Burly, handsome and rugged character actor John Crawford appeared in over 200 movies and TV shows combined in a career that spanned over 40 years, usually cast as tough and/or villainous characters.
Crawford was born Cleve Richardson on September 13, 1920, in Colfax, Washington. He was discovered by a Warner Bros. scout while attending the University of Washington’s School of Drama. Although he failed his screen test, Crawford nonetheless joined RKO as a laborer. He then got a job building sets at Circle Theater in Los Angeles, and eventually persuaded the producers to cast him in some of their plays. He was soon signed to Columbia Pictures to act in secondary roles in westerns. In the late 1950s he graduated to bigger parts in such films as Orders to Kill (1958), The Key (1958) and Hell Is a City (1960), all of which were made in the UK. Crawford returned to America in the early 1960s and began a prolific career in both movies and TV series, up until 1986. His most memorable film roles include the ill-fated chief engineer in The Poseidon Adventure (1972), the hearty Tom Iverson in Night Moves (1975), the bumbling mayor of San Francisco in The Enforcer (1976), hard-nosed police chief Buzz Cavanaugh in Outlaw Blues (1977) and amiable old mine hand Brian Deerling in The Boogens (1981). John had recurring parts as Sheriff Ep Bridges in The Waltons (1971) and Capt. Parks on Police Woman (1974). Among the many TV shows he made guest appearances in are The Lone Ranger (1949), Adventures of Superman (1952), I Spy (1965), The Twilight Zone (1959), The Untouchables (1959), Wagon Train (1957), The Fugitive (1963), Star Trek: The Original Series (1966), Lost in Space (1965), Bonanza (1959), Hogan’s Heroes (1965), Mission: Impossible (1966), Gunsmoke (1955), The Bionic Woman (1976), Dallas (1978) and Dynasty (1981). Crawford died at age 90 following complications from a stroke on September 21, 2010, in Thousand Oaks, California. He’s survived by his ex-wife Ann Wakefield, four daughters and two grandchildren.
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