Cranston at the 2014 Peabody Awards
March 7, 1956 |
Canoga Park, California, U.S.
|Other names||Lee Stone|
|Occupation||Actor, voice actor, screenwriter, film producer, film director|
|Spouse(s)||Mickey Middleton (1977–1982)
Robin Dearden (1989–present)
Bryan Lee Cranston (born March 7, 1956) is an American actor, voice actor, screenwriter, director, and producer.
Cranston is best known for portraying Hal Wilkerson in the Fox comedy series Malcolm in the Middle from 2000 to 2006 and Walter White in the AMC crime drama series Breaking Bad from 2008 to 2013. For Breaking Bad, he won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series three consecutive times - for the second time in television history after Bill Cosby in I Spy during the 1960s. After becoming one of the producers of Breaking Bad in 2011, he also won the award for Outstanding Drama Series.
Cranston was also nominated three times for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his role in Malcolm in the Middle. His role in Breaking Bad also earned him five Golden Globe nominations and one win in 2014, nine Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations with four wins and five Saturn Award nominations with two wins. In June 2014, he won a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for his portrayal of Lyndon B. Johnson in the play All the Way on Broadway.
Cranston has directed episodes of various television series, including seven episodes of Malcolm in the Middle, three episodes of Breaking Bad, and two episodes of Modern Family. He has also appeared in several critically acclaimed films such as Saving Private Ryan (1998), Little Miss Sunshine (2006), Drive (2011), Argo (2012) and Godzilla (2014).
Cranston was born and raised in Canoga Park, California, the son of Audrey Peggy Sell, a radio actress, and Joseph Louis "Joe" Cranston, an actor and former amateur boxer. He is the second of their three children. He is of Austrian, German, and Irish ancestry on his father's side, while his maternal grandparents were immigrants from Germany. He has stated that his parents were "broken people" and that they were "incapacitated as far as parenting", causing the family to lose their house in a foreclosure.
Cranston's father held many jobs before deciding to become an actor, but did not secure enough roles to provide for his family. He eventually walked out on the family when Cranston was 11 years old, and they did not see each other again until a decade later when Cranston and his brother decided to track their father down. Cranston has claimed that he based his portrayal of Walter White on his own father, who had a slumped posture "like the weight of the world was on his shoulders". Cranston was raised partly by his grandparents, living on their farm and working with poultry. He graduated from Canoga Park High School, and earned an associate degree in police science from Los Angeles Valley College in 1976.
After college, Cranston began his acting career in local and regional theaters, getting his start at the Granada Theater in the San Fernando Valley. He had previously performed as a youth, but his show business parents had mixed feelings about their son being involved in the profession, so he did not continue until years later. He started working regularly in the late 1980s, mostly doing minor roles and advertisements. His voice acting includes English dubbing of Japanese anime (under the pseudonym Lee Stone), including Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise, Macross Plus, and Armitage III: Poly-Matrix. He was an original cast member of the ABC soap opera Loving, where he played Douglas Donovan from 1983 to 1985. Cranston also starred in the short-lived series Raising Miranda in 1988. He portrayed astronauts Buzz Aldrin in the HBO series From the Earth to the Moon and Gus Grissom in the film That Thing You Do!. In 1998, he appeared in Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan, as the colonel who insists that Private Ryan be saved.
From 1994 to 1997, Cranston appeared as Dr. Tim Whatley, Jerry's dentist, on Seinfeld. 1999 marked Cranston's second appearance for a recurring role on the CBS sitcom The King of Queens; he played Doug Heffernan's neighbor, Tim Sacksky. In 1997, Cranston had a small role in Babylon 5 as Ericsson. Later in 1999, Cranston wrote and directed the film Last Chance.
His theatrical credits include starring roles in The God of Hell, Chapter Two, The Taming of the Shrew, A Doll's House, Barefoot in the Park, Eastern Standard, Wrestlers, and The Steven Weed Show, for which he won a Drama-Logue Award.
In 2000, Cranston landed a leading role as Hal on the comedy series Malcolm in the Middle. He would eventually direct several episodes of the show and received three Emmy nominations for his performance. Cranston reprised his role in a cutaway gag during the Family Guy episode "I Take Thee Quagmire", killing Lois (his wife on Malcolm in the Middle) with a refrigerator door, and in a leaked alternate ending of Breaking Bad with Jane Kaczmarek reprising her role as Lois.
