Though it happened over four decades ago, the unsolved mystery of Bob Crane‘s gruesome murder continues to haunt Hollywood and beyond.
On the chilling afternoon of June 29, 1978, the almost-50-year-old Hogan’s Heroes star was discovered bludgeoned to death. He had a ligature tied around his neck, which a medical examiner later suggested was used to strangle him.
Crane’s autopsy report indicated that he died as a result of blunt force impact to his head, but renown forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Hunter believes the series of events that led up to the actor’s cold killing is perhaps even darker than the murder itself.
He will reveal his findings when Autopsy: The Last Hours of Bob Crane debuts on REELZ this coming Sunday, but Radar has your exclusive sneak peek.
“Going through hundreds of statements to the police, I have discovered that Bob Crane was addicted to sex and documenting his sexual conquests with photographs and the new medium of home video,” Hunter says, noting that the behavior “caused both of his marriages to collapse and his career to nosedive.”
“I think it’s highly likely that Bob’s addiction to sex and pornography also played a role in his murder,” he hypothesized.
Some experts have linked Crane’s brutal divorce battle to the tragic incident, while others thought the Mob might have been involved. But everyone has always seemed to agree on one thing – that the actor’s addiction to sex, porn and filming himself in the act played a significant role in his ultimate demise.
Following his death, police found Crane’s apartment full of home video cameras, lights and editing equipment. They assumed that one of his tripods was the murder weapon.
Soon, they turned their attention to a home video equipment salesman, who had introduced the actor to the then-new technology. He was even featured in several of Bob’s sex tapes.
When police searched the suspect’s car, they found Crane’s blood type in it. But it wasn’t until 16 years later that prosecutors believed they had a case, thanks to technological advances in DNA testing that could prove the blood was Bob’s.
But the case was far from open and shut, as there were other suspects – including jealous boyfriends and husbands whose girlfriends and wives were featured in the actor’s erotic videos – who could have had motives.
Toward the unknowing end of his life, Bob had taken a liking to dinner theatre. In fact, he was murdered just five hours after a performance of the play, Beginner’s Luck, at the Windmill Dinner Theatre in Scottsdale, Arizona.
His friend, Mark Dawson, says dinner theater was “something that [Bob] wanted to do a lot” because it “gave him access to the public and to women.”
Furthermore, John Hook – author of Who Killed Bob Crane? – adds that at that point in the actor’s life, he was “trying to climb his way back,” though it sounds like he may have already burned too many bridges.
“He’s recognizing that some of this weirdness is causing problems,” explains Hook. “Some people in Hollywood, important people, are starting to catch wind that Bob’s got some interesting habits.”
Autopsy: The Last Hours of Bob Crane premieres Sunday, June 13 at 9 PM ET/PT on REELZ.