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Also Known As: Bryan Lee Cranston, Bryan L Cranston Died:
Born: March 7, 1956 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Canoga Park, California, USA Profession: actor, producer, screenwriter, director

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A versatile and prolific actor for several decades, Bryan Cranston displayed an authoritative voice and presence that made him a perfect fit to play policemen, doctors and the occasional villain in numerous series and occasional features. A recurring turn as an eccentric dentist on "Seinfeld" (NBC, 1989-1998) and a meddling neighbor on "The King of Queens" (CBS, 1998-2007) signaled that he possessed formidable comic skills, which received a superb showcase in his Emmy-nominated performance as Hal, the manic head of the family in "Malcolm in the Middle" (Fox, 2000-06). Following that program's conclusion, Cranston took a turn toward more dramatic fare with a startling performance as a terminally ill high school teacher who builds a meth lab to support his family in "Breaking Bad" (AMC, 2008-2013). The role was a perfect opportunity for the actor to display fierce dramatic chops only previously hinted at in episodes of popular shows like "Walker, Texas Ranger" (CBS, 1993-2001), "Touched By an Angel" (CBS, 1994-2003) and "Chicago Hope" (CBS, 1994-2000). His performance on "Breaking Bad" was hailed by critics and earned him Emmy recognition while establishing Cranston as an actor deftly capable of...

A versatile and prolific actor for several decades, Bryan Cranston displayed an authoritative voice and presence that made him a perfect fit to play policemen, doctors and the occasional villain in numerous series and occasional features. A recurring turn as an eccentric dentist on "Seinfeld" (NBC, 1989-1998) and a meddling neighbor on "The King of Queens" (CBS, 1998-2007) signaled that he possessed formidable comic skills, which received a superb showcase in his Emmy-nominated performance as Hal, the manic head of the family in "Malcolm in the Middle" (Fox, 2000-06). Following that program's conclusion, Cranston took a turn toward more dramatic fare with a startling performance as a terminally ill high school teacher who builds a meth lab to support his family in "Breaking Bad" (AMC, 2008-2013). The role was a perfect opportunity for the actor to display fierce dramatic chops only previously hinted at in episodes of popular shows like "Walker, Texas Ranger" (CBS, 1993-2001), "Touched By an Angel" (CBS, 1994-2003) and "Chicago Hope" (CBS, 1994-2000). His performance on "Breaking Bad" was hailed by critics and earned him Emmy recognition while establishing Cranston as an actor deftly capable of excelling in both comedy and drama.

Born Bryan Lee Cranston on March 7, 1956 in California's San Fernando Valley, he was the son of actor Joe Cranston, who appeared frequently in television series in the early 1950s. Cranston made his acting debut in a United Way television commercial at the age of eight, but his interests centered on sports and law enforcement, which he pursued through college. After earning a degree in Police Science, he took a cross-country road trip with his brother Kyle (also a professional actor) and discovered a genuine passion for performing while wintering in Daytona Beach, FL. The brothers found work in a local community theater, and soon after, were made part of the regular company. Cranston soon returned to California and continued to act in local theater productions. His first television credit came on a 1982 episode of "C.H.i.P.s" (NBC, 1977-1983), which was quickly followed by a season on the daytime soap "Loving" (ABC, 1983-1995). Over the next decade, Cranston would become a fixture of episodic series, TV movies and miniseries, including "North and South, Book II" (1986), "I Know My First Name is Steven" (1989) and the short-lived sitcom "Raising Miranda" (CBS, 1988), which cast him as the titular teenager's offbeat uncle. One of his numerous guest shots even introduced him to his second wife, actress Robin Dearden, who played captive to his villain of the week on a 1986 episode of "Airwolf" (CBS, 1984-87).

