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Michael Crawford Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (2) | Trivia (57) | Personal Quotes (6)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 19 January 1942Salisbury, Wiltshire, England, UK
Birth NameMichael Patrick Dumbell-Smith
Nickname MC
Height 5' 10½" (1.79 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Michael Crawford was born on January 19, 1942 in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England as Michael Patrick Dumbell-Smith. He is an actor, known for Hello, Dolly! (1969), Once Upon a Forest (1993) and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966). He was previously married to Gabrielle Lewis.

Spouse (1)

Gabrielle Lewis (1965 - 30 October 1975) (divorced) (2 children)

Trade Mark (2)

Known for his roles, Frank Spencer in Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em (1973) and the Phantom in the stage production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "The Phantom of the Opera."
His youthful, light voice

Trivia (57)

He helped British ice dancers Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean learn various circus stunts for their free program at the 1983 World Championships, where they used music from the show. (Torvill and Dean won that year.)
He was awarded an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 1987 Queen's Honours List for his services to drama.
Shared a Spanish villa with John Lennon while they were filming How I Won the War (1967).
He is the President of "The Sick Children's Trust" since 1987
He has two daughters, Emma and Lucy by his ex-wife, Gabrielle Lewis. Lucy was married in the Fall of 1994 and Emma married Jeremy Bevan in November, 1994 in England, UK. He does have another child, with a former girlfriend, but he, the child, and her mother, and both families prefer to keep any history about that private.
His mother, Doris Dumbell-Smith, died tragically when he was only 21 years old. He was closest to his Irish/Welsh grandmother, Edith Kathleen O'Keefe, who later died at 99.
He has won many awards over the years. Two Laurence Olivier Theatre Awards for his roles in "Barnum" (1981) and "The Phantom of the Opera" (1987). He also has won the coveted Tony Award in 1988 for "The Phantom of the Opera", Drama Desk Awards, a BAFTA, and numerous others for his achievements in entertainment.
Performed most of his own stunts on the British sitcom Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em (1973).
Is a proud grandfather, but prefers to be known to them as "Papa".
He has performed in radio, television, film, recordings, theater, and opera. He has also dabbled in writing, dancing, and has tried directing . He also has won numerous awards apart from the Oscar. Among his many awards are the Tony, Olivier, BAFTA, Drama Desk and many others.
Won Broadway's 1988 Tony Award as Best Actor (Musical) for "Phantom of the Opera."
Made it to the Top 20 of the 100 Best Britons List.
Calls himself "Anglo-Irish", as he is part English, Irish, and Welsh.
As a boy, he loved workshop, French class, gymnastics, sports, and music and drama class. He was also voted as a young boy, the class clown, to escape being bullied at school.
Early in his career, he performed in the Shakespearean play, Coriolanus in the role of the Second Citizen and Second Serving Man. Interestingly enough, Gerard Butler, who played the phantom in The Phantom of the Opera (2004), also performed in the same play as a young man in the same role.
As a child, he was a loner, due to girls rejecting him as he was not handsome enough and bullies from his schools making fun of him. So his first real acting began when, as a child, he invented characters and performed all the parts, to make up for being lonely.
As the deformed phantom, in Andrew Lloyd Webber's "The Phantom of the Opera" he earned 7 1/2% of the takings.
Created the role of Count Fosco for Andrew Lloyd Webber's "The Woman in White", in which he wore a fat suit and facial prosthetics that covered most of his face. He was so unrecognizable, people who knew him, when they saw the show or even backstage, didn't even know it was him, until he spoke.
E! Channel nominated him one of the Most Sexiest Men in the World in 1995.
Enjoys a variety of music and different singers, ranging from Plácido Domingo to Robbie Williams.
Has worked with rodents in two shows, "Flowers for Algernon" (he played Charlie Gurdon) and in the recent "The Woman in White" (as Count Fosco) and doesn't mind them at all.
In America, he is best known for the role of "Erik" the Phantom in "The Phantom of the Opera". But in the UK and Canada and Australia, he is best known for the role of Frank Spencer from Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em (1973). Although he loved creating the characters and they are still very close to him at heart, he has moved onto other projects and roles.
Loves to travel.
Since his divorce from Gabrielle (his former wife), he has admitted to phoning her just to hear her voice. He and Gabrielle are now close friends.
He used to be an avid smoker, till he quit in the 1970s for health reasons. He was an avid Guinness drinker but quit that early on, also for health reasons.
