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Glenn Strange

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Biography

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Actor
Born:
August 16, 1899 in Weed, NM
Death:
September 20, 1973
Biography
A New Mexican of Native American extraction, actor Glenn Strange held down several rough-and-tumble jobs, from deputy sheriff to rodeo rider, before settling on a singing career. He made his radio bow on Los Angeles station KNX (the CBS-owned affiliate) as a member of the Arizona Wranglers singing group. Thanks to his husky physique and plug-ugly features, Strange had no trouble finding work as a stuntman/villain in western films and serials. He also displayed a flair for comedy as the sidekick to singing cowboy Dick Foran in a series of B-sagebrushers of the late '30s. During the war years, Strange became something of a bargain-basement Lon Chaney Jr., playing homicidal halfwits in a handful of horror pictures made at PRC and other low-budget studios. These appearances led to his being cast as the Frankenstein monster in the 1944 Universal programmer House of Frankenstein; he was coached in this role by the "creature" from the original 1931 Frankenstein, Boris Karloff. Given very little to do in House of Frankenstein and the 1945 sequel House of Dracula other than stalk around with arms outstretched at fadeout time, Strange brought none of the depth and pathos to the role that distinguished Karloff's appearances. Strange was shown to better advantage in his last appearance as The Monster in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) where he convincingly menaced the eternally frightened Lou Costello and even indulged in a couple of time-honored "scare" routines, while still remaining in character (Some scenes had to be reshot because Strange couldn't stop laughing at Costello's antics; towards the end of shooting, Strange broke his ankle and had to be replaced in a few shots by Lon Chaney Jr., who was costarring in the film as the Wolf Man). Though typecast as heavies in both movies and television -- he played the hissable Butch Cavendish in the Lone Ranger TV pilot -- Strange was well known throughout Hollywood as a genuine nice guy and solid family man. Glenn Strange's last engagement of note was his 11-year run (1962-73) as Sam, the Long Branch bartender on TV's Gunsmoke. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
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