Date of Birth
8 July 1968, Manhasset, New York, USA
William Gaither Crudup
5' 8½" (1.74 m)
Known as much for his rigorous career choices as for his talent and chiseled good looks, Billy Crudup has been straddling the line between serious actor and "it" leading man for several years. Crudup was born in Manhasset, New York (a Long Island suburb) in 1968, the middle child in a family of three boys. As a youngster he lived in Texas and Florida, finding roles in school pageants and developing funny impersonations to entertain family and friends. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina (where he confirmed his interest in acting), then went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University in 1994. A year later he'd already made a name for himself on Broadway, earning the Outer Critics Circle Outstanding Newcomer Award for his performance in Tom Stoppard's Arcadia.
Crudup's first big-screen acting gig was in the indie film Grind (1997), which was shot in 1994, but ended up on the shelf for three years. In 1996 he landed another, more lucrative role opposite Hollywood hotshots Brad Pitt and Jason Patric in the Barry Levinson drama Sleepers (1996). He followed that up with a brief appearance in Woody Allen's Everyone Says I Love You (1996) and a higher-profile turn as the rakish older brother in Inventing the Abbotts (1997).
A self- described student of human nature, Crudup has said that he looks for characters wrestling with their mistakes. Rumor has it that he declined an audition for the lead in Titanic (1997) in order to seek out more challenging projects--like the Steve Prefontaine biopic Without Limits (1998). "Limits" showcased Crudup's ability to completely transform himself for a role (a quality that would help him skirt stardom while continuing to land substantive parts). In 2000, with three major films in release, Crudup's already bustling movie career reached a fever pitch. He first hit the festival circuit in Keith Gordon's Waking the Dead (2000), the tale of an up-and-coming politician who is haunted by the death of his young wife. Next came the art-house favorite Jesus' Son (1999), in which Crudup played a nomadic soul named F**khead. Finally, he starred as the semi-fictional '70s rocker Russell Hammond in Cameron Crowe's much-lauded Almost Famous (2000).
Crudup lives in New York and returns regularly to the stage - in fact, it was during the 1996 Broadway run of Bus Stop that he began his romance with longtime girlfriend Mary-Louise Parker. That romance ended in 2004, when Crudup left the then-pregnant Parker for his Stage Beauty (2004) co-star, Claire Danes.
He seems to prefer quiet anonymity to the pomp and circumstance of the movie star lifestyle, but his ever-growing popularity guarantees that he won't be able to avoid the spotlight altogether.
Actor Billy Crudup does not want to be a star, he claims. He's one of those constantly hard-working actors who'll shoot the movie, and do as little publicity as he can. He lives in New York City with Mary-Louise Parker, who he met when they did a play together off Broadway. Born in Manhasset, New York on July 8, 1968, Billy was raised in Florida and Texas. His family frequently moved and always being the new kid meant Billy had to develop some way of gaining acceptance. Being the class clown was his ticket in. He has 2 brothers, and his father married his mother, divorced her, and then married her again when he was in high school. A drama major at the University of North Carolina, upon graduation Crudup headed to NYC to live with his brother Tommy (who was at that time a publicist) and study at New York University, where he joined a theatre troupe called 'the lab!' and did little plays and musicals - he even played 'Schroeder' in the famed children's musical 'You're A Good Man Charlie Brown!' Just prior to his graduation in 1994, Crudup won a role in the indie flick Grind (1997). Though this was his feature debut, it ended up without a distributor for three years. At this point he was dating Laurel Holloman, whom he met when they were both acting students at NYU. In 1996 he started doing small roles in bigger films, beginning with Sleepers (1996), and then Woody Allen's Everyone Says I Love You (1996), returning to his musical roots by singing a song in the back of a taxi cab. Next Crudup returned to the stage for the off-Broadway revival of Bus Stop. Although the play was not well reviewed, he won the heart of his co-star Mary-Louise Parker, and they began a relationship that continues to this day.
He started getting bigger roles in 1997, with Inventing the Abbotts (1997). Though the film didn't set the box office on fire, it did give Crudup's career an added push and his first film Grind finally found a distributor. In 1998, after refusing to audition for Titanic (1997), he returned to the stage off-Broadway with Frances McDormand in 'Oedipus.' Unfortunately, it had a four-hour running time and was not well received by the critics or the public. Going back to films, Crudup won the role of Steve Prefontaine in the Tom Cruise-produced Without Limits (1998). The media attention on the Cruise-produced, Robert Towne-written and directed project ensured that attention would be on Crudup too.
