Who was Glenn Strange?
George Glenn Strange was born in Weed, then New Mexico Territory, USA, on 16 August 1899 – his zodiac sign was Leo, and he held American nationality. He was an actor and a musician, who appeared in more than 300 movies and TV series, and is perhaps still remembered best for his portrayal of The Monster (Frankenstein) in the 1948 family fantasy comedy movie “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein”. It was directed by Charles Barton and Walter Lantz, starred Bud Abbott, Lou Costello and Lon Chaney Jr, and follows Dracula who wants to take a porter’s brain for the body of the monster Frankenstein; the movie won three of the five awards for which it was nominated.
Early life and education
Glenn was raised in Weed by his father William Russell Strange who was a bartender, and who later became a rancher, and his mother Sarah Eliza Strange (nee Byrd) who was a housewife; because he didn’t speak of having any siblings, it’s believed that Glenn was an only child.
Glenn became interested in music at a very early age, and taught himself to play the guitar and the fiddle; he was 12 years old when he started playing at cowboy dances. He attended a local high school, at which he was interested in various things, but was mostly focused on music and playing sports.
He matriculated in 1917, and then focused on helping his father on their ranch, becoming a young rancher himself.
In 1928, Glenn started playing the guitar on radio in El Paso, Texas, and two years later he arrived in Hollywood, California as a member of Arizona Wranglers, a singing group. He launched his acting career in the same year, after being noticed by a film director.
Roles in movies
Glenn made his debut film appearance in the 1930 western “The Mounted Stranger”, and the following year saw him appear in more than 10 movies, including the mystery western “The Range Feud”, and the westerns “The Gay Buckaroo” and “The Deadline”.
In 1934, he was cast to play Townsman in the western “Law of the Wild”, written and directed by B. Reeves Eason, and which starred Rex, Rin Tin Tin Jr. and Ben Turpin.
It follows the wild stallion Rex and the police dog Rinty, who are trying to help their owner John Sheldon who has been framed for murder. Some of Glenn’s other notable performances in the ‘30s were in the 1935 western “Moonlight on the Prairie”, the western “The Law of the 45’s” in the same year, and the 1939 western “The Phantom Stage”.
In 1941, he was cast to play Tex – Benton Rider in the western “Riders of Death Valley”, directed by Ford Beebe and Ray Taylor, and which starred Dick Foran, Leo Carrillo and Buck Jones. The movie follows several people who are trying to fight off Wolfe Reade and his group of outlaws. The following years saw Glenn play supporting characters in a couple of other popular western films, such as “The Bandit Trail”, “Arizona Cyclone”, and “Return of the Rangers”.
One of his most notable performances in the ‘40s was his portrayal of Curt Calvin in the 1949 western “Rimfire”, directed by Reeves Eason, and which starred James Millican, Mary Beth Hughes and Reed Hadley. The movie follows an army officer who’s become a deputy in a small town, which is being haunted by the ghost of a wrongfully convicted and hanged gambler.
Some of Glenn’s most notable performances in the ‘50s were in the 1953 action adventure drama “The Veils of Baghdad”, the 1954 romantic action western “Cattle Queen of Montana”, and the 1957 romantic western drama “The Halliday Brand”.
Three of his final movie roles were in the 1959 western “The Jayhawkers!”, the 1963 historical war drama “The Cardinal”, and the 1965 mystery horror drama “Curse of the Fly”.
Roles in TV series
Glenn made his debut TV series appearance in the 1951 episode “The Road to Monterey” of the western “The Adventures of Kit Carson”, while the remainder of the ‘50s then saw him make a guest appearance in an episode or two of various series, such as the science fiction action adventure “Space Patrol”, the western “Hopalong Cassidy” and the family mystery comedy “The Abbott and Costello Show”.
What was perhaps the most notable performance for Glenn in the ‘50s was his portrayal of Red Herring and Crazy Thunder, in several episodes of the comedy drama “General Electric Theater” in 1958 and 1959. It was created by Joe Connelly, starred Ronald Reagan, Don Herbert and Nancy Reagan, with each episode a different comedy story, starring different actors and actresses; it aired from 1953 to 1962, and won two of the 26 awards for which it was nominated, including 11 Primetime Emmy nominations.
Glenn was mostly focused on appearing in series in the ‘60s, with some of his most memorable roles having been in the western “The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp”, the western “Sugarfoot” and the critically acclaimed action crime drama “The Untouchables”, which won six awards including two Primetime Emmys, while it was nominated for seven other awards.
Three of Glenn’s final roles in TV series were in an impressive 245 episodes of the very popular long-running western “Gunsmoke”, between 1961 and 1973. Concurrently, two episodes of the short action adventure mini-series “The Adventures of the Spirit” in 1963, and the 1964 episode “Behind All Silver, There’s a Cold Lining” of the comedy “Petticoat Junction”.
Glenn sang various songs in close to 20 movies and TV series, including in the 1935 western film “His Fighting Blood”, the 1940 western movie “Wagon Train”, and the 1946 western film “Beauty and the Bandit”.
He appeared in a couple of talk-shows, such as “The Merv Griffin Show” and “This Is Your Life”.
The 1987 adventure western movie “Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge” featured a special thanks for Glenn.
Awards and nominations
Glenn won a 1972 Western Heritage Award for Fictional Television Drama, for his and his colleagues’ performance in “Gunsmoke”.
Love life and wife
Glenn married his first wife Flora Hooper on 29 April 1920; she was a non-celebrity American woman from Duncan in Oklahoma, and Flora and Glenn had two daughters together, named Juanita and Wynema. They divorced for unknown reasons in the first half of the ‘30s.
In 1937, Glenn married another non-celebrity American woman, Minnie Thompson, and she gave birth to their daughter Janine Laraine Strange in 1939.
The marriage ended with Glenn’s death in 1973, while Minnie passed away in 2004, aged 93.
Glenn didn’t speak of any other women whom he had perhaps been with, but it’s believed by some that he had dated several popular actresses.
Hobbies and other interests
Glenn loved to travel, and his acting career had taken him all around the US. He apparently also visited various European countries for pleasure, including France and England.
He was a huge fan of hunting, and practiced the sport at least once a week with his friends. He was also into fishing.
He enjoyed cooking too, and often helped his wife around the kitchen.
Glenn was interested in numerous things prior to launching his acting career, and was at some point a professional boxer, deputy sheriff and a police officer.
During his boxing career, he once faced the late Italian actor and World Heavyweight Champion Primo Carnera.
Glenn had his own favorite actors and actresses, some of who were Henry Fonda, Laurence Olivier and Greta Garbo, while a couple of his favorite movies were “12 Angry Men”, “Warlock” and “Fort Apache”.
Glenn died on 20 September 1973 at his home in Los Angeles, after having fought lung cancer. His friend, the late American singer and actor Eddie Dean, sang at his funeral service.
Age, height and net worth
Glenn was 74 years old at the time of his death. He had short brown hair and brown eyes, his height was 6ft 5ins (1.95m) and he weighed around 220lbs (100kgs).
Glenn’s net worth was estimated at over $3 million.