Kevin Kline

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Kevin Kline
BornKevin Delaney Kline
(1947-10-24) October 24, 1947 (age 66)
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
OccupationActor, comedian
Years active1972–present
Spouse(s)Phoebe Cates (1989–present)
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This article is about the actor. For the ice hockey player, see Kevin Klein.
Kevin Kline
BornKevin Delaney Kline
(1947-10-24) October 24, 1947 (age 66)
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
OccupationActor, comedian
Years active1972–present
Spouse(s)Phoebe Cates (1989–present)

Kevin Delaney Kline (born October 24, 1947) is an American actor and comedian. He has won an Academy Award and two Tony Awards, and is a 2003 American Theatre Hall of Fame inductee.[1]

Kline began his career on stage in 1972 with The Acting Company. He went on to win two Tony Awards for his work in Broadway musicals, winning Best Featured Actor in a Musical for the 1978 original production of On the Twentieth Century and Best Actor in a Musical for the 1981 revival of The Pirates of Penzance. His other stage roles include Falstaff in the 2003 Broadway production of Henry IV, for which he won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Play.

He made his film debut in 1982, opposite Meryl Streep in Sophie's Choice. For his role in the 1988 comedy hit A Fish Called Wanda, he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He has also been nominated for an Emmy Award, two BAFTA Awards and five Golden Globe Awards. His other films include The Big Chill (1983), Cry Freedom (1987), Dave (1993), The Ice Storm (1997), In & Out (1997) and De-Lovely (2004).

Early life[edit]

Kline was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Margaret and Robert Joseph Kline.[2][3] His father was a classical music lover and an amateur opera singer who owned and operated The Record Bar, a record store in St. Louis that opened in the early 1940s, and sold toys during the 1960s and 1970s;[2][4] his father's family also owned Kline's Inc., a department store chain. Kline has described his mother as the "dramatic theatrical character in our family."[5][6] Kline's father was Jewish, from a family that had emigrated from Germany; Kline's mother was of Irish descent, the daughter of an emigrant from County Louth.[5]

Kline was raised in his mother's Catholic religion (his father had become an agnostic).[7] He has three siblings, Alex, Christopher, and Kate.[3] He graduated from the Catholic Saint Louis Priory School in 1965; in 1997, the school named its new auditorium the Kevin Kline Theater, and Kline did a benefit performance of selections from Shakespeare at the dedication. He attended Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, where he began as an aspiring classical pianist. After joining the on-campus theater group "Vest Pocket Players" as an undergraduate, he fell in love with the theater and switched to acting, graduating from IU in 1970.[5]


Kline at the film premiere of No Strings Attached in January 2011

In 1970, Kline was awarded a scholarship to the newly formed Drama Division at the Juilliard School in New York. In 1972, he joined with fellow Juilliard graduates, including Patti LuPone and David Ogden Stiers, and formed the City Center Acting Company (now The Acting Company), under the aegis of John Houseman. The Company traveled across the U.S. performing Shakespeare's plays, other classical works, and the musical The Robber Bridegroom, founding one of the most widely praised groups in American repertory theatre.[5]

In 1976, Kline left The Acting Company and settled in New York City, doing a brief appearance as the character "Woody Reed" in the now-defunct soap opera Search for Tomorrow. He followed this with a return to the stage in 1977 to play Clym Yeobright opposite Donna Theodore as Eustacia Vye in The Hudson Guild Theater production of Dance on a Country Grave, Kelly Hamilton's musical version of Thomas Hardy's The Return of the Native. In 1978 he played the role of Bruce Granit, a matinée idol caricature, in Harold Prince's On the Twentieth Century, for which he won his first Tony Award.[5] In 1981, Kline appeared with rock diva Linda Ronstadt and singer Rex Smith in the New York Shakespeare Festival's Central Park production of The Pirates of Penzance, winning another Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical, for his comically dashing portrayal of the Pirate King. In 1983, he played the role in a film version of the musical, also with Ronstadt, Smith and Angela Lansbury, which had a limited theatrical release.[5]

In the ensuing years, Kline appeared many times in New York Shakespeare Festival productions of Shakespeare, including starring roles in Richard III, Much Ado About Nothing, Henry V, two productions of Hamlet (one of which he also directed) and a Tony-nominated Falstaff in a production that combined the two parts of Henry IV.

Dubbed "the American Olivier" by New York Times theater critic Frank Rich for his stage acting,[8] Kline finally ventured into film in 1982 in Alan J. Pakula's Sophie's Choice. He won the coveted role of the tormented and mercurial Nathan opposite Meryl Streep. Streep won an Academy Award for her performance in the film. Kline was nominated for a Golden Globe and BAFTA Award for best debut performance.

