Bryan Cranston –

Bryan Cranston in BREAKING BAD.

About Bryan Cranston (1956 – )

Bryan Lee Cranston was born in Hollywood, California, the son of Audrey Peggy (née Sell), a radio actress, and Joseph Louis "Joe" Cranston (1924–2014), an actor and one-time amateur boxer. He is the second of their three children. He was raised partly by his grandparents, living on their poultry farm in Canoga Park, California. His father was of Irish, Austrian-Jewish, and German descent, while his maternal grandparents were German immigrants. 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.

Cranston's father held many jobs before deciding to become an actor, but did not secure enough roles to provide for his family. 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. Cranston was 22 at the time, and he and his father maintained a relationship until his father's death in 2014. 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".

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

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. Cranston was ordained as a minister by the Universal Life Church, and performed weddings for $150 a service to help with his income.

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. 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, he appeared in an episode of The X-Files written by Vince Gilligan. In 1999, Cranston wrote and directed the film Last Chance.

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.

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. 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.

He has had guest appearances in many television series, including as 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.

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 diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Walter teams up with former student Jesse Pinkman (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 won widespread critical acclaim, netting him the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in each of the show's first three seasons.

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. In 2012, he had supporting roles in John Carter, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, and Rock of Ages, as well as a major role in the hostage drama Argo. He also lent his voice to several episodes of the animated series Robot Chicken. In 2012, he starred in the remake of the 1990 film Total Recall, as Chancellor Vilos Cohaagen, the corrupted president of a fictitious 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.

Since September 2013, Cranston has been playing 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. He also played scientist Joe Brody in the 2014 reboot of Godzilla.

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.

In July of 2014, it was announced that Cranston would star in an HBO adaptation of his hit play All The Way. Steven Spielberg is set to be an executive producer on the film. In 2015, Cranston starred as screenwriter Dalton Trumbo in the biopic Trumbo for which he received his first Academy award nomination.

From 1977 to 1982, Cranston was married to writer Mickey Middleton. At 33, he married Robin Dearden, whom he'd 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.

Cranston played baseball when he was a student and remains a collector of baseball memorabilia and an avid fan of the Philadelphia Phillies and the Los Angeles Dodgers. 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. Cranston lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico while filming Breaking Bad. He is a co-owner of the independent theater Cinemas Palme d'Or in Palm Desert, California.

To commemorate the final episode of Breaking Bad, Cranston and cast mate 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.

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.

Bryan Cranston's movie credits include...

Year Movie Role
1987 Amazon Women on the Moon Paramedic
1988 The Big Turnaround Jim
1990 Corporate Affairs Darren
1991 Dead Space Dr. Frank Darden
1992 Ramayana: The Legend of Prince Rama Ram (voice)
1992 Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise Matti Tohn (voice)
1994 Erotique Dr. Robert Stern
1994 Clean Slate Club Official
1994 Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie Fei Long (voice)
1994 Macross Plus: International Version Isamu Alva Dyson (voice)
1995 Armitage III Eddie Borrows (voice)
1996 That Thing You Do! Gus Grissom
1996 Street Corner Justice Father Brophy
1997 Time Under Fire Braddock
1997 Strategic Command Phil Hertzberg
1998 Saving Private Ryan War Department Colonel
1999 Last Chance Lance
2000 The Big Thing Roberto Montalban
2000 The Prince of Light Ram
2000 Terror Tract Ron Gatley
2004 Seeing Other People Peter
2004 Illusion David
2005 Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D Buzz Aldrin (voice)
2006 Little Miss Sunshine Stan Grossman
2006 Intellectual Property CSE radio host
2007 Hard Four Lt. Bryce Baxter
2010 Love Ranch James Pettis
2011 The Lincoln Lawyer Detective Lankford
2011 Drive Shannon
2011 Detachment Richard Dearden
2011 Leave Eliot
2011 Larry Crowne Dean Tainot
2011 Batman: Year One James Gordon (voice)
2011 Contagion Haggerty
2012 Red Tails Major William Mortamus
2012 John Carter Colonel Powell
2012 Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted Vitaly (voice)
2012 Rock of Ages Mayor Mike Whitmore
2012 Total Recall Vilos Cohaagen
2012 Argo Jack O'Donnell
2013 Cold Comes the Night Topo
2013 Writer's Block The Writer
2014 Godzilla Joe Brody
2015 Trumbo Dalton Trumbo
2016 Kung Fu Panda 3 Li (voice)
2016 Get a Job Roger Davis

Bryan Cranston's television credits include...