He has had guest roles in many television series, including a white-collar criminal searching for his estranged wife and daughter in The Flash, a lawyer attempting to free the title character from a contract in Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and a bigoted man being driven insane by extremely low frequency sonar waves in The X-Files episode "Drive". He also had a guest role in late 2006 on the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother, playing Ted Mosby's obnoxious co-worker and former boss Hammond Druthers. He played Lucifer in the ABC Family miniseries Fallen and appeared as Nick Wrigley, an irresponsible uncle who accidentally brings Christmas close to destruction when he steals Santa's sleigh to have a crazy ride, in the 2001 Disney Channel Original Movie 'Twas the Night. He appeared as the more successful business colleague of Greg Kinnear's character in the 2006 film Little Miss Sunshine. In September 2008, Cranston narrated a pre-teen adventure/fantasy audiobook called Adventures with Kazmir the Flying Camel.
From 2008 to 2013, Cranston starred in the AMC series Breaking Bad, in which he played Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Walter teams up with former student Jesse Pinkman (played by Aaron Paul), to manufacture and sell methamphetamine to ensure the well-being of Walter's family after he dies. Cranston's work on the series was met with widespread critical acclaim, winning him the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in each of the show's first three seasons and being nominated in 2012 for season four and 2013 for season five. Cranston and Bill Cosby are the only actors to have won the award three consecutive times. Cranston was also a producer for the fourth and fifth seasons of the series.
Cranston had supporting roles in the drama film The Lincoln Lawyer, as well as the successful thrillers Drive (2011)and Contagion. He voiced James Gordon in the 2011 animated film Batman: Year One. In 2012, he had supporting roles in John Carter, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, and Rock of Ages, and a major role in the hostage drama Argo. He also lent his voice to several episodes of the animated series Robot Chicken. In 2012, he starred in the remake of the 1990 film Total Recall, as Chancellor Vilos Cohaagen, the corrupted president of a fictional war-ravaged United Federation of Britain. In the same year, he made a guest appearance as Kenneth Parcell's step-father, Ron, on the NBC sitcom 30 Rock, and was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Since September 2013, Cranston has been playing U.S. president Lyndon B. Johnson in the American Repertory Theater and Broadway productions of All the Way, in a performance that has received widespread acclaim.  He also played a scientist named Joe Brody in the 2014 remake of Godzilla.
Cranston has produced an instructional DVD called KidSmartz, which is designed to teach families how to stay safe from child abductors and Internet predators. KidSmartz raises money for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children by donating half the proceeds from sales. Also, after the success of Breaking Bad, it was recently reported that Cranston would be developing new TV shows in collaboration with Sony Pictures Television.
From 1977 to 1982, Cranston was married to writer Mickey Middleton. At 33, he married Robin Dearden, whom he had met on the set of the show Airwolf in 1984. He was playing the villain of the week, and she played the hostage he held at gunpoint. Their daughter, Taylor Dearden Cranston (born 1993), is a theatre studies student at the University of Southern California and played an extra in the Breaking Bad episode "No Mas", directed by her father.
Cranston played baseball when he was a student and remains a collector of baseball memorabilia and an avid fan of the Philadelphia Phillies and the Los Angeles Dodgers. When he accepted his third Emmy Award for Best Lead Actor in a Drama, Cranston thanked his wife and daughter, and told them he loves them "more than baseball". The family has a beach house in Los Angeles, California, which Cranston designed. Cranston lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico when filming Breaking Bad. He is a part-owner of the independent theater Cinemas Palme d'Or in Palm Desert, California. He appeared with his family in a 2012 public service announcement, urging other Americans to support same-sex marriage.
Awards and nominations
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- "Adventures with Kazmir the Flying Camel Audiobook". Camel Back Publishing. 2008. Retrieved April 5, 2009.
- Kit, Borys (April 20, 2011). "'Batman: Year One' Lines Up Voice Cast, Sets Comic-Con Premiere (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Hoevel, Ann (January 7, 2011). "Seth Green talks 'Robot Chicken,' Lucas and 'Buffy'". CNN. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
- "Academy Invites 176 to Membership". Oscars.org. 2012-06-29. Retrieved 2013-01-19.
- Stasio, Marilyn (March 7, 2014). "Bryan Cranston owns the role of LBJ in this beautifully built dramatic piece.". Variety. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
- Jones, Chris (March 10, 2014). "'Breaking Bad' star Bryan Cranston gets his hooks into LBJ". The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
- Isherwood, Charles (September 25, 2013). "An Arm-Twister in the Oval Office: ‘All the Way’ Stars Bryan Cranston as Lyndon B. Johnson". The New York Times. Retrieved March 15, 2014.
- "All The Way Broadway". American Repertory Theater. 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-18.
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- "Taylor Dearden". IMDb. 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
- "PHOTO: Breaking Bad’s Walter White In A Phillies Jersey". Philadelphia.cbslocal.com. 2013-10-10. Retrieved 2013-12-04.
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- written by: Amanda Dameron (2013-06-13). "Actor Bryan Cranston's Green Beach House Renovation". Dwell. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
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- "Bryan Cranston and his family made an awesome gay marriage PSA". Hyper Vocal. Retrieved 2012-06.
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