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Donald Crisp

Biography

London-born actor, director, and screenwriter who earned an Academy Award for Ideal Supporting Professional for How Green Was My Valley. He fought in the Boer Battle. His brother-in-law Adam Needham loaned the youthful Winston Churchill cash to go to America in 1906. He was wedded to his initial wife Marie Stark until their divorce in 1919 and afterwards wedded Jane Murfin in August 15, 1932. He performed Ulysses S. Offer in the film Delivery of a Country.

Quick Facts


Full Name Donald Crisp
Date Of Birth July 27, 1882
Died May 25, 1974, Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California, United States
Place Of Birth England
Height 1.76 m
Profession Director
Education University of Oxford
Nationality British, American
Spouse Jane Murfin, Marie Stark
Parents Elizabeth Crisp, James Crisp
Siblings John Crisp, Alice Crisp, James Crisp, Mark Crisp, Ann Crisp, Elizabeth Crisp, Eliza Crisp
Awards Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, DGA Honorary Life Member Award
Movies How Green Was My Valley, National Velvet, Lassie Come Home, The Man from Laramie, Broken Blossoms, Mutiny on the Bounty, Wuthering Heights, The Uninvited, The Sea Hawk, The Life of Emile Zola, The Last Hurrah, The Navigator, The Long Gray Line, Pollyanna, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, The Charge of the Light Brigade, The Old Maid, Greyfriars Bobby, Spencer's Mountain, Don Q, Son of Zorro, The Valley of Decision, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Challenge to Lassie, Mary of Scotland, The Dawn Patrol, The Runaway Bride, The Black Pirate, Prince Valiant, Knute Rockne, All American, Whispering Smith, Son of Lassie, Hills of Home, Saddle the Wind, City for Conquest, Home Town Story, The Adventures of Mark Twain, Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet, Brother Orchid, Drango, A Dog of Flanders, The Oklahoma Kid, Bright Leaf, What Every Woman Knows, The Gay Sisters, A Woman Rebels, The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse, The Viking, Sergeant Murphy, The Mothering Heart, Young April, The Fighting Eagle
Star Sign Leo

  • Facts
  • Filmography
  • Awards
  • Salaries
  • Quotes
  • Trademarks
  • Pictures

#Fact
1 Following his death, he was interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.
2 Donald Crisp passed away on May 25, 1974, two months away from what would have been his 92nd birthday on July 27.
3 He appeared with Henry O'Neill in eleven films: The Key (1934), Oil for the Lamps of China (1935), The White Angel (1936), The Great O'Malley (1937), The Life of Emile Zola (1937), The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse (1938), Jezebel (1938), Juarez (1939), Sons of Liberty (1939), Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet (1940) and Knute Rockne All American (1940).
4 He appeared in three Best Picture Academy Award winners: Mutiny on the Bounty (1935), The Life of Emile Zola (1937) and How Green Was My Valley (1941).
5 At the time of his Oscar win, he had been at work on The Gay Sisters (1942). During his acceptance speech, he claimed that in the week leading up to the Oscar ceremony, Barbara Stanwyck had forced him to practice accepting his award by handing him every lamp and statue on the set.
6 He appeared in two films adapted from Eleanor Atkinson's 1912 novel "Greyfriars Bobby": Challenge to Lassie (1949) and Greyfriars Bobby: The True Story of a Dog (1961).
7 He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1628 Vine Street in Hollywood, California on February 8, 1960.
8 He was educated at the University of Oxford.
9 His final screen role was as Grandpa Spencer opposite Henry Fonda and Maureen O'Hara in Spencer's Mountain (1963). This film, adapted from the novel by Earl Hamner Jr., was the basis for the popular television series The Waltons (1971).
10 As a producer, he became an active liaison between the film industry and outside business interests. He served on the Bank of America advisory board for several decades, including a stint as its chairman, becoming influential with its board of directors.
11 He worked as an assistant to D.W. Griffith for several years in Hollywood, which fostered a passion in him to become a director in his own right. He directed over 70 films, his final directorial effort being The Runaway Bride (1930) starring Mary Astor. Reportedly, Crisp gave up directing partly because it had become extremely wearisome as he was so often called upon--and sometimes forced--to do favors for studio chiefs by agreeing to employ their relatives in his films.
12 By 1910, he had become interested in pursuing a career in theater and began working as a stage manager for the renowned entertainer, composer, playwright and director George M. Cohan. During this period, he met and became friends with a stage actor named D.W. Griffith. His first films were made with Griffith by Biograph Company in New Jersey. When Griffith went to seek his fortune in Hollywood in 1912, Crisp accompanied him.
13 During the Boer War (1899-1902), Crisp crossed paths with a young Winston Churchill in the early days of his of political career. With the First World War (1914-1918), Crisp returned to England to serve in the army intelligence section. By the Second World War (1939-1945), Crisp served with the United States Army Reserves, rising to the rank of Colonel.
14 Fought in the British Army during the Boer War in South Africa.


