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), Multiplicity (1996), 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.
Keaton, the youngest of seven children, was born in Forest Grove, in Robinson Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. His father, George A. Douglas, worked as a civil engineer and surveyor, and his mother, Leona Elizabeth (nÃ©e Loftus), a homemaker, came from McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania. Keaton was raised in a Catholic family. His mother was of Irish descent, and his father was of English, Scottish, Scotch-Irish, and German ancestry. He attended Montour High School in Pennsylvania. Keaton studied speech for two years at Kent State, before dropping out and moving to Pittsburgh.
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 Pittsburgh-based public television programs, including âWhere the Heart Isâ and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (1975), as one of the âFlying Zookeeni Brothers.â He also served as a full-time production assistant on the show. 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 Rabeâs Sticks and Bones with the Pittsburgh Poor Players.
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. He chose Keaton because of an affinity for the physical comedy of Buster 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 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.
Keatonâs role as the title character in Tim Burtonâs 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 movielandâs 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. 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.
Keatonâs career was given another major boost when he was again cast by Tim Burton, this time as the title comic book superhero of 1989âs 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. 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. However, Keatonâs dramatic performance earned widespread acclaim from critics and audiences alike, and Batman became one of the most successful films of the year.
According to Les Danielsâs reference book Batman: The Complete History, Keaton wasnât 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 Millerâs 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. 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.
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. He was subsequently replaced by Val Kilmer in Batman Forever (1995).
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.
Keaton starred as a political candidateâs speechwriter in 1994âs Speechless with Geena Davis and Christopher Reeve (who, like Keaton, had also previously portrayed a famous DC Comics superhero on film: Superman).
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/Pixarâs Cars (2006), in which he voiced Chick Hicks. On New Yearâs 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 Entertainmentâs film Reaper, a supernatural thriller. He reportedly agreed to star as John Target in the Matt Evansâ"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.
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 OâDonnell, who portrayed Batmanâs crime-fighting sidekick Robin (who was absent from the Batman films Keaton starred in) in Batman Forever and Batman & Robin.
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. He announced in June 2010 his interest in returning for a Beetlejuice sequel. 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 GonzÃ¡lez IÃ±Ã¡rritu. 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. 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.
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.
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.
In the 1980s, Keaton bought a ranch near Livingston, Montana, on which he spends most of his time. 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.
Awards and nominations
- List of awards and nominations received by Michael Keaton
- Michael Keaton at the Internet Movie Database
- Story on Michael Keaton and his hometown Pittsburgh Pirates opening day controversy at the Wayback Machine (archived February 1, 2008)