FAQ and Bio





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Frequently asked site and MC questions
Michael's biography


FAQ

Who are you? Are you Michael Crawford?

No, I'm Krista, a graduate student in Ohio. I've been behind this site for....hmmm, about three years now. The current design ("M2") debuted in the summer of 1998. For the record, I have no connection to Michael Crawford. I'm just a fan, doing a site as a tribute to him. For more information on me, check out my personal bio page or my desktop, which has my latest notes on this site.

I just love those little dolls in your MC pictures area! Are they for sale? Where can I buy them?

Sorry! The dolls are not for sale. They're from a spring 1993 issue of Miniatures Magazine, a discontinued spin-off of Nutshell News. The theme was "Literature in Miniature" and an artisan made the dolls just for that display. Actually, she did sell a limited run of them--for $1,000 a pair. I contacted her at the time and she said she was thinking of doing another run, possibly with a different scene in mind. She did not recontact me about it, so I assume it never happened. Trivia: Dale Kristien bought the last set, the ones featured in the magazine (and in the scan). Note: If you're interested in Phantom-themed dolls, try my Links area for at least one site selling dolls of Michael's Erik.

If I email you, will you send it to Michael Crawford?

No, sorry, I won't. I don't have Michael's email address.

How do I get in touch with Michael?

I know of several avenues, though, for general privacy reasons, I'm not going to post them here. Michael does not answer all mail (he's a busy man, after all!), though he seems to be more disposed to answering children's mail.

Is Michael with "Phantom" still?

No, he's not. Michael hasn't played the lead role in POTO since the early 1990s, when he finished up in LA. Michael's current doings are reported on my News page and recent bookings page, when applicable.

What's going on with the "Phantom" movie?

I tend to cover the ongoing "Phantom" movie situation only when it is very definitely related to Michael. I just can't waste time reporting again and again rumors about this-or-that actor taking the role. The latest news, as of September 2003, is that they're beginning filming in the UK, under the direction of Joel Schumacher, with Gerard Butler playing the role of the Phantom. For more information, go to the "Phantom" movie links.

Will Michael be coming to my hometown any time soon?

Sorry to repeat answers here, but this question comes up too often not to answer it here. Anybody interested in Michael's current doings can watch my News page and recent bookings page, when applicable, for his latest movements.


michael crawford rose

Where can I find Michael's videos or CDs?

I have gathered many of my favorite links for purchasing MC music and videos via the Net. I have used most of them myself, and can vouch for the most prominently plugged vendors (MusicBoulevard, Amazon.com, Reel.com, Footlights, Dress Circle).

There's a Michael Crawford rose?

Yup! Apparently, it's aka the Victor Borge rose in the States, but it's indeed the official Michael Crawford rose.

How can I meet Michael?

If Michael's coming to your city with a tour, my suggestion would be to hang around the stage door after the show and attempt to meet him them. Prior to that, you might want to send a letter to the theater for him, to notify him that you will be there. This is not a foolproof way of meeting him, but this is the way many fans, of many actors, go about meeting their stars.

Is Michael involved with anybody?

Michael seems to have a lady friend at the present time. No, there isn't word or sign of engagement whisperings. For the sake of his privacy, I'm not going further into it, other than to say--sorry, ladies, he's taken!

What are Michael's charities?

His official charities are:

The Sick Children's Trust
225 East 73rd Street
New York, NY 10021 USA

and

Lighthouse Foundation
PO Box 127
Hawkesburn Vic 3142 Australia
N.B. to American donors: American currency orders are generally easier to work with on both sides of the donation. Also, please be aware that to cash the order in Australia, the bank will charge $5 Australian to the Lighthouse Foundation.

Why aren't there any American charities?

It just turned out that way. For those who are interested in an American-focused charity, or would like to donate on behalf of this site as well as Michael, I will recommend to you the Child Welfare League of America, which has been approved by the National Charities Information Bureau. The Child Welfare League addresses a variety of issues pertinent to the lives of children in America, from poverty, to health emergencies, to education and shelter. For more information, go their Website.

So what's the deal with the MCIFA?

I had a nasty run-in with them a year ago, involving a dispute of ownership of two items: information, in the form of a notice of the birth of Michael's grandchild, and a photograph in my Photo Files. I'm not going to throw new logs into the fire, but if you want to go over my history with them, check out my statement. I think you'll find out from there why I will not advertise for them any time soon, although I do not have any problems with run-of-the-mill members.

How do I get on the message board?

My message board is private. This means not just anybody can walk in and post. You have to follow a certain set of procedures to gain access, which I've outlined on the Fan Chat page.

