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Donald Crisp

Donald Crisp

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Also Known As: George Crisp, James Needham Died: May 25, 1974
Born: July 27, 1882 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: London, England, GB Profession: actor, director, assistant director

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

British born Donald Crisp became one of cinema's most reliable and beloved character actors, but few moviegoers who enjoyed his work were likely aware of just how far reaching and involved his career really was. Crisp really hit his stride in the 1930s when he became one of Warner Brothers' most prized contract players, but he had actually already been in the entertainment business for 30 years by that point. After starting off as an opera singer on the East Coast, Crisp journeyed to California and in association with D.W. Griffith, became a seasoned actor and director in the early days of silent features. He also went on to be a key figure in the world of motion picture financing, but continued to accept movie assignments out of his love for performing. The enthusiasm and considerable skill with which he conveyed both dramatic nuance and broad farce kept him of interest to the studios and Crisp enlivened such classics as "Mutiny on the Bounty" (1935) and "The Charge of the Light Brigade" (1936). In the 1940s, he was an Oscar winner for "How Green Was My Valley" (1942) and provided fine support in such MGM classics as "Lassie Come Home" (1943) and "National Velvet" (1944). Over a career that spanned...

British born Donald Crisp became one of cinema's most reliable and beloved character actors, but few moviegoers who enjoyed his work were likely aware of just how far reaching and involved his career really was. Crisp really hit his stride in the 1930s when he became one of Warner Brothers' most prized contract players, but he had actually already been in the entertainment business for 30 years by that point. After starting off as an opera singer on the East Coast, Crisp journeyed to California and in association with D.W. Griffith, became a seasoned actor and director in the early days of silent features. He also went on to be a key figure in the world of motion picture financing, but continued to accept movie assignments out of his love for performing. The enthusiasm and considerable skill with which he conveyed both dramatic nuance and broad farce kept him of interest to the studios and Crisp enlivened such classics as "Mutiny on the Bounty" (1935) and "The Charge of the Light Brigade" (1936). In the 1940s, he was an Oscar winner for "How Green Was My Valley" (1942) and provided fine support in such MGM classics as "Lassie Come Home" (1943) and "National Velvet" (1944). Over a career that spanned more than 50 years, Crisp proved to be a venerable performer and, with his wide-ranging background in front of the camera and behind the scenes, was one of the true renaissance men of Golden Age Hollywood.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  The Runaway Bride (1930) Director
2.
  The Cop (1928) Director
3.
  Stand and Deliver (1928) Director
4.
  The Fighting Eagle (1927) Director
5.
  Vanity (1927) Director
6.
  Dress Parade (1927) Director
7.
  Nobody's Widow (1927) Director
8.
  Young April (1926) Director
9.
  Sunny Side Up (1926) Director
10.
  Man Bait (1926) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Spencer's Mountain (1963) Grandpa Spencer
2.
 Greyfriars Bobby (1961) James [John?] Brown
3.
 Pollyanna (1960) Mayor Karl Warren
4.
 A Dog of Flanders (1960) Jehan Daas
5.
 Saddle the Wind (1958) Dennis Deneen
6.
 The Last Hurrah (1958) Cardinal Martin Burke
7.
 Drango (1957) Judge Allen
8.
 The Man from Laramie (1955) Alec Waggoman
9.
 The Long Gray Line (1955) Martin Maher, Sr.
10.
 Prince Valiant (1954) King Aguar
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1899:
Fought in the Boer War as a volunteer
1906:
Moved to the USA
1906:
Stage acting debut
:
Toured with minor-league opera companies and served as stage director in New York with Cohan & Harris before entering film
1908:
Began making one-reelers with Biograph studios in NY area
1910:
Screen acting debut in D.W. Griffith's "Sunshine Sue"
1914:
Film directing debut, "Her Father's Silent Partner"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Eton College: -
University of Oxford: Oxford , England -

Notes

For most of his career, Crisp was perceived as Scottish. When the town of Aberfeldy in Scotland dedicated a plaque to him in 1996, a local librarian named Lorna Mitchell did some research and discovered that Crisp had been born not in Aberfeldy but in Bow, a Cockney section of London's East End.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Marie Crisp. Divorced.
wife:
Jane Murfin. Screenwriter. Married in 1932; divorced in 1944; died in 1957; known for stories about a dog named Strongheart.

Family close complete family listing

father:
James Crisp.
mother:
Elizabeth Crisp.
sister:
Eliza Matilda Crisp.

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