Actor

Actor

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Pirate Gold 1913 Short
The Musketeers of Pig Alley 1912 Short Rival Gang Member (uncredited)
The Inner Circle 1912 Short
The Eternal Mother 1912 Short In Field
The Failure 1911 Short The Employer
The Miser's Heart 1911 Short Policeman
The Battle 1911 Short A Union Soldier
The Long Road 1911 Short A Servant / The Landlord
The Adventures of Billy 1911 Short First Tramp
The Making of a Man 1911 Short Actor / Backstage
Her Awakening 1911 Short Accident Witness
The Squaw's Love 1911 Short Indian (uncredited)
Swords and Hearts 1911 Short At Frazier House / Bushwacker (uncredited)
The Diving Girl 1911 Short A Bather
Out from the Shadow 1911 Short At Dance
The Primal Call 1911 Short
The White Rose of the Wilds 1911 Short
In the Days of '49 1911 Short
Conscience 1911 Short Policeman
A Decree of Destiny 1911 Short At the Club / At the Wedding
The Lily of the Tenements 1911 Short
What Shall We Do with Our Old? 1911 Short Night Court Bailiff (uncredited)
Heart Beats of Long Ago 1911 Short Courtier
A Wreath of Orange Blossoms 1911 Short A Servant / In Office
The Poor Sick Men 1911 Short Policeman
Fate's Turning 1911 Short The Valet
Help Wanted 1911 Short In Corridor
The Italian Barber 1911 Short At Ball
The Two Paths 1911 Short Footman
Winning Back His Love 1910 Short At Stage Door
The Golden Supper 1910 Short Courtier / Monk (uncredited)
A Child's Stratagem 1910 Short Policeman
A Plain Song 1910 Short At Station
Sunshine Sue 1910 Short Head of the Sweatshop
Through the Breakers 1909 Short At the Club
The French Maid 1908 Short
Spencer's Mountain 1963 Grandpa Zubulon Spencer
Greyfriars Bobby: The True Story of a Dog 1961 James Brown
Pollyanna 1960 Mayor Karl Warren
A Dog of Flanders 1959 Jehan Daas
Playhouse 90 1959 TV Series Samuel Harman
The Last Hurrah 1958 Cardinal Martin Burke
Saddle the Wind 1958 Dennis Deneen
Drango 1957 Judge Allen
Crossroads 1956 TV Series Father Anatole Martin
The Man from Laramie 1955 Alec Waggoman
The Long Gray Line 1955 Old Martin
Prince Valiant 1954 King Aguar
Home Town Story 1951 John MacFarland
Bright Leaf 1950 Major James Singleton
Challenge to Lassie 1949 'Jock' Gray
Whispering Smith 1948 Barney Rebstock
Hills of Home 1948 Drumsheugh
Ramrod 1947 Jim Crew
The Valley of Decision 1945 William Scott
Son of Lassie 1945 Sam Carraclough
National Velvet 1944 Mr. Brown
The Adventures of Mark Twain 1944 J.B. Pond
The Uninvited 1944 Commander Beech
Lassie Come Home 1943 Sam Carraclough
Forever and a Day 1943 Capt. Martin
The Gay Sisters 1942 Ralph Pedloch
How Green Was My Valley 1941 Mr. Morgan
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 1941 Sir Charles Emery
Shining Victory 1941 Dr. Drewett
Knute Rockne All American 1940 Father John Callahan, C.S.C
City for Conquest 1940 Scotty MacPherson
The Sea Hawk 1940 Sir John Burleson
Brother Orchid 1940 Brother Superior
Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet 1940 Minister Althoff
The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex 1939 Francis Bacon
The Old Maid 1939 Dr. Lanskell
Daughters Courageous 1939 Samuel 'Sam' Sloane
Sons of Liberty 1939 Short Alexander McDougall
Juarez 1939 General Marechal Achille Bazaine
Wuthering Heights 1939 Dr. Kenneth
The Oklahoma Kid 1939 Judge Hardwick
The Dawn Patrol 1938 Phipps
Comet Over Broadway 1938 Grant
The Sisters 1938 Tim Hazelton
Valley of the Giants 1938 Andy Stone
The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse 1938 Inspector Lane
