Barry Crane che era nato con il nome di Barry Cohen il 10 novembre del 1927 a Detroit, restò vittima il 5 luglio del 1985 di un brutale assassinio ancor oggi rimasto misterioso ed impunito mentre si trovava nel garage della sua lussuosa abitazione di Los Angeles, città nella quale faceva il direttore ed il produttore televisivo.
Barry ha diretto produzioni famose in tutto il mondo quali "Chip", "La donna bionica", "Hawaii Five-O", "Trapper John, M.D." e "Police Story".
È stato sposato due volte, prima con Arlene Crane e poi con Shirley Koblin, dalla quale ha avuto due figli, ma sempre ha divorziato.
Barry fu il giocatore che accumulò il più alto numero di Master Point di ogni tempo e, quando scomparve tragicamente nel 1985, ne aveva messi insieme la bellezza di 35.138!, quasi tre volte quelli del secondo classificato e più del doppio dei due "Number One" che lo avevano preceduto: Oswald Jacoby e Charles Goren.
Nella sua straordinaria e non lunga carriera di giocatore, Crane vinse oltre 1000 tornei, dei quali 700 avevano valore almeno Regionale. Tra essi ricordiamo il Wernher del 1966 e il Jacoby del 1983. Sul piano internazionale la sua migliore affermazione rimane il Campionato Mondiale a Coppie Miste vinto nel 1978.
Barry, che ha vinto anche per ben 7 volte il Silodor Trophy, viene da molti considerato come il più forte giocatore a coppie di tutti i tempi.
La IBPA lo nominò personalità dell'anno nel 1985, anno della sua tragica scomparsa, mentre, la ACBL che, gli ha concesso l'onore di far parte della Hall of Fame dal 1995, lo ricorda anche con il Barry Crane Trophy che sostituendo il preesistente William Mc Keeney Trophy, premia il giocatore americano che conquista il maggior numero di Master Point in ogni anno.
Barry Crane (1927 - 1985), widely recognized as the top matchpoint player of all time, was a successful director/producer of film and television. He is one of a small group of world champion bridge players whose presence enhanced many tournaments while they maintained active and highly respected careers outside of bridge.
Crane became ACBL’s top masterpoint holder in 1968, a position previously held only by Oswald Jacoby and Charles Goren. Crane amassed points at an astounding rate until, at the time of his death, he had 35,138, more than 11,000 ahead of any other players. On July 5, 1985, Crane was the victim of a brutal, unsolved murder.
Crane’s bridge career spanned almost four decades, beginning in the late Forties when he won his first regional. In 1951 when he was 23, his team finished second in the Vanderbilt Knockout Teams and he became ACBL Life Master #325.
He subsequently won 16 NABC titles – the first in 1953 and the last in 1983. He won the Open Pairs seven times, the Master Mixed Teams three times, the Mixed Pairs three times and the North American Swiss Teams, the NABC Men’s Pairs and the NABC Men’s Swiss Teams once each.
Records indicate the Crane won more than 1000 tournament championships, some 700 of which were pairs titles at the regional or higher level.
Crane won the Mc Keeney Trophy six times, and was runner-up six times. He exerted so much influence on the race that after his death it was renamed the "Barry Crane Top 500."
World-wide recognition came to Crane when, at the 1978 World Championships, he and Kerri Shuman (now Sanborn) ran away with the World Mixed Pairs in a field loaded with international stars. This stunning victory, by more than five boards, further enhanced Crane’s claim to the title of world’s best matchpoint player.
Despite his bridge addiction, Crane had an abiding passion for his work. It never bothered him when he couldn't go to a tournament, because his job was his prime interest.
He usually could arrange his TV production schedule so he could attend most tournaments for a few days.
A habitual weekend commuter, he said he would travel anywhere within flying distance for a regional and anywhere within driving distance for a sectional.
Many of the personal and professional attributes that led to Crane’s success in television carried over to his remarkable mastery in the world of tournament bridge.
In his TV classic, Mission Impossible, Crane’s contributions were many and varied. He produced the show, directed it, wrote it and advanced many innovative ideas to both the script and the remarkable technology.
Crane was once asked why he didn't write up his bidding style and publish it. He never bothered, he said, because the financial rewards from such a book wouldn't have been worth his time. He could bat out a script for a show that would make more money in less time.
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.
One Crane obituary recalled the words of S. J. Simon, who said that there are two kinds of bridge players – the Parrots and the Naturals. "Barry Crane," the story said, "was a Natural. We shall not see his like again."