Keaton, Michael 1951–

views updated Jun 27 2018

Keaton, Michael 1951–


Original name, Michael John Douglas; born September 9, 1951, in Coraopolis, PA; father, a civil engineer and surveyor; mother's name Leona Douglas (a homemaker); married Caroline McWilliams (an actress), 1982 (divorced, 1990); children: Sean Willie. Education: Studied speech at Kent State University for three years. Avocational Interests: Fly Fishing, horseback riding.


Office—Colomby/Keaton, 2110 Main St., Suite 302, Santa Monica, CA 90405. Agent—United Talent Agency, 9560 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 500, Beverly Hills, CA 90212; William Morris Agency, One William Morris Pl., Beverly Hills, CA 90212. Publicist—Rogers and Cowan Public Relations, 8687 Melrose Ave., Pacific Design Center, 7th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90069.


Actor, standup and improvisational comedian, and producer. WQED-TV, Pittsburgh, PA, member of technical crew, 1972; Jerry Vale (improvisation troupe), member of company, 1975; former member of Second City, Los Angeles, CA; standup comedian at clubs, including the Comedy Store; appeared in regional stage productions in Pittsburgh; Colomby/Keaton (a production company), Santa Monica, CA, partner. Voice of George Washington in commercials for the one-dollar coin. Once worked as a taxicab driver and as the driver of an ice cream truck.

Awards, Honors:

Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award, best supporting actor, 1983, for Night Shift; National Society of Film Critics Award, best actor, 1989, for Clean and Sober and Beetlejuice; Saturn Award nomination, best supporting actor, Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films, 1990, for Beetle Juice; MTV Movie Award nomination (with Michelle Pfeiffer), best kiss, 1993, for Batman Returns; Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a miniseries or a motion picture made for television, 2003, for Live from Baghdad; Emmy Award nomination (with others), outstanding nonfiction special, 2004, for Fred Rogers: America's Favorite Neighbor; Teen Choice Award nomination, choice movie scary scene, 2005, for White Noise.


Film Appearances:

Filmmaker, A Different Approach, 1978.

Bill Blazejowski, Night Shift, Warner Bros., 1982.

Jack Butler, Mr. Mom (also known as Mr. Mum and Perfect Daddy), Twentieth Century-Fox, 1983.

Johnny Kelly/Johnny Dangerously, Johnny Dangerously, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1984.

Hunt Stevenson, Gung Ho (also known as Working Class Man), Paramount, 1986.

Bobby Barbato, Touch and Go, TriStar, 1986.

Harry Berg, The Squeeze, TriStar, 1987.

(Uncredited) Himself, She's Having a Baby, Paramount, 1988.

Betelgeuse, Beetle Juice, Warner Bros., 1988.

Daryl Poynter, Clean and Sober, Warner Bros., 1988.

Batman/Bruce Wayne, Batman, Warner Bros., 1989.

Billy Caulfield, The Dream Team, Universal, 1989.

Carter Hayes, Pacific Heights, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1990.

Artie Lewis, One Good Cop (also known as One Man's Justice), Buena Vista, 1991.

Batman/Bruce Wayne, Batman Returns, Warner Bros., 1992.

Voice of reader, Earth and the American Dream, 1992.

(English version) Voice of Porco Rosso, Kurenai no buta (animated; also known as Porco rosso and Crimson Pig), 1992.

Constable Dogberry, Much Ado About Nothing, Samuel Goldwyn, 1993.

Bob Jones, My Life, Columbia, 1993.

Henry Hackett, The Paper, Universal, 1994.

Kevin Vallick, Speechless, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1994.

Doug Kinney, Multiplicity, Columbia, 1996.

Narrator, Inventing the Abbotts, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1997.

Ray Nicolette, Jackie Brown, Miramax/Buena Vista International, 1997.

Ray Nicolette, Out of Sight, Universal, 1998.

Peter McCabe, Desperate Measures, TriStar, 1998.

Jack Frost, Jack Frost (also known as Frost), Warner Bros., 1998.

Peter Cameron, A Shot at Glory, Butcher's Run Films, 2000.

Hollywood at Your Feet: The Story of the Chinese Theatre Footprints, 2000.

Martin Raikes, Quicksand (also known as Un tueur aux trousses), Overseas FilmGroup, 2001.

Himself, "Jackie Brown": How It Went Down (documentary short), Miramax Home Entertainment, 2002.

President Mackenzie, First Daughter, Twentieth Century-Fox, 2004.

Nicky Rogan, Game 6, Kindred Media Group, 2005.

Jonathan Rivers, White Noise, Universal, 2005.

Ray Peyton, Sr., Herbie Fully Loaded, Buena Vista, 2005.

Voice of Chick Hicks, Cars (animated), Buena Vista, 2006.