The Beloved Brat 1938 Mr. Morgan
Jezebel 1938 Dr. Livingstone
Sergeant Murphy 1938 Col. Carruthers
That Certain Woman 1937 Merrick, Sr.
Confession 1937 Presiding Judge
The Life of Emile Zola 1937 Maitre Labori
Parnell 1937 Davitt
The Great O'Malley 1937 Captain Cromwell
Beloved Enemy 1936 Liam Burke
A Woman Rebels 1936 Judge Byron Thistlewaite
The Charge of the Light Brigade 1936 Colonel Campbell
Mary of Scotland 1936 Huntly
The White Angel 1936 Dr. Hunt
Mutiny on the Bounty 1935 Burkitt
Oil for the Lamps of China 1935 Mr. McCarger
Laddie 1935 Mr. Pryor
Vanessa: Her Love Story 1935 George - the Inn Owner
The Little Minister 1934 Doctor McQueen
What Every Woman Knows 1934 Mr. David Wylie
British Agent 1934 Marshall O'Reilly (scenes deleted)
The Life of Vergie Winters 1934 Mike Davey
The Key 1934 Peadar Conlan
The Crime Doctor 1934 District Attorney
Hamlet, Act I: Scenes IV and V 1933 Short Marcellus
Broadway Bad 1933 Darrall
Red Dust 1932 Guidon
A Passport to Hell 1932 Sgt. Snyder
Kick In 1931 Police Commisioner Harvey
Svengali 1931 The Laird
Scotland Yard 1930 Charles Fox
The Return of Sherlock Holmes 1929 Colonel Moran
The Pagan 1929 Mr. Roger Slater
Trent's Last Case 1929 Sigsbee Manderson
The Viking 1928 Leif Ericsson
The River Pirate 1928 Caxton
Stand and Deliver 1928 London Club Member (uncredited)
The Black Pirate 1926 MacTavish (as Mr. Donald Crisp)
Don Q Son of Zorro 1925 Don Sebastian
The Bonnie Brier Bush 1921 Lachlan Campbell
Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man and the Girl 1919 Battling Burrows
Joan the Woman 1916
Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages 1916 Extra (uncredited)
Ramona 1916 Jim Farrar (as James Needham)
A Girl of Yesterday 1915 A.H. Monroe
The Foundling 1915 scenes deleted
May Blossom 1915 Steve Harland
The Commanding Officer 1915 Col. Archer (the Commandant)
The Love Route 1915 Harry Marshall
The Birth of a Nation 1915 Gen. U.S. Grant
An Old-Fashioned Girl 1915 Short
Over the Ledge 1914 Short
A Question of Courage 1914 Short
The Sisters 1914 Short
Another Chance 1914 Short The Tramp
The Warning 1914/I Short Mr. Edwards
His Mother's Trust 1914 Short Dr. Keene
The Great God Fear 1914 Short Dick Stull
Down the Hill to Creditville 1914 Short
A Lesson in Mechanics 1914 Short
Her Mother's Necklace 1914 Short The Burglar
The Tavern of Tragedy 1914 Short Bob Jameson - the Spy
The Idiot 1914/I Short Undetermined Role (unconfirmed)
The Avenging Conscience: or 'Thou Shalt Not Kill' 1914 Undetermined Secondary Role (unconfirmed, uncredited)
The Weaker Strain 1914 Short
Their First Acquaintance 1914 Short unconfirmed
The Birthday Present 1914 Short The Burglar
The Newer Woman 1914 Short
The Escape 1914 'Bull' McGee
The Soul of Honor 1914 Short
Home, Sweet Home 1914 The Mother's Son
The Miniature Portrait 1914 Short
The Different Man 1914 Short The Ranch Foreman
Ashes of the Past 1914 Short
The Mountain Rat 1914 Short Steve
The Stiletto 1914 Short Angelino
The Battle of the Sexes 1914 Frank Andrews
The Mysterious Shot 1914 Short Buck
The Great Leap: Until Death Do Us Part 1914
In the Elemental World 1913 Short The Husband
The Blue or the Gray 1913 Short Southern Rival
By Man's Law 1913 Short Lee Calvert - Brother Owner
The Bracelet 1913 Short Blake
His Secret 1913 Short Husband
Black and White 1913/I Short
Two Men of the Desert 1913 Short unconfirmed
The Mothering Heart 1913 Short Undetermined Role (unconfirmed, uncredited)
Olaf-An Atom 1913 Short The Beggar
The Sheriff's Baby 1913 Short
Near to Earth 1913 Short