Is Michael Crawford on the message board?

There is nobody claiming to be the Michael Crawford, topic of this site, in the roster for my message board. Unless he's lurking, he's not there. The board is just for fan discussion.

Does Michael read the guestbook?

If he visits the site (he does have a computer), he has the same access capabilities to the guestbook that any site visitor does. I do not ship off copies of the guestbook to him, though, so it is not guaranteed Michael will ever see your guestbook signature.

Has Michael been to your site? Does he know about the site?

I don't want to get too specific here, but yes, it is highly likely that Michael knows of this site. His EFX castmates spoke highly of it. :)

carol ford photo of mc

Bio

Michael Crawford, who won acclaim for his suave Phantom in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera, took the name fans now sigh over from a biscuit box.

Such is the nature of this man's career and life, combining both the expected and unexpected. An acclaimed actor and a celebrity who is not unaware of his humanity are the result.

Michael was born Michael Patrick Dumble-Smith on January 19, 1942, in Salisbury, in Wiltshire, England. His father, a war pilot, had perished in action prior to Michael's birth; Michael's mother raised him first with the aid of his grandmother, with whom the actor would share a life-long closeness, and later her second husband, a grocer. Michael's relationship with his stepfather was, by all accounts, rocky, and as a student, he was not destined to succeed. The arts became his outlet; singing first in the school choir and later in Benjamin Britten's Let's Make an Opera, Michael grew enamored enough of the entertainment profession to leave school at fifteen to tour in the Britten production.

A stream of radio shows and children's movies marked Michael's adolescent career. In 1962, he finally began to emerge as a star with two successes: a large part in the film, The War Lover, starring Steve McQueen, and a hit on the stage in the Neil Simon comedy, Come Blow Your Horn. Comedy then became his specialty; Michael's was a familiar voice in Great Britain when he began, in 1964, the BBC television series, Not So Much a Programme, More a Way of Life, playing the part of motor-cyclist punk, Byron. He moved on to more films, including, The Knack...and How to Get It, in which he played a role to become typical for him, that of the adorable bumbler.

The success of The Knack brought Michael to another Richard Lester film, an adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum. Michael played the romantic hero named--well, Hero. He took on another Lester project immediately afterwards, How I Won the War, in which he played opposite none other than John Lennon.

Michael's star was rising, beginning to glow even in America. He was introduced to American audiences in 1967, when he made his Broadway debut in the two plays, White Lies and Black Comedy. The former, which involved a great deal of physical comedy (and physical pain, for the star), attracted the interest of Gene Kelly. Kelly, who was casting the movie of Hello, Dolly!, engaged Michael for the part of Cornelius Hackl in a cast that included Barbra Streisand and Walter Matthau. Despite the glittering cast names, the movie failed badly. The colossal bomb of Hello, Dolly! at the box office set off a streak of film disappointments in Michael's career. While his career floundered, personal problems also arose; the tensions during this period were allegedly partly at root for his divorce a few years later from his wife, Gabrielle, with whom he had two daughters, Lucy and Emma. The divorce did not sour the family bond; Michael remains, by all accounts, a close friend to Gabrielle and seems to have always been an extremely concerned father.

While his marriage died, his career revived itself in 1971, when Michael played the lead in the stage farce, No Sex, Please--We're British. He moved from there to what would become his famous role before Phantom, the part of Frank Spencer. His BBC TV series, Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em, made him a genuine star in Britain, where the ratings for the show consistently soared. Michael even won a "Funniest Man on TV" poll for the part, and was allegedly contacted by American television productions to make an American version of Some Mothers.

The success of the TV show provided Michael with the opportunity to return to theater. He had a hit in 1974 as the lead in the musical, Billy, and followed that with the short-run but artistically challenging, Flowers For Algernon. In that show, Michael was at last permitted to tap his dramatic potential to bring to life the character of the retarded boy, Charly.

The financial failure of Flowers brought Michael briefly back to television, where he played a counter-character role in the series, Chalk and Cheese. The show was not well received by loyal fans of both Michael the musical star and Michael as the endearing Frank Spencer, and it did not succeed. Disappointed in TV, disappointed in film, where he bombed at the box office in the comedic adventure, Condorman, Michael went back to the site of his last success, the theater. There, in 1981, he had his most famous theatrical part prior to Phantom. For four years, he played the lead role in the musical, Barnum, in which he combined his love of song with his brand of daring physical comedy. He received an Olivier for his performance and more than one commentator speculated that the show could run indefinitely, so long as Crawford was in it.

