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 Buster Crabbe

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Buster Crabbe Famous memorial

Original Name
Clarence Linden Crabbe II
Birth
Oakland, Alameda County, California, USA
Death
23 Apr 1983 (aged 75)
Scottsdale, Maricopa County, Arizona, USA
Burial
Scottsdale, Maricopa County, Arizona, USA
Plot
Heritage Gardens vault, not accessible to public view
Memorial ID
21280 View Source

Olympic Athlete and Actor. He is best remembered as one of the original action heroes of 1930s and 1940s cinema, as well as winning the 400-meter freestyle swimming gold medal at the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California. From there, he launched his acting career, most notably in the title role of the "Flash Gordon" and "Buck Rogers" serials, as well as the Western folk hero 'Billy the Kid'. He is the only actor to play Tarzan, Flash Gordon, and Buck Rogers, the top three syndicated comic strip heroes of the 1930s. Born Clarence Linden Crabbe II, his father was a real estate broker. He moved to Honolulu, Hawaii with his family where he graduated from the college preparatory Punahou School. In 1928 he won the bronze medal for the 1,500-meter freestyle at the Summer Olympics in Amsterdam, Netherlands and he won the gold medal for the 400-meter freestyle in 1932, when he beat Jean Taris of France by a tenth of a second. He attended the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, California, where he was the school's first All-American swimmer (1931) and a 1931 NCAA freestyle titlist. After graduating from USC in 1931, he intended to pursue a law degree if he did not succeed as an actor. In 1933 he made his film debut in "Tarzan the Fearless" and went on to star in several popular films at this time, including "The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi" (1933, with Betty Grable), "Search for Beauty" (1934), and played typical "jungle man" roles in the films "King of the Jungle" (1933), "Jungle Man" (1941), and the 1952 serial "King of the Congo". In 1936 he played the title role in the very successful "Flash Gordon" serial, followed by two sequels in 1938 and 1940. The series was shown later extensively on American television in the 1950s and 1960s, then edited for release on home video. In 1939 he played the title role in the "Buck Rogers" series. In the 1940s, he played 'Billy the Kid' in 36 different films and in the 1950s, two comic book series were named after him, 12 issues of "Buster Crabbe Comics," published by Eastern Color from 1951 to 1953, and Lev Gleason's "The Amazing Adventures of Buster Crabbe," for four issues in 1954. From 1955 until 1957 he starred in the title role of the NBC television series "Captain Gallant of the Foreign Legion". He was featured frequently in archival footage of the 1950s children's television program "The Gabby Hayes Show". In the 1960s, his film and television career declined, and he pursued business interests, including the vice-president of sales for the swimming pool company Cascade Industries of Edison, New Jersey. He also did television commercials for Hormel Chili, Icy Hot, and the Magic Mold Bodyshirt, an upper body male girdle of sorts, which purportedly helped in weight loss. He appeared in the 1982 feature film, "The Comeback Trail" one year before his death.

Olympic Athlete and Actor. He is best remembered as one of the original action heroes of 1930s and 1940s cinema, as well as winning the 400-meter freestyle swimming gold medal at the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California. From there, he launched his acting career, most notably in the title role of the "Flash Gordon" and "Buck Rogers" serials, as well as the Western folk hero 'Billy the Kid'. He is the only actor to play Tarzan, Flash Gordon, and Buck Rogers, the top three syndicated comic strip heroes of the 1930s. Born Clarence Linden Crabbe II, his father was a real estate broker. He moved to Honolulu, Hawaii with his family where he graduated from the college preparatory Punahou School. In 1928 he won the bronze medal for the 1,500-meter freestyle at the Summer Olympics in Amsterdam, Netherlands and he won the gold medal for the 400-meter freestyle in 1932, when he beat Jean Taris of France by a tenth of a second. He attended the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, California, where he was the school's first All-American swimmer (1931) and a 1931 NCAA freestyle titlist. After graduating from USC in 1931, he intended to pursue a law degree if he did not succeed as an actor. In 1933 he made his film debut in "Tarzan the Fearless" and went on to star in several popular films at this time, including "The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi" (1933, with Betty Grable), "Search for Beauty" (1934), and played typical "jungle man" roles in the films "King of the Jungle" (1933), "Jungle Man" (1941), and the 1952 serial "King of the Congo". In 1936 he played the title role in the very successful "Flash Gordon" serial, followed by two sequels in 1938 and 1940. The series was shown later extensively on American television in the 1950s and 1960s, then edited for release on home video. In 1939 he played the title role in the "Buck Rogers" series. In the 1940s, he played 'Billy the Kid' in 36 different films and in the 1950s, two comic book series were named after him, 12 issues of "Buster Crabbe Comics," published by Eastern Color from 1951 to 1953, and Lev Gleason's "The Amazing Adventures of Buster Crabbe," for four issues in 1954. From 1955 until 1957 he starred in the title role of the NBC television series "Captain Gallant of the Foreign Legion". He was featured frequently in archival footage of the 1950s children's television program "The Gabby Hayes Show". In the 1960s, his film and television career declined, and he pursued business interests, including the vice-president of sales for the swimming pool company Cascade Industries of Edison, New Jersey. He also did television commercials for Hormel Chili, Icy Hot, and the Magic Mold Bodyshirt, an upper body male girdle of sorts, which purportedly helped in weight loss. He appeared in the 1982 feature film, "The Comeback Trail" one year before his death.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 14 Apr 2001
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID: 21280
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/21280/buster-crabbe: accessed ), memorial page for Buster Crabbe (7 Feb 1908–23 Apr 1983), Find a Grave Memorial ID 21280, citing Green Acres Memorial Park, Scottsdale, Maricopa County, Arizona, USA; Cremated; Maintained by Find a Grave.