Bridge’s Cold Case: The Murder of Barry Crane

Bridge’s Cold Case: The Murder of Barry Crane

By Alex J. Coyne © 2019 Great Bridge Links

At one point, Barry Crane was one of the leading men in bridge with a record-breaking number of ACBL Masterpoints that he had racked up at every tournament he could attend. He was known for producing and directing television shows like Mission: Impossible, but extended much of his influence and presence to bridge.

Crane was found murdered in his garage in the 1980’s – with no apparent signs of motive. The case ran cold from there, with only a few throwaway leads found at the scene – until evidence was recently linked to a suspect, which then led to an arrest.

34 years later, n the 9th of May, 2019, the FBI together with Burke County PD finally arrested a suspect in the murder case of Barry Crane.

Great Bridge Links and Alex J. Coyne examined the man, the murder, the news and the arrested suspect to find out more.

Who Was Barry Crane?

Barry Crane was born in the 20’s, married and divorced twice – first to Arlene Crane and then to Shirlee Koblin – and was a strong driving force behind a lot of what was on television in the 1970s and 80s.

Barry Crane served as a producer for Mission: Impossible, Mannix and The Six Million Dollar Man. He also directed five episodes of The Incredible Hulk, four episodes of Hawaii Five-O eleven episodes of ChiPs, eight episodes of The Bionic Woman and a long list of others.

Many bridge players today will be familiar with the name Barry Crane because it is the title of the ACBL’s Top 500 Masterpoint Race. During his life, Crane played his way to the top of the game, holding the most ACBL Masterpoints at the time – a record he achieved in 1968.

According to the ACBL Hall of Fame, Crane had collected a total of 35, 183 masterpoints at the time of his death. The ACBL also mentions that he won more than 1, 000 tournament championships during his bridge career.

In many respects Crane was an A-1 ambassador and publicist for bridge all over North America . No one gave as many interviews to the media in as many different cities and towns.

ACBL Hall of Fame

He clearly had an impact on everyone who met him: Encounters and stories about Crane can be found everywhere (including here on, often described as fascinating and energetic.

The Murder

On July 5, 1985 Kerri Sanborn (then Shuman) was waiting at the playing site of Bridge Week in Las Angeles for her bridge partner Barry Crane who never showed up.

A housekeeper found Crane, 57, dead in his garage in his Studio City townhouse. We dug the original article out of the NY Times Archive from July 7, 1985 (“Barry Crane Bridge Expert Found Slain in Los Angeles”).

“He was found bludgeoned shortly before 3 P.M. in the garage of his luxury town home in Studio City, a neighborhood of Los Angeles. The police said he was apparently killed in the apartment and dragged to the garage.”

A CNN piece reports that it was cigarette butts and a foam cup along with a fingerprint found in Crane’s old, stolen Cadillac that had later been linked to suspect Edwin Hiatt and led to his arrest in Burke County, North Carolina at an auto repairshop where he worked on the 9th of May, 2019.

Footage from WSOC-TV, also mentioned in the CNN piece, reports that Hiatt was quoted at his arrest saying, “Anything is possible back then because I was big into drugs.”

Later, he reportedly confessed to Crane’s murder.