Michael Keaton

Michael Keaton
Michael Keaton

Keaton at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival
Born Michael John Douglas
September 5, 1951 (1951-09-05) (age 60)
Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Nationality American
Education Montour High School
Alma mater Kent State
Occupation Actor, comedian, singer, dancer
Years active 1975–present
Spouse Caroline McWilliams (1982-1990)
Partner Courteney Cox (1989-1995)

Michael John Douglas (born September 5, 1951), better known by the stage name Michael Keaton, is an American actor known for his early comedic roles, most notably his performance as the title character of Tim Burton's Beetlejuice (1988). Keaton is also famous for his dramatic portrayal of Bruce Wayne/Batman in Tim Burton's Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992). He has since appeared in various other films, including Pixar's Cars (2006) and Toy Story 3 (2010).


Early life

Keaton, the youngest of seven children, was born in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania,[1] and lived 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 a Scots-Irish community in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania.[2][3][4][5] Keaton was raised in a large Catholic family[6][7] and attended Montour High School in Pennsylvania. He studied speech for two years at Kent State before dropping out and moving to Pittsburgh.


Early career

An unsuccessful attempt at stand-up comedy led Keaton to working as a TV cameraman at public television station WQED (TV) in Pittsburgh. Keaton first appeared on TV in the Pittsburgh-based public television programs, including "Where the Heart Is" and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (1975), as one of the "Flying Zucchini Brothers."[8] He also served as a full-time production assistant on the show.[9] (In 2004, following Fred Rogers' death, Keaton hosted the PBS memorial tribute program, Fred Rogers: Everybody'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.[10]

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 satisfying SAG rules, and after reading an article on actress Diane Keaton, he decided on "Michael Keaton."

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 hilariously 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 title role in Beetlejuice but later reconsidered. Keaton now considers Beetlejuice his favorite of his own films.  That same year, Keaton also gave an acclaimed dramatic performance as a drug-addicted businessman in Clean and Sober. Newsweek featured him in a story during this time.


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 the 1989 blockbuster Batman. Burton cast him because he thought that Keaton was the only actor who could believably portray someone who has the kind of darkly obsessive personality that the character demands.[11] 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.[12] However, Keaton's dramatic performance earned widespread acclaim from critics and audiences alike,[13] and Batman became one of the most successful films of the year.[14]

According to Keaton, he wasn't surprised when he was first considered as Batman, as he initially believed the film would be similar to the campy 1960s Batman TV series starring Adam West. It was only after Burton introduced Keaton to Frank Miller's comic book mini-series Batman: The Dark Knight Returns that Keaton really understood the dark and brooding side of Batman that he portrayed to much fan approval.[15] Keaton later reprised his role in the sequel Batman Returns (1992), which was another critically acclaimed success, though also controversial for being darker than the previous film.[16]

He was initially set to return again for Warner Bros.' 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 than the previous films. According to the A&E Biography episode on Keaton, after he had refused the first time (after meetings with Schumacher), Warner Bros. offered him $15,000,000, but Keaton steadfastly refused.[17] He was subsequently replaced by Val Kilmer in Batman Forever (1995) and by George Clooney in Batman & Robin (1997). While Batman Forever was more commercially successful than Batman Returns, Batman & Robin was critically panned and failed to outgross any of the previous films. The franchise was then given a break until the release of Batman Begins (2005), a reboot directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Christian Bale, which returned Batman to the darker atmosphere that Burton and Keaton's films had similarly featured.

Later career

Keaton remained in demand during the 1990s, appearing in a wide range of films including Pacific Heights, One Good Cop, My Life, and the star-studded Shakespearian 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.

Keaton starred as a political candidate's speechwriter in 1994's Speechless with Geena Davis (his co-star in Beetlejuice) and Christopher Reeve (who, like Keaton, also portrayed a famous DC Comics superhero on film; Superman).

