Crispin Glover (born April 20, 1964) is a multifaceted American artist. He is primarily known as a film actor, but is also a painter, filmmaker, author, musician, and collector and archivist of esoterica. Crispin Glover is known to portray rather eccentric people on screen such as George McFly in Back to the Future or Willard Stiles in Willard.
Born in New York City, Glover moved to Los Angeles at the age of four. As a child, he attended the Mirman School for the academically gifted. His father, Bruce Glover, was a character actor best remembered for playing the offbeat S.P.E.C.T.R.E. assassin Mr. Wint in the James Bond movie Diamonds Are Forever. Glover appeared in several sitcoms as a teenager, including Happy Days and Family Ties. His first film role was in 1983's My Tutor. That led to Teachers (1984) and Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984).
His breakout role was as George McFly in Robert Zemeckis's Back to the Future. Glover refused to participate in the film's two sequels, reportedly because he wanted more money and his salary demands were not met. Nevertheless, Zemeckis used previously filmed footage and body prosthetics on another actor, Jeffrey Weissman, to simulate Glover on screen. Glover then sued the producers (including Steven Spielberg) and won a landmark victory setting a precedent for how actors' images may be used in films. At the same time, the suit put somewhat of a dark mark on Glover's reputation.
Back to the Future was an international box office smash following its release in 1985. Glover followed it with The Orkly Kid, in which he portrayed a young man whose obsession with Olivia Newton-John raises the ire of his small-town neighbors. From that point, Glover pursued a defiantly individualistic path. His characters were notable for the peculiar personality tics and unconventional thought processes. He played Andy Warhol in Oliver Stone's The Doors in (1991). He has continued to play exceedingly eccentric types, e.g. the title characters in Bartleby (2001) and Willard (2003). He has received some considerable mainstream attention recently as the "Thin Man" in the Charlie's Angels films.
In 1987, Glover appeared on Late Night with David Letterman to promote his new movie River's Edge, wearing a long wig and platform shoes (see video clip). His bizarre appearance was exceeded only by his strange behavior, which was thought by some to have been influenced by drugs, while others say it was a combination of staying in-character with the role he had last played, as well as being very nervous. After a failed attempt to challenge Letterman to an arm wrestling match, Glover feigned a karate kick. At that point Letterman ended the segment and cut to commercial. Glover later explained his behavior while appearing on the show as simply keeping in the character of his latest role, the character Rubin from Rubin and Ed, which can be seen in the similarity between the character's style of dress and mannerisms in comparison to the clothes worn by Glover on the show and the actions he engaged in. It is also noted that in the film Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter Glover, when asked to perform a dance, performed a wild dance resembling an epileptic fit. However, this probably increased his popularity and made him a candidate for Back to the Future as George McFly was a rather eccentric character.