During the 1980s and early 1990s, Kline made several films with director Lawrence Kasdan, including The Big Chill, Silverado, Grand Canyon, I Love You to Death, and French Kiss. In 1989, Kline won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the British comedy A Fish Called Wanda, in which he played a painfully inept American ex-CIA thug opposite John Cleese's genteel British barrister and Jamie Lee Curtis' femme fatale/con woman.[5] In 2000, the American Film Institute ranked the film twenty-first on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs.[9]

Though he has been offered many roles that could have boosted him to box-office stardom, Kline has kept a wary distance from the Hollywood star-making machine. He developed a reputation for picking parts with discrimination (such as strong roles in Grand Canyon and Life as a House), leading to the industry nickname "Kevin Decline".[10] Other awards have included Drama Desk Awards, Golden Globe awards, a Gotham Award, a Hasty Pudding Theatricals Man of the Year Award, and a St. Louis International Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award. He was inducted in the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 2003.[11] He also has a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame.[12]

Film reviewers have widely praised his talent. Newsday said Kline "has proved himself to be one of the most talented and versatile American actors of his generation."[13]

He played the title role in King Lear at the Public Theater, and took the lead role in a Broadway production of Cyrano de Bergerac opposite Jennifer Garner. That production was forced to close temporarily after only 11 performances as a result of the Broadway stagehands' strike,[14] but subsequently reopened. Cyrano was filmed in 2008 and aired as part of PBS's Great Performances series in January 2009.[15] In January 2008, Kline won a Screen Actors Guild award for his portrayal of Jaques in Kenneth Branagh's film As You Like It, adapted from Shakespeare's play. The film premiered theatrically in 2006 in Europe. It bypassed theatres and was sent straight to HBO in the U.S. Kline's film The Conspirator premiered during the Toronto International Film Festival in 2010 and was described as an "old fashioned historical thriller". It was well received by most critics. Kline also starred in the 2012 comedy Darling Companion alongside Diane Keaton.

In December 2004 Kline became the 2,272nd recipient of a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame,[16] located at 7000 Hollywood Boulevard.

Personal life[edit]

Kline and wife Phoebe Cates at the Academy Awards Governor's Ball party, 1989

Throughout the 1970s, Kline was involved in a long-term relationship with his Juilliard classmate Patti LuPone. They separated and reconnected many times before finally ending their relationship in 1978. Their relationship is precisely detailed in LuPone's memoir, Patti LuPone: A Memoir.

Kline married actress Phoebe Cates in 1989. The couple live in New York City and they have two children, including a daughter, Greta, a musician currently performing as Frankie Cosmos.[17] After his son, Owen, was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes, Kline became active with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. In November 2004, he was presented with the JDRF's Humanitarian of the Year award by Meryl Streep for his volunteer efforts on behalf of the organization.

The Kevin Kline Awards honor theatre professionals in St. Louis in a wide array of categories, which include best actor and actress, set design, choreography, and original play. The first awards ceremony took place on March 20, 2006.

Kline is good friends with his neighbor, Emilio Estevez. The two often compete against one another in the Lake Stephenson Yacht Race, held every six-and-a-half years.


Sophie's Choice1982Nathan Landau
Pirates of Penzance, TheThe Pirates of Penzance1983Pirate King, TheThe Pirate King
Big Chill, TheThe Big Chill1983Harold Cooper
Violets Are Blue1986Henry Squires
Cry Freedom1987Donald Woods
Fish Called Wanda, AA Fish Called Wanda1988Otto West
January Man, TheThe January Man1989Nick Starkey
I Love You to Death1990Joey Boca
Soapdish1991Jeffery Anderson / Dr. Rod Randall
Grand Canyon1991Mack
Consenting Adults1992Richard Parker
Chaplin1992Douglas Fairbanks
Dave1993Dave Kovic / President William Harrison Mitchell
Nutcracker, TheThe Nutcracker1993NarratorVoice
Princess Caraboo1994Frixos
French Kiss1995Luc Teyssier
Hunchback of Notre Dame, TheThe Hunchback of Notre Dame1996Captain PhoebusVoice
Ice Storm, TheThe Ice Storm1997Ben Hood
Fierce Creatures1997Vince McCain / Rod McCain
In & Out1997Howard Brackett
Midsummer Night's Dream, AA Midsummer Night's Dream1999Nick Bottom
Wild Wild West1999U.S. Marshal Artemus 'Artie' Gordon
President Ulysses S. Grant
Road to El Dorado, TheThe Road to El Dorado2000TulioVoice
Anniversary Party, TheThe Anniversary Party2001Cal Gold
Life as a House2001George Monroe
Orange County2002Marcus SkinnerUncredited
Hunchback of Notre Dame II, TheThe Hunchback of Notre Dame II2002Captain PhoebusVoice
Emperor's Club, TheThe Emperor's Club2002William Hundert
De-Lovely2004Cole Porter
Pink Panther, TheThe Pink Panther2006Chief Inspector Dreyfus
Prairie Home Companion, AA Prairie Home Companion2006Guy Noir
As You Like It2006Jaques
Trade2007Ray Sheridan
Definitely, Maybe2008Hampton Roth
Tale of Despereaux, TheThe Tale of Despereaux2008AndreVoice
Cyrano de Bergerac2008Cyrano de Bergerac
Queen to Play2009Docteur Kröger
Extra Man, TheThe Extra Man2010Henry Harrison
No Strings Attached2011Alvin
Conspirator, TheThe Conspirator2011Edwin Stanton
Bob's Burgers2011–presentMr. FischoederVoice
Darling Companion2012Dr. Joseph Winter
Last Vegas2013Sam
The Last of Robin Hood2013Errol FlynnPost-production

