Laird Cregar (28 July 1913-9 December 1944) was an American actor. Cregar was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and died of a heart attack in Los Angeles, California. His funeral eulogy was delivered by Vincent Price.
Cregar supported himself as a bouncer early in his career. The formally-trained actor and son of a rich Philadelphian, sometimes had to sleep in a car due to lack of money before his acting career took off.
He is best remembered as the title character in the 1944 film about Jack the Ripper The Lodger, which turned out to be his penultimate work. Seldom weighing less than 300 pounds (136 kg) throughout his adult life, Cregar came to a tragic end because of his obsession to become a slim, what he called a "beautiful man". His rapid loss of 100 pounds (45 kg) in conjunction with stomach-reducing surgery, contributed to the fatal heart attack. His final picture Hangover Square premiered in New York on February 7, 1945, two months after his death. Playing an obsessed, schizophrenic composer in Victorian London, he gave one of his finest performances. It was the only film on which he received first billing.
Laird Cregar was the youngest of six sons of Edward Matthews Cregar, a cricketer and member of a team called the Gentlemen of Philadelphia. They toured internationally in the late 1890s and early 1900s. Laird's mother was the former Miss Elizabeth Smith daughter of Frank Howard Smith.