Mostly brought up by a single mother, Michael Crawford's first experience of singing was as a church chorister. He made his first stage appearance playing Sammy the Little Sweep in a school production of Benjamin Britten's Let's Make An Opera, which resulted in an offer from the English Opera Group to appear in another Britten opera, Noye's Fludde. This was when he changed his surname from Smith to Crawford to avoid confusion with another performer of the same name and, still in his teens, he made numerous other appearances in stage musicals. Crawford made his movie debut playing an American opposite Steve McQueen in The War Lover in 1962, while other prominent movie roles included The Knack...And How To Get It, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum and How I Won The War (with John Lennon). He gained international acclaim appearing in the musical Hello Dolly and became a household name in the TV sitcom Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em in 1973. Crawford had further big successes in stage musicals Billy and Barnum and - perhaps his defining role - Phantom Of The Opera, in which he spent three and a half years. Later shows include Dance Of The Vampires, The Woman In White and - in 2011 - The Wizard Of Oz. He also toured the world singing the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber and, in addition to numerous cast recordings, has made 13 solo albums, including Songs From The Stage And Screen (1987), The Phantom Unmasked (1990), On Eagles Wings (1998) and The Disney Album (2001).