A familiar face to a nation of television viewers thanks to his role as the more-than-slightly demented father on the popular FOX sitcom Malcolm in the Middle, longtime stage and screen actor Bryan Cranston has had a rich and varied career, lending his talents to everything from anime voice work (Armitage III and Macross Plus) to daytime television (as an original cast member of Loving).
Born on March 7, 1956, in Canoga Park, California, Bryan Cranston spent the early part of his career taking on a variety of commercial jobs and single-appearance television roles. In 2000 he landed the character of Hal, the father in the sitcom, Malcolm in the Middle. His landmark role came in 2008 as Walter White in the critically acclaimed television drama, Breaking Bad. The show garnered Cranston three Emmy wins for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.
In school, Cranston was a decent student and an unsure athlete, talented but lacking confidence. "It was not a great time for me," he later said. "I was really quiet and unassuming and insecure. And my timidity pushed me to the sidelines, literally and figuratively."
At the age of 16, Cranston joined the Los Angeles Police Department's Law Enforcement Explorer Program. He rose to the top of his class, setting his sights on earning a political science degree and embarking on a career as a cop. But when a guidance counselor said he needed to add an elective to his course work, Cranston opted for acting and quickly found he had a gift for stage work.
Received an associate degree in police science from Los Angeles Valley College in 1976.
Cranston did not finish the College, and at the age of 23, dreaming about the carrer of actor, he came through many seminars and castings in Los Angeles.
Made his acting debut in a United Way commercial at age 8.
Not harboring the same kind of star-studded dreams his father had, Cranston took on nearly any and all work that came his way. That included Preparation H ads and bit spots on shows such as Airwolf and Murder, She Wrote.
By the late 1990s, Cranston had assembled a respectable, low-key career. His credits from this period include recurring parts on Seinfeld and King of Queens. Additionally, he played Buzz Aldrin in the Tom Hanks television miniseries From the Earth to the Moon (1998), and portrayed an American colonel in Saving Private Ryan (1998).
His profile received a big boost in 2000 when he signed on to play Hal, the father of three rambunctious boys, on the hit FOX sitcom Malcolm in the Middle.
"Modern American politics is a bastardisation of what it was all meant to be," says Cranston. "A couple of years into Obama's first term, Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, said: our priority, as the Republican party, is to make sure Obama is a one-term president. He blatantly let it out! You've got to be kidding me! Whatever side you're on, if you focus on stopping someone, as opposed to working with someone … oh, God, it's just awful. Everybody's entrenched, with their arms folded: either I win, or you win. Let's fight."
Bryan: "Honestly, I don't have a clue how much money I make. It really doesn't matter to me. My agents know, and sometimes they ask me, "You want to know how much you make?". I don't care. I'm sure it's fine. I mean, I don't want to sound glib. I know money is important, but ever since I stopped worrying about finances, I've made more money than I ever thought I'd make in my life. The fact that I make a dependable income at all is just amazing to me."
" 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. "
" 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. "
" My face, in repose, is mean. I scare people. You know how some people have a built-in smile? I look like I'm going to eat children. "
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
Bryan : "Stars have much more power. I'm the star of my show Breaking Bad, and I have the power to try to sway opinions. Absolutely. And that's the reason you want to become a star as an actor, to be able to have more control of your destiny. Actors basically are the type of person that with three seconds left, we want the ball. Give us the shot to make it or miss it. We'll take the lumps if we miss it, but we want the chance to get the glory. An acting coach of mine, Shirley Knight - a great actress - said that it's the actors' arrogance. We want the chance. Give it to me. We know plenty of people in life, back in Little League or whatever, who'd say, "Oh, please don't hit it to me. Please don't hit it to me. Oh dear God, please don't make me have to make this decision. Please don't make me get onstage." There are those people, and then there are those of us that say, "Give me the shot. Let me take it."."
“Anthony Hopkins: "I have never watched anything like it. Brilliant! Your performance as Walter White was the best acting I have seen - ever. I know there is so much smoke blowing and sickening bullshit in this business, and I’ve sort of lost belief in anything really. But this work of yours is spectacular - absolutely stunning. What is extraordinary, is the sheer power of everyone in the entire production."”
Doris Kearns Goodwin
Sport & Clubs
Baseball, Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers
Beard, mustache, to play the drums, traveling to Hawaii
Music & Bands
Сlassical music, Nat King Cole, The Doors
Cranston lives in Southern California with his second wife, Robin Dearden. The couple has a daughter, Taylor Dearden.