Was cast for the role of Cornelius Hackl in Hello, Dolly! (1969), by Gene Kelly after auditioning in a 1960s outfit of striped blue pants and a checkered shirt (after changing his clothes numerous times) with a bleeding (from shaving too many times) face and trying to tap dance. Kelly said, "What we are looking for (for Cornelius Hackl) is an attractive idiot. My wife thinks you're attractive, and I think you're an idiot".
He still sees Ian Adam for occasional singing lessons and it was at one such lesson where Sarah Brightman heard him sing and recommended him to Andrew Lloyd Webber for the role of the Phantom.
When he took up singing seriously again (for the musical "Billy" in 1974) after having left singing to perform in films, he went to singing coach, Ian Adam (who also taught Sarah Brightman, Elaine Paige, Michael Ball, and Sean Connery). At the first meeting, Ian asked Michael to sing something. And when he sang "Danny Boy" Ian remarked that "he was standing underneath a portrait of John McCormack, that hangs in the singing room, and it brought back tremendous memories of how John McCormack sang". After he finished his piece, Ian said, "Well, now I have to tell you. There is a wee bit of work to be done on the top (of his voice), and a wee bit of work, down below. And a little bit in the middle, other than that you have a great voice". And Michael, in reply said, "I am terribly sorry for bothering you and I'll leave now.".
He sang and performed dramatic opera as a young boy. He played Sammy the Sweepboy in "Let's Make an Opera" and then Benjamin Britten hired him to play Japeth in "Noye's Flood", based on the Biblical story of Noah's Flood in Genesis. When he returned to studying singing seriously, he took up singing operatic arias to get his voice in shape, especially for the role of the Phantom.
Is a consummate perfectionist, and is well known as such in the theater.
His youngest daughter, Lucy (by Gabrielle Lewis), actually sang with her father on his record, "The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber", in the song "Other Pleasures/The First Man You Remember", and it was the last time they ever recorded something together.
As a young boy, before turning to acting, he wanted to be either a pilot or a soccer player. But when he discovered making people laugh, he chose acting.
As a singer, he practices for two hours a day warming up his voice and then another hour to sing normally.
As a young boy Michael sold eggs from a stall on Brixton Market in London.
He made his film debut at the tender age of 15 in the British children's film, "Soapbox Derby" for the Children's Film Foundation. He also did his very first stunt work in this film, diving off into the River Thames to rescue a boy from drowning. He later had to have his stomach pumped to get rid of the filthy water from the Thames.
Originally, in the role of the Phantom, he wore contact lenses (for a greater effect of the character) on stage - one dark blue and the other opaque. But the contact lenses severely diminished his vision to such an extent he had to be led around backstage by some of the crew and needed flashlights to be shown where to step and go. But during the New York run, Lucille Ball, who came to see the show, demanded for him to take them out or he'd ruin his eyesight, which he quickly did. Upon leaving, she replied, "And I don't want to hear that you've put them back on again, once I leave".
To prepare for the role of Phineas Taylor Barnum (or better known as [error]) in the London production of "Barnum," he took up studying circus training at the Big Apple Circus School in New York City. After further training in preparation for the second run of 'Barnum,' he was awarded a British Amateur Gymnastics Association badge and certificate as a qualified coach.
He has performed in almost all mediums of entertainment, including Radio, Television, Recordings, Films, Theater, Musicals, and even Opera. He also has dabbled in writing.
Is a fan of the old Hollywood style of films; ranging from the 1950s all the way back to the silent film era. Some of the performers he enjoys to watch on film are Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis, Lana Turner, Harold Lloyd, Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy, Gene Kelly, James Stewart, Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison, Mary Pickford, and even Buster Keaton, with whom he worked in his first movie musical, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966) in 1965-6. Michael played the role of Hero, while Buster Keaton played the role of Erronious, which was Buster's last film role.
Known to work very hard for his charities involving health care for children and teens in life threatening situations. "The Sick Children's Trust", "The Lighthouse Foundation", "National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children", among others and enjoys meeting with the people in those charities.
