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Glenn Strange Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (17) | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (5)

Born in Weed, New Mexico, USA
Died in Los Angeles, California, USA  (lung cancer)
Birth NameGeorge Glenn Strange
Nicknames Pee Wee
Glen Strange
The Arizona Wranglers
Height 6' 6" (1.98 m)

Mini Bio (1)

At various times in his life a rancher, deputy sheriff and rodeo performer, this huge, towering (6' 5") beast of a man was born George Glenn Strange in Weed, New Mexico, on August 16, 1899, but grew up a real-life cowboy in Cross Cut, Texas. Of Irish and Cherokee Indian descent, he taught himself (by ear) the fiddle and guitar at a young age and started performing at local functions as a teen. In the late 1920s, Glenn and his cousin, Taylor McPeters, better known later as the western character actor Cactus Mack, joined a radio singing group known as the "Arizona Wranglers" that toured throughout the country.

They both started providing singing fillers in film westerns in the early 1930s. Glenn would play extra or bit roles for a number of years B Western and serials. One of his first roles was uncredited as a soldier, in tin armor, as part of "Ming's Army", in the sci fi classic serial "Flash Gordon"(1936/I). He would play a cowhand, rustler, henchman, sidekick, or plain ol' warbling, harmonica-blowing cowboy. Eventually in the late 30s, his billing improved and he evolved into a full-time bad guy in hundreds of "B" westerns. He was seen (or glimpsed) in many of the popular serials of the day, including The Hurricane Express (1932), Law of the Wild (1934),

The Lone Ranger Rides Again (1939), and Riders of Death Valley (1941). It was his massive build that helped him break into the Universal horror picture genre of the 1940s. Horror star Boris Karloff had grown weary and fearful of his Frankenstein Creature typecast and abandoned the role. Glenn was the perfect replacement for the job and made his monstrous debut with House of Frankenstein (1944), quickly followed by House of Dracula (1945). It was he who played the Creature in the cult horror/comedy classic Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) as part of the monstrous trio of Bela Lugosi's Dracula and Lon Chaney Jr.'s Wolf Man.

As the "B" western started faded off into the sunset in the 1950s, Strange moseyed on over to TV work. He played the nemesis "Butch Cavendish" and later reprised the role, after a prison escape, on "The Lone Ranger" (1949). Among other TV roles, he capped off his career with a steady (12 years) role as Sam the bartender on the classic Gunsmoke (1955) series from 1962 until shortly before his death from lung cancer in 1973.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (2)

Minnie Thompson Strange (1937 - 20 September 1973) (his death) (1 child)
Flora Eola Hooper (29 April 1920 - ?) (divorced) (2 children)

Trade Mark (1)

Towering height

Trivia (17)

He was one of the first actors to be asked to play The Creature in Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954).
He was known to love children. On the set of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948), he approached Lou Costello's little girl, Chris Costello, while in his full Frankenstein makeup. She panicked and had to be carried from the set.
Working on a film at Universal, he noticed that the makeup man, department head Jack P. Pierce, kept looking at his face. Pierce asked Strange if he would stay after work, for an extra $25.00, for a makeup test which might lead to another acting job. Pierce covered the mirrors and applied the makeup. When the mirrors were uncovered, Strange claimed that "I look like Boris Karloff". Pierce thought that Strange's face had the right characteristics for the Frankensein monster makeup. Strange took over the role in House of Frankenstein (1944).
He was the fourth child of William Russell Strange & Sarah Eliza Byrd. He is the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great- grandson of Pocahontas and John Rolfe.
Though Boris Karloff is more popular as the Frankenstein Monster, it is Strange's version that is often used by Universal Studios for marketing purposes.
A singing/songwriting cowboy by trade, he collaborated on various tunes with western actor Eddie Dean, including the opening title song for Dean's oater Tumbleweed Trail (1946). In 1973 Dean would sing at Glenn's funeral service.
Hobbies: hunting, fishing . . . and cooking.
Children by his third wife, Minnie Thompson: Harry Glenn Strange and Janine Laraine Strange.
He is interred at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills Cemetery, Hollywood, CA.
Boris Karloff's obituary in 1969 was run in newspapers with Strange's picture as Frankenstein's monster.
Before becoming an actor, he had various jobs, including singer, professional boxer (he once fought heavyweight Primo Carnera), cattle rancher, rodeo rider, deputy sheriff in New Mexico and police officer in Durant, OK.
Bore a strong likeness to Lon Chaney Jr., with whom he was sometimes confused.
Unlike Boris Karloff, he did not require lifts to be placed in his shoes while playing The Frankenstein Monster - he stood almost 6'4".
Was bed-ridden with lung cancer when his good friend Lon Chaney Jr. passed away. Bob Burns, who was working at CBS at the time, was asked to find somebody to talk about Chaney. Burns went to Strange that night and told him that no one would speak for him. Strange said, "I will." He got out of bed and traveled to the studio with Burns. Burns later remarked how moving it was that Strange, dying himself, came in for his friend. Six months later Strange passed away.
Profiled in "Character Actors in Horror and Science Fiction Films, 1930-1960" by Laurence Raw (2012).
He was an eighth generation great grandson of John Rolfe and Pocahontas through his maternal grandfather.

Personal Quotes (2)

[on Yakima Canutt] I never, in all the time I worked with Yak, I never saw a guy get hurt if they did what Yak told them to do. They tell me Yak got hurt one time over at MGM, a mule fell back on him-on Boom Town (1940). That was just a freak accident thing, but I'm talking about things he would rig up. For instance, he'd hook a four-up to a wagon, then come down a road and you'd see him bend 'em, he had a way of pulling the kingpin which let the horses loose and he'd go with the horses and the wagon would just pick itself up and wrap itself around a tree. The guy somehow had a knack for rigging the thing where he got just the effect he wanted. He'd jump from the stagecoach boot to the first team, then the second team, then go underneath and crawl back up on the coach again. He's a perfectionist when it comes to figuring out a stunt and how to get the maximum out of it. Still, it's safe for everybody involved in it, if they do what he tells them to do.
I'm six foot four to start with, and with the makeup and padding, I'd wear a size 70 coat, the boots had six-inch soles, and by the time I was ready to film, I was just about seven feet tall.

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