Kline, Kevin 1947–
KLINE, Kevin 1947–
Full name, Kevin Delaney Kline; born October 24, 1947, in St. Louis, MO; son of Robert Joseph (a toy and record store owner and singer) and Peggy (maiden name, Kirk) Kline; brother of Kate Kline May (a producer and writer); married Phoebe Cates (an actress), March 5, 1989; children: Owen Joseph, Greta Simone. Education: Indiana University, B.A., speech and theatre, 1970; Juilliard School, diploma, 1972. Avocational Interests: Musical composition, travel, sports.
Addresses: Agent— Rick Nicita, Creative Artists Agency, 9830 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212; Jeff Hunter, William Morris Agency, 1325 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019. Manager— Judy Hofflund, Hofflund/Polone, 9465 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 820, Beverly Hills, CA 90212. Publicist— Catherine Olim, PMK/HBH Public Relations, 8500 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 700, Beverly Hills, CA 90211; Mara Buxbaum, I/D Public Relations, 155 Spring St., Sixth Floor, New York, NY 10012.
Career: Actor. Acting Company, New York City, founding member, 1972–76, artistic associate, 1987–88; appeared in productions with Arena Stage Company, Washington, DC, 1978–79; New York Shakespeare Festival, associate producer and artistic associate; affiliated with charitable causes. As a college student, founding member of the revue troupe Vest Pocket Players.
Member: Actors' Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild.
Awards, Honors: Antoinette Perry Award, best featured actor in a musical, and Drama Desk Award, outstanding featured actor, both 1978, for On the Twentieth Century; Antoinette Perry Award, best actor in a musical, Drama Desk Award, outstanding actor in a musical, and Obie Award, Village Voice, performance, all 1981, for The Pirates of Penzance; Golden Globe Award nomination, new male star of the year in a motion picture, 1983, and Film Award nomination, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, best newcomer, 1984, both for Sophie's Choice; Obie Award, sustained excellence in performance, 1986; Academy Award, best supporting actor, and Film Award nomination, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, best actor, both 1989, for A Fish Called Wanda; William Shakespeare Award for Classical Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre at the Folger, 1989; Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a motion picture—comedy/musical, 1992, for Soapdish; Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a motion picture—comedy/musical, 1994, for Dave; American Comedy Award nomination, funniest lead actor in a motion picture, 1996, for French Kiss; Actor Award, Gotham Awards, Independent Features Project, 1997; Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a motion picture—comedy/musical, Golden Satellite Award nomination, International Press Academy, best performance by an actor in a motion picture—comedy or musical, Blockbuster Entertainment Award nomination, favorite actor in a comedy, and MTV Movie Award nomination (with Tom Selleck), best kiss, all 1998, for In & Out; named Hasty Pudding man of the year, Hasty Pudding Theatricals, Harvard University, 1998; London Critics Circle Film Award nomination, actor of the year, 1999, for The Ice Storm; Blockbuster Entertainment Award nomination (with Will Smith), favorite action team, 2000, for Wild Wild West; Screen Actors Guild Award nomination, outstanding lead actor, 2002, for Life as a House; Lifetime Achievement Award, St. Louis International Film Festival, 2002; DVD Premiere Award nomination (with others), DVD Exclusive Awards, best animated character performance, 2003, for The Hunchback of Notre Dame II; Drama Desk Award, Antoinette Perry Award nomination, best actor, and Outer Critics Circle Award nomination, all 2004, for Henry IV; theatre at St. Louis Priory School, St. Louis, MO, renamed in his honor.
Nathan Landau, Sophie's Choice, Universal, 1982.
Harold, The Big Chill, Columbia, 1983.
Himself, He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin', 1983.
Pirate king, The Pirates of Penzance (also known as The Slave of Duty ), Universal, 1983.
Paden, Silverado, Columbia, 1985.
Henry Squires, Violets Are Blue, Columbia, 1986.
Donald Woods, Cry Freedom, Universal, 1987.
Otto West, A Fish Called Wanda, Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer/United Artists, 1988.
Nick Starkey, The January Man, Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer/United Artists, 1989.