Year Show/Series Role
1980 To Race the Wind Quarterback
1982 Crisis Counselor Sam
1982 CHiPs Billy Joe
1983 Loving Douglas "Doug" Donovan
1985 Cover Up Frank Lawler / Tommy Maynard
1985 One Life to Live Dean Stella
1986 Airwolf Robert Hollis
1986 North and South: Book II Colonel Austin
Murder, She Wrote Brian East / Jerry Wilber/ Parker Foreman
1987 The Return of the Six-Million-Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman Dr. Shepherd
1987 Hill Street Blues Counsellor
Matlock Brian Emerson / Dr. Harding Fletcher
1988 Raising Miranda Uncle Russell
1989 Falcon Crest Martin Randall
1989 Baywatch Tom Logan
1989 I Know My First Name Is Steven Officer Dickenson
1990 Hull High Mr. McConnell
1990 Jake and the Fatman Lyle Wicks / Jason Miller
1990 Capital News Congressman Marple
1991 The Flash Philip "Mark" Moses
1991 Dead Silence Professor Harris
1992 L.A. Law Mr. Philips
1993 The Disappearance of Nora (Role unknown)
1993 Prophet of Evil: The Ervil Lebaron Story Lawyer
1993 Moldiver Tech (voice)
1993 Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Twinman / Snizard (voices)
1993 Super Dimension Century Orguss 02 Imperial Officer (voice)
1994 Tekkaman Blade Sgt. Miles O'Rourke (voice)
1994 Viper Garrett Berlin
1994 Walker, Texas Ranger Hank
Seinfeld Dr. Tim Whatley
1994 Days Like This Benny
1994 Men Who Hate Women & the Women Who Love Them David
1994 The Companion Alan
1995 Touched by an Angel Dr. Tom Bryant
1995 Brotherly Love Russell Winslow
1995 Land's End Matt McCulla
1995 Nowhere Man Sheriff Norman Wade
1995 Extreme Blue Ned Landry
1995 Kissing Miranda Special Agent Falsey
1996 Eagle Riders Joe Thax (voice)
1996 The Louie Show Curt Sincic
Diagnosis: Murder Walter Mason / Martin Rutgers
1996 The Rockford Files: Punishment and Crime Patrick Dougherty
1997 Moloney (Role unknown)
1997 Babylon 5 Ericsson
1997 Dogs (Role unknown)
1997 Goode Behavior Record Executive
1997 Sabrina the Teenage Witch Witch Lawyer
1997 Pearl Isaac Perlow
1997 Total Security Jason Nichols
1997 Alright Already Robert
1998 Brooklyn South IAB Lt. Gordon Denton
1998 From the Earth to the Moon Buzz Aldrin
1998 V.I.P. Colt Arrow
1998 The X-Files Patrick Crump
1998 Chicago Hope Jesus
1998 Working Larry Prince
1998 Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show Ronald "Cheesy" Meezy
1999 3rd Rock from the Sun Neil Diamond Impersonator
1999 The Pretender Neil Roberts
The King of Queens Tim Sacksky
Clerks: The Animated Series Various voices
Malcolm in the Middle Hal
2001 Gary and Mike Additional voices
2001 'Twas the Night Nick Wrigley
2001 The Santa Claus Brothers Santa Claus (voice)
2003 National Lampoon's Thanksgiving Family Reunion Woodrow Snider
Lilo & Stitch: The Series Mr. Jameson (voice)
American Dad! Bill Publisherman / Mr. Winthrop (voices)
Family Guy Hal / Dr. Jewish (voices) / Himself
How I Met Your Mother Hammond Druthers
2007 Fallen Lucifer / The Light Bringer
2007 Thank God You're Here British Rock Star / Alien Superhero
2008 The Hollywood Quad Burton Melrose
Breaking Bad Walter White
Glenn Martin, DDS Drake Stone (voice)
2010 Saturday Night Live Host
2011 Robot Chicken Various voices
2012 Archer Commander Tony Drake (voice)
2012 30 Rock Ron
The Simpsons Stradivarius Cain (voice) / Walter White
The Cleveland Show Dr. Fist / Various voices
2015 Sneaky Pete Vance
2015 SuperMansion Titanium Rex (voice)
2016 All the Way Lyndon B. Johnson

