- Category : Entertain-Music-Vocalist-Opera
- Type : MGP
- Profile : 3/5 - Martyr / Heretic
- Definition : Triple Split
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Laws 4
British actor and singer who captivated theater audiences around the world playing the lead role in "Phantom of the Opera." An obsessive, brilliant, somewhat lonely man, he is known best for his portrayal of the main character in "Phantom" with performances that impress professionals and critics alike who note his range from baritone to falsetto. His theater work includes "No Sex Please, We're British," "Same Time Next Year," Flowers for Algernon," and "Phantom." His film work is less impressive than his stage credentials.
Born Michael Dumbell-Smith, he took the name Crawford from a biscuit box. His dad, an RAF pilot, died in battle before his birth. His mom, a homemaker, remarried a grocery store manager. At 12, after choir school he auditioned for Benjamin Britten for a part in "Let's Make An Opera." Touring for six months convinced him to set his path on a career in show business. At 15 he quite school to do radio plays on the BBC. From the beginning of his career as a boy soprano, Crawford went on to children's film work, then radio and TV.
Known to arrive at the theater as much as seven hours before a performance, his meticulous attention to detail and ability to immerse himself in a role to the point of obsession show a man possessed by his craft. Exhibiting a genial exterior with a penchant for bad jokes, his curly auburn hair and pleasant boyish features attract others. His 1967 Broadway debut in "Black Comedy" paved the road to films when Gene Kelly saw a performance and asked if he could dance. Working 24 hours a day learning to soft shoe he won a part in "Hello Dolly" which Kelly directed in 1969. In the early 1970's Crawford acquired a business manager and lost money through bad investments.
Late in 1985 Andrew Lloyd Weber approached him to listen to the music from "Phantom Of The Opera." Not knowing where the inspiration came from, as he listened he proceeded to make gestures he used on stage when making the role his own. When questioned about the criticism of the wife of the composer in a starring role he said, "You have to be supportive and carry on."
Crawford fell in love and married Gabrielle Lewis, a club deejay, in 1965. Being a workaholic contributed to the painful breakup of their marriage in 1975 after the birth of two daughters. A long term relationship with a dancer ended when she pushed for marriage.
He has been performing a one-man show since leaving Phantom.