Bryan Cranston Opens Up About His Father and Their Different Acting Careers

PHOTO: Bryan Cranston attends the EE British Academy Film Awards at The Royal Opera House on Feb. 14, 2016 in London.PlayJohn Phillips/Getty Images
WATCH Oscar-Nominee Bryan Cranston Opens Up

Bryan Cranston grew up in the Hollywood suburb of Canoga Park, California, watching his father try to make a successful career in acting.

"My dad was an actor, and he made his living getting a job here, getting a job there, sometimes doing fairly well and other times, not so well," Cranston said in an interview with ABC News' Robin Roberts for the ABC News special "Journey to the Oscars."

"One year we had a pool put into our backyard. And I remember a year later or so my mother saying, 'We can't swim this summer because we can't afford the chemicals to go in the pool.' So that was interesting, that up-and-down life."

Cranston, who has an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in "Trumbo," eventually followed in his father's footsteps.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Cranston was the epitome of a working actor, appearing in over 60 television shows and countless commercials. He considered himself blessed to be a successful working actor, something his late father was never able to achieve.

Cranston's Oscar-nominated lead performance in "Trumbo" was hailed as one of the year's best, but it came as no surprise to the millions of viewers who watched him dominate the small screen as Walter White in the TV show "Breaking Bad."

But if it weren't for the show's creator convincing the studio, Cranston might never have transformed into Walter White, a science teacher turned meth kingpin.

"Vince Gilligan was my champion because the network and studio, they were like, 'Well, wait a minute, this -- you're talking about Walter White being played by this silly dad from ‘Malcom in the Middle’? And Vince, to his great credit and my benefit said, 'He's an actor. This is what he does, you know. He can do this,'" Cranston, 59, said.

Cranston believes he was meant to accomplish his success in acting at this point in his career, rather than, say, in his 20s.

"I think that it came to me at the right time,” he said. “I think I'm mature enough to be able to accept this life that has been laid out before me.”