Keaton at the 2004 Dallas Comic Con

Since 2000, Keaton has 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 approach the box-office success of Batman until the release of Disney/Pixar's Cars (2006), in which he voiced the character Chick Hicks. On New Years 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.

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.[18][19]

Keaton starred in the 2007 TV mini-series 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.[20]

Keaton most recently 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.[21] He announced in June 2010 his interest in returning for a Beetlejuice sequel.[22] He also played the minor role of Captain Gene Mauch in the comedy The Other Guys.

In February 2011, Keaton was the subject of a light-hearted spoof at The Onion, which jested that 87 percent of feature-length motion pictures would be significantly improved by the addition of the 59-year-old film and television actor.[23]

Personal life

Keaton was married to actress Caroline McWilliams from 1982 until 1990. They have one son, Sean Maxwell (born May 27, 1983). He also had a six-year relationship with actress Courteney Cox from 1989 to 1995.[24]

Keaton is a big Pittsburgh Pirates fan being a native from the area. He even went so far as to negotiate a break in his Batman movie contract in case the Pirates made the playoffs that year. He is also a die hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan.[25] 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.[26]



Year Film Role Notes
1982 Night Shift Bill Blazejowski Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
1983 Mr. Mom Jack Butler
1984 Johnny Dangerously Jonathan "Johnny" Kelly (a.k.a. Johnny Dangerously)
1986 Gung Ho Hunt Stevenson
Touch and Go Robert "Bobby" Barbato
1987 The Squeeze Harold "Harry" Berg
1988 She's Having a Baby Himself uncredited cameo
Beetlejuice Betelgeuse (pronounced "Beetlejuice") Nominated - Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor
Clean and Sober Daryl Poynter National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor
1989 The Dream Team William "Billy" Caufield
Batman Bruce Wayne / Batman
1990 Pacific Heights Carter Hayes
1991 One Good Cop Arthur "Artie" Lewis
1992 Batman Returns Bruce Wayne / Batman Nominated - MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss (with Michelle Pfeiffer)
Porco Rosso Porco Rosso voice in 2003 English dubbed version
1993 Much Ado About Nothing Dogberry
My Life Robert "Bob" Jones
1994 The Paper Henry Hackett
Speechless Kevin Vallick
1996 Multiplicity Douglas "Doug" Kinney
1997 Inventing the Abbotts Narrator / Older Doug uncredited
Jackie Brown Raymond "Ray" Nicolette
1998 Desperate Measures Peter McCabe
Out of Sight Raymond "Ray" Nicolette cameo
Jack Frost Jack Frost
2000 A Shot at Glory Peter Cameron
2002 Live from Baghdad Robert Wiener
2003 Quicksand Martin Raikes
2004 First Daughter President Mackenzie
2005 White Noise Jonathan Rivers
Game 6 Nicholas "Nicky" Rogan
Herbie: Fully Loaded Raymond "Ray" Peyton, Sr.
2006 Cars Chick Hicks/Security Guard uncredited voice role
The Last Time Ted "Theodore"
2009 The Merry Gentleman Franklin "Frank" Logan director, actor
Post Grad Walter Malby
Noah's Ark: The New Beginning Noah voice only
2010 Toy Story 3 Ken
The Other Guys Captain Gene Mauch
2011 Hawaiian Vacation Ken voice only


Year Production Role Other notes
1976 All's Fair Lannie Wolf
1977 Klein Time Various
Maude Chip Winston
1978 Mary (1978) Skit characters
The Tony Randall Show Zeke
1979 The Mary Tyler Moore Hour Kenneth Christy
Working Stiffs Mike O'Rourke
1981 Kraft Walt Disney World 10th Anniversary He played the bellboy, waiter, valet, store keeper.
1982 Report To Murphy Murphy
2002 Frasier Blaine Sternin
Live from Baghdad Robert Wiener Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
2001 The Simpsons Jack Crowley 1 episode guest star
2002 King of the Hill Trip Larsen
2004 Fred Rogers: America's Favorite Neighbor Host Nominated - Emmy Award for Outstanding Nonfiction Special
2007 The Company James Angleton Nominated - Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
2011 30 Rock Tom 1 episode guest star


