Frank Craven (August 24, 1875 – September 1, 1945) 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.
Craven’s parents, John T. Craven and Ella Mayer Craven, 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.
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. He found later that work with carpentry, painting, and other backstage activities proved “invaluable” to him. 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.
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, 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.
Craven was a Republican who campaigned for Thomas Dewey in the 1944 United States presidential election.
|1929||The Very Idea||Alan Camp|
|1932||Handle with Care||Radio Announcer|
|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||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|
|1945||Forever Yours||Uncle Charles|
|1946||Colonel Effingham’s Raid||Dewey||(final film role)|