Bryan Cranston

Bryan Cranston

Cranston at the 2014 Peabody Awards
Born (1956-03-07) March 7, 1956
Hollywood, California, United States
Residence Ventura County, California, United States
Occupation Actor, director, screenwriter, producer, voice actor
Years active 1980–present
Spouse(s) Mickey Middleton (m. 1977; div. 1982)
Robin Dearden (m. 1989)
Children 1

Bryan Lee Cranston (born March 7, 1956)[1] is an American actor, screenwriter, director, producer, and voice actor. He is best known for portraying Walter White on the AMC crime drama series Breaking Bad, Hal on the Fox comedy series Malcolm in the Middle, and Dr. Tim Whatley on the NBC comedy series Seinfeld. For Breaking Bad, he won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series four times (2008–2010, 2014), including three consecutive wins (the second time in television history after Bill Cosby in I Spy during the 1960s).[2] After becoming one of the producers of Breaking Bad in 2011, he also won the award for Outstanding Drama Series twice.[3]

Cranston was also nominated three times for the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his role in Malcolm in the Middle. His role in Breaking Bad also earned him five Golden Globe nominations and one win in 2014, nine Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations with four wins, and six Satellite Awards nominations with four wins. In June 2014, he won a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for his portrayal of Lyndon B. Johnson in the play All the Way on Broadway. He reprised his role in the television film of the same name, which debuted on HBO in May 2016. For the 2015 film Trumbo, he received widespread acclaim and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor.

Cranston has directed episodes of various television series, including seven episodes of Malcolm in the Middle, three episodes of Breaking Bad, two episodes of Modern Family and one episode of The Office (USA). He has also appeared in several acclaimed films, such as Saving Private Ryan (1998), Little Miss Sunshine (2006), Drive (2011), Argo (2012), and Godzilla (2014). In 2015, Cranston, together with David Shore, executive produced and wrote the story for the original crime drama Sneaky Pete, the pilot episode of which aired on August 7, 2015.[4]

Early life

Cranston was born in Hollywood, California,[5] the son of Audrey Peggy (née Sell; 1923–2004), a radio actress, and Joseph Louis "Joe" Cranston (1924–2014), an actor and former amateur boxer.[6][7][8] He is the second of their three children. He was raised partly by his grandparents,[9] living on their poultry farm in the Canoga Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, California.[3][10][11] His father was of Austrian, German, Irish, and Jewish descent, while his maternal grandparents were German immigrants.[12][13] He has stated that his parents were "broken people" and that they were "incapacitated as far as parenting", causing the family to lose their house in a foreclosure.[9]

Cranston's father held many jobs before deciding to become an actor, but did not secure enough roles to provide for his family.[6] He eventually walked out on the family when Cranston was 11 years old, and they did not see each other again until 11 years later when Cranston and his brother decided to track their father down.[6] Cranston was 22 at the time, and he and his father maintained a relationship until his father's death in 2014.[14] Cranston later claimed that he based his portrayal of Walter White on his own father, who had a slumped posture "like the weight of the world was on his shoulders".[6]

During his preteen years, Cranston encountered a young Charles Manson while riding a horse at the Spahn Ranch.[15] This happened about a year before the Tate-LaBianca murders.[16] He graduated from Canoga Park High School, where he was a member of the school's chemistry club.[17] He earned an associate degree in police science from Los Angeles Valley College in 1976.[18]


Cranston in 2008

After college, Cranston began his acting career in local and regional theaters, getting his start at the Granada Theater in the San Fernando Valley. He had previously performed as a youth, but his show business parents had mixed feelings about their son being involved in the profession, so he did not continue until years later.[8] Cranston was ordained as a minister by the Universal Life Church, and performed weddings for $150 a service to help with his income.[19][20]

He started working regularly in the late 1980s, mostly doing minor roles and advertisements. His voice acting includes English dubbing of Japanese anime (under the pseudonym Lee Stone), including Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise, Macross Plus, and Armitage III: Poly-Matrix. He was an original cast member of the ABC soap opera Loving, where he played Douglas Donovan from 1983 to 1985.[8] Cranston also starred in the short-lived series Raising Miranda in 1988. He portrayed astronauts Buzz Aldrin in the HBO series From the Earth to the Moon and Gus Grissom in the film That Thing You Do! In 1998, he appeared in Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan, as the colonel who insists that Private Ryan be saved.