Director

Director

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Runaway Bride 1930
The Cop 1928
Stand and Deliver 1928
Dress Parade 1927
The Fighting Eagle 1927
Vanity 1927
Man Bait 1927
Nobody's Widow 1927
Young April 1926
Sunny Side Up 1926
Don Q Son of Zorro 1925
The Navigator 1924
Ponjola 1923
Tell Your Children 1922
The Bonnie Brier Bush 1921
Appearances 1921
The Princess of New York 1921
The Barbarian 1921
Held by the Enemy 1920
Miss Hobbs 1920
The Six Best Cellars 1920
Too Much Johnson 1919
It Pays to Advertise 1919
Why Smith Left Home 1919
Love Insurance 1919
A Very Good Young Man 1919
Putting It Over 1919
Something to Do 1919
Johnny Get Your Gun 1919
The Poor Boob 1919
Venus in the East 1919
Under the Top 1919
The Way of a Man with a Maid 1918
The Goat 1918
Less Than Kin 1918
The Firefly of France 1918
Believe Me, Xantippe 1918
The House of Silence 1918
Rimrock Jones 1918
Jules of the Strong Heart 1918
The Clever Mrs. Carfax 1917
The Countess Charming 1917
Lost in Transit 1917
The Cook of Canyon Camp 1917
A Roadside Impresario 1917
The Marcellini Millions 1917
The Bond Between 1917
His Sweetheart 1917
The Eyes of the World 1917
Ramona 1916
How Hazel Got Even 1915 Short
An Old-Fashioned Girl 1915 Short
At Dawn 1914 Short
Another Chance 1914 Short
The Little Country Mouse 1914 Short
The Niggard 1914 Short
Paid with Interest 1914 Short
The Availing Prayer 1914 Short
The Warning 1914/I Short
Sands of Fate 1914 Short
His Mother's Trust 1914 Short
The Great God Fear 1914 Short
Down the Hill to Creditville 1914 Short
Frenchy 1914 Short
Her Mother's Necklace 1914 Short
The Tavern of Tragedy 1914 Short
The Idiot 1914/I Short
The Weaker Strain 1914 Short
Their First Acquaintance 1914 Short
The Newer Woman 1914 Short
The Mysterious Shot 1914 Short
Her Father's Silent Partner 1914 Short

Writer

Writer

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Cook of Canyon Camp 1917 screenplay / story

Soundtrack

Soundtrack

TitleYearStatusCharacter
How Green Was My Valley 1941 performer: "Peter O'Pea" - uncredited
What Every Woman Knows 1934 performer: "Loch Lomond" - uncredited

Assistant Director

Assistant Director

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Birth of a Nation 1915 assistant director - uncredited

Producer

Producer

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Africa Screams 1949 executive producer - uncredited

Self

Self

TitleYearStatusCharacter
About Faces 1960 TV Series Himself
This Is Your Life 1957 TV Series Himself
Lux Video Theatre 1955 TV Series Himself - Guest Host / Himself - Intermission Guest
The Name's the Same 1955 TV Series Himself - Contestant
A Star Is Born World Premiere 1954 TV Short Himself
The 25th Annual Academy Awards 1953 TV Special Himself
The Ed Sullivan Show 1951 TV Series Himself
Screen Actors 1950 Documentary short Himself (uncredited)
The Battle of Midway 1942 Short documentary Main Narrator (voice, uncredited)
For Auld Lang Syne 1938 Documentary short Himself - 2nd M.C. Introducing Paul Muni (uncredited)

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Omnibus 2000 TV Series documentary
Biography 1995 TV Series documentary Actor 'How Green Was My Valley'
A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies 1995 TV Movie documentary Battling Burrows, 'Broken Blossoms' (uncredited)
Doogie Howser, M.D. 1992 TV Series Mr. Morgan
American Masters 1988 TV Series documentary
Hollywood Out-takes and Rare Footage 1983 Documentary Himself (uncredited)
The Dick Cavett Show 1971 TV Series Himself
Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color 1963-1964 TV Series Mayor Karl Warren / James Brown
MGM Parade 1955 TV Series Seaman Thomas Burkitt
Some of the Best: Twenty-Five Years of Motion Picture Leadership 1949 Documentary short Himself (uncredited)

Won awards

Won awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
1960 Star on the Walk of Fame Walk of Fame Motion Picture On 8 February 1960. At 1628 Vine Street.
1957 DGA Honorary Life Member Award Directors Guild of America, USA
1942 Oscar Academy Awards, USA Best Actor in a Supporting Role How Green Was My Valley (1941)


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#Trademark
1 Often played wise, proud and strong-willed elders who were sometimes too set in their ways.
2 Soft expressive voice, often spoken in his own British dialect or an Irish one, though was passable as American characters as well.
3 His barrel-chested frame and large workingman's hands, which got him cast as tough characters in silent films.

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