He was born Michael Patrick Dumbell-Smith in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England. From very young he had shown his abilities in singing and comedy and he made his first public appearance when he was seven as a choirboy at the St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.
He made his stage debut in Let’s Make An Opera by Benjamin Britten which was a school production and then later Benjamin Britten hired him to play the role of Sammy again, alongside a young soprano David Hemmings, but this time in a production at London’s Scala Theatre. It was found out that another performer used the same name as his and so he changed his surname to Crawford which he decided on after having seen a biscuit truck from that company.
He was hired by the English Opera Group and went on from there to act in operas and plays alike in a very successful stage career. At the same time he appeared in over 400 radio broadcasts and TV series. He moved into film and played opposite Steve McQueen in The War Lover. His many other film roles would include the movies A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, How I Won the War and Hello Dolly. His biggest television success was in the Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em which became Britain’s most popular TV series. It still remains one of the Top-10 British TV Series of all time.
He continued to appear on stage and after appearing in several more musicals he was approached by Andrew Lloyd Webber to star in The Phantom of the Opera . He was awarded a Tony and an Olivier Award along with several others. He performed “The Music of the Night” at the Inaugural Gala for President George Bush on his 47th birthday in January 1989.
In 1995 he took the starring role in EFX which was seen as the most spectacular and ambitious show on the American stage but after an on-stage accident which resulted in a hip replacement he left the show.
He continues to perform concerts throughout the world, has been the president of the Sick Children’s Trust since 1987 and is ranked as No. 17 in the 100 Greatest Britons.
In 2011 he starred in the musical version of The Wizard of Oz and in 2016 starred in The Go-Between in the West End.
David Foster Recordings
Interscope 0 7567 92295 2 6 (CD – The Christmas Album)
Vocals – Michael Crawford
Here he is singing “The Music of the Night”…