From 1994 to 1997, Cranston made a handful of appearances as Dr. Tim Whatley, Jerry's dentist, on Seinfeld. 1999 marked Cranston's second appearance for a recurring role on the CBS sitcom The King of Queens; he played Doug Heffernan's neighbor, Tim Sacksky. In 1997, Cranston had a small role in Babylon 5 as Ericsson. In 1998, Cranston appeared in an episode of The X-Files written by Vince Gilligan. In 1999, Cranston wrote and directed the film Last Chance.[21]

His theatrical credits include starring roles in The God of Hell, Chapter Two, The Taming of the Shrew, A Doll's House, Barefoot in the Park, Eastern Standard, Wrestlers and The Steven Weed Show, for which he won a Drama-Logue Award.[22]

In 2000, Cranston landed a leading role as Hal on the comedy series Malcolm in the Middle. He would remain with the show until its end in 2006. Cranston ended up directing several episodes of the show and received three Primetime Emmy Award nominations for his performance.[23] Cranston reprised his role in a cutaway gag during the Family Guy episode "I Take Thee Quagmire", killing Lois (his wife on Malcolm in the Middle) with a refrigerator door, and in a leaked alternate ending of Breaking Bad with Jane Kaczmarek reprising her role as Lois.[24]

He has had guest roles in many television series, including a white-collar criminal searching for his estranged wife and daughter in The Flash, a lawyer attempting to free the title character from a contract in Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and a bigoted man being driven insane by extremely low frequency sonar waves in The X-Files episode "Drive". He also had a guest role in late 2006 on the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother, playing Ted Mosby's obnoxious co-worker and former boss Hammond Druthers. He played Lucifer in the ABC Family miniseries Fallen and appeared as Nick Wrigley, an irresponsible uncle who accidentally brings Christmas close to destruction when he steals Santa's sleigh to have a crazy ride, in the 2001 Disney Channel Original Movie 'Twas the Night. He appeared as the more successful business colleague of Greg Kinnear's character in the 2006 film Little Miss Sunshine. In September 2008, Cranston narrated a pre-teen adventure/fantasy audiobook called Adventures with Kazmir the Flying Camel.[25]

From 2008 to 2013, Cranston starred in the AMC series Breaking Bad, created by Vince Gilligan, in which he played Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Walter teams up with former student Jesse Pinkman (played by Aaron Paul), to manufacture and sell methamphetamine to ensure the well-being of Walter's family after he dies. Cranston's work on the series was met with widespread critical acclaim, winning him the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in each of the show's first three seasons and being nominated in 2012 and 2013 for seasons four and five (winning again in 2014 for the second half of season 5). Cranston and Bill Cosby are the only actors to have won the award three consecutive times.[3] Cranston was also a producer for the fourth and fifth seasons of the series, and directed three episodes of the show during its run.

Cranston at the “All the Way” premiere at the LBJ Library in Austin

In 2011, Cranston had supporting roles in three successful films, the drama The Lincoln Lawyer, as well as the thrillers Drive and Contagion. He voiced James Gordon in the 2011 animated film Batman: Year One.[26] In 2012, he had supporting roles in John Carter, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, and Rock of Ages, and a major role in the hostage drama Argo. He also lent his voice to several episodes of the animated series Robot Chicken.[27] In 2012, he starred in the remake of the 1990 film Total Recall, as Chancellor Vilos Cohaagen, the corrupted president of a fictional war-ravaged United Federation of Britain. In the same year, he made a guest appearance as Kenneth Parcell's step-father, Ron, on the NBC sitcom 30 Rock, and was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.[28]

From September 2013 to June 2014, Cranston played U.S. president Lyndon B. Johnson in the American Repertory Theater and Broadway productions of All the Way, in a performance that has received widespread acclaim.[29][30][31] [32] He also played scientist Joe Brody in the 2014 reboot of Godzilla.[33]

Cranston has produced an instructional DVD called KidSmartz, which is designed to teach families how to stay safe from child abductors and Internet predators. KidSmartz raises money for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children by donating half the proceeds from sales. Also, following the success of Breaking Bad, the year 2014 saw reports of Cranston developing new TV projects in collaboration with Sony Pictures Television.[34]

