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Michael's Biography

Born in Salisbury, Wiltshire, Michael Crawford began his career as a boy soprano in Benjamin Britten's Let's Make an Opera. Numerous television appearances and over 500 radio broadcasts later found him the popular star of television's Not So Much a Programme, More a Way of Life, which, combined with his screen performance in The Knack, earned him the Variety Club Award for Most Promising Newcomer.

Juggling both film and Stage careers, Crawford went on to star in the films A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum with Zero Mostel, Buster Keaton and Phil Silvers, The Jokers, How I Won the War with John Lennon, The Games, Hello and Goodbye, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Condorman. In 1969, he charmed international filmgoers as the juvenile lead, Cornelius Hackl, in the motion picture version of Hello, Dolly! Starring Barbra Streisand and Walter Matthau and directed by Gene Kelly, who remained a lifelong friend.

Mr. Crawford became a favorite with international audiences during the long-running comedy, No Sex Please - We're British, which was one of the London Stage's most popular tourist attractions. He later captured the hearts of television audiences as the star of the long-running BBC-TV comedy series, Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em, which first aired in the '70's and is still being shown - and receiving top ratings - in countries around the world. For this series, Mr. Crawford was voted the Funniest Man on Television by readers of the TV Times, and Television Actor of the Year by The Sun.

As the star of the John Barry hit musical Billy at the famed Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, Crawford was simultaneously voted Show Business Personality of the Year and presented with the Silver Heart Award by the Variety Club of Great Britain. Other highly popular performances were Same Time, Next Year, the musical Flowers for Algernon, and the BBC television play, Sorry. Another television series Chalk and Cheese, further increased Crawford's standing as one of Britain's leading stars.

In 1981, Mr. Crawford starred in the London company of the hit Broadway musical, Barnum, at the London Palladium. That performance won him his first Olivier Award, and a video was made for distribution in the United States, and the United Kingdom. In 1986, fate took over and Crawford opened in The Phantom of the Opera, beginning one of the most widely acclaimed and memorable performances in theatre history.

The Phantom of the Opera marked Michael's fourth consecutive starring role in a major West End musical. He set himself apart with his exceptional performance on 1987's international hit album, The Phantom of the Opera (The Complete Original London Cast Recording), whose worldwide sales tally stands at 12 million copies. The album, the first in British musical history to enter the charts at #1, is certified RIAA quadruple platinum in the United Sates.

The Phantom of the Opera solidified Mr. Crawford's position in the hierarchy of entertainment stars in the United States, earning him an astonishing catalogue of critical recognition including Broadway's Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards, and the Los Angeles Dramalogue Award and Drama Critics Award. After opening in Phantom on October 9, 1986, he was made an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) by the Queen, as well as receiving his second Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical.

After three and a half years as the toast of London, New York, and Los Angeles in the title role of The Phantom of the Opera� Michael Crawford delighted concert-goers in sold-out houses throughout the United States, Australia and Great Britain as the special guest star of The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Mr. Crawford's solo recording career started soon after the opening of Phantom. Songs from the Stage and Screen� both released in the United Kingdom on the Telstar label (reissued by Atlantic Records in 1992) moved quickly, but his next recording, Michael Crawford Performs Andrew Lloyd Webber, released by Atlantic Records in November 1992, proved to be even more of a runaway success having sold more than two million albums worldwide to date. Two years later, Crawford recorded another hit album, A Touch of Music in the Night, on which he sang duets with Barbra Streisand and Patti LaBelle.

In 1995, Mr. Crawford created the high-profile starring role in EFX, the $40 million production which officially opened MGM's 1700-seat Grand Theatre in Las Vegas. The Atlantic Theater label released the companion album to EFX, which was hailed as among the most spectacular and ambitious shows ever produced on the American Stage.

In 1998 Crawford filmed his first television special, Michael Crawford in Concert� which premiered nationwide on PBS as part of the March 1998 pledge drive. The TV special was also nominated for 2 Emmy Awards later that year. Also that year he released his first album of spiritual songs On Eagle's Wings, and Michael Crawford in Concert, a recording of his worldwide concert tour.

