Crispin Glover

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Crispin Glover
Crispin Glover 2012 Shankbone.JPG
Glover at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival premiere of Freaky Deaky
BornCrispin Hellion Glover
(1964-04-20) April 20, 1964 (age 50)
New York City, U.S.
Years active1977–present
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For the Scarling. song, see Crispin Glover (song).
Crispin Glover
Crispin Glover 2012 Shankbone.JPG
Glover at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival premiere of Freaky Deaky
BornCrispin Hellion Glover
(1964-04-20) April 20, 1964 (age 50)
New York City, U.S.
Years active1977–present

Crispin Hellion Glover (born April 20, 1964) is an American film actor, director, screenwriter, recording artist, publisher, and author. Glover is known for portraying eccentric people on screen such as George McFly in Back to the Future, Layne in River's Edge, unfriendly recluse Rubin Farr in Rubin and Ed, Andy Warhol in The Doors, the "Thin Man" in the big screen adaptation of Charlie's Angels and its sequel, Willard Stiles in the Willard remake, The Knave of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland, Phil in Hot Tub Time Machine, and as a Willy Wonka parody in Epic Movie.

He is also the voice of Fifi in the Open Season franchise and appeared in the screen adaption of the Elmore Leonard novel "Freaky Deaky". He played a German-speaking clairvoyant during World War I in the Polish-language film Hiszpanka and an unwitting employee in service of Robert De Niro's character in The Bag Man.

In the late 1980s, Glover started his company, Volcanic Eruptions, which publishes his books and also serves as the production company for Glover's films, What Is It? and It is Fine. Everything is Fine! Glover tours with his movies and is currently[when?] supervising the building of sets for his next productions at property he owns in the Czech Republic.[1]

Early life[edit]

Glover was raised as an only child, born in New York City, and moved to Los Angeles with his family at the age of five.[2] His father is actor Bruce Glover and his mother, Mary Elizabeth Lillian Betty Krachey (née) Bloom Koerber,[3] was an actress and dancer who retired upon his birth. He was named after the Saint Crispin's Day speech from William Shakespeare's play Henry V, which his parents enjoyed.[4] "Hellion", his real middle name, had earlier been used as a false middle name by his father, who did not like his own real middle name, Herbert.[4] His father is of English, Czech, and Swedish descent, and his mother is of German and Czech ancestry.[5][6] As a child, Glover attended The Mirman School from grade one through nine. He then attended both Venice High for grade ten and eleven, and Beverly Hills High School only for grade twelve; he graduated in 1982.


Acting career[edit]

Glover began acting professionally at the age of 13. He appeared in several sitcoms as a teenager, including Happy Days and Family Ties. His first film role was in 1983's My Tutor. That led to roles in Teachers (1984) and Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984). He then worked with director Trent Harris on the third chapter of the Beaver Trilogy, entitled The Orkly Kid. In this short film, he portrayed a small town man who organizes a local talent show to showcase his obsession with Olivia Newton-John, much to the embarrassment of the local community. At the climax of the film, Glover does his rendition, in full drag, of Newton-John's "Please Don't Keep Me Waiting" from her 1979 album Totally Hot.

Crispin Glover at the E! Post Oscars Party at club Drai's in the W Hotel, Hollywood, CA, March 7, 2010.

His breakout role was as George McFly in Robert Zemeckis's Back to the Future, an international box office success in 1985. Glover and the producers did not agree on terms for him to appear in the sequels, so the role of the character was greatly reduced and recast. Zemeckis used footage of Glover filmed for the first movie in Back to the Future Part II (Glover being billed as "George McFly in footage from Back to the Future" in the closing credits) combined with new footage of Jeffrey Weissman wearing a false chin, nose and cheekbones, and various obfuscating methods – in the background, wearing sunglasses, rear shot, upside down – to play the role of George McFly. Because these methods suggested that Glover himself had performed for the film, he sued the producers on the grounds that they did not own his likeness. Subsequently, there are now clauses in the Screen Actors Guild collective bargaining agreements to the effect that this is no longer permitted.

He has continued to play exceedingly eccentric types, including playing Andy Warhol in Oliver Stone's The Doors in 1991, as well as the title characters in Bartleby (2001) and Willard (2003). He received mainstream attention as the "Thin Man" in the Charlie's Angels films;[7] the character had initially been cast as a speaking role, but Glover, noting that the lines as written were exposition, convinced the producers to eliminate the lines to create a precise image for the character.

Glover was a co-interlocutor with Norm Hill and Werner Herzog for the special feature commentary for the DVD of Werner Herzog's Even Dwarfs Started Small and Fata Morgana.

