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Broderick Crawford

Broderick Crawford

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Also Known As: William Broderick Crawford Died: April 26, 1986
Born: December 9, 1911 Cause of Death: complications from stroke
Birth Place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA Profession: Cast ... actor vaudevillian radio performer stevedore seaman
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BIOGRAPHY

Hard-drinking, fast-talking character actor legend Broderick Crawford received his start on stage and gained significant attention via his performance as the mentally challenged Lennie in "Of Mice and Men" (1937-38). Motion picture roles followed, but he would not attain genuine notoriety in that medium until 1949, thanks to a bravura, Oscar-winning turn as corrupt politician Willy Stark in "All the King's Men" (1949). Crawford was soon also able to display rarely showcased comedic talent as the gangster antagonist of the smash Judy Holliday vehicle "Born Yesterday" (1950). With his roughhewn features and gravelly voice, Crawford made for an offbeat leading man in superior, small-scale productions like "The Mob" (1951) and "Scandal Sheet" (1952), but his most popular credit of the time was the hit television series "Highway Patrol" (syndicated, 1955-59). While he continued to act for more than 20 years after that program finished its run, Crawford never regained the same degree of bankability. Paycheck jobs in a small horde of second- and third-rate movies, coupled with the actor's longstanding drinking problem, also lowered his stock in the industry. That said, he continued to score roles right into his seventies and was rarely off the mark. While there were no shortage of tough guys in Golden Age Hollywood, Crawford had remarkable presence that he could augment with a tangible intelligence when portraying both violent underworld thugs and esteemed authority figures.

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