On July 16, 2014, it was announced that Cranston would star in an HBO adaptation of his hit play All The Way. Steven Spielberg was set to be an executive producer on the film.[35] In 2015, Cranston starred as screenwriter Dalton Trumbo in the biopic Trumbo for which he received his first Academy award nomination.[36] In 2016, Cranston voiced Li, the biological father of Po, in Kung Fu Panda 3.[37] Later that year, he announced that he would be playing Zordon in Lionsgate's Power Rangers, which marks his return to the franchise after providing voices for the show's first season.[38] In 2016, he appeared in many films including The Infiltrator and Wakefield.[39]

On October 11, 2016, Cranston published his memoir A Life in Parts.

Personal life

Cranston and wife Robin Dearden, September 2008

From 1977 to 1982, Cranston was married to writer Mickey Middleton.[40] At 33, he married Robin Dearden,[41] whom he had met on the set of the show Airwolf in 1984. He was playing the villain of the week and she played the hostage he held at gunpoint. Their daughter, Taylor Dearden Cranston (born 1993), is a theatre studies student at the University of Southern California and played an extra in the Breaking Bad episode "No Mas", directed by her father.[42]

Cranston played baseball when he was a student[8] and remains a collector of baseball memorabilia and an avid fan of the Philadelphia Phillies and the Los Angeles Dodgers.[43] When he accepted his third Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, Cranston thanked his wife and daughter, and told them he loves them "more than baseball". The family has a beach house in Ventura County, California, which Cranston designed.[2][44] Cranston lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico while filming Breaking Bad.[45] He was a co-owner of the former independent theater Cinemas Palme d'Or in Palm Desert, California.[46][47]

To commemorate the final episode of Breaking Bad, Cranston and castmate Aaron Paul both got Breaking Bad tattoos on the last day of filming; Cranston's tattoo consists of the show's logo on one of his fingers.[48][49]

In April 2014, Cranston presented at Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Easter Bonnet Competition with Idina Menzel, Fran Drescher, and Denzel Washington, after raising donations at his Broadway show All the Way.[50]