Joey Boca, I Love You to Death, TriStar, 1990.
Jeffrey Anderson/Dr. Rod Randall, Soapdish, Paramount, 1991.
Mack, Grand Canyon, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1991.
Douglas Fairbanks, Chaplin (also known as Charlot ), TriStar, 1992.
Richard Parker, Consenting Adults, Buena Vista, 1992.
Dave Kovic (title role) and President William Harrison "Bill" Mitchell, Dave (also known as Mr. President ), Warner Bros., 1993.
Narrator, George Balanchine's "The Nutcracker " (also known as The Nutcracker ), Warner Bros., 1993.
Frixos, Princess Caraboo, TriStar, 1994.
Luc Teyssier, French Kiss (also known as Paris Match ), Twentieth Century–Fox, 1995.
Himself, Looking for Richard (documentary), Fox Searchlight Pictures, 1996.
Voice of Captain Phoebus, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (animated; also known as Hunchback ), Buena Vista, 1996.
Ben Hood, The Ice Storm, Fox Searchlight Pictures, 1997.
Howard Brackett, In & Out, Paramount, 1997.
Rod McKane and Vince McKane, Fierce Creatures (also known as Death Fish and Death Fish II ), Universal, 1997.
Shakespeare's Children (documentary), Hot Flash Films, 1997.
Nick Bottom, William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream (also known as A Midsummer Night's Dream and Sogno di una notte di mezza estate ), Twentieth Century–Fox, 1999.
Voice of Tulio, The Road to El Dorado (animated), DreamWorks, 2000.
Cal Gold, The Anniversary Party, Fine Line, 2001.
George Monroe, Life as a House, New Line Cinema, 2001.
The Palace Thief, c. 2001.
(Uncredited) Marcus Skinner, Orange County, Paramount, 2002.
Voice of Phoebus, The Hunchback of Notre Dame II (animated), Buena Vista Home Video/Walt Disney Home Video, 2002.
William Hundert, The Emperor's Club, MCA/Universal, 2002.
Cole Porter, De–Lovely, Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer/United Artists, 2004.
Chief Dreyfuss, The Pink Panther, Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer, 2005.
Soldier, Henry VI, Part II (also known as The Chronicles of King Henry VI Part 2 ), New York Shakespeare Festival, Delacorte Theatre, Public Theatre, 1970.
Charles Surface, The School for Scandal, City Center Acting Company, Theatre at Good Shepherd–Faith Church, New York City, 1972.
Guardiano, Women Beware Women, City Center Acting Company, Theatre at Good Shepherd–Faith Church, 1972.
IRA officer, The Hostage, City Center Acting Company, Theatre at Good Shepherd–Faith Church, 1972.
Vaska Pepel, The Lower Depths, City Center Acting Company, Theatre at Good Shepherd–Faith Church, 1972.
Colonel Vershinin, The Three Sisters, City Center Acting Company, Billy Rose Theatre, New York City, 1973–1974.
Friar Peter, Measure for Measure, City Center Acting Company, Billy Rose Theatre, 1973–1974.
Leandre, Scapin (also known as Les fourberies de Scapin ), City Center Acting Company, Billy Rose Theatre, 1973–1974.
MacHeath, The Beggar's Opera (musical), City Center Acting Company, Billy Rose Theatre, 1973–1974.
Jamie Lockhart, The Robber Bridegroom (musical), Acting Company, Harkness Theatre, New York City, 1975.
Lancaster, Edward II, Acting Company, Harkness Theatre, 1975.
Understudy for Baron Tuzenbach and Colonel Vershinin, The Three Sisters, Acting Company, Harkness Theatre, 1975.
Understudy for Tom and Wesley, The Time of Your Life, Acting Company, Harkness Theatre, 1975.
Daniel, Beware the Jubjub Bird, Theatre Four, New York City, 1976.
Carr, Nest of Vipers, New Dramatists Theatre, New York City, 1977.
Clym Yeobright, Dance on a Country Grave, Hudson Guild Theatre, New York City, 1977.
