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Broderick Crawford 1911-1986

Country : Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Profession : Actor
Date of birth : 1911-12-09
Date of death : 1986-04-26
Cause of Death : Stroke

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Broderick Crawford (December 9, 1911 – April 26, 1986) was an American actor.

Early life

Crawford was born William Broderick Crawford in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Lester Crawford and Helen Broderick, who were both vaudeville performers. His father appeared in films in the 1920s and '30s; his mother had a minor career in Hollywood comedies.


Crawford began his career in radio and vaudeville and made his first serious character debut playing a footballer in She Loves Me Not at the Adelphi Theatre, London in 1932. Crawford's talents were spotted by Noel Coward during the three weeks that the play ran. Coward later found him a role in the 1935 Broadway production of 'Point Valaine'.

Crawford was stereotyped early in his career as a rough-talking tough guy, frequently playing the villain. He gained fame in 1937, when he starred as Lenny in Of Mice and Men on Broadway. He moved to Hollywood afterward, but did not get the role in the film version. (The role instead went to Lon Chaney, Jr., who was himself thereafter typecast as a hulking brute.)

During the Second World War, Crawford enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps. Assigned to the Armed Forces Network, he was sent to Britain in 1944 as a sergeant, serving as an announcer for the Glenn Miller American Band.

In 1949, he was cast as Willie Stark, a character based on Louisiana politician Huey Long in All the King's Men, for which Crawford won the Academy Award for Best Actor. The following year he starred in another smash hit film, Born Yesterday.

Despite these successes, Crawford's career suffered because of typecasting and his own sometimes belligerent personality. Nevertheless, he performed brilliantly in Fritz Lang's Human Desire (1954), Federico Fellini's Il bidone (1955) and Richard Fleischer's Between Heaven and Hell (1956).

In 1955, television producer Frederick Ziv offered Crawford the lead role as "Chief" Dan Mathews in the police drama Highway Patrol. The program was very popular during its four years (1955-1959) of first-run syndication and remained on local stations for many years afterward. The show revived Crawford's career, and he concentrated on television for the rest of his life. His television roles were mostly for Ziv, who was willing to accept the occasional challenges of working with Crawford. Years later, Ziv admitted to an interviewer, "To be honest, Broderick could be a handful!"

Crawford was typecast in his television roles. He played a gruff but compassionate and fearless character. He appeared in few American motion pictures after 1955, though he continued to accept occasional roles in European made films. Playing on a stereotype of his famous TV role, he wore the trademark fedora and black suit when he made an appearance as guest host of a 1977 episode of NBC's Saturday Night Live that included a spoof of Highway Patrol, featuring Dan Aykroyd, a longtime fan of the original show.

Musician Webb Wilder's instrumental, "Ruff Rider" (on the album "It Came From Nashville"), is dedicated to Broderick Crawford in admiration of his "Highway Patrol" character's ability to solve any crime committed in California by setting up a road block.


Crawford married four times; he had two sons (Kelly and Kim) from his marriage to actress Kay Griffith. He died in 1986 at the age of 74 in Rancho Mirage, California, after suffering a stroke. He is one of the few performers who have two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for motion pictures at 6901 Hollywood Boulevard and another for television at 6734 Hollywood Boulevard.



  • Woman Chases Man (1937)
  • Start Cheering (1938)
  • Ambush (1939)
  • Sudden Money (1939)
  • Undercover Doctor (1939)
  • Beau Geste (1939)
  • Island of Lost Men (1939)
  • The Real Glory (1939)
  • Eternally Yours (1939)
  • Slightly Honorable (1940)
  • I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby (1940)
  • When the Daltons Rode (1940)
  • Seven Sinners (1940)
  • Trail of the Vigilantes (1940)
  • The Texas Rangers Ride Again (1940)
  • The Black Cat (1941)
  • Tight Shoes (1941)
  • Badlands of Dakota (1941)
  • South of Tahiti (1941)
  • North to the Klondike (1942)
  • Butch Minds the Baby (1942)
  • Larceny, Inc. (1942)
  • Broadway (1942)
  • Keeping Fit (1942)
  • Men of Texas (1942)
  • Sin Town (1942)
  • The Runaround (1946)
  • Black Angel (1946)
  • Slave Girl (1947)
  • The Flame (1947)
  • The Time of Your Life (1948)
  • Sealed Verdict (1948)
  • Bad Men of Tombstone (1949)
  • A Kiss in the Dark (1949)
  • Night Unto Night (1949)
  • All the King's Men (1949)
  • Cargo to Capetown (1950)
  • Convicted (1950)
  • Born Yesterday (1950)
  • Screen Snapshots: Hollywood Awards (1951)
  • The Mob (1951)
  • Scandal Sheet (1952)
  • Lone Star (1952)
  • Stop, You're Killing Me (1952)
  • Last of the Comanches (1953)
  • The Last Posse (1953)
  • Night People (1954)
  • Human Desire (1954)
  • Down Three Dark Streets (1954)
  • Screen Snapshots: Hollywood Goes to Mexico (1954)
  • Man on a Bus (1955)
  • New York Confidential (1955)
  • Big House, U.S.A. (1955)
  • Not as a Stranger (1955)
  • Il bidone (1955)
  • The Fastest Gun Alive (1956)
  • Between Heaven and Hell (1956)
  • The Decks Ran Red (1958)
  • Goliath and the Dragon (1960)
  • Convicts 4 (1962)
  • The Castilian (1962)
  • No temas a la ley (1963)
  • Square of Violence (1963)
  • A House Is Not a Home (1964)
  • Up from the Beach (1965)
  • Mutiny at Fort Sharp (1966)
  • Kid Rodelo (1966)
  • The Oscar (1966)
  • The Texican (1966)
  • Red Tomahawk (1967)
  • The Vulture (1967)
  • The Yin and the Yang of Mr. Go (1970)
  • Ransom Money (1970)
  • Hell's Bloody Devils (1970)
  • The Naughty Cheerleader (1970)
  • Gregorio and His Angel (1970)
  • Embassy (1972)
  • The Candidate (1972)
  • Terror in the Wax Museum (1973)
  • Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1976)
  • Proof of the Man (1977)
  • The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover (1977)
  • A Little Romance (1979)
  • Harlequin (1980)
  • There Goes the Bride (1980)
  • The Uppercrust (1982)
  • Liar's Moon (1982)
  • Guerilla Strike Force (1985)

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