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Michael CrazeBorn: Sunday 29th November 1942
Died: Tuesday 8th December 1998 (age: 56)
Michael Craze was a British actor noted for his role of Ben Jackson alongside both William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton.
Craze was born in Newquay, Cornwall. He got into acting by chance as, at the age of twelve, he discovered through Boy Scout Gang Shows that he had a perfect boy soprano voice. This led him to win parts in The King and I and Plain and Fancy, both at Drury Lane, and Damn Yankees at the Coliseum. Once he had left school, he went into repertory and got into TV through his agent. His first television was a show called Family Solicitor for Granada which was followed, amongst others, by a part in ABC TV's 1960 series Target Luna (written by Malcolm Hulke and Eric Price and produced by Sydney Newman).
At the age of twenty Craze wrote, directed and acted in a film called The Golden Head which won an award at the Commonwealth Film Festival in Cardiff. Following Doctor Who, Craze worked on several ITV productions, including one episode (The Last Visitor) of Hammer Films' first TV series Journey to the Unknown in 1968. Other television roles include parts in Dixon of Dock Green and Z-Cars.
In 1974, Michael left full-time acting and devoted his time to managing a pub in Shepperton. He continued to take on occasional acting roles, however. In 1994, he appeared in the BBC television playThe Healer as well as doing several day's work on Kenneth Branagh's 1994 movie adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
He was originally meant to play the role of Krelper in the 1984 Doctor Who story The Caves of Androzani, However this was vetoed by the then producer John Nathan-Turner and the part was recast.
Craze died of a heart attack on 8 December 1998. He had fallen down some steps the previous day while picking up his neighbour's paper for her, and owing to a heart condition, they were unable to operate.
He met his wife Edwina Verner through Doctor Who, where she had been a production assistant on shows he appeared in.
Michael Craze's brother is actor Peter Craze. Coincidentally Peter Craze has also appeared in Doctor Who in a number of guest roles but never worked with his brother on the series.