Rachael Crawford’s family moved around when she was a child, living in Calgary and Vancouver between stints in Toronto. She has acted professionally since the age of 13, attending a performing arts high school and landing her first part in the made-for-TV movie 9B in 1986. This led to recurring roles in the series 9B, E.N.G., Friday the 13th and T and T. In 1989, she moved to Chicago where she was hired to star in all 11 episodes of the ABC series Brewster Place, produced by and starring Oprah Winfrey.
In 1990 she returned to Toronto to take the lead in the NBC movie Ice Princess: The Tai Babilonia Story, about the first African-American figure skater to win U.S. and international titles. She then moved on to New York where she took a series lead in NBC’s sitcom Here and Now (1992–93), produced by Bill Cosby. In 1994 she was in Treacherous Beauties, a made-for-TV international co-production starring Bruce Greenwood that was shown on CTV.
Then came two of the most talked about Canadian movies of 1995, Patricia Rozema’s When Night Is Falling and Clement Virgo’s Rude. When Night Is Falling was Crawford’s first lead in a theatrical feature, and the character she played was a lesbian avant-garde circus performer, a gamine who falls in love with a repressed Christian seminary student played by Pascale Bussières. The film features some of the most erotic love scenes ever captured on Canadian celluloid as Crawford and Bussières heat up the screen with their passionate love making. The film was nominated for a Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival, and received three Genie Award nominations.
For her performance in Rude, the first Canadian feature to be produced, written and directed by African-Canadians, she received her first Genie nomination for best supporting actress. Other film roles include John L’Écuyer’s Curtis’s Charm (again released in 1995), Pale Saints (1997, a second Genie nomination for an actress in a supporting role) and later The Man (2005), starring Samuel L. Jackson and Eugene Levy, which was filmed in Hamilton, Ontario.
Crawford’s other television credits include Captive Heart: The James Mink Story (1996, Gemini nomination for best performance in a leading role in a dramatic program); a regular on Global’s Traders (1996-2000) as Niko Bach (Gemini Award nomination for best performance in a featured supporting role); Between Brothers (1997–99); Dr. Kate Langford in the series Show Me Yours, which premiered in 2004 on Showcase in Canada; the 2008 two-part miniseries The Trojan Horse directed by Charles Binamé and starring Paul Gross; the miniseries Guns directed by David ‘Suz’ Sutherland; and ‘Da Kink in My Hair, Sophie, Being Erica, Republic of Doyle, Call Me Fritz, Alphas and The Firm. In 2014 she was part of the cast assembled to be in Clément Virgo’s The Book of Negroes.
Also see: Rachael Crawford’s filmography.
This mini-biography was written for Northernstars.ca by Wyndham Wise and is Copyright © 2015. It may not be reproduced without prior written consent. For more information about copyright, click here.