- William Gaither "Billy" Crudup
July 08, 1968 (age 52)
- Actor, Voice Actor
- Mary-Louise Parker
- Thomas Henry Crudup III, Georganne Gaither
William Gaither "Billy" Crudup (born July 8, 1968) is an American actor. He is best known for his roles as Russell Hammond in Almost Famous, Will Bloom in Big Fish, and as the voice of the MasterCard "Priceless" commercials in the U.S. since 2005. He also starred in the 2007 romantic comedy film Dedication. In 2009, he appeared as Doctor Manhattan in the film Watchmen and J. Edgar Hoover in the film Public Enemies. He also has experience in voice acting, having voiced the English version of Ashitaka from the Studio Ghibli animated film Princess Mononoke.
Crudup was born in Manhasset, New York. His parents, Georgann (née Gaither) and Thomas Henry Crudup III, divorced during his childhood, and later remarried, before divorcing a second time. His maternal grandfather was William Cotter "Billy" Gaither, Jr., a well-known Florida trial lawyer, and his maternal grandmother later remarried to Episcopal bishop James Duncan. Crudup has two brothers: Tommy, an executive producer, and Brooks, also a producer. He left New York with his family when he was about eight years old, first living in Texas, then in Florida. He graduated from Saint Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 1986.
Crudup attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he received an undergraduate degree, and he continued his passion for acting with the undergraduate acting company, LAB! Theatre. He also acted for UNC-STV's most popular show, General College. He was a member of the Beta Chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon. He then studied at the Graduate Acting Program at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, where he earned a Master of Fine Arts in 1994. A year after graduating, he made his debut on Broadway in the Lincoln Center Theater production of Tom Stoppard's Arcadia.
Crudup began acting in films such as 1996's Sleepers, 1997's Inventing the Abbotts and 1998's Without Limits, where he played the role of running legend and Olympian Steve Prefontaine. While he has appeared in many films, he regularly returns to the stage. His first role in an animated feature was in 1999's English release of Princess Mononoke, in which he starred as Ashitaka. He then played Russell Hammond, the lead guitar player of the fictional band Stillwater in Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous (2000). He has also been the voice of MasterCard "Priceless" commercials in the U.S. since 2005. In 2006's The Good Shepherd, he played British spy Arch Cummings, a stand-in for Kim Philby. The same year, he played a supporting role in Mission: Impossible III.
He also appeared as Zartan in The Ballad of G.I. Joe video on funnyordie.com.
Crudup received a Tony Award nomination for his performance as the title character in The Elephant Man on Broadway, as well as for his role as Katurian in the Broadway production of The Pillowman, also starring Jeff Goldblum, which closed on September 18, 2005. From October 2006 through May 2007, he was featured in the first two parts of The Coast of Utopia by Tom Stoppard at Lincoln Center, playing literary critic Vissarion Belinsky, for which he received another Tony Award nomination and subsequent win.
He also starred in The Metal Children, an off-Broadway play written and directed by Adam Rapp in 2010. Crudup completed Watchmen with director Zack Snyder in Vancouver, British Columbia. He portrays the superhero Doctor Manhattan. He portrayed former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner in a story about 2008's financial crisis, Too Big to Fail (2011).
In 2011, Crudup was honored with a Tony Award nomination for Featured Actor in a Play for his role in the Broadway revival of Arcadia.
From 1996 to 2003, Crudup dated actress Mary-Louise Parker, with whom he has a son, William Atticus Parker (born January 7, 2004). He left Parker while she was seven months pregnant and started a relationship with his Princess Mononoke and Stage Beauty co-star Claire Danes. They broke up four years later.