Crispin Glover might be most known for his pasty, strange appearance, usually playing oddballs in small roles through the eighties and nineties. While he’s best known for roles like George McFly, Glover has made a pretty lengthy career out of playing the weird dude, despite some studio setbacks and drama.
Crispin Hellion Glover was born in New York City in April 1964. Seemingly inheriting a love of acting from his father Bruce, himself an actor popular for showing up on television and in the Bond film Diamonds are Forever, Crispin ended up moving to Los Angeles at the age of five so his father could pursue his career further.
Growing Up Hollywood
Crispin himself would have a mostly uneventful childhood, going on to start acting at the young age of thirteen with commercials and stage plays before making his television debut in 1981 made for television movie The Best of Times, co-starring a young Nicholas Cage as well. It would be just the beginning, leading Glover to pop around the sitcom scene before finally hitting a feature break.
While he would appear on sitcoms like Happy Days and The Facts of Life, it wasn’t until his role in 1983’s now really creepy looking back/how the hell was this made film, My Tutor. Thankfully, Glover got to play a side role and not the main character who was definitely being preyed on by an adult. This is one of the rare cases where “that could never get made” today is true, and a good thing.
Fortunately for Glover, his acting caught the eye of other producers who cast him in massive roles in the new film Teachers as well as Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter. There were almost six more movies made starring Jason Voorhees, so the title was a lie. However, it established Glover as a legitimate actor, even giving his most (and weirdest) in the horror slasher despite the iffy reputation it had at this point.
Big Break, Right Time
Then came 1985 and Crispin Glover would change not just his career but would make a lasting change in Hollywood when it comes to the use of actors’ likenesses in films. Crispin would end up being cast as George McFly, the father of protagonist Marty Mcfly. While he would play up the wimpy, nerdy aspects of George both in the past and the present timelines of Back to the Future, Glover did make an impact in a movie full of great performances.
Which made the next events even worse. While Back to the Future Part II was being put into production following the massive success of the first, Glover couldn’t come to an agreement on pay with the studio, leading to his absence in the second film.
Despite this the studio still used his character, going so far as to use archival footage from the first movie and have another actor dressed in prosthetics to look like Crispin Glover when the magic of camera angles wasn’t cutting it. Glover, of course, was furious. He claims he wasn’t approached about using his likeness and had not given permission, leading to a lawsuit.
Pioneering Actor Protections
While he would eventually be paid $750k for the incident and would lead the Screen Actors Guild to institute guidelines involving what they now call a “Fake Shemp”, which is using one actor’s likeness on another without their permission. The lawsuit would change Hollywood, but unfortunately take a small toll on Glover’s acting career, bringing things to a slow for a while due to Hollywood politics.
Crispin Glover would appear in films good (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape) and not so good (Even Cowgirls Get the Blues) throughout the 90s, making his name wherever he could and usually taking on roles of strange, stoic, and odd men or drag queens in the case of The Beaver Trilogy. He would go on to some cult fame in the early 2000s as well with films like the remake of Willard and The Loch Ness Incident, a fantastic faux-doc with Werner Herzog.
While he’s popped up in bigger Hollywood pushes over the last two decades in films like Charlie’s Angels and (oh god why) Epic Movie, Glover mostly likes to stay in an indie, artsy mindset and work on roles that interest him.
Where is Crispin Glover Now?
Multi-faceted, Crispin Glover has also written multiple books, directed three films (he says), and finds time to make his rounds on television, most recently in the show American Gods, where he played one of the main villains of the first season.
Crispin Glover is relatively quiet about his personal life with his last known public relationship ending in 2003 when he was dating Penthouse Pet Alexa Lauren. Instead, Glover spends most of his time on the hunt for roles that pique his fancy and looking for new projects he can undertake on his own.
Seemingly unbothered by his typecasting as the weird guy, Crispin actively seeks out these roles these days, appearing as the strange, stunted uncle in We Have Always Lived in the Castle and Pickman in the episode of Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities, based on the HP Lovecraft story Pickman’s Model. By all accounts, he’s a nice fellow, if a little eccentric, and that’s usually the best kind of weird person to be.