Glover appeared in the 2007 film Beowulf as the monster Grendel, playing the part through performance capture technology. The film was Glover's first collaboration with director Robert Zemeckis since the original Back to the Future film. He also voiced the character 6 in the film 9.

Late Night appearance[edit]

Glover appeared on Late Night with David Letterman on July 28, 1987, to promote the movie River's Edge, in which he starred.[8] Unbeknownst to Letterman and the audience, Glover appeared in character as "Rubin", from a then-unreleased movie Rubin and Ed, wearing platform shoes and a wig. Rather than a conventional interview, Glover staged an Andy Kaufman-like prank. After being goaded by a woman in the audience (who some argue had been planted),[9] Glover stated that he "knew that this was gonna happen" and that "the press, they can do things, they can twist things around". After challenging Letterman to an arm-wrestling match, Glover delivered an impromptu karate kick a few feet from Letterman while stating, "I'm strong... I can kick!"[10] Letterman then abruptly ended the segment by walking off stage, saying "I'm going to check on the Top 10", as the program cut to commercial.

The subsequent confusion and controversy surrounding his appearance was compounded by the fact that Rubin and Ed was not actually released until 1991; however, the movie had been in development since before Back to the Future — Crispin had actually already devised Rubin's "look" by 1985.[11] Almost no one, apparently including Letterman, understood what Glover was doing and the interview became the hallmark of the "weird" TV guest.

Glover returned to the Letterman show twice after that, the first about a month later, and then again almost 3 years after where he participated in a more nearly standard interview, but made it questionable whether he was ever on the show before and used a variety of delay tactics explaining the incident; he did say something about it being "an interesting thing." Glover then appeared two years later promoting a record album. When again asked about his first appearance, Glover launched into a long story, mentioning meeting a fellow resembling himself named Rubin, and needing to appear on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson simultaneous to his appearance with Letterman. Here Letterman cut him off to talk about the album Glover was promoting, as the time allotted for the interview was more than halfway over. Glover has subsequently refused to go into detail about the reasons for his behavior on the show, other than to mention that he's flattered that fans are still speculating on the performance more than twenty years later.[12] Glover has also mentioned that he prefers there to be an "air of mystery" about the appearance.

Crispin Glover in September 2008.

Music career[edit]

In 1989, during a hiatus from films, Glover released an album called The Big Problem Does Not Equal the Solution, The Solution Equals Let It Be through Restless Records, produced by Barnes & Barnes (of "Fish Heads" fame). The album features original songs like "Clowny Clown Clown", odd versions of Lee Hazlewood's "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" and Charles Manson's "I'll Never Say Never to Always" (sung in falsetto), and readings from his art books Rat Catching and Oak Mot (see Books section below). Sample pages from these books are featured in the album's liner notes. The back cover of the album is a collage of figures relating to each track on the album, with an inscription: "All words and lyrics point to THE BIG PROBLEM. The solution lay within the title; LET IT BE. Crispin Hellion Glover wants to know what you think these nine things all have in common." He included a telephone number on the back of the album, encouraging listeners to phone when they had figured out the element that all pieces had in common. He has said the telephone number was a pre-internet way of letting people know about the books. As for the "Nine things in common" Glover has said "It is really just the theme of the album." Glover later commented that he was surprised how many people realized what it was.

He recorded a version of the Michael Jackson song "Ben" to coincide with the release of the 2003 film Willard; the song had been written for the sequel to the original 1971 version of this film. In the music video for the song, he sings to a rat named Ben.

A number of songs using Glover's name as the title have been recorded by various artists, including shoegaze/gothic rock band Scarling., Chicago outsider musician Wesley Willis and a New Jersey-based band called Children in Adult Jails. In the early 2000s, a Kansas City band named itself Onward Crispin Glover.


Glover has written between 15 and 20 books.[11] Oak-Mot and Rat Catching are featured prominently during his Big Slide Show presentation, and are presented as visual art as much as written art. He constructs the books by reusing old novels and other publications which have fallen into public domain due to their age (for example, Rat Catching was constructed from an 1896 book Studies in the Art of Rat Catching, and Oak-Mot was constructed from an 1868 novel of the same title). He rearranges text, blacks out certain standing passages, and adds his own prose (and sometimes images) into the margins and elsewhere, thus creating an entirely new story. Four of his books have been published so far, through his publishing company, Volcanic Eruptions. Other known titles include The Backward Swing, A New World and Round My House.

1983Billow and the Rock[11]
1988Rat Catching
1990Concrete Inspection*
1992What it is, and How it is Done

†The publishing years listed above may not represent first edition publication dates, but may include subsequent available editions.

‡Not published.


•Out of Print.

