As a producer, he became an active liaison between the film industry and outside business interests. Crisp served on the Bank of America advisory board for several decades, including a stint as its chairman, becoming influential with its board of directors.
By 1910, Crisp had become interested in pursuing a career in theater and began working as a stage manager for the renowned entertainer, composer, playwright, and director George M. Cohan. During this period he met and became friends with a stage actor D.W. Griffith, His first films were made with Griffith by Biograph Company in New Jersey. When Griffith went to seek his fortune in Hollywood in 1912, Crisp accompanied him.
Crisp worked as an assistant to Griffith for several years in Hollywood which fostered a passion in him to become a director in his own right. He directed over 70 films by his final directorial effort '_The Runaway Bride_'(1930) starring Mary Astor. Reportedly, Crisp gave up directing partly because it had become extremely wearisome as he was so often called upon, sometimes forced, to do favors for studio chiefs by agreeing to employ their relatives in his films.
During the Boer War (1899-1902) Crisp crossed paths with a young Winston Churchill in the early days of his of political career. With the First World War (1914-1918), Crisp returned to England to serve in the army intelligence section. By the Second World War (1939-1945), Crisp served with the U.S. Army Reserves, rising to the rank of colonel.
Fought in the British army during the Boer War in South Africa.
He is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA.
He was educated at the University of Oxford.
His final screen role was as Grandpa Spencer opposite Henry Fonda and Maureen O'Hara in Spencer's Mountain (1963). This film, adapted from the novel by Earl Hamner was the basis for the popular television series '_The Waltons_'(1972).