Son, Playing with Fire, Counterpoint Theatre Company, Counterpoint Theatre, New York City, 1977.
The Promise, Bucks County Playhouse, New Hope, PA, 1977.
The Robber Bridegroom (musical), New York City, 1977.
Understudy for MacHeath, The Threepenny Opera (musical), New York Shakespeare Festival, Vivian Beaumont Theatre, Lincoln Center, New York City, 1978.
Bruce Granit, On the Twentieth Century, St. James Theatre, New York City, 1978–1979.
V.I.P. Night on Broadway (benefit performance), Shubert Theatre, New York City, 1979.
Paul, Loose Ends, Circle in the Square, New York City, 1979–1980.
Johnny, Holiday, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles, 1980–1981.
Pirate king, The Pirates of Penzance (musical), New York Shakespeare Festival, Delacorte Theatre, Public Theatre, 1980, later Minskoff Theatre, New York City, 1981–1982, later Uris Theatre (now Gershwin Theatre), New York City, 1982.
Title role, King Richard III (also known as Richard III ), New York Shakespeare Festival, Delacorte Theatre, Public Theatre, 1983.
Hart Farrell, Isn't It Romantic, Playwrights' Horizons Theatre, New York City, 1983, then Lucille Lortel Theatre, New York City, 1984.
Title role, Henry V, New York Shakespeare Festival, Delacorte Theatre, Public Theatre, 1984.
Captain Bluntschli, Arms and the Man, Circle in the Square, 1985.
Title role, Hamlet, New York Shakespeare Festival, Estelle R. Newman Theatre, Public Theatre, New York City, 1986.
Benedick, Much Ado about Nothing, New York Shakespeare Festival, Delacorte Theatre, Public Theatre, 1988.
Title role, Hamlet, New York Shakespeare Festival, Anspacher Theatre, Public Theatre, New York City, 1990.
Duke, Measure for Measure, New York Shakespeare Festival, Delacorte Theatre, Public Theatre, 1993.
Nikolai Ivanov (title role), Ivanov, Vivian Beaumont Theatre, Lincoln Center, 1997–1998.
Trigorin, The Seagull, New York Shakespeare Festival, Delacorte Theatre, Public Theatre, 2001.
Jim, Short Talks on the Universe—3 A.M. (one–act), Eugene O'Neill Theatre, New York City, 2002.
Shakespeare Live! (solo benefit performance), Juilliard Theatre, New York City, 2002.
Mystery guest star, The Play What I Wrote, Lyceum Theatre, New York City, 2003.
Sir John Falstaff, Henry IV, Vivian Beaumont Theatre, Lincoln Center, 2003–2004.
Also appeared with Acting Company in productions of The Diary of Adam and Eve, Tamburlaine, and The Way of the World.
Tom, The Knack, Acting Company, 1974.
Tony Lumpkin, She Stoops to Conquer, Acting Company, U.S. cities, 1974.
Stage Associate Producer; New York Shakespeare Festival Productions:
All's Well That Ends Well, Public Theatre, New York City, 1993.
First Lady Suite, Public Theatre, 1993.
Measure for Measure, Delacorte Theatre, Public Theatre, New York City, 1993.
The Swan, Public Theatre, 1993.
The Treatment, Public Theatre, 1993.
All for You, Public Theatre, 1994.
The America Play, Public Theatre, 1994.
Big Momma 'n' Em, Public Theatre, 1994.
Blade to the Heat, Public Theatre, 1994.
The Diva Is Dismissed, Public Theatre, 1994.
East Texas Hot Links, Public Theatre, 1994.
Irene Worth's Portrait of Edith Wharton, Public Theatre, 1994.
The Merry Wives of Windsor, Public Theatre, 1994.
Simpatico, Public Theatre, 1994.
Some People, Public Theatre, 1994.
The Tragedy of Richard II, Public Theatre, 1994.
Twilight: Los Angeles 1992, Public Theatre, 1994.
Two Gentlemen of Verona, Public Theatre, 1994.
Him, Public Theatre, 1994–1995.
The Petrified Prince, Public Theatre, 1994–1995.
