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Michael Crawford

Real name: Michael Patrick Dumble-Smith
Birthdate: January 19, 1942
Status: N/A
Partner: N/A

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Biography

Michael Crawford, OBE (born as Michael Patrick Dumbell-Smith, 19 January 1942, Salisbury, Wiltshire), is an English actor and singer. He has won critical acclaim and numerous awards during his career, which includes radio, television and stage (including appearing on stage in the West End in London, and on Broadway in New York).

Although he most often appears on stage, in musicals such as Phantom of the Opera and Barnum, he first became a household name and famous to millions for his role as the hapless "Frank Spencer" on the British television sitcom Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em (1973-78), for which he performed most of his own stunts. The series became one of the BBC's most successful programmes of all time.

Michael Crawford was raised by his widowed mother, Doris, and her parents, Montague Pike and Edith Kathleen O'Keefe, whom Michael always called "Monty" and "Nan". Doris' first husband, Arthur Dumbell-Smith, had, tragically, been killed during the Battle of Britain, less than a year after they married. Two years after his death, Michael was born, the result of a short-lived relationship, and given his mother's first husband's surname. During his early years, he would divide his time between the army camp in Wiltshire (where he and his mother were living during the war) and the Isle of Sheppey in Kent, with his mother and grandparents. However at the end of the war in 1945, his mother re-married a grocer named Den Ingram in 1945 and they moved to London. There Michael attended Oakfield Preparatory School, Dulwich, where he was known as Michael Ingram.

After performing in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and with offers of work greatly reduced, Crawford faced a brief period of unemployment, in which he helped his ex-wife stuff cushions (for her shop) and took up a job as an office clerk in an electric company to pass the time between.

Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em soon became one of the BBC's most popular TV series and ran, at first, until 1975 when it was felt that rather than continuing to run the show until it failed in the ratings, it would be best to close while it was still a success. But because of its popularity, it was revived for a short period from 1977 to 1978, and when it finally closed in 1978, it remained one of the top-10 British TV series of all time.

At the same time he was playing in Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em, Crawford was approached to star in the musical Billy (based on the novel, Billy Liar) in (1974) at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London. Not having sung professionally in some time, Crawford went back to studying singing seriously with a vocal coach, Ian Adam, and spent hours perfecting his dancing capabilities with choreographer Onna White.

In 1995, Crawford created the high-profile starring role in EFX, the $70 million production which officially opened MGM's 1700-seat Grand Theatre in Las Vegas. The Atlantic Theater label released the companion album to EFX. But early into the run, Crawford suffered an accident during a performance (which involved him sliding from a wire hanger from the back of the theatre all the way to the stage and then jumping down 12 feet to the stage itself) and left the show to recover from his injury, which resulted in an early-hip replacement.



 


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