Crispin Glover1
Crispin Hellion Glover
Biographical information
Date of birthApril 20, 1964
Age (1985)21
Age (2015)51
Age (2045)81
Physical description
Behind-the-scenes information

Crispin Hellion Glover (born April 20, 1964 in New York City but raised in Southern California) is an American actor.

He played the role of George McFly in Back to the Future, but declined to participate in the sequels — though footage from the first movie featuring him was reused in Back to the Future Part II, with Glover being billed in the closing credits as 'George McFly in footage from Back to the Future'.


Glover is the son of television actor Bruce Glover. Prior to BTTF, Glover had appeared on episodes of The Facts of Life (1979-1988), Happy Days (1974-1984) and Hill Street Blues (1981-1987).

As well as his role in the first BTTF movie, Glover also made a memorable appearance in the starring role as the psychopathic, introverted lead character in the 2003 rat-fest sci-fi/horror flick Willard, (a remake of the 1973 movie) opposite veteran actor R. Lee Ermey. He also played the creepy, non-speaking 'Thin Man' in the Charlie's Angels movies. In 2007, Zemeckis hired Glover to portray the monster Grendel under Zemeckis' direction in Beowulf.

Also in 2007, Glover appeared in Epic Movie as a parody of Johnny Depp's Willy Wonka from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (which contained a video game adaptation with James Arnold Taylor voicing Willy Wonka, but in a straight fashion as opposed to being a parody).

In the summer of 1983, Glover first acted alongside Michael J. Fox in a made-for-TV movie called High School USA. Glover played the role of Archie Feld — who happened to be one of the close friends of Fox's character, Jay-Jay Manners. Archie was very similar in personality to George, as he was very awkward and not confident — and, incidentally enough, Jay-Jay was the supportive friend to Archie. This tends to parallel the relationship that Marty had with George, during the week that the former was stuck in 1955.


Crispin Glover at the E! Post Oscars Party at club Drai's in the W Hotel, Hollywood, CA, March 7, 2010.

On the January 5, 1984 episode of Family Ties, Glover also acted alongside Michael J. Fox — playing the role of Alex Keaton's friend, Doug. In the episode "Birthday Boy", Alex intended to celebrate his 18th birthday by driving with Doug and another friend, Neil, to West Virginia, where the three could legally purchase alcohol, but Alex's mother thwarted the plans.[1]

Glover stated in a 2003 interview that he was the second actor selected for Back to the Future, after Lea Thompson, and that he was one of many who did a screen test for the role of Marty McFly, before being cast as George. During the first weeks of production, Glover was filmed with Eric Stoltz in scenes from 1955. After Fox was recast as Marty, Glover was filmed as 17-year-old George McFly, and later, in makeup, as George at 47.

Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale have said, in commentary, that Glover was difficult to work with and they felt his salary demands for the sequels were unreasonable. Glover had reportedly wanted his salary increased to match that of Fox, as well as — according to rumor — wanting script approval. However, according to Glover, these claims were "total fabrication".[2] For the 1989 and 1990 sequels, the role of George McFly was recast with Jeffrey Weissman.

Glover filed a lawsuit on October 14, 1990, against Universal Studios, seeking $1,000,000 in damages for both the unauthorized use of his likeness and the reuse of footage of him from the first film in Back to the Future Part II; his permission had not been sought for the latter and he received no payment.[3] After a motion to dismiss was overruled, the case was settled for an undisclosed amount. As a result of Glover's lawsuit, the Screen Actors Guild changed its rules shortly afterwards to prohibit its members from unauthorized mimicking of other SAG members.

Glover himself stated that he didn't like the ending of the first movie — where after Marty's return from 1955, the McFly family is suddenly rich and happy, as opposed to the original, miserable McFly family. He felt that it would send the wrong message to the audience that money can buy happiness, and that love should be the reward instead. When he voiced his disapproval to Zemeckis, it infuriated the latter, and as Eric Stoltz had just been replaced with Michael J. Fox, Glover simply conceded. Lea Thompson recalled that Glover had remarked "What, we’re so much better because we’re now richer and we play tennis?", and that to prepare for the scene, Glover invited her over to his all-black lacquer apartment to paint a painting of a volcano together.[4] In her own words, she described him as "bit of a handful, but you definitely got your money's worth out of him".[5]

However, for the sequel, he was offered a salary of just $150,000 for a 200-page screenplay, as opposed to $350,000 offered to Thomas F. Wilson and $650,000 offered to Lea Thompson, and felt that the hanging upside-down by Ortho-lev was written into the script to punish him. Glover stated that he didn't really care for extra money, and would have done the aforementioned scene, but he wanted to be compensated fairly for that. However, Gale stated that he felt that they were also paying Fox, Thompson and Wilson too much and, after the conversation, Glover's salary offer was cut by $25,000.[2]

Despite the incident, Glover would work with Zemeckis again, nearly two decades later, on the 2007 motion capture animated film Beowulf.

Glover was asked about the lawsuit in an interview later that year[6], in which he explained: "What was not legal to do — and what the lawsuit arose from — was to put another actor into prosthetics in order to look like myself, and then inter-splice footage from the original film in order to fool people into believing it was me. Because of my lawsuit, there are now rules in the Screen Actors Guild that [ensure] producers and directors can't do that again."

See also[]


  1. www.imdb.com; a short version of that particular episode, entitled "Birthday Boy", can currently be seen on YouTube.com, including the scenes with "Alex" and "Doug"
  2. 2.0 2.1 The A.V. Club: Interview with Crispin Glover
  3. "'Back to the Future' Suit is Moving Forward," The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY), January 10, 1991, pC-1
  4. Lea Thompson Recalls Weird Time a ‘Back to the Future’ Co-Star Invited Her to His All-Black Apartment
  5. We Don't Need Roads: The Making of the Back to the Future Trilogy
  6. "Crispin Glover buries Future's past," Canoe.com

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