Job Actor, producer, director, screenwriter
Years active 1908-63
Known for Crusty old shepherds, ranchers and patriarchs
Top Roles Sir Charles Emery, Dr. Livingstone, Mr. Brown, Guidon, Mayor Karl Warren
Top GenresDrama, Romance, Silent Films, Adventure, Historical, Film Adaptation
Top TopicsBook-Based, England, Based on Play
Top Collaborators (Producer), (Producer), (Producer), (Director)
Shares birthday with Kathleen Howard, Ross Alexander, Keenan Wynn  see more..

Donald Crisp Overview:

Character actor, Donald Crisp, was born George William Crisp on Jul 27, 1882 in London, England. Crisp appeared in over 170 films and shorts. His best known films include Wuthering Heights (as Dr. Kenneth), The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (as Francis Bacon), National Velvet (Mr. Brown), Lassie Come Home (as Sam Carraclough) and How Green Was My Valley (as Mr. Morgan). His final screen role was as Grandpa Spencer opposite Henry Fonda and Maureen O'Hara in Spencer's Mountain (1963). He directed over 70 films and shorts from 1914 through 1930, his final directorial effort being The Runaway Bride starring Mary Astor. Crisp died at the age of 91 on May 25, 1974 in Van Nuys, CA and was laid to rest in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery (Glendale) in Glendale, CA.


It's almost impossible to think of Donald Crisp as anything other than a crusty old shepherd, rancher or patriarch -- the collective image from a fistful of 1940's films. But this Scottish-born actor who never lost his burr was a multi-talented man who began his career with D.W. Griffith in the early silent days, and directed many silent films including some classics from the 1920s when he also made films in Britain. He won an Oscar in 1941 for How Green Was My Valley.

(Source: available at Amazon Quinlan's Illustrated Dictionary of Film Character Actors).



Donald Crisp was nominated for one Academy Award, winning for Best Supporting Actor for How Green Was My Valley (as Mr. Morgan) in 1941.

Academy Awards

YearAwardFilm nameRoleResult
1941Best Supporting ActorHow Green Was My Valley (1941)Mr. MorganWon

He was honored with one star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the category of Motion Pictures.

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By Duke Mantee on Oct 6, 2012 From Spoilers

That fatherly, white-haired man giving good advice? Probably . Crisp emigrated to Americafrom Englandin 1906 and began acting. He worked on silent films as D.W. Griffith?s assistant director, and from this association, appeared in The Birth of a Nation as General Grant. It was a silent, ... Read full article

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Donald Crisp Quotes:

Dr. Kenneth: Ask your husband to call another doctor in future. Whoever dwells in this house is beyond my healing arts.

Barney Rebstock: [to Murray giving instructions for the upsoming shootout] One man behind the rock is worth three in the open.

Donald Brown: I was sick all night!
Mr. Herbert Brown: Donald, you told a story, didn't you?
Donald Brown: Yes, sir, it was a story.
Mr. Herbert Brown: Well, you know what to do.
Donald Brown: What?
Mr. Herbert Brown: You say you're sorry.
[Donald puts his head on his hand]
Mr. Herbert Brown: Well?
Mrs. Brown: He's thinking.
Mr. Herbert Brown: [to Donald] Well, make up your mind.
Donald Brown: Alright, I'm sorry.
[continues eating his dinner]
Mr. Herbert Brown: Well, go on. Sorry for what?
Donald Brown: For being sick all night!
Mr. Herbert Brown: That boy will make a lawyer.

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Best Supporting Actor Oscar 1941

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Donald Crisp on the
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Donald Crisp Facts
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.

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.

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