Harvey Keitel

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Harvey Keitel
Harvey Keitel VF 2012 Shankbone.JPG
Keitel at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival
Born(1939-05-13) May 13, 1939 (age 75)
Brooklyn, New York City, U.S.
OccupationActor, producer
Years active1967–present
Spouse(s)Daphna Kastner (2001–present)
Partner(s)Lorraine Bracco (1982–1993)
  • Stella Keitel (b. 1985)
  • Hudson Karmazin Keitel (b. 2001)
  • Roman Keitel (b. 2004)
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Harvey Keitel
Harvey Keitel VF 2012 Shankbone.JPG
Keitel at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival
Born(1939-05-13) May 13, 1939 (age 75)
Brooklyn, New York City, U.S.
OccupationActor, producer
Years active1967–present
Spouse(s)Daphna Kastner (2001–present)
Partner(s)Lorraine Bracco (1982–1993)
  • Stella Keitel (b. 1985)
  • Hudson Karmazin Keitel (b. 2001)
  • Roman Keitel (b. 2004)

Harvey Keitel (/kˈtɛl/ ky-TEL; born May 13, 1939)[1] is an American actor and producer. Some of his most notable starring roles were in Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets and Taxi Driver, Ridley Scott's The Duellists and Thelma & Louise, Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, Jane Campion's The Piano, Abel Ferrara's Bad Lieutenant, James Mangold's Cop Land, FBI Special agent Sadusky in National Treasure and the latter's sequel National Treasure: Book of Secrets, as well as playing the devil in Little Nicky. Along with actors Al Pacino and Ellen Burstyn, he is the current co-president of the Actors Studio, which claims itself to be considered "the nation's most prestigious acting school".[2]

Early life[edit]

Keitel was born in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, the son of Miriam (née Klein) and Harry Keitel, Jewish immigrants from Romania and Poland, respectively.[3] His parents owned and ran a luncheonette and his father also worked as a hat maker.

Keitel grew up in the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn,[4] with his sister, Renee, and brother, Jerry. He attended Abraham Lincoln High School. At the age of sixteen, he decided to join the United States Marine Corps,[4] a decision that took him to Lebanon, during Operation Blue Bat. After his return to the United States, he was a court reporter for several years and was able to support himself before beginning his acting career.[4]


Harvey Keitel in November 2009

Keitel studied under both Stella Adler and Lee Strasberg and at the HB Studio, eventually landing roles in some Off-Broadway productions.[4] During this time, Keitel auditioned for filmmaker Martin Scorsese and gained a starring role as "J.R.", in Scorsese's first feature film, Who's That Knocking at My Door (1967).[4] Since then, Scorsese and Keitel have worked together on several projects.[4] Keitel had the starring role in Scorsese's Mean Streets, which also proved to be Robert De Niro's breakthrough film. He later appeared with De Niro in Taxi Driver, playing the role of Jodie Foster's pimp.[4]

Cast as Captain Willard in Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now, Keitel was involved with the first week of principal photography in the Philippines. Coppola was not happy with Keitel's take on Willard, stating that the actor "found it difficult to play him a passive onlooker".[5] After viewing the first week's footage, Coppola made the difficult decision to replace Keitel with a casting session favorite, Martin Sheen.

Keitel drifted into obscurity through most of the 1980s.[4] He continued to do work on both stage and screen, but usually in the stereotypical role of a thug. In 1987 he again worked with Scorsese as Judas in The Last Temptation of Christ. Ridley Scott cast Keitel as the sympathetic policeman in Thelma & Louise in 1991. That same year, he landed a role in Bugsy, for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor, then played another mobster, Deloris's gangster ex-boyfriend Vince LaRocca in Sister Act several months later. Keitel starred in Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs (which he co-produced) in 1992,[4] where his performance as "Mr. White" took his career to a different level. Since then, Keitel has chosen his roles with care, seeking to change his image and show a broader acting range.[4] One of those roles was the title character in Bad Lieutenant, about a self-loathing, drug- addicted police lieutenant trying to redeem himself.[4] He co-starred in the movie The Piano in 1993,[4] and played an efficient clean-up expert, Winston "The Wolf" Wolfe in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. In 1996 he had a major role in Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's film, From Dusk Till Dawn. In 1997 he starred in the crime drama Cop Land, which also starred Sylvester Stallone, Ray Liotta, as well as Robert De Niro.

Keitel with singer Harry Belafonte in New York, April 2011

His later roles include the fatherly Satan in Little Nicky, a wise Navy man in U-571, diligent FBI Special agent Sadusky in National Treasure and the latter's sequel National Treasure: Book of Secrets. In 1999, Keitel was replaced by Sydney Pollack on the set of Eyes Wide Shut, due to shooting conflicts. He has shown a willingness to help other start-up filmmakers by appearing in their first feature film. He did this not only for Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino, but also Ridley Scott (The Duellists), Paul Schrader (Blue Collar), James Toback (Fingers), as well as Tony Bui (Three Seasons).

