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Classic Letterman moments – the Crispin Glover visit!

Joaquin Phoenix and his batty antics went to a whole new level on Letterman this week,

But for Letterman, bizarre behaviour from his guests is nothing new. In fact, Phoenix’s interview may still pale next to the one Crispin Glover gave to Letterman in 1987. For all of Phoenix’s new eccentricity, at least he never almost kicked Letterman in the head like Crispen Glover did.

In July 1987, when Letterman was still on NBC, Crispin Glover came on the show to promote his latest movie, Razor’s Edge. But Glover was not appearing as himself. Wearing a wig, bad platform shoes, and showing off a butterfly collection, Glover seemed to be very much off the rails.

The insanity culminated with Glover challenging Letterman to arm wrestle, then nearly kicking him in the face with his platform shoes. Letterman finally left to “check on the top 10,” leaving Glover alone on the set as the show cut to commercial.

Even 22 years later, the interview is one of the defining moments of Letterman’s career, and of Glover’s. Stories and speculation about what Glover was actually doing, and what he might have been on, have circulated for years. Glover has said he was appearing as a character named “Rubin Farr” which he was developing.

Glover, like Phoenix, appeared to be one of the big new stars on the rise at the time of his Letterman interview. Glover achieved stardom from Back to the Future, and Razor’s Edge would show a new sinister side of his eccentric persona. Back then, Glover was already known for having a weird persona on screen.

Since the Letterman interview, Crispin Glover is now far better known for his on and off screen weirdness, which has pretty much completely overshadowed his career. Glover still has a cult following from it, but is forever typecast as a weirdo in everything he’s ever done.

Some interesting facts – or not! – about Crispin Glover:

1. His middle name is Hellion. It’s on his birth certificate, thanks to his father, actor Bruce Glover. (Incidentally, you can see Crispin’s dad in Diamonds are Forever, Chinatown and Ghost World, among other films.)

2. He celebrates his birthday twice a year. The magic days: April 20 and Sept. 20.

3. He collects antique medical equipment. Among his rumored possessions are a gynecologist’s table, a stuffed bird and an “optometrist’s wax replication of 12 eye disorders.”

4. He started the grunge movement. Well, that’s up for debate. But some say his rebellious, plaid-loving characters in Teachers and River’s Edge foreshadowed the era.

5. He once sued Steven Spielberg — and won. After Crispin refused to appear in Back to the Future Part II, the filmmakers used archived footage of him anyway, and even hired an actor to wear Crispin-like prosthetics. The landmark case ultimately changed the way actors’ images could legally be used onscreen.

In addition, Crispin attended the Madonna-Sean Penn wedding, made a film using only actors with Down’s Syndrome and, in 1997, toured the country with “Crispin Glover’s Big Slide Show.” He’s also written several books, using a William S. Burroughs-style “cut and paste” method to reinterpret texts from the 1800s.

Over the years, Crispin has inspired numerous fan clubs, Web sites, ‘zines, band names and, er, poetry, and the love continues to flow: One Yahoo! group devoted to Crispin generated 119 messages last month alone. Like John Waters’ fans, Crispin’s obsessive admirers adore the actor for taking on random roles and projects. “My career has been a mixture of having to make money and doing things I feel OK about,” the actor has said. “If I could just get a lobotomy, I’d be a lot better off.”

While he may never be a leading man, Crispin Glover remains a mesmerizing, one-of-a-kind force in Hollywood.

At least he’s interesting. A 1989 Film Comment article said of the performer, “He’s the only actor who makes this world without Andy Kaufman an interesting place in which to watch.”

Just don’t step on his platform shoes.

the classic Crispin Glover visit.

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February 13, 2009 - Posted by | Crispin Glover, David Letterman, _CINEMA

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