Michael Keaton

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Michael Keaton
Michael Keaton by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Keaton at the 2013 San Diego Comic Con
BornMichael John Douglas
(1951-09-05) September 5, 1951 (age 63)
Robinson Township, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Alma materKent State University
OccupationActor, producer, director
Years active1975–present
Spouse(s)Caroline McWilliams (1982–90)
ChildrenSean Maxwell Douglas
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Michael Keaton
Michael Keaton by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Keaton at the 2013 San Diego Comic Con
BornMichael John Douglas
(1951-09-05) September 5, 1951 (age 63)
Robinson Township, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Alma materKent State University
OccupationActor, producer, director
Years active1975–present
Spouse(s)Caroline McWilliams (1982–90)
ChildrenSean Maxwell Douglas

Michael John Douglas (born September 5, 1951), better known by his stage name Michael Keaton, is an American actor, producer, director and former comedian.

Keaton first rose to fame for his comedic film roles in Night Shift (1982), Mr. Mom (1983), Johnny Dangerously (1984) and Beetlejuice (1988), and he earned further acclaim for his dramatic portrayal of Bruce Wayne / Batman in Tim Burton's Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992). Since then, he has appeared in a variety of films ranging from dramas and romantic comedies to thriller and action films including Clean and Sober (1988), The Dream Team (1989), Pacific Heights (1990), Much Ado About Nothing (1993), My Life (1993), The Paper (1994), Jackie Brown (1997), The Other Guys (2010), Need for Speed (2014) and RoboCop (2014), and also provided voices for characters in the Pixar films Cars (2006) and Toy Story 3 (2010).

Keaton's critically praised lead performance in Birdman (2014) earned him a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy, the Critics' Choice Award for Best Actor and is nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award, British Academy Film Award and Academy Award for Best Actor. He previously received a Golden Globe nomination for his performance in Live from Baghdad (2002) and Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for The Company (2007). Keaton was awarded a Career Achievement Award from both the Hollywood Film Festival and Zurich Film Festivals.

Early life[edit]

Keaton, the youngest of seven children, was born in Forest Grove,[1] in Robinson Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. His father, George A. Douglas, worked as a civil engineer and surveyor, and his mother, Leona Elizabeth (née Loftus), a homemaker, came from McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania.[2][3][4][5] Keaton was raised in a Catholic family.[6] His mother was of Irish descent, and his father was of English, Scottish, Scotch-Irish, and German ancestry.[7][8][9] He attended Montour High School in Pennsylvania. Keaton studied speech for two years at Kent State, before dropping out and moving to Pittsburgh.


Early career[edit]

An unsuccessful attempt at stand-up comedy led Keaton to working as a TV cameraman at public television station WQED (TV) in Pittsburgh.[citation needed] Keaton first appeared on TV in Pittsburgh-based public television programs, including “Where the Heart Is” and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (1975), as one of the “Flying Zookeeni Brothers.”[10] He also served as a full-time production assistant on the show.[11] In 2004, following Fred Rogers' death, Keaton hosted a PBS memorial tribute program, Fred Rogers: America's Favorite Neighbor. Keaton also worked as an actor in Pittsburgh theatre; he played the role of Rick in the Pittsburgh premiere of David Rabe’s Sticks and Bones with the Pittsburgh Poor Players.[12]

Keaton left Pittsburgh and moved to Los Angeles to begin auditioning for various TV parts. He popped up in various popular TV shows including Maude and The Mary Tyler Moore Hour. Around this time Keaton decided to use an alternative surname to avoid confusion with well-known actor Michael Douglas and daytime host Mike Douglas, as well as to satisfy SAG rules. The rumor that Keaton changed his surname because of an attraction to actress Diane Keaton is incorrect.[13] He chose Keaton because of an affinity for the physical comedy of Buster Keaton.[14]

His next key break was working alongside James Belushi in the short-lived comedy series Working Stiffs, which showcased his comedic talent and led to a co-starring role in the comedy Night Shift directed by Ron Howard. His role as the fast-talking schemer Bill "Blaze" Blazejowski alongside Henry Winkler's nerdish morgue attendant earned Keaton some critical acclaim, and he scored leads in the subsequent comedy hits Mr. Mom, Johnny Dangerously and Gung Ho.

