Known as much for his rigorous career choices as for his talent and chiseled good looks, Billy Crudup has been straddling the line between serious actor and "it" leading man for several years.
Crudup was born in Manhasset, New York (a Long Island suburb) in 1968, the middle child in a family of three boys.
He is the son of Georgann (Gaither) and Thomas Henry Crudup III, and the grandson of prominent attorney William Cotter "Billy" Gaither, Jr. His family frequently moved and always being the new kid meant Billy had to develop some way of gaining acceptance. He found roles in school pageants and developed funny impersonations to entertain family and friends.
Upon graduation, Crudup headed to NYC to live with his brother Tommy (who was at that time a publicist) and study at New York University, where he joined a theatre troupe called "the lab!
" and did little plays and musicals - he even played "Schroeder" in the famed children's musical "You're A Good Man Charlie Brown! He then went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts from the Tisch School of the Arts at NY in 1994.
A year later, he'd already made a name for himself on Broadway, earning the Outer Critics Circle Outstanding Newcomer Award for his performance in Tom Stoppard's "Arcadia".
Crudup's first big-screen acting gig was in the indie film Grind (1997), which was shot in 1994, but ended up on the shelf for three years.
Crudup lives in New York and returns regularly to the stage - in fact, it was during the 1996 Broadway run of "Bus Stop" that he began his romance with longtime girlfriend, Mary-Louise Parker.
He seems to prefer quiet anonymity to the pomp and circumstance of the movie star lifestyle, but his ever-growing popularity guarantees that he won't be able to avoid the spotlight altogether.
Crudup's and Parker's relationship ended when he left her to be with Claire Danes when Parker was seven months pregnant with Crudup's son.
A self-described student of human nature, Crudup has said that he looks for characters wrestling with their mistakes.
"Limits" showcased Crudup's ability to completely transform himself for a role (a quality that would help him skirt stardom while continuing to land substantive parts).