Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Place of Death
Los Angeles, California, USA
Cause of Death
Claim to Fame
Being a brillantly talented actor
Brown - Dark
Brown - Dark
Profile Bio Text
Laird Cregar (July 28, 1914 – December 9, 1944) was an American-born British actor.
Samuel 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 Elizabeth Smith.
Laird Cregar was educated at Winchester College in England, spending his summers as a page boy and bit player with the Stratford-upon-Avon theatrical troupe. Upon completing his schooling, Cregar won a scholarship at California`s Pasadena Playhouse, supporting himself as a nightclub bouncer when funds ran out. So broke that at times he had to sleep in his car, Cregar forced Hollywood to pay attention to him by staging his own one-man show, in which he portrayed Oscar Wilde.
After a few minor film roles, Cregar was signed to a 20th Century-Fox contract; among his first major roles was the middle-aged Francis Chesney (ironically, having played the role at the age of only 26) in Charley`s Aunt (1941), the first of several showcases for the actor`s delightful comic flair. With his sinister portrayal of the psychopathic detective in I Wake Up Screaming (1941), he followed that up with the successful screwball comedy Rings on Her Fingers (1942) playing a con artist opposite Gene Tierney. Cregar became one of filmdom`s top "heavies"--both figuratively and literally. Seldom weighing less than 300 pounds throughout his adult life, Cregar came to a tragic end because of his obsession to become a slim "beautiful man".
After top billing in The Lodger (1944), who may or may not be Jack the Ripper, the increasingly sensitive Cregar was growing tired of being thought of as merely a hulking villain.
When assigned the role of demented pianist George Bone in Hangover Square (1945), Cregar decided to give the character a romantic veneer, and to that end, lost more than a hundred pounds on a crash diet which included prescribed amphetamines. The strain on his system resulted in severe abdominal problems; a few days after undergoing stomach surgery, Cregar died of a heart attack. He was only 30. He was laid to rest in a simple grave beside the road in the Eventide Section, at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, CA.
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Full Name at Birth
Samuel Laird Cregar
Laird Cregar (July 28, 1913 – December 9, 1944) was an American stage and film actor. Cregar was best known for his villainous performances in films such as I Wake Up Screaming and The Lodger.
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