In 2002 at the 24th Moscow International Film Festival, Keitel was honored with the Stanislavsky Award for his outstanding achievement in the career of acting and devotion to the principles of Stanislavsky's school.[6]

He also appeared in the Steinlager Pure commercials in New Zealand in 2007. Unlike many American male actors, Keitel has appeared nude in several films, including full frontal nudity in Bad Lieutenant and The Piano.

In January 2008, Keitel played Jerry Springer in the New York City premiere of Jerry Springer: The Opera at Carnegie Hall.[4] In 2008, Keitel was cast in the role of Detective Gene Hunt in ABC's short-lived US remake of the successful British time-travel police drama series Life on Mars.[7]

In June 2009, he made a cameo appearance in the Jay-Z video for "D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)", a nod to his Brooklyn origins. In 2013, he appeared in a music video for "Pretty Hurts" by Beyoncé Knowles.[8]

In 2013 he starred in the independent film A Farewell to Fools.[9]

In 2014 he reprised his role of Winston Wolfe from Pulp Fiction as part of a £40 million advertising campaign for Direct Line, one of the UK's leading insurance companies. [10][11]

Personal life[edit]

Keitel with wife Daphna Kastner in 2010

Keitel was formerly in a long-term relationship with actress Lorraine Bracco. He married actress Daphna Kastner in 2001. Keitel is the father of three children: daughter Stella (born 1985) from his relationship with Bracco; son Hudson (born 2001) from his relationship with Lisa Karmazin; and son Roman (born 2004) from his marriage to Kastner. He is a godfather of close friend Michael Madsen's son Max.