In addition to his onscreen appearances, Cranston also lent his voice to several television commercials, as well as the American versions of numerous Japanese animated and live-action science fiction films and television series, including "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" (Fox, 1993-96). Reportedly, the Blue Power Ranger was named "Billy Cranston" as a tribute to him. For many of these dubbing projects, Cranston was billed as Lee Stone. In 1994, Cranston was cast as Dr. Tim Whatley, the dentist whose eccentric behavior irks Jerry to no end on "Seinfeld." The character turned up in several significant episodes, including "The Yada Yada," in which Jerry was convinced that Whatley's recent conversion to Judaism was based entirely on his desire to tell ethnic jokes, and "The Jimmy," which has Jerry fearing that the dentist has taken advantage of him while under sedation. Cranston then returned briefly to work as a series regular with "The Louie Show" (CBS, 1996), a vehicle for comic Louie Anderson, who played a shrink with the by-now standard roster of wacky patients (among them, Cranston's kook of a policeman). The series lasted just six episodes, and Cranston resumed his busy schedule of episodic and TV movie work. In 1996, he earned his first big theatrical feature showcase as ill-fated astronaut Virgil "Gus" Grissom in Tom Hanks' delightful "That Thing You Do!" (1996). Two years later, he would reunite with Hanks and the space program to play Buzz Aldrin in the epic miniseries "From the Earth to the Moon" (1998).

Cranston's voice and carriage were put to excellent use as a tough, one-armed Army colonel who gives the order to rescue a missing G.I. in Steven Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan" (1998). The following year found him directing his first feature film, "Last Chance" (1999), a gentle romance in which he also co-starred with his wife. The film performed well on the festival circuit and even took top prize at several showings. He later began a three-year recurring stint as Tim Sacksky, neighbor and irritant to Kevin James and Leah Remini on "The King of Queens."

In 2000, Cranston was tapped to play father to Frankie Muniz's pint-sized genius on the comedy "Malcolm in the Middle." The series turned out to be a considerable hit with young and old audiences, who saw Cranston shed his semi-regular, officious TV persona to play a man seemingly trapped between his childish loves and pursuits (and fears, which included puppets) and his day-to-day existence as a white-collar worker and father to three highly mischievous boys. Unlike most TV dads, Hal could be counted on to either join in the hijinks or make them worse, much to the consternation of his disciplinarian wife Lois (Jane Kaczmarek). Waiting for Hal to explode with glee or terror or exasperation was among the high points of the long-running series, and Cranston's unbridled performance earned him three Emmy nominations and a nod from the Golden Globes and Satellite Awards between 2002 and 2006. Cranston also began directing episodes of "Malcolm" in 2003, corralling members of the show's crew to assist him in producing "KidSmartz" (2003), an instructional DVD for parents and children alike on how to prevent abduction. The project earned high praise from several noteworthy publications and advocates, including John Walsh who had, himself, lost his son to abduction.

While working on "Malcolm," Cranston also kept busy as a guest star in TV movies and features, most of which called for his comic abilities. He was a ne'er-do-well uncle who accidentally steals Santa's sleigh in "Twas the Night" (2001) before playing St. Nick himself in "The Santa Claus Brothers" that same year. Cranston also appeared as a business connection for Greg Kinnear's desperate motivational speaker in "Little Miss Sunshine" (2006) and had a recurring role as Lucifer in "Fallen" (2006), an ABC Family miniseries about a teenager who discovers that he's part angel. He was also a former boss and nemesis for Ted (Josh Radnor) in several episodes of "How I Met Your Mother" (CBS, 2005- ).

