McKean performing in April 2009
|Born||Michael John McKean
October 17, 1947
New York City, New York, US
|Occupation||Actor, comedian, writer, composer, musician|
Michael John McKean (born October 17, 1947) is an American actor, comedian, writer, composer and musician well known for his portrayal of Squiggy's friend, Leonard "Lenny" Kosnowski, on the sitcom Laverne & Shirley; and for his work in the Christopher Guest ensemble films, particularly as David St. Hubbins, the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist of the fictional rock band Spinal Tap from the eponymous film.
Early life and career
McKean was born in New York City, New York, the son of Ruth and Gilbert McKean. McKean began his career (as well as the characters of Lenny and Squiggy) in Pittsburgh while a student at Carnegie Tech; David Lander was a fellow student at CMU. Their partnership grew after graduation as part of the comedy group The Credibility Gap with Harry Shearer in Los Angeles, but McKean's breakthrough came in 1976 when he and Lander joined the cast of Laverne & Shirley portraying Lenny and Squiggy. McKean directed one episode, and the characters became something of a phenomenon, even releasing an album as Lenny and the Squigtones in 1979, which featured a young Christopher Guest on guitar (credited as Nigel Tufnel; the name Guest would use a few years later as part of the spoof rock band, Spinal Tap). "Foreign Legion of Love" was a big hit for the Squigtones, with frequent play on the Dr Demento Show. McKean also played his character in an episode of Happy Days. After leaving Laverne & Shirley in 1982, McKean played David St. Hubbins in the comedy This is Spinal Tap with both Guest and Shearer, and appeared in the soap opera spoof Young Doctors in Love.
Film and television
McKean quickly became a recognizable name in film and television, with appearances in films such as Used Cars (1980), Clue (1985), Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987), Earth Girls Are Easy (1988), the film adaptation of Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992), Coneheads (1993), and Radioland Murders (1994). He also had guest roles on such shows as Murder, She Wrote, Murphy Brown, Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, and Caroline in the City. McKean was part of an ensemble cast in the short-lived television series Grand on NBC which aired in 1990.
Having already appeared as a musical guest and then host of Saturday Night Live, McKean joined the cast in 1994 and remained a cast member until 1995. At 46, he was the oldest person ever to join the Saturday Night Live cast, and the only person to be a musical guest, host, and cast member in that order. During this time, he also released a video follow up to Spinal Tap, played the villainous Mr. Dittmeyer in The Brady Bunch Movie, and played the boss Gibby in the HBO series Dream On. After leaving Saturday Night Live, McKean spent a lot of time doing children's fare, voicing various TV shows and movies.
In 1997, he played the lead voice role in the video game Zork Grand Inquisitor, as Dalboz of Gurth. His more recent films have included Teaching Mrs. Tingle (1999); Mystery, Alaska (1999); Best in Show (2000) (in which he reunited with Christopher Guest); Little Nicky (2000); The Guru (2002); And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself (2003); and A Mighty Wind (2003) (in which The Folksmen are played by the actors who play Spinal Tap).
McKean's TV guest appearances include; The Simpsons; Law & Order; Family Guy; Star Trek: Voyager; SpongeBob SquarePants; Boy Meets World and Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law. He also guest voiced on Oswald as Henry's cousin, Louie. Coincidentally, Henry was voiced by David Lander. He also lent his voice to an episode of Kevin Smith's Clerks: The Animated Series that was never aired on ABC but was included on the VHS and DVD versions of the series. In 1998, he guest starred in a two-part episode of The X-Files called "Dreamland" in which his character, Morris Fletcher, switched bodies with Fox Mulder. The character was a success, and reappeared in 1999's "Three of a Kind", an episode which focused on the recurring characters of The Lone Gunmen. The character appeared on their short-lived spin-off series in 2001, and then returned to The X-Files in its final season for an episode called "Jump the Shark". McKean had a regular role as the brassy, heavily made-up bandleader Adrian Van Horhees in Martin Short's Comedy Central series, Primetime Glick, and in 2003, he guest starred on Smallville, the Superman prequel in which his wife stars as Martha Kent. McKean played Perry White, who - in the Superman universe - ultimately becomes Clark Kent's boss. He previously has been related to the Superman myth. In 1994, on the Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman first season episode "Vatman", he played Dr. Fabian Leek, a cloning expert who creates a Superman clone that belonged to corporate mogul Lex Luthor (John Shea). Also, during his short stint on Saturday Night Live, McKean played Perry White in a Superman spoof.
In 2003, he appeared in the Christopher Guest comedy A Mighty Wind. He co-wrote several songs for the film, including A Mighty Wind (with Guest and Eugene Levy), which won the Grammy for "Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media" and A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Song.
He was on Broadway in a production of Hairspray in 2004, and is apparently writing his own musical with O'Toole. He was co-starring as Hines in a revival of The Pajama Game with Harry Connick, Jr. at the American Airlines Theatre in the first half of 2006. Also in 2006, McKean reunited with most of the cast of A Mighty Wind to film the comedy For Your Consideration and appeared in the play Love Song on the stage in London. His musical interests led him to a starring role in the critically acclaimed 2008 comedy air-drumming film Adventures of Power, in which he was re-united on-screen with his co-star Jane Lynch (from "For Your Consideration") and starred alongside Adrian Grenier, Chiu Chi Ling, and Shoshannah Stern. In it, McKean plays a copper-miner who organizes a community strike against the corrupt owners of the town plant and is the father of Power (Ari Gold, a devoted young musician whose goal it is to win the national air-drumming competition. His role honors the leaders and fighters of the 99% movement.