Keaton’s role as the title character in Tim Burton’s 1988 horror-comedy Beetlejuice, which co-starred Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Catherine O'Hara and Winona Ryder, earned Keaton widespread acclaim and boosted him to movieland’s A list. He originally turned down the role, then reconsidered like most of the cast. He now considers Beetlejuice his favorite of his own films.[citation needed] That same year, he also gave an acclaimed dramatic performance as a drug-addicted businessman in Clean and Sober. Newsweek featured him in a story during this time.[citation needed]


Keaton as Batman

Keaton’s career was given another major boost when he was again cast by Tim Burton, this time as the title comic book superhero of 1989’s Batman. Burton cast him because he thought that Keaton was the only actor who could portray someone who has the kind of darkly obsessive personality that the character demands.[15] Warner Bros. received thousands of letters of complaint by fans commenting that Keaton was the wrong choice to portray Batman, given his prior work in comedies and the fact that he lacked the suave, handsome features and tall, muscular physicality often attributed to the character in the comic books.[16] However, Keaton’s dramatic performance earned widespread acclaim from critics and audiences alike,[17] and Batman became one of the most successful films of the year.[18]

According to Les Daniels’s reference book Batman: The Complete History, Keaton wasn’t surprised when he was first considered as Batman as he initially believed the film would be similar to the 1960s television series starring Adam West. It was only after he was introduced to Frank Miller’s comic book miniseries, The Dark Knight Returns, that Keaton really understood the dark and brooding side of Batman that he portrayed to much fan approval.[19] Keaton later reprised the role in the sequel Batman Returns (1992), which was another critically acclaimed success, though also controversial for being much darker and more violent than the previous film.[20]

He was set to reprise the role again for a third Batman film, even going as far as to show up for costume fitting. However, when Burton was dropped as director of the film, Keaton left the franchise. He was reportedly dissatisfied with the screenplay approved by the new director, Joel Schumacher, which Keaton considered to be too light hearted in tone. According to the A&E Biography episode on Keaton, after he had refused the first time (after meetings with Schumacher), Warner Bros. offered him $15 million, but Keaton steadfastly refused.[21] He was subsequently replaced by Val Kilmer in Batman Forever (1995).

Later career[edit]

Keaton remained active during the 1990s, appearing in a wide range of films, including Pacific Heights, One Good Cop, My Life and the star-studded Shakespearean story Much Ado About Nothing. He also starred in another Ron Howard film, The Paper, as well as with Andie MacDowell in Multiplicity and twice in the same role, Elmore Leonard character Agent Ray Nicolette, in Jackie Brown and Out of Sight. The actor also made the family holiday movie Jack Frost and the thriller Desperate Measures.[citation needed]

Keaton starred as a political candidate’s speechwriter in 1994’s Speechless with Geena Davis and Christopher Reeve (who, like Keaton, had also previously portrayed a famous DC Comics superhero on film: Superman).[citation needed]

Keaton at the 2004 Dallas Comic Con

In 2000, Keaton appeared in several films with mixed success, including Live From Baghdad (for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe award), First Daughter, White Noise and Herbie: Fully Loaded. While he continued to receive good notices from the critics (particularly for Jackie Brown), he was not able to re-approach the box-office success of Batman until the release of Disney/Pixar’s Cars (2006), in which he voiced Chick Hicks. On New Year’s Day of 2004, he hosted the PBS TV special Mr. Rogers: America's Favorite Neighbor. It was released by Triumph Marketing LLC on DVD September 28 that year.

In 2006, Keaton starred in an independent film called Game 6, a semi-thriller based around the infamous 1986 World Series bid by the Boston Red Sox. He had a cameo in the Tenacious D short film Time Fixers, an iTunes exclusive. The 9-minute film was released to coincide with Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny. Keaton was announced to be the lead in Media 8 Entertainment’s film Reaper, a supernatural thriller. He reportedly agreed to star as John Target in the Matt Evans–scripted No Rule to Make Target, and he has directed a drama, The Merry Gentleman.[citation needed]

Keaton reportedly was cast as Dr. Jack Shephard in the series Lost, with the understanding that the role of Jack would be a brief one. Once the role was retooled to be a long-running series regular, Keaton withdrew. The part was then given to actor Matthew Fox. The show ran for six seasons, with the Jack Shephard role continuing throughout.[22][23]

Keaton starred in the 2007 TV miniseries The Company, set during the Cold War, in which he portrayed the real-life CIA counterintelligence chief James Jesus Angleton. The role garnered Keaton a 2008 SAG nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries. The Company also starred Chris O’Donnell, who portrayed Batman’s crime-fighting sidekick Robin (who was absent from the Batman films Keaton starred in) in Batman Forever and Batman & Robin.[24]

Keaton provided the voice of Ken in Toy Story 3 (2010). The movie received overwhelmingly positive acclaim and grossed over $1 billion worldwide, making it one of the most financially successful films ever.[25] He announced in June 2010 his interest in returning for a Beetlejuice sequel.[26] He also played the minor role of Captain Gene Mauch in the comedy The Other Guys.

Keaton starred alongside Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts and Zach Galifianakis in Birdman (2014), a comedy helmed by 21 Grams and Biutiful director Alejandro González Iñárritu. In the film, Keaton plays Riggan Thomson, a former actor, famous for playing an iconic superhero, who puts on a Broadway play based on a Raymond Carver short story, to regain his former glory.[27] He won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy for his portrayal of Thomson and has also been nominated for an Academy Award for the role.