At this point he was starting to make some money in films, so he and his brothers bought a house in New York City. In 2000, after Brad Pitt dropped out of the role of the rock star in Almost Famous (2000), rudup took over. Although yet again the movie didn't make a lot of money, it brought the spotlight back on Crudup, who up to this point had steadfastly refused to be a part of any 'mass marketed films'.
He makes a great deal of money as a 'voice over actor', doing commercials on US television for Mastercard and others. In 2002, his production of 'The Elephant Man' on Broadway closed after only 65 performances, due to low ticket sales. It received 2 favorable reviews, 4 unfavorable reviews, and 6 mixed reviews.
Brother is a publicist.
Dated Mary-Louise Parker from 1996 until November of 2003 (when she was in the seventh month of her pregnancy).
Won Outer Critics Circle award for outstanding newcomer for his work on the New York stage-Arcadia and Bus Stop.
Attended University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for undergraduate work.
Has a Master's in Fine Arts.
His parents divorced when Billy was in junior high school, and then remarried -- each other -- when he was in high school.
Grew up in Dallas, Texas, and has two brothers.
In 1998, he joined a theatre group called, "The Lab!" at UNC Chapel Hill and performed the role of 'Schroeder' in the musical "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown!".
While attending the University of North Carolina, he starred in a student-produced, university access-channel TV soap opera called General College.
Was in the "Boy Scouts of America" while growing up in Texas.
Loves to play golf, and often partners director Bart Freundlich.
He is able to turn down many jobs, because he makes millions of dollars each year using his voice to sell products as a 'voice over actor'.
Attended St. Thomas Aquinas HS in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
He was the second choice for the role of Russell in Almost Famous (2000). The first choice, Brad Pitt decided instead to appear in the more financially successful film Fight Club (1999).
Was "replaced" by actor Michael Hayden in the Lincoln Center Theatre production of "Henry IV". 
Dated actress Claire Danes. 
Declined an offer to play Bruce Banner in Hulk (2003).
Has a son, William Atticus (born January 7, 2004) with actress, Mary-Louise Parker.
Was nominated for Broadway's 2002 Tony Award as Best Actor (Play) for portraying the title character of John Merrick in a revival of "The Elephant Man."
Has been the voice of the acclaimed MasterCard "Priceless" commercials (airing in America) since 1997, but first appeared on-camera in one of these spots in 2005.
Graduated from University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill with a degree in Speech Communication.
In 2005, he was nominated for Best Actor in a Play at the Tony Awards for his part in Martin McDonagh's The Pillowman.
Nominated for the 1997 drama desk award for outstanding featured actor in a play for Anton Chekhov's "Three Sisters.".
Won the Theatre World Award for his role in Arcadia.
MFA in Acting - New York University, Tisch School of the Arts (1994).
Once worked as an historical interpreter at Roanoke Island Festival Park, in Manteo, NC.
In 2007, he won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his performance in "The Coast of Utopia".
Though it is commonly mispronounced, his last name is actually pronounced, "croo-dup.".
He and his Watchmen (2009) co-star Jeffrey Dean Morgan both have been in pretty tumultuous relationships with Mary-Louise Parker. Crudup's and Parker's relationship ended when he left her to be with Claire Danes when Parker was seven months pregnant with Crudup's son. Morgan started dating Parker in 2007, they broke up in June the same year, then they got back together and became engaged, but eventually broke up for good in 2008.
When asked who has been the biggest influence on his career, he says, "Mary Louise [Parker, his girlfriend and fellow actor] is a tremendous influence on me. She has incredible discipline. She takes the time day-to-day to watch people, to listen to people. To understand why people do things. And to me, a great actor is someone who's incredibly compassionate. To me, that's really it as far as an actor is concerned".
(on his career) "Every time I do a movie, I think it's going to be a huge hit."
"I wish I could say that when I didn't agree with a director I defer to him, but I think sometimes I'm a little self-righteous."
"If I had done 'Titanic,' it would have made, probably, $200,000 --worldwide. So I think my life would have been very, very similar."
"I don't think actors should have to do anything but come in and act. I feel the film companies should pay for proper advertising to see that the movie will sell, instead of putting it on our backs. I've tried to narrow the contractual language, which requires a 'fair and reasonable' amount of publicity. I've said in negotiations; 'How much will you pay me not to have to promote?'
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