Awards and nominations[edit]

YearNominated workAwardCategoryResult
1978On the Twentieth CenturyDrama Desk AwardsOutstanding Featured Actor in a MusicalWon
1978On the Twentieth CenturyTony AwardsBest Featured Actor in a MusicalWon
1981The Pirates of PenzanceDrama Desk AwardsOutstanding Actor in a MusicalWon
1981The Pirates of PenzanceTony AwardsBest Actor in a MusicalWon
1982Sophie's ChoiceBAFTA AwardsBest NewcomerNominated
1982Sophie's ChoiceGolden Globe AwardsNew Star of the Year - ActorNominated
1988Fish Called Wanda, AA Fish Called WandaAcademy AwardsBest Supporting ActorWon
1988Fish Called Wanda, AA Fish Called WandaBAFTA AwardsBest Actor in a Leading RoleNominated
1991SoapdishGolden Globe AwardsBest Actor - Motion Picture Musical or ComedyNominated
1993DaveGolden Globe AwardsBest Actor - Motion Picture Musical or ComedyNominated
1997In & OutGolden Globe AwardsBest Actor - Motion Picture Musical or ComedyNominated
1997In & OutMTV Movie AwardsBest Kiss (shared with Tom Selleck)Nominated
1997In & OutSatellite AwardsBest Actor – Motion Picture Musical or ComedyNominated
2000Wild Wild WestGolden Raspberry AwardWorst ActorNominated
2000Wild Wild WestGolden Raspberry AwardWorst Supporting ActressNominated
2000Wild Wild WestGolden Raspberry AwardWorst Screen ComboWon
2001Life as a HouseSAG AwardsOutstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading RoleNominated
2004Henry IVDrama Desk AwardsOutstanding Actor in a PlayWon
2004Henry IVTony AwardsBest Actor in a PlayNominated
2004De-LovelyGolden Globe AwardsBest Actor - Motion Picture Musical or ComedyNominated
2004De-LovelySatellite AwardsBest Actor – Motion Picture Musical or ComedyNominated
2006As You Like ItSAG AwardsOutstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television MovieWon
2008Cyrano de BergeracPrimetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actor – Miniseries or a MovieNominated
2008Cyrano de BergeracSAG AwardsOutstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television MovieNominated


  1. ^ "Theater honors put women in the spotlight". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 
  2. ^ a b "Robert J. Kline, 87; Was Opera Buff, Owner of Record Stores". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. September 7, 1996. Retrieved June 7, 2008. 
  3. ^ a b "Peggy Kirk Kline". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. June 8, 2000. 
  4. ^ "Kevin Kline biography". filmreference. 2008. Retrieved June 7, 2008. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Dotson Rader (October 16, 1994). "Kevin Kline Interview from Parade". Parade. Retrieved June 7, 2008. [dead link]
  6. ^ "Kevin Kline star bio". Tribute. 2008. Retrieved June 7, 2008. 
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ [2]"This King, This Courtier, These Kevin Klines" by Charles Isherwood, New York Times, 01-01-2008
  9. ^ "100 Years, 100 Laughs". American Film Institute. 2000. Archived from the original on June 3, 2008. Retrieved June 7, 2008. 
  10. ^ "Kevin Decline". Hollywood Reporter. September 19, 2007. Retrieved June 7, 2008. [dead link]
  11. ^
  12. ^ St. Louis Walk of Fame. "St. Louis Walk of Fame Inductees". Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  13. ^ "The Risk Taker Kevin Kline will try just about anything, emotionally and physically, to make his characters fly," by Lynn Darling, Newsday, 07-13-88
  14. ^ Hetrick, Adam (September 25, 2007). "Morton, Sarandon and Baker Will Join Kline in Broadway's Cyrano; Casting Complete". Playbill. Retrieved September 26, 2007. 
  15. ^ Cyrano de Bergerac (2008) (TV)
  16. ^ Kline gets Hollywood star. December 4, 2004.
  17. ^ Pelly, Jenn. "Frankie Cosmos". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 5 March 2014. 

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