Dancing on Moonlight, Public Theatre, 1995.
Dog Opera, Public Theatre, 1995.
The Merchant of Venice, Public Theatre, 1995.
Silence, Cunning, Exile, Public Theatre, 1995.
The Tempest, Broadhurst Theatre, New York City, 1995.
Troilus and Cressida, Public Theatre, 1995.
Golden Child, Public Theatre, 1996.
Insurrection: Holding History, Public Theatre, 1996.
The Gypsy and the Yellow Canary, Public Theatre, 1997.
A Huey P. Newton Story, Public Theatre, 1997.
One Flea Square, Public Theatre, 1997.
Stage Work; Other:
Director, Hamlet, New York Shakespeare Festival, Anspacher Theatre, Public Theatre, New York City, 1990.
Artistic associate, Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk, New York Shakespeare Festival, Ambassador Theatre, New York City, beginning c. 1996.
Television Appearances; Series:
Wood Reed, Search for Tomorrow, CBS, 1976–1977.
Television Appearances; Specials:
McCarthy, "The Time of Your Life," Great Performances, PBS, 1976.
Pirate king, The Pirates of Penzance, 1980.
Himself, The Grand Knockout Tournament, BBC, 1987.
Title role, "Hamlet," Great Performances, PBS, 1990.
Himself, It's the Monty Python Story (documentary; also known as Life of Python ), BBC, 1993.
November 22, 1993: Where Were You? A Larry King Special Live from Washington, TNT, 1993.
Himself, Disney's Most Unlikely Heroes, ABC, 1996.
Himself, The Making of Disney's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame, " ABC, 1996.
Himself, Celebrity Profile: Danny Glover, E! Entertainment Television, 1998.
Himself, Python Night, BBC, 1999.
Multiple roles, Speak Truth to Power, PBS, 2000.
Life of Python, Arts and Entertainment, 2000.
Himself, The Making of "Life as a House, " 2001.
Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:
Himself, The 61st Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 1989.
Presenter, The 62nd Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 1990.
The 44th Annual Tony Awards, CBS, 1990.
Presenter, The 63rd Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 1991.
Presenter, The 53rd Annual Tony Awards, CBS, 1999.
Presenter, 2000 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards, Fox, 2000.
Presenter, IFP Gotham Awards 2002, 2002.
Television Appearances; Episodic:
Petruchio, "Henry Winkler Meets William Shakespeare," The CBS Festival of Lively Arts for Young People, CBS, 1977.
Guest host, Saturday Night Live (also known as NBC's Saturday Night, Saturday Night, and SNL ), NBC, 1988, 1993.
Narrator, "Merlin and the Dragons," Long Ago & Far Away, PBS, 1989.
Himself, Late Night with David Letterman, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993.
"Woody or Won't He," Cheers, NBC, 1990.
Himself, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, NBC, 1991.
Himself, The Late Show with David Letterman, CBS, 1994 (multiple episodes), 1995, 1997 (multiple episodes), 1999, 2001.
Himself, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, syndicated, 1997.
Himself, Inside the Actors Studio, Bravo, 2001.
Himself, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, NBC, 2001.
Himself, The 700 Club, CBN, 2002.
(In archive footage) Himself, Celebrities Uncensored, E! Entertainment Television, 2003.
Himself, Tinseltown TV, 2003.
Himself, The Daily Show (also known as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart ), Comedy Central, 2004.
Also appeared in Sesame Street, PBS.
Television Work; Specials:
Codirector, "Hamlet," Great Performances, PBS, 1990.
Himself, Behind the Scenes: Road to El Dorado, 2000.
Himself, Character Building: Inside "Life as a House, " New Line Home Video, 2001.
Himself, From the Ground Up, New Line Home Video, 2001.
Narrator (with others), The Classical Music Experience: Hear and Discover the Sounds and Stories of Forty–Two Great Composers, by Julius H. Jacobson II, Sourcebooks, 2002.
International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, Volume 3: Actors and Actresses, St. James Press, 1996.
Newsmakers 2000, Issue 1, Gale, 2000.