YearFilmRoleclass="unsortable" | Notes
1967Who's That Knocking at My DoorJ.R.
1967Reflections in a Golden EyeSoldierUncredited
1970Brewster McCloudPhotographerUncredited
1973Mean StreetsCharlie
1974A Memory of Two Mondays (TV)Jerry
1974Alice Doesn't Live Here AnymoreBen
1975That's the Way of the WorldColeman Buckmaster
1976Taxi Driver'Sport' MatthewNominated: National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor (2nd place)
Nominated: New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor (2nd place)
1976Buffalo Bill and the IndiansEd Goodman
1976Mother, Jugs & SpeedTony "Speed" Malatesta
1978Blue CollarJerry Bartowski
1978The DuellistsFeraud
1978FingersJimmy Fingers
1979Eagle's WingHenry
1979Death WatchRoddy
1980Bad TimingInspector Netusil
1980Saturn 3BensonVoice dubbed by Roy Dotrice
1982That Night in VarennesThomas Paine
1982The BorderCat
1983CopkillerLt. Fred O'Connor
1984Falling in LoveEd Lasky
1984NemoMr. Legend
1985El caballero del dragon (The Knight of the Dragon)CleverSpanish film
1986BlindsidePenfield Gruber
1986Camorra (A Story of Streets, Women and Crime)Frankie
1986The InquiryPontius Pilate
1986Off BeatMickey
1986Wise GuysBobby DiLea
1986The Men's ClubSolly Berliner
1987The Pick-up ArtistAlonzo Scolara
1988Down Where The Buffalo GoCarlBBC TV Movie
1988The Last Temptation of ChristJudas IscariotNominated: Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actor
1988Grandi cacciatoriThomas
1988Dear GorbachevNikolaj Bucharin
1989The January ManPolice Commissioner Frank Starkey
1989Imagining America
1990The Two JakesJulius 'Jake' Berman
1990Two Evil EyesRoderick UsherSegment "The Black Cat"
1991Thelma & LouiseHalWon: National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
1991Mortal ThoughtsDet. John WoodsWon: National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
1991BugsyMickey CohenWon: Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Won: National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated: Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated: Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
1992Bad LieutenantThe LieutenantWon: Fantasporto's International Fantasy Film Award for Best Actor
Won: Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead
Nominated: New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor (2nd place)
1992Reservoir DogsMr. White – Larry DimmickAlso co-producer
Won: Sant Jordi Award for Best Foreign Actor
1992Sister ActVince LaRocca
1993Rising SunLt. Tom Graham
1993Dangerous GameEddie IsraelWon: Venice Film FestivalGolden Ciak for Best Actor
1993Point of No ReturnVictor the Cleaner
1993The PianoGeorge BainesWon: Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
1993Young AmericansJohn Harris
1994Imaginary CrimesRay Weiler
1994Pulp FictionWinston 'The Wolf' Wolfe
1994Monkey TroubleAzro
1995Get ShortyHimselfUncredited
1995SmokeAugustus 'Auggie' WrenWon: Berlin International Film Festival's Special Jury Prize (shared with Wayne Wang)
Won: David di Donatello for Best Foreign Actor
1995Ulysses' GazeA
1995Blue in the FaceAuggie WrenAlso executive producer
1995ClockersDet. Rocco Klein
1996From Dusk till DawnJacob FullerNominated: Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
1996Head Above WaterGeorge
1997FairyTale: A True StoryHarry Houdini
1997Cop LandRay Donlan
1997City of IndustryRoy Egan
1998Finding GracelandElvis
1998Gunslinger's Revenge (Il mio West)Johnny Lowen
1998Lulu on the BridgeIzzy Maurer
1998Sweets of RosesHubieVoice
1999Three SeasonsJames HagerAlso executive producer
1999Holy Smoke!PJ Waters
1999Presence of MindThe Master
2000Prince of Central ParkThe Guardian
2000U-571CPO Henry KloughNominated: Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actor – Action
2000Little NickySatan
2001NailedTony Romano
2001The Grey ZoneSS-Oberscharführer Eric MuhsfeldtAlso executive producer
2001Taking SidesMajor Steve Arnold
2002Red DragonJack Crawford
2002GinostraMatt Benson
2003Crime SpreeFrankie Zammeti
2003Dreaming of JuliaCheAlso producer
2003The Galindez FileEdward Robards
2004National TreasureAgent Peter Sadusky
2004The Bridge of San Luis ReyUncle Pio
2004Puerto Vallarta SqueezeWalter McGrane
2005Be CoolNick Carr
2005A CrimeRoger Culkin
2005Shadows in the SunWeldon Parish
2006The Path to 9/11John O'Neill
2006Arthur and the MinimoysMiroVoice
2006The Stone MerchantThe Merchant Ludovico Vicedomini
2007One Last DanceTerrtano
2007My Sexiest YearZowie
2007National Treasure: Book of SecretsAgent Peter Sadusky
2008The MinistersDetective Joseph Bruno
2008–2009Life on Mars (TV)Lieutenant Gene HuntNominated: Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
2009Inglourious BasterdsAllied Commanding OfficerVoice/Uncredited
2009Wrong Turn at TahoeNino
2010Little FockersRandy Weir
2010A Beginner's Guide to EndingsDuke White
2010The Last GodfatherDon Carini
2012Moonrise KingdomCommander Pierce
2012Gandhi of the MonthEdward BakerPreviously titled "Against Itself"
2013The Power InsideO’Mansky
2014The Grand Budapest HotelLudvig
2014The CongressAl
2014By the Gun[12]Salvatore Vitaglia
2014Two Men in TownBill Agati
2014Rio, I Love YouHimself (as O Ator)Segment "O Milagre"
2015The Early Yearspost-production


  1. ^ "Person details for Harvey Kutel". familyserarch.org. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Retrieved December 27, 2014. 
  2. ^ Lipton, James (October 18, 2007). Inside Inside. Dutton. p. 14. ISBN 9780525950356. 
  3. ^ Schoemer, Karen (November 7, 1993). "Harvey Keitel Tries A Little Tenderness". The New York Times. Retrieved March 7, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Inside the Actors Studio. The Actors Studio, Bravo Network, Betelgeuse Productions. 1998. Retrieved December 27, 2014. 
  5. ^ Cowie, Peter (1994). Coppola: A Biography. New York: Scribner. p. 122. ISBN 978-0-306-80598-1. 
  6. ^ "24th Moscow International Film Festival (2002)". MIFF. Retrieved March 30, 2013. 
  7. ^ Mitovich, Matt (July 24, 2008). "Scoop! Keitel Lands on Mars as Homicide Boss". TV Guide. Retrieved March 7, 2013. 
  8. ^ Dolan, Jon (December 13, 2013). "'Beyonce' Breakdown: The Ultimate Guide to Bey's Surprise New Album". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 14, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Monterey Media Acquires Three Films, Including Works Starring Gerard Depardieu and Harvey Keitel". indiewire.com. October 17, 2013. Retrieved November 6, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Direct Line challenges rivals with Harvey Keitel 'fixer' ads". marketingmagazine.co.uk. August 29, 2014. Retrieved September 4, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Meet Winston Wolfe". directline.com. August 30, 2014. Retrieved September 4, 2014. 
  12. ^ Mottern, James (November 29, 2012). "Slate for "God Only Knows"". jamesmottern.com. Retrieved March 7, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Paul Newman
President of the Actors Studio
With: Al Pacino
and Ellen Burstyn
Succeeded by