Born into the business, Broderick Crawford proved that leading man did not have to be handsome, young and charming. Or, particularly amenable, either.
Crawford was renowned for his offscreen appetites — food and drink — and his bullheadedness in dealing with the front office. For example, he had a lengthy series of run-ins with Columbia Pictures honcho Harry Cohn, who had met his match with Crawford.
To be honest, Broderick could be a handful!, confessed the head of the tv syndication company that produced the actor’s hit Fifties series, Highway Patrol.
Nature made him squat, burly, fast-talking and belligerent, wrote critic David Thomson, perfect for gangster roles and broad comedy. Handful or not, Crawford was a powerful actor who commanded attention onscreen.
He is certainly worth knowing more about. Let’s get to our Broderick Crawford Mini-Quiz. As usual, the questions can be found on the blog below. Here are the answers:
1) Answer: As you might have guessed given today’s intro, the answer is (c) Harry Cohn, head of Columbia Pictures. One suspects Cohn was not only the inspiration for the vulgar-businessman-Harry Brock role in 1950’s Born Yesterday but also for Crawford’s Oscar-winning turn as the politically unscrupulous Willie Stark in 1949’s All The King’s Men.
2) Answer: a) Lon Chaney Jr. He and Crawford were real roustabouts, physical guys who got drunk often and engaged in more or less friendly fisticuffs with one another. At Universal, the two were known as “the monsters.”
3) Answer: Il Bidone (The Swindle) directed by Federico Fellini. The picture was made shortly after Fellini made his international mark with 1954’s La Strada.
4) Answer: We believe the answer should be obvious here given the reputations of the other actors mentioned. It’s (d) Ronald Colman.
5) Answer: If you guessed (d) 145, uncork the champagne. Say what you will, Broderick worked a ton, right up until three years before his death in 1986 at age 74.