In 1999 Mr. Crawford published his autobiography Parcel Arrived Safely: Tied with String in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. The book became an immediate best seller. As a companion to the book, Mr. Crawford also released an audiotape on which he read a shortened version of the book. Later in the year, he released Michael Crawford: A Christmas Album in the U.S. It was later retitled and released in the UK as The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

In 2000, Crawford began his own concert tour, Michael Crawford in Concert in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. Soon after, his album Michael Crawford in Concert was released in the UK under the First Night Records label.

In January 2001, the PBS special An Evening with Michael Crawford in Concert aired in the UK. In mid-April, he released an album of Disney songs aptly titled Michael Crawford: The Disney Album in Australia and New Zealand. The album quickly climbed the charts and was certified Platinum by the Australia Record Industry Association marking the first time in 30 years that a Walt Disney recording had achieved this position on the charts. The album was also certified Gold in New Zealand ranking No. 2 in sales. Later that year, a compilation album The Best of Michael Crawford was released in Australia and later reached the Top 10 in sales.

In 2002, Mr. Crawford returned to the Broadway Stage in the musical comedy "Dance of the Vampires". In the musical based on the 1967 Roman Polanski film horror spoof "The Fearless Vampire Killers", Michael played Count von Krolock.

In 2004, after an 18-year absence from the London Stage, Michael returned to portray the diabolical yet charming Count Fosco in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical The Woman in White. Based on the 1860 Victorian novel by Wilkie Collins, the musical opened on September 15, 2004 at The Palace Theatre.

As the grossly overweight Count, Michael nearly stole the show in the hit musical and received much critical acclaim receiving a number of honors including the British Variety Club Award for "2004 Outstanding Stage Performance," an Olivier Award Nomination for "Best Supporting Actor in a Musical," and a Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers' Choice Award. The Original London Cast Recording was released November 15, 2004.

"The Very Best of Michael Crawford", a compilation album, was released by EMI International in November. The CD includes "You Can Get Away With Anything" from The Woman in White and "Somewhere in Time" from EFX! written by Michael's old friend John Barry.

In 2005 Michael performed several concert bookings in Newport News, Virginia, Mesa, Arizona, and Dallas. In 2006 Michael conducted a sold out concert tour of Australia and New Zealand, followed by more concerts in the United States including Atlantic City and Los Angeles.

In 2011, Michael performed as 'the Wizard' in Andrew Lloyd Webber's new production of THE WIZARD OF OZ at the London Palladium. The production opened on March 1, 2011 to rave reviews, and Michael performed in the show through February 5, 2012 receiving nightly standing ovations.


Read More About Michael
in Parcel Arrived Safely, Tied With String
His Best-Selling Autobiography !

More Information...

Michael's Career Timeline

1955:
Stage:    Benjamin Britten's
Let's Make an Opera

1958:
Film:    Soap Box Debry and
Blow Your Own Trumpet

1961:
TV:        ITV's Sir Francis Drake

1963:
Stage:   Coriolanus directed by Sir Tyrone Guthrie at Nottingham Playhouse

1964:
TV:         Not So Much a Programme, More a Way of Life

1965:
Film:     The Knack...and How to Get It directed by Richard Lester and winner of Best Picture at Cannes Film Festival

Award:Variety Club of Great Britian's Most Promising Newcomer

1966:
Film:     A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum starring Buster Keaton, Zero Mostel and Phil Silvers

1967:
Stage:   Broadway debut: Black Comedy starring Lynn Redgrave and Geraldine Page, Ethel Barrymore Theatre

Film: How I Won the War starring John Lennon, directed by Richard Lester

1969:
Film:     Universal Studios' The Jokers starring Oliver Reed

Film:Hello Dolly! starring Barbra Streisand and Walter Matthau, and directed by Gene Kelly