Directorial work[edit]

Glover made his directorial debut with 2005's What Is It?, a surreal film featuring a cast of actors with Down syndrome. It premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. With a budget of only $150,000, it took almost a decade to complete and was originally intended to be a short film. Most of the primary footage was shot in 12 days, stretched over a two-and-a-half-year period. Production was mostly funded by the actor's roles in Willard and the Charlie's Angels films.

Glover's second film, It Is Fine! Everything Is Fine. was written by Utah writer-actor Steven C. Stewart. Stewart was born with a severe case of cerebral palsy and had been confined to a nursing home for about ten years. The second film is a fantastical psycho-sexual re-telling of life from Stewart's point of view. It premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.

Glover is currently developing other feature films that are outside of the trilogy and planning a third film, called It Is Mine, which will end the It? Trilogy.[13][14]



1983My TutorJack
1984Racing with the MoonGatsby Boy
Friday the 13th: The Final ChapterJimmy
1985The Orkly KidLarryShort
Back to the FutureGeorge McFlyNominated – Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
1986At Close RangeLucas
River's EdgeLayne
1989Back to the Future Part IIGeorge McFly(archive footage)
1990Where the Heart IsLionel
Wild at HeartDell
1991Rubin and EdRubin Farr
Little NoisesJoey
The DoorsAndy Warhol
1993Even Cowgirls Get the BluesHoward Barth
What's Eating Gilbert GrapeBobby McBurney
1994ChasersHoward Finster
1995Dead ManTrain Fireman
1996The People vs. Larry FlyntArlo
2000Nurse BettyRoy Ostery
Charlie's AngelsThin Man
Fast SofaJules Langdon
2002Crime and PunishmentRodion Raskolnikov
Like MikeStan Bittleman
2003WillardWillard Stiles3rd – Chainsaw Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Actor
Charlie's Angels: Full ThrottleThin Man
2004Incident at Loch NessParty Guest
2005What Is It?Dueling Demi-God Auteur / The Young Man's Inner Psyche and IdDirector
Drop Dead SexyEddie
2006Simon SaysSimon/Stanley
2007Epic MovieWilly
The Wizard of GoreMontag the Magnificent
It is Fine. Everything is Fine!Director
BeowulfGrendelMotion Capture
2008Open Season 2FifiVoice
Freezer Burn:The Invasion of LaxdaleViergacht
2009The Donner PartyWilliam Foster
2010Alice in WonderlandThe Knave of Hearts
Hot Tub Time MachinePhil
Mr. NiceErnie Combs
Open Season 3FifiVoice
2012Freaky DeakyWoody Ricks
2013HiszpankaDr. Abuse
2014The Bag ManNed
2014Aimy in a CageClaude BohringerPost-production


1981Best of TimesCrispinPilot
1982The Facts of LifeCadet No. 1Episode: "The Big Fight"
1983The Kid with the 200 I.Q.TV Movie
High School U.S.A.Archie FeldTV Movie
Happy DaysRoachEpisode: "Vocational Education"
Hill Street BluesSpace CadetEpisode: "Honk If You're a Goose"
1984–1986Family TiesDoug2 episodes
1993Hotel RoomDannyEpisode: "Blackout"
2010Funny or Die PresentsThomas EdisonEpisode: "105"


  1. ^ "Masterclash Takes on Male Friendships With 'Old Friends' and Crispin Glover". Retrieved September 25, 2010. 
  2. ^ "index magazine interview". Retrieved July 14, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Spin-Uncut". Retrieved July 14, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b Interview[dead link]
  5. ^ "What is it? Good question". 
  6. ^ My hols: Crispin Glover -Times Online
  7. ^ Crispin Glover
  8. ^ TIME Staff (February 13, 2009). "Crispin Glover Goes Back to the Crazy – Top 10 Disastrous Letterman Interviews". TIME. Retrieved July 14, 2009. 
  9. ^ Mooney, Chris. " – Letters to the Editor: The Glover's off". Retrieved July 14, 2009. 
  10. ^ Andy Baio (July 10, 2009). "Transcript of Crispin Glover on Letterman". Retrieved July 14, 2009. 
  11. ^ a b c " Bizarre Interview". Archived from the original on October 11, 2007. 
  12. ^ "Crispin Glover on David Letterman", interviewed by Frank Hyoguchi.. Retrieved 2009-12-24.
  13. ^ "Not a jaunt down the Yellow Brick Road". The Daily Utah Chronicle. February 28, 2005. Retrieved August 31, 2006. 
  14. ^ "An Update on Crispin Hellion Glover's Eagerly Anticipated It Is Mine". Movieweb. February 18, 2010. Retrieved December 11, 2010. 

External links[edit]