Buster Crabbe was born as Clarence Linden Crabbe II to Lucy Agnes McNamara (1885-
Raised in Hawaii, he graduated from Punahou School in Honolulu. He excelled as a swimmer and participated in two Olympic Games: 1928, where he won the bronze medal for the 1,500 meter freestyle, and 1932, where he won the gold medal for the 400 meter freestyle.
He attended the University of Southern California, where he was the school's first
Time magazine wrote on April 11, 1932: "Clarence (Buster) Crabbe, 22, of Los Angeles,
ablest distance swimmer in the United States: the 1,500-
Crabbe's role in the 1933 Tarzan serial Tarzan the Fearless launched a successful
career in which he starred in over one hundred movies. It would be the only movie
in which Crabbe starred as Tarzan. In the 1933's King of the Jungle, 1941's Jungle
Man, and the 1952 serial King of the Congo he played generic "jungle man" roles in
the Tarzan mode. He also starred in the first international film "Search for Beauty"
in 1934, and his next major role was in 1936 as Flash Gordon in the popular Flash
Gordon serial, which he reprised in two sequels, released by Universal in 1938 and
1940). Other characters he portrayed included Western hero Billy the Kid, Buck Rogers,
and a brother of his real-
Crabbe starred in the television series, Captain Gallant of the Foreign Legion (1955
to 1957) as Captain Michael Gallant; the adventure series aired on NBC. His real-
Crabbe made regular television appearances, including one on an episode of the 1979 series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, where he played a retired fighter pilot named "Brigadier Gordon" in honor of Flash Gordon. When Rogers (Gil Gerard) praises his flying, Gordon replies "I've been doing that sort of thing since before you were born." Rogers (who was born over 500 years earlier) responds "You think so?" to which Gordon replies "Young man, I know so!" Crabbe had, in fact, been playing "hot pilots" since long before Gerard was born.