Crispin Glover


20 Apr 1964


New York City, New York, USA


Crispin Hellion Glover


While he's never been a typical leading man, Crispin Glover has distinguished himself as one of the most intriguing personalities in the movie business. His unusual characters and personal projects have inspired a cult-like following that has dubbed him both madman and genius.

The son of actor Bruce Glover, Crispin Hellion Glover was born in New York City and raised in Southern California. He picked up his father's trade while still in elementary school--by age 13, he already had an agent scouting out parts. A lead in a stage production of "The Sound of Music" (starring Florence Henderson) led to guest spots on the TV shows Happy Days (1974), Hill Street Blues (1981) and Family Ties (1982), which in turn led to roles in made-for-TV movies. The adolescent Glover felt "confined" by TV work, however, so he opted to stick to movie parts. He made his big-screen debut in the teen hi-jinx movie in My Tutor (1983), then followed up with a supporting role in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984).

Glover's most defining Hollywood moment happened the next year, when he appeared as George McFly (Michael J. Fox's father) in the instant classic Back to the Future (1985). The underdog character struck a chord with moviegoers. Oddly enough, the actor delivered one of his favorite performances around the same time - playing a small-town kid obsessed with Olivia Newton-John in the indie The Orkly Kid (1985)--but the smaller film was completely overshadowed by his commercial success. Glover did, however, receive critical praise for his next indie role, a starring turn as a high-strung murder witness in River's Edge (1986). Glover and the producers did not come to a financial agreement for him to reprise the role of George McFly in Back to the Future Part II (1989). The producers brought the character back to life by splicing together archived footage and new scenes (using an actor in prosthetic makeup). Glover, who hadn't given permission for his likeness to be used, sued the film's producer, Steven Spielberg, and won. The case prompted the Screen Actors Guild to devise new regulations about the use of actors' images.

In 1990 Glover teamed up with fellow eccentric David Lynch to play the maniacal Cousin Dell in Wild at Heart (1990). He filled the next decade with similarly quirky, peripheral roles, including a turn as Andy Warhol in The Doors (1991) and a cameo as a train fireman in Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man (1995). His small but memorable appearances in films like What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1993) and The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996) often outshone the main action.

When he's not stealing scenes from Hollywood hotshots, Glover pours his considerable energy into other creative endeavors. He wrote his first book, "Billow Rock", before age 18, and since then he's gone on to create a library of peculiar titles (several of which have been published through his family's Volcanic Eruptions press). Among his most famous volumes are "Rat Catching" and "Oak-Mot", both Victorian-era stories updated with macabre illustrations and cut-up text. In 1989 he released an album of spoken word readings and cover tunes (including a rendition of "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'") entitled "The Big Problem [does not equal] the Solution. The Solution = Let it be."

In 1995 Glover began shooting his directorial debut, What Is It? (2005), a surreal film populated entirely by actors with Down's Syndrome. He tours with the film and it's sequel It is fine. Everything is fine! and his show, "Crispin Hellion Glover's Big Slide Show," which is a one hour dramatic narration of eight different profusely illustrated books. The artist in Glover has been said to be inspired by "the aesthetic of discomfort," a theme which seems to have been carried over into an artistic public performance on David Letterman's NBC show in 1987, Glover emerged wearing a wig and platform shoes, then delivered a swift kick toward Letterman's head that prompted the producers to cut to a commercial. Late 2000 saw him hitting the multiplex with roles in Nurse Betty (2000) and Charlie's Angels (2000), and the titular Willard (2003). He re-teamed with Back to the Future director Robert Zemeckis as Grendel in Beowulf (2007) and has worked with Johnny Depp for the third time in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (2010). Other Glover projects loom on the not-too-distant horizon.

