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avatar for Crispin Hellion Glover

Crispin Hellion Glover

Crispin Hellion Glover is a multifaceted American artist. He is primarily known as a film actor, but is also a publisher, filmmaker and author. His career has been marked by some portrayals of wonderfully eccentric people, such as George McFly in "Back to the Future" or Willard Stiles in "Willard." In the late 1980s, Glover started his own publishing company Volcanic Eruptions which turned in to a production company in the 1990's for his film works.

Born in New York City, Glover moved to Los Angeles at the age of three and a half. As a child, he attended the Mirman School for the academically gifted. His father, Bruce Glover, is an actor best remembered for playing the offbeat SPECTRE assassin Mr. Wint in the James Bond movie "Diamonds Are Forever" and one of Jack Nicholson's hood assistants Duffy in "Chinatown." Crispin Glover's first professional acting appearance was in 1978 in Los Angeles at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in “The Sound of Music.” He played Friedrich Von Trapp and Florence Henderson played Maria. He also appeared in some commercials and several sitcoms as a teenager, including “Happy Days” and “Family Ties.” His first film role was in 1983's "My Tutor." He has a small role in "Racing With The Moon" opposite Sean Penn. He also played the title role in an AFI film "The Orkly Kid" in which he portrayed a young man whose obsession with Olivia Newton-John raises the ire of his small-town neighbors. Later that year he appeared in "Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter" (1984) and then "Teachers" (1984). Also in 1984 came his breakout performance as as George McFly in Robert Zemeckis's "Back to the Future." Glover did not participate in the film's two sequels. Nevertheless, Zemeckis used facial prosthetics on another actor to simulate Glover on screen, and inter-spliced small portions of footage from the original film. Glover sued the producers. Because of Mr. Glover's lawsuit there is a precedent and new laws in SAG so that actors and producers are not allowed to ever do this again.

"Back to the Future" was an international box office smash following its release in 1985. Glover followed the release of that film with "River's Edge." From that point, Glover pursued a defiantly individualistic path. His characters were notable for their peculiar personality traits and unconventional thought processes. He played Andy Warhol in Oliver Stone's "The Doors" in (1991) and has continued to play exceedingly eccentric types, e.g. the title characters in "Bartleby" (2001) and "Willard" (2003). He has received some considerable mainstream attention recently as the "Thin Man" in the "Charlie's Angels" films.

In 1987, Glover appeared on "Late Night with David Letterman" to promote his new film "River's Edge" wearing a long wig and platform shoes. His bizarre appearance was exceeded only by his unusual behavior, which was thought by some to have been influenced by drugs, while others presume it was a conceptual art piece (the character has a similar look to the character he played later in 1990's Rubin from "Rubin and Ed." After an attempt to challenge Letterman to an arm wrestling match, Glover feigned an impromptu karate kick just inches from Letterman's face. Letterman abruptly ended the segment and cut to commercial. The segment is available on youtube.com. Glover never formally explained his behavior while appearing on the show. The character appears again in the video for "Clowny Clown Clown" and seems to have made some recent appearances almost twenty years later also available inYouTube.com posts. It is also noted that in the film "Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter."  Glover, when asked to perform a dance, performed a wild dance. This clip is also available on YouTube.com.


From 1987 to1989, in between shooting films, Glover released an album called "The Big Problem ? The Solution The Solution = Let It Be" through Restless Records, produced by Barnes & Barnes (of "Fish Heads" fame). The album features original songs like "Clowny Clown Clown" (which has its own music video), covers of Lee Hazlewood's "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" and Charles Manson's "Never Say Never to Always," and readings from his art books Rat Catching and Oak Mot (Glover made new books utilizing elements from old books and by adding original and altered pictures, text, and drawings). Sample pages from these books are featured in the album's liner notes. The music itself is similar to outsider music, with seemingly absurd, dream-like lyrics.

The back cover of the album is a collage of figures relating to each track on the album, with a puzzle: "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 in the collage on the back of the album, encouraging listeners to phone when they had figured out the "solution". Glover later commented that he was surprised how many people figured it out. Currently in reprints the telephone number has been replaced with www.CrispinGlover.com.

In 2003, he recorded a cover version of the Michael Jackson classic song "Ben" to coincide with the release of the film Willard. In the eccentric music video for the song which Glover directed and is included on the Willard DVD, he sings to a rat named Ben. This video also is available on Youtube.com

There have also been at least three songs written about him, titled "Crispin Glover," one by a New Jersey-based band Children In Adult Jails, the band Scarling., as well as Wesley Willis. The Colorado band Warlock Pinchers also released a song entitled "Where the hell is Crispin Glover?". In addition, some members of the indie rock rock band Reggie and the Full Effect were at one time in a local Kansas City band known as, "Onward Crispin Glover."

After receiving a number of requests to act in first time director’s films, Glover decided he wanted to try his hand at directing. Having collaborated on unfinished video projects with David Brothers since the 1980’s, Glover started WHAT IS IT? as a short and then determined that there was a feature film in it. After considerable effort to produce the film entirely with his own money over nine years, he premiered WHAT IS IT? at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. Glover toured with the film theatrically in 2006, performing his slide show prior to the film and discussing the film with the audience after the screening. He plans to continue this unique model of distribution with the remaining films in the “It” series. His second feature as a director is "It Is Fine! EVERYTHING IS FINE." which premieres at Sundance in 2007. The last film in the “It” trilogy is "IT IS MINE."