After "Malcolm left the airwaves in 2007, Cranston returned to series work with "Breaking Bad," a dark comedy from "X-Files" (Fox, 1993-2002) co-producer Vince Gilligan for the American Movie Classics network. Cranston was top-billed as a high school chemistry teacher who struggles to support his pregnant wife and a son with cerebral palsy. When he is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, he uses his knowledge of chemicals to devise a plan to manufacture meth in order to support his family after his death. Much of the series' drama and comedy came from how Cranston's formerly mild-mannered character adapted to the outlaw lifestyle and its unusual and often dangerous participants, while attempting to evade a local DEA agent, who also happened to be his brother-in-law. Critics were unanimous in their praise of Cranston's dramatic performance in the series, which ended its first season run early due to the 2007-08 Writers Guild strike. Despite the interruption, he surprised no one by taking home the 2008 Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. Cranston repeated the triumph when he won the same award the following two years. When the series came to an end in 2013 to thunderous acclaim, Cranston's first step was a Broadway role as former president Lyndon Baines Johnson in the historical comedy-drama "All the Way." His return to the big screen came as the lead in director Gareth Edwards' well-received reboot of the "Godzilla" (2014) franchise.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Last Chance (1999) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Kung Fu Panda 3 (2015)
2.
3.
 Eye of Winter (2014)
4.
 Godzilla (2014)
5.
 Get a Job (2013)
6.
 John Carter (2012)
7.
 Leave (2012)
8.
 Argo (2012)
9.
 Total Recall (2012)
10.
 Rock of Ages (2012)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, CA
:
Pursued an acting career on a post-college cross-country journey
:
Acted in local theater in Daytona Beach, FL
1982:
Made TV acting debut in an episode of "CHiPs" (NBC)
1983:
Originated role of Douglas Donovan on the ABC daytime drama "Loving"
1987:
First TV-movie debut, "The Return of the Six-Million-Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman" (NBC)
1988:
Had regular role as the uncle of the titular teen in the short-lived CBS sitcom "Raising Miranda"
1989:
Made feature acting debut in "Turnaround"
1989:
Had supporting role of a policeman in the gripping fact-based miniseries "I Know My First Name is Steven" (NBC)
1990:
Co-starred in the office-set romantic comedy "Corporate Affairs"
1991:
Co-starred as a scientist in the sci-fi thriller "DeadSpace"
1993:
Formed Quintus Productions with fellow actor Michael Goorjian and managers Leonard Grant and Eric Overholtzer
1994:
Starred in the Lizzie Borden-directed segment of the three part anthology feature "Erotique"
1994:
Played the recurring role of Dr. Tim Whatley, Jerry's dentist on "Seinfeld" (NBC)
1995:
Acted in the independent comedy "Kissing Miranda"
1996:
Featured on the short-lived sitcom "The Louie Show" (CBS)
1996:
Played astronaut Gus Grissom in the Tom Hanks directed "That Thing You Do!"
1998:
Cast as astronaut Buzz Aldrin in the HBO series "From the Earth to the Moon"; executive produced by Tom Hanks
1998:
Featured in Steven Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan" as a one-armed military officer
1999:
Had a recurring role on CBS' "The King of Queens" as Doug Heffernan's annoying neighbor, Tim Sacksky
1999:
Wrote and directed "Last Chance"; also co-starred with wife Robin Dearden
2000:
Breakthrough role, playing the oddball father of four in the FOX sitcom, "Malcolm in the Middle"; also directed several episodes
2001:
Played the irresponsible uncle who steals Santa's sleigh in the Disney Channel Movie "'Twas the Night"
2006:
Played a business colleague of Greg Kinnear's in the indie film "Little Miss Sunshine"
2006:
Guest starred as Ted's obnoxious co-worker on CBS' "How I Met Your Mother"
2007:
Cast as Lucifer in the ABC Family miniseries, "Fallen"
2007:
Cast as Walter White a struggling high school chemistry teacher who turns to a life of crime in "Breaking Bad" (AMC)
2010:
Co-starred opposite Helen Mirren in "Love Ranch," based on the true story of a married couple who opened the first legal brothel in Nevada
2011:
Appeared in "Larry Crowne" with Tom Hanks, who also co-wrote and directed
2011:
Joined an ensemble cast for Steven Soderbergh's "Contagion"
2012:
Co-starred with Taylor Kitsch in sci-fi Western "John Carter"
2012:
Voiced character of Vitaly in "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted"
2012:
Played the mayor of Los Angeles in feature adaptation of the stage musical "Rock of Ages"
2012:
Co-starred in political thriller "Argo," directed by Ben Affleck
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Canoga Park High School: Canoga Park , California - 1974

Notes

Bryan Cranston on playing the father of four rambunctious boys in "Malcolm in the Middle": "Being a parent (of a 7-year-old daughter), it was easy to take on the role of being a parent at work. Like the show, it's controlled chaos. They're boys, and they have boy energy, and they will go, go, go, unless you keep them a little controlled." --quoted in the Houston Chronicle, January 12, 2000

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Robin Dearden. Actor.

Family close complete family listing

brother:
Kim Edward Cranston. Born in June 1953.
sister:
Amy L Cranston. Born in October 1962.
daughter:
Taylor Dearden Cranston. Born on February 12, 1993.

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