In June 1978, Crane was living in the Winfield Place Apartments in Scottsdale, Arizona while appearing in Beginner’s Luck at the Windmill Dinner Theatre. On the afternoon of June 29 Crane’s co-star Victoria Ann Berry found his body in his apartment after he failed to show up for a lunch meeting. Crane had been bludgeoned to death with a weapon that was never found, though investigators believed it to be a camera tripod. An electrical cord had been tied around his neck.
Crane’s funeral was held on July 5 at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in Westwood. An estimated 200 family members and friends attended, including Patty Duke, John Astin, and Carroll O’Connor. Pallbearers included Hogan’s Heroes producer Edward Feldman, co-stars Larry Hovis and Robert Clary, and Crane’s eldest son, Robert. Crane was interred in Oakwood Memorial Park in Chatsworth, California.
More than 20 years after his death, Crane’s widow, Sigrid Valdis, had his remains exhumed and transported approximately 25 miles southeast to Westwood Village Memorial Park in Westwood. After her death from lung cancer in 2007, Valdis was buried next to him.
- July, 13, 1928
- Waterbury, Connecticut
- June, 29, 1978
- Scottsdale, Arizona
Cause of Death
- bludgeoned to death with a weapon
- Westwood Memorial Park
- Los Angeles, California