Broderick Crawford - Rotten Tomatoes

Broderick Crawford

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Broderick Crawford was the typical example of "overnight" success in Hollywood -- the 1949 release of All the King's Men turned him into one of the most popular "character" leads in Hollywood, a successor to Wallace Beery and a model for such unconventional leading men to come as Ernest Borgnine. His "overnight" success, however, involved more than a decade of work in routine supporting roles in more than 20 movies, before he was ever considered as much more than a supporting player. Crawford was born into a performing family -- both of his maternal grandparents, William Broderick and Emma Kraus, were opera singers, and his mother, Helen Broderick, was a Broadway and screen actress, while his father, Lester Crawford, was a vaudeville performer. Born in Philadelphia, PA, he accompanied his parents on tour as a boy and later joined them on-stage. He attended the Dean Academy in Franklin, MA, and excelled in athletics, including football, baseball, and swimming. Crawford entered show business by way of vaudeville, joining his parents in working for producer Max Gordon. With vaudeville's decline in the later 1920s, he tried attending college but dropped out of Harvard after just three months, preferring to make a living as a stevedore on the New York docks, and he also later served as a seaman on a tanker. Crawford returned to acting through radio, including a stint working as a second banana to the Marx Brothers. He entered the legitimate theater in 1934 when playwright Howard Lindsay selected him for a role in the play She Loves Me Not, portraying a football player in the work's London run -- although the play only ran three weeks, that was enough time for Crawford to meet Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne (then theater's leading "power couple" on either side of the Atlantic) and come to the attention of Noel Coward, who selected him for a role in his production of Point Valaine, in which the acting couple was starring. After a string of unsuccessful plays, Crawford went to Hollywood and got a part as the butler in the comedy Woman Chases Man, produced by Samuel Goldwyn. Crawford's theatrical breakthrough came in 1937 when he won the role of the half-witted Lennie in the theatrical adaptation of John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men. His performance won critical accolades from all of the major newspapers, and Crawford was on his way, at least as far as the stage was concerned -- when it came time to do the movie, however, the part went to Lon Chaney Jr.. In movies, Crawford made the rounds of the studios in one-off roles, usually in relatively minor films such as Submarine D-1, Undercover Doctor, and Eternally Yours. The murder mystery Slightly Honorable gave him a slight boost in both billing and the size of his role, but before he could begin to develop any career momentum the Second World War intervened. Crawford served in the U.S. Army Air Force and saw action in the Battle of the Bulge. When he returned to civilian life, he immediately resumed his screen career with a series of fascinating films, including The Black Angel and James Cagney's production20of The Time of Your Life. True stardom however, still eluded him. That all changed when director-producer Robert Rossen selected Crawford to portray Willie Stark in All the King's Men. In a flash, Crawford became a box-office draw, his performance attracting raves from the critics and delighting audiences with its subtle, earthy, rough-hewn charm. His portrayal of the megalomaniac political boss of a small state, based on the life and career of Louisiana governor and senator Huey Long, won Crawford the Oscar for Best Actor. He signed a long-term contract with Columbia Pictures in 1949, which resulted in his starring in the comedy hit Born Yesterday (1950). That was to be his last major hit as a star, though Crawford continued to give solid and successful lead performances for much of the next five years, portraying a tough undercover cop in the crime dra