Ted, The Last Time, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 2006.

The Merry Gentleman, 2008.

Film Work:

Executive producer, Body Shots, New Line Cinema, 1999.

Director, The Merry Gentleman, 2008.

Television Appearances; Series:

Flying Zucchini Brothers, 1972-74.

Lanny Wolf, All's Fair, CBS, 1977.

Skit characters, Mary, CBS, 1978.

Kenneth Christy, The Mary Tyler Moore Hour, CBS, 1979.

Mike O'Rourke, Working Stiffs, CBS, 1979.

Eddie Murphy, Report to Murphy, CBS, 1982.

Television Appearances; Miniseries:

Studs Lonigan, 1979.

James Angleton, The Company, TNT, 2007.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Robert Wiener, Live from Baghdad, HBO, 2002.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Kraft Salutes Walt Disney World's 10th Anniversary, CBS, 1982.

Presenter, The 55th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1983.

Presenter, The 56th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1984.

"But I'm Happy," David Letterman's Holiday Film Festival (also known as Late Night Film Festival, NBC, 1985.

Comic Relief, HBO, 1986.

Premiere: Inside the Summer Blockbusters, Fox, 1989.

Time Warner Presents the Earth Day Special (also known as The Earth Day Special), ABC, 1990.

Host, Warner Bros. Celebration of Tradition, June 2, 1990, 1990.

In the Director's Chair: The Man Who Invented Edwards Scissorhands, 1990.

Hollywood Hotshots, Fox, 1992.

Fox/MTV Guide to Summer '92, Fox, 1992.

The Bat, the Cat, and the Penguin, CBS, 1992.

Voice, Earth and the American Dream, HBO, 1993.

(Uncredited) The 67th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1995.

Presenter, The 21st Annual People's Choice Awards, NBC, 1995.

The 2nd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, 1996.

Canned Ham: Michael Keaton, Comedy Central, 1996.

Frank Capra's American Dream, 1997.

Presenter, 1997 MTV Movie Awards, MTV, 1997.

Host, The Warner Bros. Story: No Guts, No Glory—75 Years of Blockbusters, TNT, 1998.

Saturday Night Live: The Best of Chris Farley, NBC, 1998.

Intimate Portrait: Mariel Hemingway, Lifetime, 1998.

Intimate Portrait: Pam Grier, Lifetime, 1999.

Intimate Portrait: Andie MacDowell, Lifetime, 1999.

Mundo VIP, 1999.

Saturday Night Live: The Best of Adam Sandler, NBC, 1999.

AFI's 100 Years100 Stars, CBS, 1999.

Making Life Beautiful, 1999.

Audience member, Saturday Night Live: 25th Anniversary, NBC, 1999.

Intimate Portrait: Connie Chung, Lifetime, 2000.

Tim Burton: Trick or Treat, Arts and Entertainment, 2001.

The 2001 ABC World Stunt Awards, ABC, 2001.

America: A Tribute to Heroes, 2001.

AFI's 100 Years100 Heroes & Villains (also known as AFI's "100 Years, 100 Heroes & Villains: America's Greatest Screen Characters"), CBS, 2003.

Nicole Kidman: An American Cinematheque Tribute, AMC, 2003.

Host, Fred Rogers: America's Favorite Neighbor, PBS, 2004.

Ultimate Super Heroes, Ultimate Super Villains, Ultimate Super Vixens, Bravo, 2004.

Presenter, Moving Image Salutes Ron Howard, Bravo, 2006.

The Road to "Cars," ITV, 2006.

Television Appearances; Pilots:

Regular, Klein Time, CBS, 1977.

Quinn, Roosevelt and Truman, CBS, 1977.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Chip Morgan, "Arthur's Crisis," Maude, CBS, 1972.

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, PBS, 1975.

Zeke Zacharias, "Eyes of the Law," The Tony Randall Show, ABC, 1978.

Zeke Zacharias, "Adios Mr. Chips," The Tony Randall Show, ABC, 1978.

Tree salesman, "Gifts," Family, 1978.

An Evening at the Improv, 1982.

Host, Saturday Night Live (also known as SNL), NBC, 1982.

Showbiz Today, 1991.

Narrator, "Mose the Fireman," American Heroes & Legends, 1992.

Host, Saturday Night Live (also known as SNL), NBC, 1992.

Late Show with David Letterman (also known as The Late Show), CBS, 1993, 2005, 2006.

The Rosie O'Donnell Show, syndicated, 1996, 1998.

Late Night with Conan O'Brien, NBC, 1998.

"Overworking," Dennis Miller Live, HBO, 1998.

"The Films of Tim Burton," The Directors, 1999.

Voice of Jack Crowley, "Pokey Mom," The Simpsons (animated), Fox, 2001.

