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Glenn Strange

Glenn Strange

Glenn Strange was born George Glenn Strange in Weed, near El Paso in Texas (now part of New Mexico) on the 16th of August, 1899.

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein 1948 Ultimate Guide Magazine

An eighth-generation grandson of Pocahontas, the young Glenn Strange grew up in the tiny village of Cross Cut and learned to play fiddle and guitar by ear, performing at cowboy dances at just twelve years of age. Working initially as a rancher, Strange moved to Hollywood in 1930 as part of the radio singing group Arizona Wranglers.

House of Frankenstein (Universal 1944)

Apart from Boris Karloff, Glenn Strange was the only actor who got to play the Monster three times. In his first outing, Karloff coached him onset – House of Frankenstein (Universal 1944)

Glenn Strange’s first motion picture role came in 1932, and he quickly carved out a niche in cowboy roles – in which, given his upbringing, he naturally excelled. However, a sea change in his career would see Glenn Strange forever remembered for an altogether different genre than his previous cowboy work.

A Pictorial History of Universal Monsters Volume Two: The Forties and Fifties Magazine

Playing lycanthrope Petro in PRC’s B-movie The Mad Monster (1941), Strange took his first step into the world of movie monsters, and shortly afterwards was noticed by Universal’s make-up artist Jack P Pierce, who thought he would be perfect in the role of the Frankenstein Monster.

House of Dracula (Universal 1945)

Glenn Strange reprised his role as the Monster in House of Dracula (Universal 1945), this time opposite the mad scientist in the guise of Dr Edelmann (Onslow Stevens)

Personally coached by Boris Karloff, Glenn Strange took on the role of the Monster in House of Frankenstein (1944); however, his towering 6’5” frame meant that, unlike his predecessor in the role, he did not require lifts in his shoes. Interestingly, although Karloff is usually cited as the “iconic” Frankenstein Monster, it was Strange’s likeness which was used as the visual reference for toys, games and other merchandise.

House of Frankenstein 1944 Ultimate Guide Magazine

Reprising the role he had made his own, Glenn Strange played the Monster in House of Dracula (1945), where he fell foul of co-star Lon Chaney Jr’s hard-living antics. Developing a chill from lying in cold mud for hours, Strange was given alcohol by Chaney under the pretence of it keeping him warm, and became heavily inebriated on set. Strange’s likeness to Chaney often led to the two being mistaken for one another.

The Mad Monster (PRC 1941)

Glenn Strange began his monster career as a werewolf, opposite George Zucco, in The Mad Monster (PRC 1941)

House of Dracula 1945 Ultimate Guide Magazine

Glenn Strange’s third appearance as the Frankenstein Monster came in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948), where he inadvertently caused great panic behind the scenes. Always fond of children, he approached Lou Costello’s young daughter whilst wearing his full monster make-up; the girl was carried, terrified, from the set.

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (Universal 1948)

Despite Boris Karloff being the most famous Frankenstein Monster, it is often Glenn Strange’s likeness that is used for artwork and models, from this iconic still from Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

In his later career, Glenn Strange returned to TV work. He played a key part in the TV series The Lone Ranger as villain Butch Cavendish, responsible for killing all the Texas Rangers but the titular hero, and held the role of bartender Sam in Gunsmoke for twelve years. In a hark-back to his horror career, though, he was one of the first actors to be asked to play the title role in Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954).

Classic Monsters of the Movies Magazine issue #6

Married three times, Glenn Strange had four children. He died of lung cancer on the 20th of September, 1973 in Los Angeles, California, and was interred at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles.

The Universal Frankenstein Movies 1931-1948

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    billy patscher jr.
    March 13, 2016

    hi, i love your website its great i love the old monster films when i was little my sister used to sit on the couch & eat popcorn & watch the old films in the 60’s& 70;s great memories & gerat times is this items avaible in the usa i live in clifton nj thanks billy

    Danny Kelly
    September 11, 2018

    What a marvellous Talented actor! Thanks for the scares Glenn!

    Michael J. Metcalf
    October 3, 2021

    One of my favorites.

    April 10, 2022

    I just found out recently through genealogy research that I’m a 10th generation descendant of Pocahontas. Glenn Strange (along with several other famous folks are also descended from her, including Wayne Newton, President George W. Bush, 1st lady Nancy Reagan, actor Edward Norton, 1st lady Edith Wilson and US Senator Jeanne Shaheen.

    Out of all those names, it’s Glenn Strange that really got me. I’ve loved him for years for his Frankenstein character and for his portrayal of Sam the bartender in the TV show, Gunsmoke.

    Paul Holmes
    August 15, 2023

    I had no idea Glen had acted in horror films. Having watched him for years in Gunsmoke it was a pleasant surprise for me. I’ve always been a fan of his Gunsmoke character.

    Tamra L Riley
    April 22, 2024

    Glen Strange was my grandmother’s cousin on his mother’s side.

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