Crane Wilbur

Active - 1914 - 1962  |   Born - Jan 1, 1886   |   Died - Jan 1, 1973   |   Genres - Drama, Crime

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Biography by Bruce Eder

Born in Athens, New York, Crane Wilbur began work on the stage as a teenager, playing in stock and repertory companies until 1910, when he entered movies. He costarred with Pearl White in The Perils of Pauline and other silents, but despite being one of the handsomest actors of his day, he turned to writing and later split his career between stage and screen as an author, and subsequently turned to directing. His Broadway credits include A Farewell to Arms and Mourning Becomes Electra. As a screenwriter, Wilbur's work includes the scripts to films such as the Warner Bros. crime thrillers Blackwell's Island and Crime School, and the classic thriller He Walked by Night, the horror classic House of Wax, the drama The Phenix City Story, and the fantasy film Mysterious Island. As a director, his career was interesting if somewhat less distinguished, beginning in 1934 at Fox with Tomorrow's Children, a topical drama about forced sterilization. His 1951 Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison, seen by aspiring songwriter Johnny Cash, became an inspiration for the song "Folsom Prison Blues." And his 1959 version of The Bat, starring Vincent Price, was the best of numerous versions of the story.

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