Awards and nominations


  1. "Monitor". Entertainment Weekly (1249). Mar 8, 2013. p. 20.
  2. 1 2 Higginbotham, Adam. "Bryan Cranston, Breaking Badass". Men's Journal. Retrieved August 2011
  3. 1 2 3 "Bryan Cranston". Primetime Emmy Award. Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
  4. Gordon, Seth (August 7, 2015). Sneaky Pete (Web). Retrieved August 10, 2015.
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  7. "Bryan Cranston Biography (1956-)". Film Reference. Advameg, Inc. Retrieved August 12, 2011.
  8. 1 2 3 4 Reichardt, Nancy M. (October 5, 1983). "Soap star loves his craft". The Prescott Daily Courier. p. 3. Retrieved February 8, 2014.
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  10. "Tough Love - Bryan Cranston The Mortified Sessions". The Sundance Channel. February 3, 2012.
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  12. Brady, Tara (September 26, 2011). "The many lives of Bryan". The Irish Times. Retrieved May 12, 2012. (subscription required)
  13. "Joseph Louis Cranston, "California, County Marriages, 1850–1952"". Retrieved October 26, 2013.
  14. "Bryan Cranston puts fun in 'Panda 3' dad".
  15. Nerdist Podcast: "Bryan Cranston Returns" 10 August 2015
  16. breakingbadfunfacts: "Cranston and Manson? FUN FREAKY “FAMILY” FACT: 80", 29 September 2014
  17. Eby, Margaret (August 20, 2013). "'Breaking Bad' star Bryan Cranston's high school yearbook reveals chemistry club past: Long before he played meth kingpin Walter White on 'Breaking Bad,' the actor was part of his high school science club". New York Daily News. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
  18. "Breaking Bad - Bryan Cranston Interview". UGO. IGN Entertainment, Inc. March 2, 2009. Archived from the original on December 14, 2013. Retrieved February 8, 2014.
  19. "Hollywood's Hall of Famous ULC Ministers: Bryan Cranston",
  20. Halle, Howard (March 4, 2009). "The Hot Seat: Bryan Cranston". TimeOut. Retrieved January 5, 2016.
  21. P., Ken (June 2, 2012). "An Interview with Bryan Cranston". IGN. Archived from the original on May 25, 2009. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
  22. "Bryan Cranston as Walter White". AMC Network Entertainment. Archived from the original on June 13, 2014. Retrieved July 9, 2014.
  23. "Anytime with Bob Kushell feat. Bryan Cranston". Anytime with Bob Kushell. Season 2. Episode 3. March 31, 2009.
  24. M., Maglio (November 17, 2013). "'Breaking Bad' Gets 'Malcolm in the Middle' Alternative Ending, Blooper Reel (Video)". WRAP. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  25. "Adventures with Kazmir the Flying Camel Audiobook". Camel Back Publishing. 2008. Retrieved April 5, 2009.
  26. Kit, Borys (April 20, 2011). "'Batman: Year One' Lines Up Voice Cast, Sets Comic-Con Premiere (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
  27. Hoevel, Ann (January 7, 2011). "Seth Green talks 'Robot Chicken,' Lucas and 'Buffy'". CNN. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
  28. "Academy Invites 176 to Membership". June 29, 2012. Retrieved January 19, 2013.
  29. Stasio, Marilyn (March 7, 2014). "Bryan Cranston owns the role of LBJ in this beautifully built dramatic piece.". Variety. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  30. Jones, Chris (March 10, 2014). "'Breaking Bad' star Bryan Cranston gets his hooks into LBJ". The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  31. Isherwood, Charles (September 25, 2013). "An Arm-Twister in the Oval Office: 'All the Way' Stars Bryan Cranston as Lyndon B. Johnson". The New York Times. Retrieved March 15, 2014.
  32. "All The Way Broadway". American Repertory Theater. 2014. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
  33. Thomas, Sarah (February 26, 2014). "Can Bryan Cranston resurrect Godzilla?". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  34. Jeffery, Morgan. "'Breaking Bad' star Bryan Cranston 'developing new TV projects'". Digital Spy.
  35. Bacle, Ariana (January 17, 2015) "Bryan Cranston to star in HBO adaptation of Broadway's 'All the Way' ",
  36. "Trumbo's Bryan Cranston furiously watchable: review - Toronto Star".
  37. DreamWorks Animation (April 9, 2013). "DreamWorks Animation Packs A Powerful Punch With New Cast Additions For Kung Fu Panda 3" (Press release). PR Newswire. Retrieved June 23, 2016.
  38. Viscardi, James (June 21, 2016). "Power Rangers: Bryan Cranston Cast As Zordon". Retrieved June 21, 2016.
  39. "Bryan Cranston 2016 credits". imdb. 25 November 2016. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  40. "Bryan Cranston". Retrieved October 26, 2013.
  41. "Bryan Cransten wife Robin Dearden, Cranston once farmed and killed a young duckling family outright". August 29, 2013. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
  42. "Taylor Dearden". IMDb. 2012. Retrieved December 18, 2012.
  43. "PHOTO: Breaking Bad's Walter White In A Phillies Jersey". October 10, 2013. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
  44. Amanda Dameron (June 13, 2013). "Actor Bryan Cranston's Green Beach House Renovation". Dwell. Retrieved March 25, 2014.
  45. Adams, Sam. "Bryan Cranston on seeing red, going black and being a chameleon". Weekly Alibi. Retrieved August 2011
  46. Fessier, Bruce. "Bryan Cranston dishes about playing the villain on AMC's 'Breaking Bad'". The Desert Sun. Archived from the original on July 18, 2012. Retrieved July 2012
  47. Buck, Fielding (2016-06-30). "PALM DESERT: Tristone will reopen Palme d'Or multiplex on July 3". The Press Enterprise. Retrieved 2016-11-19.
  48. Stark, George (16 July 2013). "Breaking Bad boys! Bryan Cranston reveals he and Aaron Paul had commemorative TATTOOS to mark the series finale". Daily Mail. DMG Media. Daily Mail and General Trust. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  49. Castillo, Michelle (5 August 2013). ""Breaking Bad" Bryan Cranston got new tattoo to shock wife". CBS Interactive. CBS Corporation. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  50. "PHOTOS: James Franco, Idina Menzel, and Fran Drescher Get Into the Easter Bonnet Competition",
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