  1. ^ "Michael Keaton Biography - Biography.com". The Biography Channel. A&E Television Networks. http://www.biography.com/articles/Michael-Keaton-9361519. Retrieved 2010-12-31. "Actor, director. Born Michael Douglas on September 9, 1951, in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania." 
  2. ^ Michael Keaton Biography (1950-)
  3. ^ A LEADING MAN WITHOUT PAUSE - The Record (Bergen County, NJ) - HighBeam Research
  4. ^ Vancheri, Barbara (2002-11-13). "Actor Michael Keaton's Mother Doted On Her Seven Children". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. http://news.google.ca/newspapers?id=EIoNAAAAIBAJ&sjid=wnADAAAAIBAJ&pg=6732,572621&dq=actor+michael+keaton's+mothe+doted+on+her+seven+children&hl=en. Retrieved 2010-07-11. 
  5. ^ "Actor Michael Keaton is another who insists he is half-Scottish". Express on Sunday. 2005-09-25. http://moreresults.factiva.com/results/index/index.aspx?ref=THEXSU0020050926e19p0002m. Retrieved 2007-12-12. 
  6. ^ and went to St. Malachy Church ENTERTAINMENT NEWS | WHAS11.com | News for Louisville, Kentucky
  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. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/showbiz/celebrity-interviews/2010/06/11/michael-keaton-i-dropped-my-phone-in-surprise-when-i-was-offered-the-role-of-ken-in-toy-story-3-86908-22325958/. Retrieved September 19, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Keaton offers advice to young actors." ABC.com. April 14, 2008.
  9. ^ "15 reasons Mr. Rogers was best neighbor ever." CNN.com. July 28, 2008.
  10. ^ Conner, Lynne (2007). Pittsburgh In Stages: Two Hundred Years of Theater. University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 178. ISBN 978-0-8229-4330-3. Retrieved 2011-06-06.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ Hilary de Vries (1989-02-05). "Batman Battles for Big Money". The New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DEFDE1131F936A35751C0A96F948260&scp=2&sq=Batman&st=nyt. Retrieved 2008-10-26.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ Staff (1989-06-27). "Batman Sets Record And So Does Hollywood". The New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DE3DC1E38F934A15755C0A96F948260&scp=41&sq=Batman&st=nyt. Retrieved 2008-10-26.
  15. ^ Les Daniels (2000). Batman: The Complete History. Chronicle Books. p. 164. ISBN 0-8118-2470-5.
  16. ^ Salisbury, Burton, p.102-114
  17. ^ "Batman 3". Entertainment Weekly. 1993-10-01. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,308195,00.html. Retrieved 2008-08-16. 
  18. ^ ^ J.J. Abrams (Director), Lloyd Braun (Director) (2004). Lost Season 1 DVD (DVD). Los Angeles: Buena Vista Home Entertainment.. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0411008. 
  19. ^ When Stephen King met the 'Lost' boys...
  20. ^ Michael Keaton STILL Interested in 'Beetleuice 2'
  21. ^ Keaton would do Beetlejuice 2 "in a heartbeat"
  22. ^ Michael Keaton REALLY Interested in Resurrecting Beetlejuice for a Sequel
  23. ^ Study: 87 Percent Of Movies Would Be Better With Michael Keaton In Them. The Onion, February 24, 2011. Retrieved 24 Feb 2011.
  24. ^ http://herndon1.sdrdc.com/cgi-bin/fecimg/?24961466800
  25. ^ http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/nl/pirates/2011-07-28-pittsburgh-pirates-talk-of-baseball_n.htm
  26. ^ Buccaneers And Bones. Retrieved 24 Feb 2011.

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