Blaine Sternin, "Wheels of Fortune," Frasier, NBC, 2002.

Voice of Trip Larsen, "Pigmalion," King of the Hill (animated), Fox, 2003.

Voice of Jerry Andrews, "Catch Me If You Can," Gary the Rat, TNN, 2003.

"Catwoman: Her Many Lives," Biography, Arts and Entertainment, 2004.

Ellen: The Ellen DeGeneres Show, syndicated, 2005.

Sunday Morning Shootout, AMC, 2005.

Corazon de, 2005.

GMTV, ITV, 2005.

Quite Frankly with Stephen A. Smith, ESPN, 2006.

Also appeared as himself, "The Films of Ron Howard," The Directors; in All in the Family.

Television Work; Series:

Member of floor crew (stagehand), Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, PBS, 1970.



Johnny Kelly/Johnny Dangerously, "Weird Al" Yankovic: The Videos, 1996.

Video Games:

Voice of Chick Hicks, Cars, THQ, 2006.



International Dictionary of Film and Filmmakers, Volume 3: Actors and Actresses, 4th ed., St. James Press, 2000.

Newsmakers 1989, Issue 4, Gale, 1989.


Entertainment Weekly, June 19, 1992, p. 20.

Newsweek, August 29, 1988, p. 56.

Premiere, July, 1996, pp. 84-88, 102.

Starlog, July, 1996.

Keaton, Michael

views updated Jun 11 2018

KEATON, Michael

Nationality: American. Born: Michael Douglas in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, 9 September 1951. Family: Married the actress Caroline MacWilliams, son: Sean. Education: Attended Kent State University for two years, majored in speech. Career: Early 1970s—began performing in Pittsburgh coffeehouses; 1972—worked as technical crew member of WQED, Pittsburgh's public TV station; 1975—moved to Los Angeles; 1977–82—did stand-up comedy at the Comedy Store and other comedy clubs, performed improvisational theater with the Los Angeles offshoot of Chicago's Second City troupe, began writing comedy material and making appearances on television shows, and was cast in the TV sitcoms All's Fair (1977), Working Stiffs (1979), and Report to Murphy (1982), and the comedy-variety shows Mary (1978) and The Mary Tyler Moore Hour (1979); 1982—made screen debut in Night Shift; 1985—cast as male lead in Woody Allen's The Purple Rose of Cairo, but was replaced by Jeff Daniels after a week of shooting. Awards: Best Actor, National Society of Film Critics, for Beetlejuice and Clean and Sober, 1988. Agent: Creative Artists Agency, 9830 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90212, U.S.A.

Films as Actor:


Night Shift (Ron Howard) (as Bill Blazejowski)


Mr. Mom (Dragoti) (as Jack)


Johnny Dangerously (Heckerling) (title role)


Gung Ho (Working Class Man) (Ron Howard) (as Hunt Stevenson); Touch and Go (Mandel) (as Bobby Barbato)


The Squeeze (Roger Young) (as Harry Berg)


Beetlejuice (Burton) (as Betelgeuse); Clean and Sober (Caron) (as Daryl Poynter); She's Having a Baby (John Hughes) (uncredited cameo)


The Dream Team (Zieff) (as Billy Caulfield); Batman (Burton) (as Bruce Wayne/Batman)


Pacific Heights (Schlesinger) (as Carter Hayes)


One Good Cop (Gould) (as Artie Lewis)


Batman Returns (Burton) (as Bruce Wayne/Batman)


Much Ado about Nothing (Branagh) (as Dogberry); My Life (Rubin) (as Bob Jones); Earth and the American Dream (Couturie—doc) (voice only)


The Paper (Ron Howard) (as Henry Hackett); Speechless (Underwood) (as Kevin)


Multiplicity (Ramis) (as Doug Kinney)


Frank Capra's American Dream (Bowser—for TV) (as himself); Inventing the Abbotts (O'Connor) (as narrator—uncredited); Jackie Brown (Tarantino) (as Ray Nicolet)


Desperate Measures (Schroeder) (as Peter McCabe); Out of Sight (Soderbergh) (as Ray Nicolet—uncredited); Jack Frost (Miller) (as title role)


Road to Glory (Corrente)


By KEATON: articles—

Interview with Tom Zito, in Washington Post, 30 October 1982.

"Michael Keaton Reaches to His Dark Side," interview with Adam Belanoff, in Video Review (New York), November 1988.

Interview with Bill Zehme, in Rolling Stone (New York), 29 June 1989.

"Batman and the New World Order," interview with Carol Caldwell, in Esquire (New York), June 1991.

Interview with L. Linderman, in Playboy (Chicago), July 1992.

"Dr. Michael & Mr. Keaton," interview with L. Grobel, in Movieline (Escondido), August 1997.