Entertainment Weekly, March 8, 2002, p. 78.
Los Angeles Times, September 14, 1997.
Madison, May, 1999, pp. 94–103.
Newsday, July 13, 1988, Part II, pp. 4–5.
New York, September 8, 1997, p. 54.
New York Times, June 23, 1978; January 4, 1981; December 12, 1982; January 26, 1997.
Parade, October 16, 1994.
Playboy, March, 1998, pp. 55–66, 159.
Screen and Stage, March 29, 2000.
Time, September 22, 1997, p. 88.
USA Today, September 12, 1997.
Nationality: American. Born: St. Louis, Missouri, 24 October 1947. Education: Attended Indiana University (major in music), 1972; studied at Juilliard. Family: Married the actress Phoebe Cates, 1989, two children: Joseph and Greta. Career: 1972–76—founding member of the Acting Company, New York City; 1977—played role of Woody Reed in TV soap opera, Search for Tomorrow; 1982—film debut in Sophie's Choice; 1987–88—artistic associate, Acting Company; 1990—acted and directed in production of Hamlet, later produced for television; 1993—artistic associate, New York Shakespeare Festival. Awards: Tony Award, for On the Twentieth Century, 1978; Tony Award, for The Pirates of Penzance, 1980; Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, for A Fish Called Wanda, 1988. Agent: Jeffrey Hunter, William Morris Agency, 1325 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019–6026.
Films as Actor:
Sophie's Choice (Pakula) (as Nathan)
The Pirates of Penzance (Leach) (as Pirate King); The Big Chill (Kasdan) (as Harold)
Silverado (Kasdan) (as Paden)
Violets Are Blue (Fisk) (as Henry Squires)
Cry Freedom (Attenborough) (as Donald Woods)
A Fish Called Wanda (Charles Crichton) (as Otto West)
The January Man (O'Connor) (as Nick Starkey)
I Love You to Death (Kasdan) (as Joey)
Soapdish (Hoffman) (as Jeffrey Anderson); Grand Canyon (Kasdan) (as Mack)
Chaplin (Attenborough) (as Douglas Fairbanks); Consenting Adults (Pakula) (as Richard Parker)
George Balanchine's The Nutcracker (Ardolino) (as narrator); Dave (Reitman) (as Dave Kovic/Bill Mitchell)
Princess Caraboo (Austin) (as Frixos)
French Kiss (Paris Match) (Kasdan) (as Luc Teyssier)
Fierce Creatures (Cleese and Robert M. Young) (as Rod McKane/Vince McKane); The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Trousdale and Kirk Wise—animation) (as voice of Phoebus); Looking for Richard (Pacino) (as himself)
In & Out (Oz) (as Howard Brackett); The Ice Storm (Lee) (as Ben Hood); Fierce Creatures (Schepisi, Young) (as Vince McCain/Rod McCain)
A Midsummer Night's Dream (Hoffman) (as Nick Bottom); Wild Wild West (Sonnenfeld) (as Artemus Gordon/President Ulysses S. Grant)
The Road to El Dorado (Bergeron et al.—animation) (as voice of Tulio)
Film as Director:
Hamlet (for TV) (+ title role)
By KLINE: article—
"Kevin Kline from Stage to Screen," interview with James M. Welsh, in Literature/Film Quarterly (Salisbury), October 1986.
"'You've Heard of Watergate—This Is Surrogate,"' telephone conversation with Sigourney Weaver, in Interview (New York), May 1993.
On KLINE: articles—
Current Biography 1986, New York, 1986.
Clark, John, "Kevin Kline," in Premiere (New York), May 1990.
Hoffman, Jan, "A Pair of Aces," in Premiere (New York), May 1990.
Morgenstern, Joe, "Kevin's Choice," in Connoisseur, July 1991.
Wetzseon, Ross, "Kevin Can Wait," in New York, 10 May 1993.
Gates, Anita, "Other Methods, Other Madness, and Always Slings and Arrows," in New York Times, 2 July 1995.
Kaplan, J., "Mr. Decline," in New York, 8 September 1997.