Memorable Quotes by Bryan Cranston

“I've got a whole mantel just waiting for those awards to come, a whole big mantel. There's just so much available space. I've got the light fixtures hanging from the ceiling, all ready to shine on them. I dust it off every day.”

“The only thing I say a prayer for is for health and safety for my family. Some people even include happiness and a hope for something else. Not me. I think everything else is on your own. That's the way I look at it. If you can just maintain health and safety, you're in good shape. And anything else, you have to create.”

“My wife, Robin Dearden, is the cook, really. I'm a good helper and I clean like nobody's business. I can load a dishwasher like nobody else.”

“I love playing pompous asses. I think I would like that on my tombstone: "He was the definitive pompous ass.".”

“I love playing the know-it-all guy who is also kind of stupid. That guy who thinks he's great, but he's not. That's a wonderful character to play. Kind of the Barney Fife type. He'll tell you what's going on, but inside he's very insecure. That's always a fun character. And I loved, for pure fun and enjoyment, my character Hal on Malcolm. Because I found his emotional core, and once I found that, I could leap off from that and the writers started to write for it.”

“It's all about the written word. Whatever's well-written. It doesn't matter if it's features, or children's stories... it's all about the written word. And it could come in any different form, but that's the criteria. That's it for me.”

Things You May Not Know About Bryan Cranston

Cranston became an ordained minister when he was in college as a part-time job.

He met his wife, Robin Dearden, on the set of the television series Airwolf (1984), (Season 3 episode, Airwolf: Desperate Monday (1986)). He was playing the villain of the week, and she was his hostage (held at gunpoint).

He called Mark Rylance a major influence. Both actors won Tony awards in 2014: Cranston for "Best Actor in a Play" for "All the Way" and Rylance for "Best Featured Actor in a Play" for his performance in "Twelfth Night". One of Cranston's competitors for the award was Rylance for his performance in "Richard III".

He has appeared in three movies that were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: Saving Private Ryan (1998), Little Miss Sunshine (2006) and Argo (2012). "Argo" was a winner in the category.

He is very good friends with his Breaking Bad (2008) co-star Aaron Paul.

In his younger years, he spent two years traveling around the United States by motorcycle with his brother.

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Bryan Cranston in his iconic role as high school chemistry
teacher turned drug lord Walter White, in Breaking Bad (2008-2013)...
With co-star Aaron Paul (as Jesse Pinkman), second picture from top.
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Bryan Cranston in Writer's Block (2013).
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Cranston in Total Recall (2012).
Cranston with Matthew McConaughey in The Lincoln Lawyer (2011).
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Cranston in Godzilla (2014).
In Red Tails (2012).
With John Leguizamo in Infiltrator.
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Cranston with Ben Affleck in Argo (2012).
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Cranston as Hal in Malcolm in the Middle (2000-2006).
In Saving Private Ryan (1998).
As Shannon in Drive (2011).
With Laurence Fishburne and Jennifer Ehle in Contagion (2011).
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As Lyndon Baines Johnson in All the Way (2016).
Cranston in Cold Comes the Night (2013).
In Seeing Other People (2004).
Bryan Cranston in That Thing You Do (1996).