But, wound down from nightly physical abuse in the name of entertainment, Michael eventually left Barnum for what was to be a long-overdue vacation. It was then that he was officially hired for a project of the composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. Webber, searching for a Phantom to put opposite his then-wife, Sarah Brightman, in his nascent Phantom of the Opera, had heard Michael singing at Sarah and Michael's mutual voice instructor. Theater history was made.

In 1986, Michael created the role for which he would become internationally and permanently famous. His Phantom was noted for a hypnotic voice and a romantic interpretation that did not shy away from either the Phantom's rage or his agonized sexuality. In all three cities in which Michael created the role (London, Broadway, and Los Angeles), Michael received reviews that hailed his as a once-in-a-lifetime performance. For his Phantom, Michael garnered an Olivier Award, an Outer Critics Circle Award, the Drama Desk Award, the Drama League Award, the Drama-Logue Award, the Los Angeles Drama Critics Award, and the celebrated Tony for Best Actor in a Musical.

Producers did not fail to recognize that the voice famed in Phantom might turn out a successful album or two. Michael accordingly launched a recording career, beginning with the release of Songs from the Stage and Screen. He toured with a later album, the 2-million-selling Michael Crawford Performs Andrew Lloyd Webber, from 1991-1992.

When Michael's tour ended, murmurs arose again about the proposed filming of Phantom for the big screen. But, as the years passed and the film seemed no closer to completion, Michael again returned to the theater. But this time, not on Broadway or the West End--Michael went to Vegas.

In 1995, Michael Crawford signed on to perform the leading roles in a new Las Vegas extravaganza, "EFX!" The $40 million production, written especially for Michael (and at some points, by Michael), is currently playing at the MGM Grand. Michael left "EFX!" in the fall of 1996, due to the return of a hip/groin injury incurred earlier in the difficult physical stunts of the show. On January 26, 1998, Michael filed suit against the MGM Grand for the termination of his contract at EFX and for the physical problems he incurred allegedly as a result of his work there. (N.B., it seems the case settled out of court.) This came after a series of movements on Michael's part, apparently in a bid to return to the public eye. In November of 1997, he headlined a series of concerts in Sydney, Australia to publicize the opening of the Star City Casino, appearing alongside acts like Air Supply, Tom Jones, and Diana Ross. He popped up in a variety of private concerts in the California area during the winter, missing the New York celebration of the Tenth Anniversary of The Phantom of the Opera due to prior commitments. It is looking less likely that Michael will appear in the film version of Phantom, the lead for which has been alternately assigned by the media to John Travolta and Antonio Banderas. Word from Banderas' agent has it that Banderas has signed, but this has not been confirmed with either Warner Brothers, the Really Useful Group, or Michael Crawford.

Michael's 1998 was quite busy, regardless of the movie: he promoted the release of his album of inspirational/religious songs, On Eagle's Wings, and had an Emmy-nominated PBS special running across the country. Michael spent the spring/summer on tour with TJ-Maxx's An Evening With Michael Crawford in Concert, which ran through the US, NZ, and Australia. An album based on the concert was released in October of 1998 (Michael Crawford In Concert) in the US, while MC did press in the UK, including a cameo appearance on the long-running Brit soap, Coronation Street.

Busy as 1998 was, Michael hasn't taken a breather in 1999. In May, he appeared in Atlantic City and Foxwoods, CT concerts, before disappearing till August, when he appeared again at Cerritos. Surprised and delighted fans soon saw the product of his non-concert time: his autobiography, Parcel Arrived Safely: Tied With a String, hit the shelves in the UK, followed with a January 2000 US release. Michael's fall was spent spent doing book signings in the UK, with appearances in 2000 slated for Australia and New Zealand. A Christmas album, In the Moon of Wintertime, came out under the new title, "A Christmas Album." Although Michael has not made any stage commitments known, he has finally spoken up on the topic of the "Phantom" movie. He admitted not knowing where he stood with it, has said he'd be interested in doing the voice dub if need be, and sent a message to fans. He publicly thanked fans throughout the year for their support, saying that while he didn't like to do the "schmoozing" necessary for Hollywood support, he was enormously flattered and gratified by the fans' enthusiasm on his behalf.

Not that such modesty has put a stop to MC's career. On the contrary, in 2000, MC was in talks to star in a West End musical in May, The Witches of Eastwick, but pulled out due to other commitments. In 2002, he returned to Broadway in the mega-musical,Dance of the Vampire. Although it seems likely he will not star in the "Phantom" movie (set to begin filming in September 2003), he continues to remain an active acting and recording artist.

SOURCES:




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