Personal life[edit]

Keaton was married to actress Caroline McWilliams from 1982 until 1990. They have one son, Sean Maxwell Douglas. He also had a relationship with actress Courteney Cox from 1989 to 1995.[28]

Keaton, a long-time Pittsburgh resident, is a big Pittsburgh Pirates fan and negotiated a break in his Batman movie contract in case the Pirates made the playoffs that year. He also wrote an ESPN blog on the Pirates during the final months of their 2013 season, in which the Pirates made the playoffs for the first time since 1992. He is also often seen at Pittsburgh Penguins games. He is also a diehard Pittsburgh Steelers fan.[29]

In the 1980s, Keaton bought a ranch near Livingston, Montana, on which he spends most of his time.[30][31] An avid fisherman, Keaton can be seen on the saltwater fishing series Buccaneers & Bones on Outdoor Channel, along with Tom Brokaw, Zach Gilford, Thomas McGuane and Yvon Chouinard.[32]



1978Rabbit TestSailor
1978A Different ApproachFilmmakerShort
1982Night ShiftBill Blazejowski
1983Mr. MomJack Butler
1984Johnny DangerouslyJohnny Kelly/Johnny Dangerously
1986Gung HoHunt Stevenson
1986Touch and GoRobert "Bobby" Barbato
1987The SqueezeHarold "Harry" Berg
1988She's Having a BabyHimselfCameo
Uncredited[citation needed]
1988Clean and SoberDaryl Poynter
1989The Dream TeamWilliam "Billy" Caufield
1989BatmanBruce Wayne/Batman
1990Pacific HeightsCarter Hayes
1991One Good CopArthur "Artie" Lewis
1992Batman ReturnsBruce Wayne/Batman
1993Much Ado About NothingDogberry
1993My LifeRobert "Bob" Jones
1994The PaperHenry Hackett
1994SpeechlessKevin Vallick
1996MultiplicityDouglas "Doug" Kinney
1997Inventing the AbbottsNarrator/Older DougUncredited[citation needed]
1997Jackie BrownRaymond "Ray" Nicolette
1998Desperate MeasuresPeter J. McCabe
1998Out of SightRaymond "Ray" NicoletteCameo
1998Jack FrostJack Frost
2000A Shot at GloryPeter Cameron
2003QuicksandMartin Raikes
2004First DaughterPresident Mackenzie
2005Porco RossoPorco Rosso (voice)English dub
2005White NoiseJonathan Rivers
2005Game 6Nicholas "Nicky" Rogan
2005Herbie: Fully LoadedRaymond "Ray" Peyton, Sr.
2006CarsChick Hicks (voice)
2006The Last TimeTed "Theodore"Also executive producer
2009The Merry GentlemanFranklin "Frank" LoganAlso director
2009Post GradWalter Malby
2009Noah's Ark: The New BeginningNoah (voice)
2010Toy Story 3Ken (voice)
2010The Other GuysCaptain Gene Mauch
2011Hawaiian VacationKen (voice)Short
2013Penthouse NorthHollanderAlso executive producer
2014RoboCopRaymond Sellars
2014Need for SpeedMonarch
2014BirdmanRiggan Thomson/Birdman
2015MinionsTBA (voice)In post-production
2015SpotlightWalter V. RobinsonIn post-production


1975Mister Rogers' NeighborhoodVolunteerEpisode: "1,435"
1976–77All's FairLannie Wolf5 episodes
1977Klein TimeVariousMovie
1977Mary Hartman, Mary HartmanThe RobberEpisode 2.90
1977MaudeChip WinstonEpisode: "Arthur's Crisis"
1978The Tony Randall ShowZeke2 episodes
1978MarySkit characters
1978FamilyTree salesmanEpisode: "Gifts"
1979Working StiffsMike O'Rourke9 episodes
1979The Mary Tyler Moore HourKenneth Christy11 episodes
1982Report To MurphyMurphy6 episodes
1990The Earth Day SpecialCharles McIntyreSpecial
2001The SimpsonsJack Crowley (voice)Episode: "Pokey Mom"
2002FrasierBlaine SterninEpisode: "Wheels of Fortune"
2002Live from BaghdadRobert WienerMovie
2003King of the HillTrip Larsen (voice)Episode: "Pigmalion"
2003Gary the RatJerry Andrews (voice)Episode: "Catch Me If You Can"
2004Fred Rogers: America's Favorite NeighborHimself (host)
2007The CompanyJames Angleton6 episodes
201130 RockTomEpisode: "100"
2013Clear HistoryJoe StumpoMovie
Video games
2006CarsChick Hicks
2009Cars Race-O-Rama
2012Call of Duty: Black Ops IIJason Hudson

Awards and nominations[edit]