* * *
His first words on film were in an assumed Southern accent, announcing the technical virtuosity that would be the hallmark of his best work. Contravening the conventional wisdom that in screen acting less is more, Kline, trained in both classical and popular theater, is most arresting when allowed to import the large gestures favored, when not actually required by the stage. His screen persona thus tends to be that of a man who gets carried away with his enthusiasms, his ideas, most often himself. Roles requiring him to exhibit restraint or signal inner reflection can deaden his reflexes; Kline never seems so intelligent an actor as when he is playing stupid—witness his hilariously, self-enraptured, testosterone-driven dolt in A Fish Called Wanda. So exuberant is his performance that it literally takes a steamroller to halt the flow of his comic invention.
When no overt technical demand is made on the expressiveness of his voice or his body, Kline can be subdued, even dispirited. His debut in Sophie's Choice was an exception, a film in which Kline's uncanny impersonations, impulsive humor, and physical glamour were unpredictably fused in his portrayal of an irresistible and charismatic madness. His subsequent dramatic parts, however, have been less successful in exploiting his physical and emotional volatility to unexpected or fresh use. The irrepressible narcissism of his comic persona is not so much expunged as sublimated into a much more subtle, sometimes more objectional form of good guyism in such films as the environmentally and emotionally correct Violets Are Blue. Nor has Kline fared well in genres, such as the Western, that call upon him to simplify his emotions into archetypal attitudes. As Paden, the quiet and aimless cowboy out to change his luck in Silverado, Kline is meant to evoke the taciturn and secretly troubled masculinity of the classic Western hero (especially in the High Noonish final shoot-out), but at best manages to suggest a muted rather than heroically restrained psyche.
His most frequent and somewhat uneven work has been with Lawrence Kasdan, for whom Kline epitomizes the white liberal male afflicted with all the pieties and perplexities such a species is heir to. Kline is Kasdan's model for the aging radical whose midlife anomie manifests itself in the form of earnest soul-searching rather than sexual lunacy. In The Big Chill he is such a genial host to the friends of his radical youth that he even agrees to father a child for a woman whose biological clock is about to ring its final alarm. Eleven years later, he plays virtually the same decent white liberal befuddled rather than appalled by the state of the world in Grand Canyon, only in this film Kasdan offers a less admiring view of Kline's sensitive husband, generous friend, and preternaturally patient "good father." He gives Kline a superman dream of flight that hints at the moral giddiness underlying his quiet decencies.
The trouble with a morally unimpeachable Kline is that he is no match for his impeachable comic double who invariably proves not only to be more entertaining, but finally, a better ethical monitor. In the confession scene that opens I Love You to Death, Kline gives a hilarious rendering of a happy sinner's uncontrite, but dutiful effort to recall the time, frequency, and number of his adulterous encounters with all the precision due to a ritual confession. In Soapdish he does a rollicking turn as a former soap star (as he once was) condemned to do dinner theater in Florida until his deceased character is recalled to life, only to find himself at the center of an equally absurdist Oedipal drama offstage.
But it is Dave that represents the quintessential Kline performance since in this film he gets to impersonate himself. Two halves of his screen persona confront each other in this dizzy tale of a presidential double taking on the role, then the power, and finally the wife of a comatose president: the white liberal who has lost the values that once defined and sustained him (for the first time Kline plays the philandering husband without a trace of exculpatory male sentimentalism) and the comic ego, reincarnated in the gentle form of a populist who appreciates the simple joys of life. It helps to have Sigourney Weaver assisting in the comic transfer of power and affection. Kline is less fortunate in French Kiss, in which Meg Ryan's unrelievedly mannered performance almost overwhelms the subtle allure of Kline's larcenous charmer. Imitating not only a French accent but the mumble that gives movie Frenchmen their cachet, Kline reconciles the Gallic shrug and American double-take to register a surprising array of emotions—from a bemused laissez-faire sexuality to a conniving thievery to the unanticipated dawn of love. In such performances, Kline reminds us how comic theatricality can not only entertain, but also reveal as much about personal and national character as the most studied naturalism.