Glenn Strange

Glenn Strange

74 (passed away Sep. 20th, 1973)
Aug. 16th, 1899
Born in
Weed, New Mexico, USA
6' 5"

Glenn Strange's Main TV Roles

Show Character(s)
Gunsmoke TV Show
A History Of Horror With Mark Gatiss (UK) TV Show
A History Of Horror With Mark Gatiss (UK)

Main Movie Roles

Guest TV Roles

[none found]


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 -- whether 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), Flash Gordon (1936/I), 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 Bud Abbott Lou 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, capping 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.

  • Hobbies: hunting, fishing...and cooking.
  • He was one of the first actors to be asked to play The Creature in _Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)_ (qv).
  • Though 'Boris Karloff' (qv) is more popular as the Frankenstein Monster, it is Strange's version that is often used by Universal Studios for marketing purposes.
  • 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 & John Rolfe.
  • Children by his third wife, Minnie Thompson: Harry Glenn Strange and Janine Laraine Strange.
  • Cousin of 'Rex Allen' (qv) and 'Cactus Mack' (qv).
  • He played Butch Cavendish, the chief nemesis of the Lone Ranger, in _"The Lone Ranger" (1949)_ (qv).
  • He was known to love children. On the set of _Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)_ (qv), he approached 'Lou Costello (I)' (qv)'s little girl, 'Chris Costello (I)' (qv), while in his full Frankenstein makeup. She panicked and had to be carried from the set.

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