1970:
Film:     Twentieth Century Fox's The Games and Hello-Goodbye

1971:
Stage:   No Sex Please, We're British Strand Theatre, London

1972:
Film:     Alice's Adventures in Wonderland starring Sir Ralph Richardson, Peter Sellers and Dudley Moore

1973:
TV:        Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em

1974:
Awards: TV Times' Funniest Man

Sun's TV Actor of the Year

Variety Club of Great Britian's Show Business Personality of the Year

Stage:   John Barry's musical Billy Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London

1975:
TV:        Royal Variety Show for Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh

1976:
Stage:   Same Time, Next Year Princes of Wales Theatre, London

1978:
TV:        BBC-TV new season of Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em
BBC Play for Today Sorry by Valclav Havel

1979:
TV:        UK TV - Chalk and Cheese

Stage:   Flowers for Algernon Queen's Theatre, London

1981:
Film:     Walt Disney Production's Condorman starring Oliver Reed and Barbara Carrera

1981-1983:
Stage:   Harold Fielding's production of Barnum at the London Palladium

Awards: Society of West End Theatre's Actor of the Year in a Musical 1981

1982 Olivier Award Best Actor in a Musical

1984-1985:
Stage:   Barnum Manchester Opera House and London's Victoria Palace Theatre

1986-1991:
Stage:   Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera directed by Harold Prince at Her Majesty's Theatre, London, Majestic Theatre, New York, and Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles

Awards: 1987 Olivier Award
Best Actor in a Musical

Variety Club of Great Britian's Personality of the Year 1987

1988 Tony Award
Best Actor in a Musical

1988 NY Drama Desk Award Best Actor in a Musical

1988 Outer Critics' Circle Award Best Actor in a Musical

1989 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award Distinguished Achievement in Theatre

Honors: 1987 Designated Officer of the British Empire by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Named President of the Sick Children's Trust

1991-1992:
Stage:   World Tour of The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber

TV:        Royal Variety Show for The Prince and Princess of Wales

1993:
Honors: Madame Tussaud's Museum in London unveils wax likeness.

Grammy Noms. for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Perform. for A Touch of Music in the Night and Best Pop Perform. by a Duo for duet with Barbra Streisand

1994-1996:
Stage:   EFX MGM Grand, Las Vegas

1997:
TV:        South Bank Show and Bravo The Fantastic World of Michael Crawford

Honor:Named Living Legend for his performance in The Phantom of the Opera by Live! Magazine

1998:
TV:        Michael Crawford in Concert directed by Dwight Hemion

Stage:An Evening With Michael Crawford in Concert tour

1999:
Stage:   An Evening With Michael Crawford in Concert tour
Book:Parcel Arrived Safely: Tied With String

2000:
Stage:   America's Cup, Auckland, New Zealand

Stage:Australian/New Zealand Concert Tour

Stage:UK Concert Tour

TV:"My Favorite Broadway: The Love Songs", PBS

2001:
TV:"Michael Crawford In Concert" aired in the UK

Stage:   Raising Hope Benefit for the UCSF Cancer Center

Nom.:32nd Annual Dove Awards, "Child of Promise" nominated for "Special Event Album".

2002:
BBC Poll:In the nationwide Greatest Britons Poll, Michael finished in the top 20. He placed an impressive 17th just ahead of Queen Victoria(18th) and Paul McCartney(19th). (Churchill was #1)

Stage:   "Dance of the Vampires", Minskoff Theatre, NY.

2004:
Stage:The Woman in White, The Palace Theatre, London

Award:   "2004 Outstanding Stage Performance" Award from the Variety Club of Britain.

2005:
Award:   Named "Best Supporting Actor in a Musical" by the Theatregoers' Choice Awards, online poll on WhatsonStage.com.

Honors:Olivier Award Nomination for "Best Supporting Performance in a Musical".

2006:
Stage:   Michael performs in concert in New Zealand, Australia and the United States.

2011:
Stage:   The Wizard of Oz
The London Palladium, London


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