the Director of Editorial Services, an editor, and a managing editor for Anthony J. Jannetti, Inc., a health care association management, marketing, and publishing firm located near Philadelphia. Working with leaders in the nursing community, she oversees the production of several clinical peer-reviewed nursing publications, including scholarly journals, as well as nursing textbooks and specialty health care publications.

Carol has authored and published several articles on writing and publishing, has self-published two short stories, has written one fiction novel now under review, and has co-authored a two-part teleplay. Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography is her first major non-fiction book. In addition to her deep understanding of the subject and writing skills, her extensive knowledge of publishing for the health sciences has equipped her with keen investigative and research skills, ensuring the final publication of the book, which was thoroughly researched for twelve years, is evidence-based.

Strong in her faith, her spare time is filled with writing, reading, photography, drawing, music, traveling, hiking and fitness, enjoying the company of friends, her pets (a cat named Charley and a Golden Retriever named Copper), and spending time with family. Carol has traveled extensively across the United States, as well as around the world, including to England, Ireland, Scotland, and Australia. She has tutored with Literacy Volunteers of America, teaching adults how to read and write, and has also assisted young children in developing their reading and writing skills.

Dee Young has maintained an impressive career in radio and at WICC-600 AM for nearly forty years. She is currently the Assistant Business Manager for WICC 600-AM and WEBE-108 FM, in Bridgeport, Connecticut. In January 1976, Dee was fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet Bob Crane on the day he was in Bridgeport to help WICC celebrate the station's 50th anniversary. She remembers him and the overall experience of his visit fondly. Dee has been instrumental in the research and development of Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography. She brought a wealth of radio knowledge and history spanning several decades to the book, and her network of radio colleagues, including several key individuals who worked alongside of Bob at WICC and/or knew him well, has allowed for a rich illustration of Bob's early career in broadcasting.

Since 2011, Dee has also assisted Carol Ford with Bob’s nomination for the National Radio Hall of Fame. WICC is an official sponsor of the nomination.

Linda J. Groundwater is a former freelance writer and American radio news journalist. She has worked as a news reporter and anchor for WSMN in Nashua, New Hampshire, and the now-defunct WKBR in Manchester, New Hampshire, where she also acted as News Director. She was also employed with WCAP in Lowell, Massachusetts, doing their morning drive news reporting. She earned her BA degree with Honors in Communications/English in Rivier College (now Rivier University), Nashua, New Hampshire.

Linda relocated to Australia with her husband Paul in 1994, and following the birth of their son Andrew in 1996, she began working in banking and finance. She is currently a Retail Lending Specialist for the Bank of Queensland, Capalaba, and has nearly twenty years of experience in banking management.

In 2003, Linda took an interest in learning more about Bob Crane. She believed there had to be more to his story than his starring role on Hogan's Heroes, or his murder and the scandal that grew from it. Using her journalism skills, she began to reach out to people from Bob's life with the intent to gather information to produce a more balanced biography. Early contributors/supporters included Bob's cousin Jim Senich and Reverend Edward Beck, who applauded the effort. From there, the list began to grow steadily. Dee Young and Carol Ford became involved in the project in 2005 and early 2006, respectively, and together, they amassed a collection of interviews and memories from close to 200 people from Bob's life specifically for Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography (then with the working title Flipside: The True Story of Bob Crane).

Also an actress, Linda performs professionally as well as in local community theatre in the Queensland area. She is also Vice President and Publicity Officer for the Mount Cotton Drama Group. Linda's faith, her family, loyal friends, and her German Shepherd named Midnight are all most important to her. She is especially proud of her son Andrew, who is pursuing his professional acting career in both Australia and the United States.