Walter Stacy Keach, Jr. (born June 2, 1941) is an American actor and narrator. He is mostly known for his dramatic roles; however, he has done narration work for The Opie & Anthony Show on Sirius XM satellite radio, and in educational programming on PBS and the Discovery Channel, as well as some comedy (particularly his role in the Fox sitcom Titus as Ken, the hard-drinking, chain-smoking, womanizing father of comedian Christopher Titus and for Sergeant Stedenko in Up in Smoke) and musical roles. He is also known for portraying fictional detective Mike Hammer in a 1984 TV series, Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer, for one season (due to a cocaine arrest in England) and then a recurring series of television movies starting in 1986.
Keach was born in Savannah, Georgia, the son of Mary Cain (nÃ©e Peckham), an actress, and Walter Stacy Keach, a theater director, drama teacher, and actor. His brother James Keach is an actor and television director. Keach graduated from Van Nuys High School in June 1959, where he was class president, then earned two BA degrees at the University of California, Berkeley (1963), one in English, the other in Dramatic Art. He earned an M.F.A. at the Yale School of Drama and was a Fulbright Scholar at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
Keach played the title role in MacBird!, an Off Broadway anti-war satire by Barbara Garson staged at the Village Gate in 1966. Then, in 1967, he was cast, again Off Broadway, in George Tabori's The Niggerlovers with Morgan Freeman in his acting debut. To this day, Freeman credits Keach with teaching him the most about acting. Keach first appeared on Broadway in 1969 as Buffalo Bill in Indians by Arthur Kopit. Early in his career, he was credited as Stacy Keach, Jr. to distinguish himself from his father Stacy Keach, Sr. He played the lead actor in The Nude Paper Sermon an avant-garde musical theatre piece for media presentation, commissioned by Nonesuch Records by composer Eric Salzman.
He has won numerous awards including Obie awards, Drama Desk Awards, and Vernon Rice Awards. In the early 1980s, he starred in the title role of the national touring company of the musical Barnum composed by Cy Coleman. In 2006, he performed the lead role in Shakespeare's King Lear at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. In 2008, he played Merlin in Lerner and Loewe's "Camelot", done with the NY Philharmonic. In the summer of 2009, Shakespeare Theatre Company remounted the production of King Lear at Sidney Harman Hall in Washington D.C., which won him the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Actor.
He has played the title role in two separate productions of Hamlet.
In 2008 and 2009, Keach played Richard M. Nixon in the U.S. traveling version of the play Frost/Nixon.
On December 16, 2010, Keach began performances as patriarch Lyman Wyeth in the off-Broadway premiere of Jon Robin Baitz' acclaimed new play Other Desert Cities. The production transferred to Broadway's Booth Theatre, where it opened November 3, 2011.
Keach is a founding member of L.A. Theatre Works and had held leads in many productions with them, including 'Willy Loman' in Death of a Salesman and 'John Proctor' in The Crucible.
He will be returning to Broadway on December 6, 2014 playing the role of Andrew Makepeace in the revival of Love Letters at the Brooks Atkinson Theater alongside with Diana Rigg.
He played a rookie cop in The New Centurions (1972), opposite George C. Scott. That year he also starred in Fat City, a boxing film directed by John Huston. He was the first choice for the role of father Damien Karras in the 1973 movie The Exorcist, but he did not accept the role. He went on to play Kane in the 1980 movie The Ninth Configuration, written and directed by Blatty; this role was itself intended for Nicol Williamson.
Stacy Keach's storytelling talent as narrator was given worldwide exposure in the 1973 Formula One racing documentary "Champions Forever, The Quick and the Dead" by Claude du Boc.
Keach played Cheech and Chong's Police Department nemesis Sgt. Stedenko in Up In Smoke and Nice Dreams. He also appeared as Barabbas in Jesus of Nazareth. In 1978 he played a role of explorer and scientist in The Mountain of the Cannibal God, co-starring former Bond girl Ursula Andress. The film became a cult favorite as a "Video nasty".
One of his most convincing screen performances was as Frank James (elder brother of Jesse) in The Long Riders (1980). Keach excelled in this role, portraying a character who shows maturity and perspective during the outlawsâ doomed career, but who is ultimately imprisoned by fraternal ties.. Long Riders included brothers playing brothers and Stacey's brother James Keach played Jesse James; the Carradine and Quaid brothers also starred in the film. In 1982 Keach starred in Butterfly with Pia Zadora.
He portrayed a white supremacist in American History X, alongside Edward Norton and Edward Furlong. In Oliver Stone's 2008 biopic W., Keach portrays a Texas preacher whose spiritual guidance begins with George W. Bush's AA experience, but extends long thereafter.
Keach also starred in the TV film Ring of Death playing a sadistic prison warden who runs an underground fight club where prisoners compete for their lives.
He had also starred in the movie Planes as Skipper Riley, the flight teacher of Dusty Crophopper. He reprised the role in Planes: Fire & Rescue.