On KEATON: articles—

Roman, S., in Esquire (New York), September 1983.

Lee, Luaine, in Chicago Tribune, 9 March 1986.

Edelstein, David, "Mixing Beetlejuice," in Rolling Stone (New York), 2 June 1988.

McGuigan, Cathleen, "Keaton Plays It Straight," in Newsweek (New York), 29 August 1988.

Roman, S., "First You Die," in Video (New York), November 1988.

Rodman, Ronald, "They Shoot Comic Books, Don't They?," in American Film (New York), May 1989.

Clark, John, filmography in Premiere (New York), July 1989.

Current Biography 1992, New York, 1992.

Schneller, Johanna, "Hanging Upside Down with Michael Keaton," in GQ (New York), June 1992.

Schreurs, Fred, "Bat Mitzvah," in Premiere (New York), July 1992.

Busch, A.M., "'Kingpin' Just Isn't Up Keaton's Alley," in Variety (New York), 1–7 May, 1995.

Brown, C., "Seriously Funny," in Premiere (New York), July 1996.

* * *

There is a bit of larceny lurking in Michael Keaton's eyes, and he has made that mischievous expression work well for him in comedies and dramas, playing men disturbed by the business of business and the business of life. On occasion, he turns that look into pure wickedness to play berserk and otherworldly characters.

Keaton burst onto the film scene with his attention-grabbing performance in Night Shift, playing manic morgue worker Bill Blazejowski, who brings in extra earnings by moonlighting as a pimp. His follow-up, Mr. Mom, in which he plays a breadwinner who loses his job and consequently switches roles with his homemaker wife, may not have offered the most original comic script, but it was a boxoffice hit and solidified Keaton's stardom. He scored again in the 1920s-gangster spoof Johnny Dangerously. If the film was a bit too sketchy to sustain its running time, Keaton offers an attractive performance as the title hoodlum. His Johnny Dangerously is a deft burlesque on Cagney, with his lines delivered in flawless deadpan. After several lackluster efforts—Gung Ho, Touch and Go, The Squeeze—Keaton got back on track in two diverse films which, when contrasted, serve to show off his range.

In Beetlejuice, he donned heavy, homely makeup to play a comically macabre no-goodnik named Betelgeuse, a vulgar maverick ghost who markets himself as a "bio-exorcist" to frighten the living. Keaton is outrageous, taking a sometimes vulgar and often broadly theatrical approach to the hilarious, mangy character who is so suitable to the bizarre mood of Tim Burton's horror film. In Clean and Sober, Keaton once again is an unlikable, antisocial character. This time, his style is tense and energy-packed, but also more subdued, because the film is a drama of realism. It is the story of a lowlife hustler who checks into a private drug rehabilitation clinic to hide out after a young woman he has picked up at a bar overdoses from cocaine while in his bed. More than any of his previous roles, his Daryl Poynter goes through stages of character development as he is forced to look at the sad fact that he really is a cocaine addict whose life is spinning out of control as a result of his addiction.

Perhaps Keaton's most famous performance to date is the title character in the megahit Batman and its sequel, Batman Returns. If the showcase performance in the former is Jack Nicholson's (as The Joker) and the latter is Michelle Pfeiffer's (playing Catwoman), Keaton more than holds his own as a sturdy superhero. He was a surprise casting choice for the dual role of Batman, the Caped Crusader, and his alter-ego, neurotic millionaire Bruce Wayne. But given the moody and repressed sides of Wayne's personality, Keaton surely was the right actor for the job (especially after being given an extra layer of muscle by the kindly costume designer!). After a dispute over salary, he was replaced by Val Kilmer in the third Batman feature, Batman Forever.

Keaton took aspects of his Betelgeuse character and built them into the vulgar comedy part of Dogberry in Kenneth Branagh's production of Shakespeare's Much Ado about Nothing. This time the effect was less than spectacular, and there are moments when one wonders if he really is part of the same movie as the actors who share screen time with him. His follow-ups, however, were two powerful dramatic roles. In My Life, a four-handkerchief weeper, he is a successful career man whose body is being eaten away by cancer just as he is about to become a father. In The Paper, a fast-paced yarn about New York City journalists, he appears as an overworked but dedicated tabloid metro editor whose pregnant wife (Marisa Tomei) is pressuring him to find a higher paying job. Though the former role gives Keaton the better opportunity to thoughtfully build a three-dimensional character, both roles allowed the actor to present credible characters in well-conceived melodramas.

Keaton has the look of a playground scrapper, and maybe that is why he is at his best as an energetic fighter. He may be battling for truth and justice, or for absurdly comical and ridiculous reasons. In any case, when Keaton lets loose, one cannot be bored.

—Audrey E. Kupferberg

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Michael Keaton

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