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
No Score Yet Broadway
  • Actor
2013
94% Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation!
  • Actor
2008
No Score Yet There Goes the Bride
  • Actor
2004
No Score Yet Proof of the Man
  • Detective O'Brien
1984
No Score Yet Dealers in Death: Murder and Mayhem in America
  • Host
1984
No Score Yet The Upper Crust
  • Mike Carraday
1982
No Score Yet Liar's Moon
  • Col. Tubman
1981
55% The Hunter
  • Actor
1980
No Score Yet Harlequin (Dark Forces) (The Minister's Magician)
  • Doc Wheelan
1980
No Score Yet There Goes the Bride
  • Gas Station Attendant
1980
72% A Little Romance
  • Brod
1979
No Score Yet Express to Terror
  • Actor
1979
No Score Yet The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover
  • J. Edgar Hoover
1978
No Score Yet The Hunter
  • Actor
1977
No Score Yet Look What's Happened to Rosemary's Baby (Rosemary's Baby II)
  • Holtzman
1976
No Score Yet Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood
  • Special Effects Man
1976
No Score Yet Terror in the Wax Museum
  • Burns
1973
95% The Candidate
  • Jarmon Narrator
1972
No Score Yet The Yin and Yang of Mr. Go
  • B.B. O'Kelly
1971
No Score Yet A Tattered Web
  • Willard Edson
1971
No Score Yet Gregorio and His Angel
  • Actor
1970
No Score Yet Hell's Bloody Devils
  • Brand
1970
No Score Yet Gregorio and His Angel
  • Gregorio
1968
No Score Yet The Vulture
  • Brian F. Stroud
1967
No Score Yet The Texican
  • Luke Starr
1966
18% The Oscar
  • Sheriff
1966
No Score Yet El Valle de las espadas (The Castillian) (Valley of the Swords)
  • Don Sancho
1963
No Score Yet Castilian
  • Actor
1963
No Score Yet Convicts 4
  • Warden
1962
No Score Yet Last of the Vikings (Ultimo dei Vikinghi, L')
  • Actor
1961
No Score Yet Highway Patrol Every Episode
  • Actor
1960
No Score Yet Goliath and the Dragon
  • Re Eurito/King Eurystheus
1960
No Score Yet The Decks Ran Red
  • Henry Scott
1958
No Score Yet The Fastest Gun Alive
  • Vinnie Harold
1956
No Score Yet Between Heaven and Hell
  • Capt. 'Waco' Grimes
1956
100% Il Bidone (The Swindle) (The Swindlers)
  • Augusto
1955
0% Not as a Stranger (Morton Thompson's Not as a Stranger)
  • Dr. Aarons
1955
No Score Yet Big House, U.S.A.
  • Rollo Lamar
1955
No Score Yet New York Confidential
  • Charlie Lupo
1955
No Score Yet Down Three Dark Streets
  • FBI Agent John 'Rip' Ripley
1954
55% Human Desire
  • Carl Buckley
1954
No Score Yet Night People
  • Leatherby
1954
No Score Yet The Last Posse
  • Sheriff Frazier
1953
No Score Yet Lone Star
  • Thomas Craden
1952
100% Scandal Sheet
  • Mark Chapman aka George Grant
1952
No Score Yet The Mob
  • Johnny Damico
1951
95% Born Yesterday
  • Harry Brock
1950
No Score Yet Convicted
  • George Knowland
1950
97% All the King's Men
  • Willie Stark
1949
No Score Yet Night Unto Night
  • Shawn
1949
No Score Yet A Kiss In The Dark
  • Actor
1949
No Score Yet The Time of Your Life
  • Policeman
1948
No Score Yet Black Angel
  • Capt. Flood
1946
95% I Married a Witch
  • Actor
1942
No Score Yet Larceny, Inc.
  • Jug Martin
1942
No Score Yet The Black Cat
  • Hubert A. Gilmore 'Gil' Smith
1941
No Score Yet Badlands of Dakota
  • Bob Holliday
1941
No Score Yet Seven Sinners
  • Edward Patrick "Little Ned"
1940
No Score Yet Slightly Honorable
  • Russell Sampson
1940
No Score Yet When the Daltons Rode
  • Bob Dalton
1940
No Score Yet Texas Rangers Ride Again
  • Mace Townsley
1940
No Score Yet Trail Of The Vigilantes
  • Actor
1940
No Score Yet Eternally Yours
  • Don Barnes
1939
No Score Yet The Real Glory
  • Lt. Swede Larson
1939
100% Beau Geste
  • Hank Miller
1939
No Score Yet Submarine D-1
  • Mike
1937
No Score Yet Woman Chases Man
  • Hunk Williams
1937
No Score Yet Last Of The Comanches
  • Actor

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet CHiPs
1977-1983
  • Motorist
  • 1977
No Score Yet Saturday Night Live
1975
  • Guest
  • 1977

Quotes from Broderick Crawford's Characters