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Whatever Happened To Creed From The Office?

Part of what made The Office so enjoyable over its nine-season run was its many side characters. And quality assurance manager Creed Bratton was among the best of the bunch—even funnier than dumb accountant Kevin Malone, sad sack human resources guy Toby Flenderson, and disinterested salesman Stanley Hudson. The name of the actor who portrayed him? Also Creed Bratton. 

Bratton's heightened portrayal of himself as a zoned-out, libertine dude who never quite left the '60s was a hilarious, meta addition to the show, and the character quickly became an audience favorite. Here's a look into the remarkable, unpredictable life of Creed Bratton—the real one, that is.

How he got the name Creed Bratton

"Creed Bratton" isn't the actor's real name. Born William Charles Schneider, his father died when he was a toddler, and his mother then married a man whose last name was Ertmoed. After high school, the guy now named Chuck Ertmoed went to Europe, and while there, he met a group of young people headed to Crete to teach English. He boasted that he'd had psychic visions that he was going to be a "very successful actor and musician," but some of the teachers thought "Chuck Ertmoed" wasn't exactly a marquee name, and they vowed to give him one. As Bratton told The New York Times, "One thing led to another, and I woke up the next morning, hungover from ouzo, and I see this tablecloth that I'd ripped off, and all these names are crossed out—one is circled: Creed Bratton."

He's primarily a musician

Creed Bratton the character had a lot in common with Creed Bratton the actor. For example, both versions of Creed were members of the popular 1960s folk/rock band the Grass Roots. Bratton sang and played guitar in the group, formed out of an earlier band called the Thirteenth Floor, from 1967 to 1969. During that time, the Grass Roots scored two top 10 hits"Let's Live for Today" and "Midnight Confessions." Bratton left the group after its reinvention as a slick pop act, and played a lot of small clubs as a solo act in the '70s before deciding to give acting a shot. But Bratton still makes music: since 2001, he's recorded and released five albums.

He's enjoying a rare second act

In the '70s and '80s, Bratton had a hard time in Hollywood, landing just handful of bit parts, like "Man Entering Laboratory" on a 1975 episode of Kolchak: The Night Stalker and "Carnival Ticket Taker" in the 1985 drama Mask. When acting no longer paid the bills, Bratton moved to the fringes of showbiz, working as a caterer, stand-in, and extra. By 2004, he was a regular background player on The Bernie Mac Show, which is where he met a TV director named Ken Kwapis, who just so happened to be a big Grass Roots fan. 

Later, when Bratton heard that Kwapis was directing an American version of the British sitcom The Office, he got "ballsy" and asked for a part. There weren't any roles available, but Kwapis hired Bratton to be a background extra, an anonymous and silent paper company employee. Bratton realized that in order to become a permanent part of the show, he'd have to do it himself. So, after closely watching the main actors do their "talking head" confessional segments, he wrote and taped his own. He decided that his character was a glorified version of himself, a "rock star that stayed addled and crazy and ended up selling paper." He gave the tape to The Office executive producer Greg Daniels; Daniels liked it, and "Creed Bratton" became a regular character.

The Office almost kept going, but Bratton thought it should have ended sooner

The Office went off the air in 2013, at a point when many of the main actors were ready to move on—while some in the supporting cast were content with coming back for another year or two. In fact, the show almost kept going with the same supporting cast, but new lead actors. 

"I guess the talk is that some of the actors wanted to get out and not do it anymore, but they said they'd do one last year if it was the last year of the show. That kind of prevented some of us from continuing on," Bratton told Rolling Stone. Whether he would have stayed on or not is irrelevant, because he thinks the show should have left the air "when Steve Carell left" at the end of season 7 in 2011. Looking back over the last two seasons, he confessed that the show "was as good as it got for me" during the Michael Scott era.

He's been in two Lindsay Lohan movies

During and after the run of The Office, Bratton popped up in a bunch of TV shows and movies. Among those gigs were roles in the Lindsay Lohan comedy Labor Pains...and the Lindsay Lohan-starring Elizabeth Taylor biopic Liz and Dick. Quipping to Rolling Stone that he has "the dubious honor of appearing in two Lindsay Lohan movies!,"  Bratton revealed that he got a little bold with Lohan on the set of Labor Pains. His character, an "alcoholic writer," uses a walking stick, and so Bratton used it as an improv. "She's walking right past me," he recalled, "and I poke her in the butt with the stick." Bratton said he got some alarmed reactions from Lohan's handlers, but the actress herself "was fine with it." Okay, Creed.

He was in an all-CGI Lincoln movie

Creed Bratton is a quirky and interesting guy, and he picks quirky and interesting projects. One of the most intriguing is a film called Saving Lincoln. Historical dramas generally don't use a lot of CGI, and yet Saving Lincoln is almost entirely computer-generated. Only the actors and props were real, and with a technique called CineCollage, they were digitally merged with actual historical photographs from the 19th century. The movie focuses on Lincoln's relationship with his law partner and bodyguard Ward Hill Lamon; Bratton plays Senator Charles Sumner, an abolitionist who was once nearly beaten to death on the Senate floor by pro-slavery protesters. Bratton took the role for a powerful scene in which he tells Lincoln (Tom Amandes) about that beatdown...but the scene was cut out of the movie. "Oh well, you know, it happens," Bratton told MTV News. "It's part of the biz."

He was in another office comedy that didn't get picked up

Bratton followed up one office-based TV comedy with another office-based TV comedy. He's part of the cast of The New V.I.P.'s, along with comedy all-stars like Jason Mantzoukas, Eddie Pepitone, Miss Pyle, and Kerri Kenney. The animated series, created by The Life and Times of Tim mastermind Steve Dildarian, is about a group of underlings who accidentally kill their boss and then wind up running the company. In 2017, Amazon debuted the first episode of The New V.I.P.'s as part of their annual pilot season, but unfortunately for Bratton, the show hasn't yet been ordered to series.

He wrote his 'audiobiography'

In 2013, Bratton put together an innovative musical project titled Tell Me About It, which serves as what the actor/musician calls his "audio-biography" — it's a three-part concept album that tells his one-of-a-kind life story. "The three acts are like a play," Bratton has said. "It's a story that takes you along in a psychedelic way." Bratton discusses, among other things, his Grass Roots days, taking drugs, filing for unemployment, and working on The Office. (His former costar Rainn Wilson does some guest vocals on Act III: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Obscurity.)