Actor ( 78 credits )

By the Rivers of Babylon (2017) William
American Gods (2017)  Mr. World (4 episodes, 2017)
We Have Always Lived in the Castle (2017) Uncle Julian
Aimy in a Cage (2016) Claude Bohringer
The Brits Are Coming (2016) Gabriel Anderson
Influence (2015) Dr. Abuse
The Bag Man (2014) Ned
No Small Parts (2014)  Himself (archive footage) (1 episode, 2016)
Freaky Deaky (2012) Woody Ricks
Welcome to the Basement (2012)  George McFly / ... (archive footage) (1 episode, 2015)
The Project (2011)  Himself (1 episode, 2012)
Open Season 3 (2010) Fifi (voice)
Hot Tub Time Machine (2010) Phil
Mr. Nice (2010) Ernie Combs
Alice in Wonderland (2010) Stayne - Knave of Hearts
Special Collector's Edition (2010)  George McFly (1 episode, 2011)
Funny or Die Presents... (2010)  Thomas Edison (1 episode, 2010)
The Donner Party (2009) William Foster
9 (2009) #6 (voice)
Open Season 2 (2008) Fifi (voice)
Freezer Burn: The Invasion of Laxdale (2008) Viergacht
The Bonnie Hunt Show (2008)  Himself (1 episode, 2010)
Beowulf (2007) Grendel
The Wizard of Gore (2007) Montag the Magnificent
Epic Movie (2007) Willy Wonka
Chelsea Lately (2007)  Himself - Guest (1 episode, 2010)
Drunk History (2007)  Thomas Edison (1 episode, 2010)
Up Close with Carrie Keagan (2007)  Himself (2 episodes, 2007-2010)
Simon Says (2006) Simon / Stanley
9am with David & Kim (2006)  Himself - Guest (1 episode, 2008)
Drop Dead Sexy (2005) Eddie
What Is It? (2005) Dueling Demi-God Auteur / The Young Man's Inner Psyche
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (2005)  Himself (1 episode, 2005)
Incident at Loch Ness (2004) Party Guest
Henry's Film Corner (2004)  Himself (1 episode, 2005)
Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003) Thin Man
Willard (2003) Willard
Jimmy Kimmel Live! (2003)  Himself (1 episode, 2003)
Crime and Punishment (2002) Rodion Raskolnikov
Like Mike (2002) Stan Bittleman
Mornings with Kerri-Anne (2002)  Himself - Guest (1 episode, 2008)
Into the Night with... (2002)  Himself (1 episode, 2010)
Fast Sofa (2001) Jules Langdon
Bartleby (2001) Bartleby
The Beaver Trilogy (2000) Groovin' Larry (segment "The Orkly Kid") (archive foota
Charlie's Angels (2000) Thin Man
Nurse Betty (2000) Roy Ostery
The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996) Arlo
Dead Man (1995) Train Fireman
Chasers (1994) Howard Finster
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1993) Howard Barth
What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993) Bobby McBurney
Late Show with David Letterman (1993)  Himself (1 episode, 2003)
Late Night with Conan O'Brien (1993)  Himself (1 episode, 2003)
Little Noises (1992) Joey
Rubin and Ed (1991) Rubin Farr
30 Door Key (1991) Mintus
The Doors (1991) Andy Warhol
Wild at Heart (1990) Dell
Where the Heart Is (1990) Lionel
Back to the Future Part II (1989) George McFly (archive footage)
Twister (1989) Howdy
The Last Resort with Jonathan Ross (1987)  Himself (1 episode, 1987)
River's Edge (1986) Layne
At Close Range (1986) Lucas
Back to the Future (1985) George McFly
The Orkly Kid (1985) Larry
Teachers (1984) Danny
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984) Jimmy Mortimer
Racing with the Moon (1984) Gatsby Boy
My Tutor (1983) Jack
Family Ties (1982)  Doug (2 episodes, 1984-1986)
Late Night with David Letterman (1982)  Himself (1 episode, 1987)
Crisis Counselor (1982) (1 episode, 1982)
Hill Street Blues (1981)  Space Cadet (1 episode, 1983)
The Facts of Life (1979)  Cadet #1 (1 episode, 1982)
Happy Days (1974)  Roach (1 episode, 1983)
Untitled Crispin Hellion Glover Project (0) Brutus

Producer ( 3 credits )

It Is Fine! Everything Is Fine. (2007) producer
What Is It? (2005) executive producer / producer
Untitled Crispin Hellion Glover Project (0) producer

Writer ( 1 credit )

What Is It? (2005) (as Crispin Hellion Glover)

Director ( 3 credits )

It Is Fine! Everything Is Fine. (2007) (as Crispin Hellion Glover)
What Is It? (2005) (as Crispin Hellion Glover)
Untitled Crispin Hellion Glover Project (0)