Michael Crawford

Michael
Birth name: Michael Patrick Dumbell-Smith
Nickname: MC
Birthday: January 19, 1942
Height: 5' 10˝
Children: He has two daughters, Emma and Lucy, and a third, publically unnamed daughter.
Favorite color: Purple -- which I didn't know about at the time that I went to see him in concert at MGM in Las Vegas. Everyone, except for me, wore purple in honor of Mr. Crawford, so if you went to that show, I was the bad fan wearing black.

Michael Crawford truly is unforgettable, which is why I wanted to keep that name for the Fanlisting after Cherrie let me adopt it. I fell in love with his voice before I ever even knew who he was, and on that day, he also became my first introduction to the musical version of a story that I have loved for as long as I can remember, The Phantom of the Opera. I am very honored to be running this Fanlisting, giving tribute to a real 'Angel of Music.'

Quotes:

"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."

"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."

Trivia:

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 created an Officer of the British Empire (OBE).

Shared a Spanish villa with John Lennon while they were filming "How I Won the War".

He has been the President of "The Sick Children's Trust" since 1987.

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 all the mediums of entertainment. Radio, Television, Movies, Recordings, and Theatre. He is also an author, has tried directing, has done opera, dances, and many other things. 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.

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 lessons again (for the musical "Billy" in 1974) after leaving singing for a while to do dramatic films, he went to singing coach, Ian Adam (who also taught Sarah Brightman, Elaine Paige, Michael Ball, and Sean Connery). Ian asked him to sing something and Michael sang "Danny Boy" and 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.

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.

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 P.T Barnum) 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.

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, Laurel and Hardy, Gene Kelly, Jimmy Stewart, Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison, Mary Pickford, and even Buster Keaton, whom he worked with in his first movie musical, "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" in 1965/6. Michael played the role of Hero, while Buster Keaton played the role of Erronious, which was Buster's last film role.

Loves children deeply, and is 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 Mother's Do 'Ave 'Em", 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.

Source: IMDB.com, with the exception of the notation that his favorite color is purple, and my own personal remarks.