Most recently, Keach had a significant supporting role in Alexander Payne's acclaimed comedic drama Nebraska (2013).
One of Keach's early television roles was in 1958 on the syndicated romantic comedy, How to Marry a Millionaire, with Barbara Eden and Merry Anders. His first-ever experience as a series regular on a television program was playing the lead role of Lieutenant Ben Logan in Caribe in 1975. He played Barabbas in the 1977 Jesus of Nazareth (miniseries), and portrayed Jonas Steele, a psychic and Scout of the United States Army in the 1982 CBS miniseries, The Blue and the Gray. He later portrayed and is best known as Mike Hammer in the CBS television series Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer and The New Mike Hammer from 1984 to 1987. He returned to the role of Hammer in Mike Hammer, Private Eye, a new syndicated series that aired from 1997 to 1998. In 1988, he starred as Ernest Hemingway in the made-for-TV movie "Stacy Keach as Hemmingway".
In 2000, he played the cantankerous father Ken Titus in the title family of Fox's sitcom Titus. Cast members of Titus have commented they enjoyed working with Keach because, even with the dryest line the writers could invent, Keach would find a way to make the line funny.
Keach's voice is featured in The Simpsons for recurring role of Duff Brewery President, Howard K. Duff VIII. His first episode was the 12th season episode, "Hungry, Hungry Homer", in which Homer attempts to stop Howard K. Duff from moving the Springfield Isotopes baseball team to Albuquerque by staging a hunger strike.
Keach guest starred in the sitcom Will & Grace. He had a recurring role as Warden Henry Pope in the Fox drama Prison Break. He starred in the fourth episode of the second season in 'Batman Beyond' in the episode 'Lost Soul' as the voice of an A.I computer program that was simulated through the neural impulses of a deceased computer company CEO named Robert Vance.
In November 2013, Keach appeared on the Fox comedy series Brooklyn Nine-Nine (episode "Old School").
Stacy Keach is perhaps most familiar to younger television viewers for narrating episodes of Nova, National Geographic, and various other informational series. From 1989-1992, he was host of the syndicated informational reenactment show, Missing Reward, which had a similar format to the popular Unsolved Mysteries at the time. From 1992 - 1995, he became the voice-over narrator for the paranormal series Haunted Lives: True Ghost Stories. Beginning in 1999, he served as the narrator for the home video clip show World's Most Amazing Videos, which is now seen on Spike TV. He currently hosts The Twilight Zone radio series. Keach can also be heard narrating the CNBC series American Greed. For the PBS series American Experience, he narrated The Kennedys, among others.
Keach plays the role of John in The Truth & Life Dramatized Audio Bible, a 22-hour celebrity-voiced, fully dramatized audio version of the RSV-CE New Testament translation.
On January 6, 2014 Stacy became the official voice of The Opie and Anthony Channel on SiriusXM Satellite Radio (Sirius Channel 206, XM Channel 103).
Keach was born with a cleft lip and a partial cleft of the hard palate, and he underwent numerous operations as a child. Throughout his adult life he has often worn a mustache to hide the scars. He is now the honorary chairman of the Cleft Palate Foundation, and advocates for insurance coverage for such surgeries. In the 1971 film Doc, Keach impersonated the title character, John "Doc" Holliday, whom historians specializing in the American West believe might likewise have been born with a cleft palate.
In 1984, London police arrested Keach at Heathrow Airport for carrying cocaine. Keach pleaded guilty, and served six months at Reading Prison. This was during the run of Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer, which Keach also narrated in character, and impressionist Rich Little had to fill in as the show's narrator during Keach's imprisonment.
Keach has been married four times: to Kathryn Baker in 1964, to Marilyn Aiken in 1975, to Jill Donahue in 1981, and to Malgosia Tomassi around 1986. He has two children from his fourth marriage. He was living near Piaseczno, in Poland, as of October of 2014.
Keach stated that his time in prison (which he said was the lowest point of his life) and the friendship he formed with a priest who befriended him during that time, led to his conversion to Roman Catholicism. Subsequently, he and his wife were able to meet with Pope John Paul II to have their son blessed since his wife, Malgosia Tomassi, had gone to the same school that the Pope had attended in Warsaw.
Keach was also romantically linked to singer Judy Collins in the early 1970s. She left singer Stephen Stills for him after they appeared in the New York Shakespeare Festival production of Peer Gynt in 1969, a breakup which inspired the song âSuite: Judy Blue Eyesâ on the Crosby, Stills & Nash album.
He had a mild stroke in March of 2009, from which he has made a full recovery.
- Stacy Keach - official website
- Stacy Keach at the Internet Movie Database
- Stacy Keach at the Internet Broadway Database
- Stacy Keach at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Cleft Palate Foundation
- BroadwayWorld.com interview with Stacy Keach, September 23, 2008