Jack Creley (March 6, 1926 – March 10, 2004) was an American-born Canadian actor. Although most prominently a stage actor, he also had film and television roles.
Creley was born in Chicago, Illinois on March 6, 1926. During the Great Depression, his family moved to California, where he acted in amateur theatre as a teenager, until he was old enough to enlist in the United States Army late in World War II. He was shot in the shoulder during the Battle of Okinawa, and spent the rest of his life telling the story that he knew he was destined to become an actor when he realized he was responding to the injury like a character in a John Wayne film.
After the end of the war, he went to New York City to study acting under Erwin Piscator at the Dramatic Workshop, where he was a classmate of Harry Belafonte, Tony Curtis and Rod Steiger. He moved to Montreal in 1951 to take a job with the Mountain Theatre Company, and remained there until 1954, when he moved to Toronto. Soon after moving to Toronto, he met David Smith, who would be his partner for the remainder of his life.
In Toronto, he acted on stage, including frequent performances at the Stratford Festival, and often appeared in CBC Television anthology series, including Scope, Playbill, CBC Summer Theatre, Encounter, Folio, Startime, Horizon, Playdate and several Wayne and Shuster sketches, as well as performing in cabaret shows.
In 1956, Creley starred in the Canadian production of Salad Days, and in 1958 he starred in the Canadian production of Visit to a Small Planet. In 1960, he played two roles at the Stratford Festival, as Lord Capulet in Romeo and Juliet and as King Philip in King John.
Creley had his first major film role in 1961, in the Western film The Canadians. After completing a run as Holofernes in a Stratford Festival production of Love’s Labour’s Lost that summer, he returned to New York to appear in a Broadway production of A Man for All Seasons as Cardinal Wolsey. After completing his run in New York, he appeared in a Stratford Festival production of The Gondoliers, and then went to London to appear alongside Corinne Conley, Dave Broadfoot, Eric House and Eric Christmas in the musical revue Clap Hands at the Hammersmith Theatre. Following the end of that show’s run, most of the cast returned to Canada, although Creley remained in London to take a role as Mr. Staines in the film Dr. Strangelove.
After returning to Canada, he appeared in productions of Edward Albee’s The Zoo Story and Anton Chekhov’s Summer in the Country. During this time, he also became a popular voice-over artist for television commercials, recording at least 18 commercial spots in 1965 and 1966. He directed a musical revue, The Decline and Fall of the Entire World As Seen Through the Eyes of Cole Porter, in 1965 and 1966, and when he stepped in for several shows in the absence of lead performer Louis Negin, it was his first time singing on stage since the end of Clap Hands in 1963.
In 1966, he appeared as Wilfrid Laurier in the CBC Television miniseries Reluctant Nation, and in 1969 he appeared in the television series Strange Paradise as Laslo Thaxton.
In 1972 he had his second and final Broadway role, appearing in a production of There’s One in Every Marriage as Roubillon, and in 1974 he had his last role at Stratford in a production of The Imaginary Invalid. In this era, he began to appear more often in film and television roles, most notably in the film Videodrome and the television sitcom Snow Job. His final role was a guest appearance on E.N.G. in 1990.
Creley and Smith shared ownership of an antique store, The Green Dolphin, beginning in 1955, and later of a clothing store, Mr. Smith. They also had a widespread reputation among actors as being excellent hosts of parties; performers such as Vivien Leigh, Sean Connery, Richard Burton, Bea Arthur and Billy Dee Williams were frequent houseguests of the couple.
Late in life, Creley suffered two strokes, and began to develop aphasia. He died on March 10, 2004 in Toronto.
|1964||Dr. Strangelove||Mr. Staines|
|1966||The Marvel Super Heroes||Thor, Don Blake||Voice|
|1969||Change of Mind||Bill Chambers|
|1971||The Crowd Inside||Wealthy older man|
|1971||The Reincarnate||Everet Julian|
|1974||Alien Thunder||Arthur Ballentyne – Indian Agent|
|1974||A Star Is Lost!||Billy Norman|
|1977||Welcome to Blood City||Webb|
|1982||If You Could See What I Hear||Dean Franklin|
|1983||The Magic Show||Shumway|
|1983||All in Good Taste||Lou Melnik|
|1986||Police Academy 3: Back in Training||Mr. Bellows|
|1987||Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol||Judge|