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 74)
Brooklyn, New York, 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 74)
Brooklyn, New York, 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 (born May 13, 1939) 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, F.B.I. 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, considered "the nation's most prestigious acting school".[1]

Early life[edit]

Keitel (/kˈtɛl/ ky-TEL) 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.[2] 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,[3] 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,[3] 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.[3]


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.[3] 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).[3] Since then, Scorsese and Keitel have worked together on several projects.[3] 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.[3]

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".[4] 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.[3] 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,[3] 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.[3] One of those roles was the title character in Bad Lieutenant, about a self-loathing, drug- addicted police lieutenant trying to redeem himself.[3] He co-starred in the movie The Piano in 1993,[3] 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 F.B.I. 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.[5]

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.[3] In 2008, Keitel was cast in the role of Detective Gene Hunt in ABC's short-lived US cover version of the successful English time-travel police drama series Life on Mars.[6]

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.[7]

In 2013 he starred in the independent film A Farewell to Fools. [8]

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.

Recurring directors[edit]

Keitel has worked with a wide list of reputable directors. During his 40-year career, Keitel has established a solid collaboration with some directors such as: Martin Scorsese (5), Paul Auster (3), Quentin Tarantino (3), James Toback (3), Jane Campion (2), Abel Ferrara (2), Brad Mirman (2), Manuel Pradal (2), Alan Rudolph (2), Ridley Scott (2), Jon Turteltaub (2), as well as Wayne Wang (2). Moreover, Keitel has worked for other acclaimed directors such as: Theodoros Angelopoulos, Dario Argento, Luc Besson, Fernando Colomo, Brian De Palma, Stanley Donen, Philip Kaufman, Spike Lee, Barry Levinson, Jack Nicholson, Robert Rodriguez, George A. Romero, Paul Schrader, Ettore Scola, Luis Sepúlveda, István Szabó and Bertrand Tavernier; and for TV productions with Stephen Frears, Clint Eastwood, as well as Joel Schumacher.


1967Who's That Knocking at My DoorJ.R.
Reflections in a Golden EyeSoldierUncredited
1973Mean StreetsCharlie
1974A Memory of Two Mondays (TV)Jerry
Alice 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)
Buffalo Bill and the IndiansEd Goodman
Mother, Jugs & SpeedTony "Speed" Malatesta
1978Blue CollarJerry Bartowski
The DuellistsFeraud
FingersJimmy Fingers
1979Eagle's WingHenry
Death WatchRoddy
1980Bad TimingInspector Netusil
Saturn 3BensonVoice dubbed by Roy Dotrice
1982That Night in VarennesThomas Paine
The BorderCat
CopkillerLt. Fred O'Connor
1984Falling in LoveEd Lasky
NemoMr. Legend
1985El caballero del dragon (The Knight of the Dragon)CleverSpanish film
1986BlindsidePenfield Gruber
Camorra (A Story of Streets, Women and Crime)Frankie
The InquiryPontius Pilate
Off BeatMickey
Wise GuysBobby DiLea
The Men's ClubSolly Berliner
1987The Pick-up ArtistAlonzo Scolara
1988Down Where The Buffalo GoCarlBBC TV Movie
The Last Temptation of ChristJudas IscariotNominated: Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actor
Grandi cacciatoriThomas
Dear GorbachevNikolaj Bucharin
1989The January ManPolice Commissioner Frank Starkey
Imagining America
1990The Two JakesJulius 'Jake' Berman
Two Evil EyesRoderick UsherSegment "The Black Cat"
1991Thelma & LouiseHalWon: National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
Mortal ThoughtsDet. John WoodsWon: National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
BugsyMickey 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)
Reservoir DogsMr. White – Larry DimmickAlso co-producer
Won: Sant Jordi Award for Best Foreign Actor
Sister ActVince LaRocca
1993Rising SunLt. Tom Graham
Dangerous GameEddie IsraelWon: Venice Film Festival - Golden Ciak for Best Actor
Point of No ReturnVictor the Cleaner
The PianoGeorge BainesWon: Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Young AmericansJohn Harris
1994Imaginary CrimesRay Weiler
Pulp FictionWinston 'The Wolf' Wolfe
Monkey TroubleAzro
1995Get ShortyHimselfUncredited
SmokeAugustus 'Auggie' WrenWon: Berlin International Film Festival's Special Jury Prize (shared with Wayne Wang)
Won: David di Donatello for Best Foreign Actor
Nominated: Chlotrudis Award for Best Actor
Ulysses' GazeA
Blue in the FaceAuggie WrenAlso executive producer
ClockersDet. Rocco Klein
1996From Dusk till DawnJacob FullerNominated: Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
Head Above WaterGeorge
1997FairyTale: A True StoryHarry Houdini
Cop LandRay Donlan
City of IndustryRoy Egan
1998Finding GracelandElvis
Gunslinger's Revenge (Il mio West)Johnny Lowen
Lulu on the BridgeIzzy Maurer
1999Three SeasonsJames HagerAlso executive producer
Holy Smoke!PJ Waters
Presence of MindThe Master
2000Prince of Central ParkThe Guardian
U-571CPO Henry KloughNominated: Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actor - Action
Little NickySatan
2001NailedTony Romano
The Grey ZoneSS-Oberscharführer Eric MuhsfeldtAlso executive producer
Taking SidesMajor Steve Arnold
2002Red DragonJack Crawford
GinostraMatt Benson
2003Crime SpreeFrankie Zammeti
Dreaming of JuliaCheAlso producer
The Galindez FileEdward Robards
2004National TreasureAgent Peter Sadusky
The Bridge of San Luis ReyUncle Pio
Puerto Vallarta SqueezeWalter McGrane
2005Be CoolNick Carr
A CrimeRoger Culkin
Shadows in the SunWeldon Parish
2006The Path to 9/11John O'Neill
Arthur and the MinimoysMiroVoice
The Stone MerchantThe Merchant Ludovico Vicedomini
2007One Last DanceTerrtano
My Sexiest YearZowie
National 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
Wrong Turn at TahoeNino
2010Little FockersRandy Weir
A Beginner's Guide to EndingsDuke White
The Last GodfatherDon Carini
2012Moonrise KingdomCommander Pierce
Gandhi of the MonthEdward BakerPreviously titled Against Itself
2014The Grand Budapest HotelLudvigPost-production
God Only Knows[9]Salvatore VitagliaPost-production
Two Men in TownPost-production


  1. ^ Lipton, James (2007-10-18). Inside Inside. Dutton. p. 14. ISBN 9780525950356. 
  2. ^ Schoemer, Karen (1993-11-07). "Harvey Keitel Tries A Little Tenderness". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 March 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Stated on Inside the Actors Studio, 1998
  4. ^ Cowie 1990, p. 122.
  5. ^ "24th Moscow International Film Festival (2002)". MIFF. Retrieved 30 March 2013. 
  6. ^ Mitovich, Matt (2008-07-24). "Scoop! Keitel Lands on Mars as Homicide Boss". TV Guide. Retrieved 7 March 2013. 
  7. ^ Dolan, Jon (December 13, 2013). "'Beyonce' Breakdown: The Ultimate Guide to Bey's Surprise New Album". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  8. ^ "Monterey Media Acquires Three Films, Including Works Starring Gerard Depardieu and Harvey Keitel". indiewire.com. 17 October 2013. Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  9. ^ Mottern, James (2012-11-29). "Slate for "God Only Knows"". jamesmottern.com. Retrieved 7 March 2013. 

External links[edit]

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