  1. ^ {He stated in his Golden Globe Acceptance speech his real name and that he was born in Forest Grove, Pennsylvania. This is the Forest Grove neighborhood in Robinson Township, Pennsylvania, not the town of Forest Grove near Philadelphia}
  2. ^ "Michael Keaton Biography (1951–)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved January 24, 2012. 
  3. ^ A Leading Man Without Pause. The Record (Bergen County, NJ)
  4. ^ Vancheri, Barbara (November 13, 2002). "Obituary: Leona Douglas / Actor Michael Keaton's mother doted on her seven children". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved July 11, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Actor Michael Keaton is another who insists he is half-Scottish". Sunday Express. September 25, 2005. Retrieved December 12, 2007. 
  6. ^ and went to St. Malachy Church ENTERTAINMENT NEWS | WHAS11.com | News for Louisville, Kentucky[dead link]
  7. ^ Fulton, Rick (June 11, 2010). "Michael Keaton: I dropped my phone in surprise when I was offered the role of Barbie’s Ken in Toy Story 3". Daily Record. Retrieved September 19, 2010. 
  8. ^ http://jam.canoe.ca/Movies/Artists/K/Keaton_Michael/2008/01/25/4793291-sun.html
  9. ^ http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000474/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm
  10. ^ "Keaton offers advice to young actors." ABC.com. April 14, 2008.
  11. ^ "15 reasons Mr. Rogers was best neighbor ever." CNN.com. July 28, 2008.
  12. ^ Conner, Lynne (2007). Pittsburgh In Stages: Two Hundred Years of Theater. University of Pittsburgh Press. p. 178. ISBN 978-0822943303. 
  13. ^ Kellison, Daniel. "Dinner With Daniel: Michael Keaton". grantland.com. Retrieved July 13, 2012. 
  14. ^ Keaton, Eleanor; Vance, Jeffrey (2001). Buster Keaton Remembered. Harry N. Abrams Inc. pp. 124. ISBN 9780810942271. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
  15. ^ Nancy Griffin; Kim Masters (1997). "Hit Men". Hit & Run: How Jon Peters and Peter Guber Took Sony For A Ride In Hollywood. Simon & Schuster. pp. 158–174. ISBN 0-684-80931-1.
  16. ^ Hilary de Vries (1989-02-05). "Batman Battles for Big Money". The New York Times. Retrieved October 26, 2008.
  17. ^ Alison McMahan (2005). “Burton’s Batman: Myth, Marketing, and Merchandising.” The Films of Tim Burton: Animating Live Action in Contemporary Hollywood. Farmington Hills, Michigan: Gale. ISBN 0-8264-1566-0 121–156.
  18. ^ Staff (1989-06-27). "Batman Sets Record And So Does Hollywood". The New York Times. Retrieved October 26, 2008.
  19. ^ Les Daniels (2000). Batman: The Complete History. Chronicle Books. p. 164. ISBN 0-8118-2470-5.
  20. ^ Salisbury, Burton, p.102-114
  21. ^ "Batman 3". Entertainment Weekly. October 1, 1993. Retrieved August 16, 2008. 
  22. ^ ^ J.J. Abrams (Director), Lloyd Braun (Director) (2004). Lost Season 1 DVD (DVD). Los Angeles: Buena Vista Home Entertainment. 
  23. ^ Jensen, Jeff (November 24, 2006). "When Stephen King met the 'Lost' boys". Ew.com. Retrieved January 24, 2012. 
  24. ^ "Michael Keaton STILL Interested in 'Beetleuice 2'". Bloody-disgusting.com. June 7, 2010. Retrieved January 24, 2012. 
  25. ^ "Keaton would do Beetlejuice 2 "in a heartbeat"". Moviehole.net. June 6, 2010. Retrieved January 24, 2012. 
  26. ^ "Michael Keaton REALLY Interested in Resurrecting Beetlejuice for a Sequel". Dreadcentral.com. June 7, 2010. Retrieved January 24, 2012. 
  27. ^ "Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Keaton to Star in 'Birdman' (Exclusive)". Hollywood Reporter. March 5, 2013. Retrieved June 21, 2013. 
  28. ^ "PAGE REPORT DISPLAY FOR 24961466800". Herndon1.sdrdc.com. Retrieved January 24, 2012. 
  29. ^ Nightengale, Bob (July 28, 2011). "Pirates are talk of baseball with captivating run". USA Today. 
  30. ^ Foundas, Scott (October 16, 2014). "Interview: Michael Keaton Goes From Batman to ‘Birdman’". Variety. Retrieved October 21, 2014. 
  31. ^ "What Famous Celebrities Live in Montana?". June 5, 2014. 
  32. ^ Buccaneers And Bones. Retrieved Feb 24, 2011.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Adam West
Batman Actor
Succeeded by
Val Kilmer