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Frank Craven
Frank Craven portrait - Moffett Studios.jpg
Frank Craven in 1921
Born(1875-08-24)August 24, 1875
DiedSeptember 1, 1945(1945-09-01) (aged 70)
Occupationactor, director, playwright, producer
Years active1928–1945
Spouse(s)Mazie B. Daly
ChildrenJohn Craven

Frank Craven (August 24, 1875 – September 1, 1945)[1] was an American stage and film actor, playwright, and screenwriter, best known for originating the role of the Stage Manager in Thornton Wilder's Our Town.

Early years

Craven's parents, John T. Craven and Ella Mayer Craven,[2] were actors, and he first appeared on stage when he was three years old, in a child's part in The Silver King, in which his father was acting. His next appearance on stage occurred 13 years later in another production of the same play. That experience stirred an interest in acting as a career.[3]


Frank Craven, Martha Scott and John Craven in the original Broadway production of Our Town (1938)
Frank Craven, Martha Scott and John Craven in the original Broadway production of Our Town (1938)

Before he acted in films, Craven worked in stage productions, not limiting his activity to acting. "I would do anything around the place," he said.[3] He found later that work with carpentry, painting, and other backstage activities proved "invaluable" to him.[3] His initial success in New York came in the role of James Gilley in Bought and Paid For (1911). He also played the same role in a production in London.[4] He also was a playwright, penning hits such as Too Many Cooks (1914) and The First Year (1920).[5]

Craven was a character actor who often portrayed wry, small-town figures. His first film role was in We Americans (1928), and he appeared in State Fair (1933), Penrod and Sam (1937), Jack London (1943), and Son of Dracula (1943), among many others. He wrote numerous screenplays, most notably for the Laurel and Hardy film Sons of the Desert (1933). His IMDB biography credits him with sixteen writing credits and two directing credits.

In 1938, Craven played the Stage Manager in Our Town on Broadway,[2] and reprised the role in the 1940 film version of the play. His son John Craven starred as George Gibbs in the stage version, a role played by William Holden in the 1940 film.

Craven died in 1945, shortly after finishing his work in Colonel Effingham's Raid.[5]

Craven was a Republican who campaigned for Thomas Dewey in the 1944 United States presidential election.[6]


Frank Craven as the Stage Manager in the original Broadway production of Our Town (1938)
Frank Craven as the Stage Manager in the original Broadway production of Our Town (1938)
Year Title Role Notes
1928 We Americans Uncredited
1929 The Very Idea Alan Camp
1932 Handle with Care Radio Announcer
1933 State Fair Storekeeper
1934 City Limits J.B. Matthews
1934 He Was Her Man Pop Sims, aka Jim Parker
1934 Let's Talk It Over Mr. Rockland
1934 That's Gratitude Bob Grant
1935 Car 99 Sheriff Pete Arnot
1935 Vagabond Lady 'Spiggy' Spiggins
1935 Barbary Coast Col. Marcus Aurelius Cobb
1936 It's Up To You Pop' Kane
1936 Small Town Girl Will 'Pa' Brannan
1936 The Harvester Mr. Biddle
1937 Penrod and Sam Mr. Schofield
1937 Blossoms on Broadway P.J. Quinterfield Sr.
1937 You're Only Young Once Frank Redmond (Carvel Newspaper Owner)
1938 Penrod and His Twin Brother Mr. Schofield
1939 Miracles for Sale Dad Morgan
1939 Our Neighbors – The Carters Doc Carter
1940 Our Town Mr. Morgan
1940 City for Conquest Old Timer
1940 Dreaming Out Loud Dr. Walter Barnes
1941 The Lady from Cheyenne Hank Foreman
1941 The Richest Man In Town Abb Crothers
1942 In This Our Life Asa Timberlake
1942 Thru Different Eyes Steve Pettijohn
1942 Girl Trouble Ambrose Murdock Flint
1942 Pittsburgh 'Doc' Powers
1942 Keeper of the Flame Dr. Fielding
1943 Harrigan's Kid Walter Garnet
1943 Dangerous Blondes Inspector Joseph Clinton
1943 Son of Dracula Doctor Brewster
1943 Jack London Old Tom
1944 My Best Gal Danny O'Hara
1944 Destiny Clem Broderick
1945 Forever Yours Uncle Charles
1946 Colonel Effingham's Raid Dewey (final film role)


  1. ^ U.S. Passport Application, Issue Date: 3-Jul-1919; National Archives Microfilm Publication M1490, Roll 0818, Certificate 93117; General Records of the Department of State, Record Group 59; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
  2. ^ a b "Frank Craven". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on October 29, 2019. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Sumner, Keene (August 1921). "He Didn't Want to be Poor All of His Life". The American Magazine. XCII (2): 34, 64, 66. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  4. ^ "Frank Craven: American Actor and Author". Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. Archived from the original on October 29, 2019. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  5. ^ a b (2 September 1945). Frank Craven, 65, Noted Actor, Dies; Playwright and Director Won Equal Success in His Many Stage and Film Chores, The New York Times
  6. ^ Critchlow, Donald T. (2013-10-21). When Hollywood Was Right: How Movie Stars, Studio Moguls, and Big Business Remade American Politics. ISBN 9781107650282.

External links

This page was last edited on 21 December 2021, at 18:31
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