Once treated a little girl named Vanessa, who was suffering from the final stages of leukemia, to a very rare, private performance of "Barnum" (which he had been doing at the time) as a special treat for her, even having the theater remove some of the seats to make way for her nurses, hospital bed, and family to come and watch and Michael and the entire cast performed the show just for her. Vanessa, tragically, later died of the disease and even today, he still fondly remembers her.
During the early 60s, long before he was known for the roles of the Phantom in "The Phantom of the Opera" and Frank Spencer in "Some Mother's Do 'Ave 'Em", he was best known in England for the Mod-style tough motorcycle riding, Byron in the BBC satirical series, "Not So Much A Programme, More a Way of Life".
As Frank Spencer, in Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em (1973), he did many stunts, some quite hazardous to the normal person, in portraying a certain scene or part. So much so did people associate him with this image that they literally thought he was as clumsy in real life as he was on the show. But in reality, although he admitted to a few comical episodes in real life in the past, he is in no way anywhere near as clumsy as his character Frank is.
The first Disney film he ever saw Dumbo (1941). Years later, he performed his version of the famous lullaby from the film, "Baby Mine," on the DVD release.
During his early career, he used to do heavy dramatic plays - such as Shakespeare, French tragedy, satire, and etc. One of his first dramatic roles was when he played the part of Henry the 8th on an early BBC Radio show, and later on performed in more than 100 radio broadcasts. He also was on the early "live" BBC soap operas playing motorcycle accident victims, bad guys, drug addicts and such.
During the celebrations for the Queen Elizabeth II's silver jubilee in 1976, Michael toured the children's street parties near his home in Bedfordshire. The kids were delighted!.
His father, contrary to some reports, is not Arthur Dumble-Smith. Dumble-Smith was an Royal Air Force pilot killed in WWII two years before Michael was born. Born out of wedlock, he was raised by his widowed mother, Doris, and her parents, and given his mother's first husband's surname.
While Michael was singing the song "Please Wake Up" for the film "Once Upon a Forest," he tried really hard not to cry while he was singing because he thought the song, which revolved around his character Cornealius singing to his granddaughter Michelle who is dying, to be very sad.
Variety Club of Great Britain Most Promising Artist for 1965 for his performances in Byron (television), The Knack..and How to Get It (film) and Travelling Light (stage).
Because he was best-known as the bumbling Frank Spencer at the time, critics were skeptical that he could manage playing the Phantom, both musically and dramatically.
When Andrew Lloyd Webber approached him about starring in "The Phantom of the Opera", he made the assumption that Webber wanted him to play Raoul, and spent a year studying Nelson Eddy's performance in Phantom of the Opera (1943). It wasn't until he was at his audition that he learned Steve Barton had been cast as Raoul the week before and Webber wanted him to play the Phantom.
Is currently on hiatus from his new show, Andrew Lloyd Webber's "The Woman in White", due to a severe case of the flu but he will return to the role in April. [February 2005]
He is about to do a limited Concert tour in a few selected cities in a few states. [May 2005]
As of a few months ago, began playing the role of "Count Fosco" in Andrew Lloyd Webber's new musical, "The Woman In White". It's playing now at the Palace Theatre in London, but is due on Broadway by October of 2005. [January 2005]
For one-night-only, he will attend a special Gala performance of "The Phantom of the Opera" to celebrate it becoming the longest running Broadway show in history. [January 2006]
Doing a limited concert tour of Australia and New Zealand. [March 2006]
He was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2014 Queen's New Year Honours list for charitable and philanthropic services, particularly to children's charities.

Personal Quotes (6)

If it had not been for Benjamin Britten (the composer), I wouldn't have been an actor. He gave me belief, self-belief.
Sometimes you learn more from failure than you do from success, and in some ways it's better to have failure at the beginning of your career, or your life.
"But the passion and drama in the Lon Chaney version (of the 1924/25/29 film version of "The Phantom of the Opera") is unsurpassable. He was superb, he was superb. I owe a lot to Lon Chaney".
I think one of the best words in the English language is compassion. I think it holds everything. It holds love, it holds care... and if everybody just did something. We all make a difference.
[on auditioning for Gene Kelly for a role in Hello, Dolly! (1969)] He said, "Listen kid: What we're looking for is an attractive idiot. Now my wife thinks you're attractive, and I think you're an idiot". And that's how I got the part of the attractive idiot in the film Hello, Dolly! (1969).
He had such an influence. He was the most, and still is the most remarkable singer to me, with the phrasing and his length of phrase. (On Frank Sinatra)

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