Many knew him as the barkeep in the Long Branch in Dodge City, but before tending bar, he was best known as the Frankenstein monster in a number early of Hollywood movies.
George Glenn Strange was born to William Russell Strange and Sarah Eliza Byrd Strange on August 16, 1899 in Weed, New Mexico Territory, nearly 13 years before New Mexico was a state.
Later the "George" was dropped from Glenn's professional name.
He grew up as a true cowboy in Cross Cut, Texas. His father was a rancher and a bartender.
Glenn quit school after 8th grade. Around 12, he taught himself the fiddle and guitar and began performing in his teenage years.
In the 1920's, he and a cousin, Taylor McPeters (Cactus Mack) toured throughout the country with the singing group the Arizona Wranglers. In addition to being an entertainer, Strange rode in rodeos for a while. He even had a short stint as a heavyweight boxer.
In the 1930's he sung for, and played as extras, in "B" western films.
At a large six-foot-five, he was sought after by Universal to play hulking creatures in Frankenstein movies, all this time continuing his work in westerns.
It was his resemblance to Boris Karloff, who was afraid of being type-cast as the Frankenstein monster, that landed him that role. In fact when Karloff died in 1969, Strange's Frankenstein appeared mistakenly in Karloff's obituaries in newspapers.
When the demand for western movies faded in the 1950's, Strange made his way into television productions where he appeared in numerous westerns.
In 1961, he began the small, but regular, role as Sam Noonan the bartender in Miss Kitty's Long Branch Saloon, Dodge City in the TV show, Gunsmoke.
This is a odd coincidence as his father was a bartender in real-life back in Cross Cut.
In at least one episode, Strange reprised his role as a fiddle player in some Dodge City social affair.
For 12 years he held this role until shortly before his death from lung cancer on Sept. 20, 1973 in Los Angeles.
He is interred at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills Cemetery, Hollywood, Calif.
But Glenn Strange lives on in the hearts of people in Dodge City as Sam the Bartender.