On March 22, 2006, while Harry Shearer was being interviewed on the Opie and Anthony Radio Show about Spinal Tap, he stated the following: "Well, Michael McKean had been in a band called 'The Left Banke'. They'd done a hit called 'Walk Away Renée', and 'Pretty Ballerina' was their follow-up that was a semi-hit, and he joined the band right after they had their hits."
McKean was cast in the pilot episode of a remake of the British series The Thick of It as the chief of staff. The pilot was directed by Guest.
Recently, McKean starred in the 40th Anniversary Broadway revival of Harold Pinter's The Homecoming, co-starring Ian McShane, Raul Esparza, Eve Best, and James Frain. The show opened on December 9, 2007. In 2009, he starred in the Chicago-based Steppenwolf Theatre Company's production of Superior Donuts, by Pulitzer Prize award-winning playwright Tracy Letts.
On January 20, 2010, it was announced that Michael McKean would return to an episode of Smallville alongside his real life wife, Annette O'Toole.
In May 2010, McKean won the Celebrity Jeopardy tournament by defeating Jane Curtin and Cheech Marin. The earnings were donated to the International Myeloma Foundation in honor of McKean's friend Lee Grayson, who died of myeloma in 2004.
In 2011, McKean appeared on an episode of Sesame Street as Virgil, the rock star, looking for "rocks" to be in an all ROCK-band. He searches for many different rocks and gems but is unable to find his lead singer until Abby turns him into an emerald.
In April 2012, McKean began performing on Broadway in Gore Vidal's The Best Man. On May 22, 2012, McKean was hit by a car in New York City, suffering a broken leg. His part is to be filled by James Lecesne. He is currently appearing in the HBO comedy series "Family Tree". On June 1, 2012, McKean was released from the hospital to begin physical rehabilitation.
Recurring characters on SNL
- Anthony, the weatherman from "Good Morning, Brooklyn"
Celebrity impersonations on SNL
- Bill Clinton (after Phil Hartman left at the end of season 19)
- Jimmy Carter
- Robert Evans
- John Tesh
- Robert Shapiro
- Spalding Gray
- Tom Skerritt
- Vincent Price
- Richard Gephardt
- Jeffrey Dahmer
- Howard Stern
- Donald E. Belfi
- Adam West
- Elvis Costello
- George F. Will
- Gary Busey
- Patrick Stewart
- Cracking Up (1977)
- 1941 (1979)
- Used Cars (1980)
- Young Doctors in Love (1982)
- This Is Spinal Tap (1984) (also writer)
- D.A.R.Y.L. (1985)
- Clue (1985)
- Jumpin' Jack Flash (1986)
- Double Agent (1987)
- Light of Day (1987)
- Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)
- Portrait of a White Marriage (1988)
- Short Circuit 2 (1988)
- Earth Girls Are Easy (1988)
- Hider in the House (1989)
- The Big Picture (1989) (also writer)
- Flashback (1990)
- Book of Love (1990)
- True Identity (1991)
- Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992)
- Man Trouble (1992)
- Coneheads (1993)
- Airheads (1994)
- Radioland Murders (1994)
- The Brady Bunch Movie (1995)
- Across the Moon (1995)
- Friends (1995) "The One with the List"
- Star Trek: Voyager - "The Thaw" (1996)
- Edie & Pen (1996)
- The Pompatus of Love (1996)
- Jack (1996)
- No Strings Attached (1997)
- Casper: A Spirited Beginning (1997)
- That Darn Cat (1997)
- Nothing to Lose (1997)
- Space Ghost Coast to Coast (1997) as himself (TV series)
- Still Breathing (1997)
- The Man Who Counted (1998) (short subject)
- Spinal Tap: The Final Tour (1998) (short subject)
- The Pass (1998)
- The X-Files - Dreamland (1998)
- Small Soldiers (1998) (voice)
- Archibald the Rainbow Painter (1998)
- With Friends Like These... (1998)
- Sugar: The Fall of the West (1998)
- Masters of Horror and Suspense (1999)
- Kill the Man (1999)
- True Crime (1999)
- Teaching Mrs. Tingle (1999)
- Mystery, Alaska (1999)
- Best in Show (2000)
- Beautiful (2000)
- Little Nicky (2000)
- My First Mister (2001)
- Never Again (2001)
- Dr. Dolittle 2 (2001)
- Slap Her... She's French (2002)
- Teddy Bears' Picnic (2002)
- The Guru (2002)
- Auto Focus (2002)
- 100 Mile Rule (2002)
- A Mighty Wind (2003)
- And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself (2003)
- Smallville (2004)
- The Producers (2005)
- Relative Strangers (2006)
- The Year Without a Santa Claus (2006) - Snow Miser
- For Your Consideration (2006)
- Joshua (2007)
- The Grand (2007)
- Surf's Up (2007) (scenes deleted)
- Adventures of Power (2008)
- Whatever Works (2009)
- Homeland - "Grace" (2011)
- The Dark Knight Returns - Part 1 - Dr. Wolper
- SpongeBob SquarePants (2012) (voice)
- American Dad! (2013)
- 2004 – Academy Award Nomination: Best Song - A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow - (shared with Annette O'Toole)
- 2004 – Broadcast Film Critics Association Award Winner: Best Song - A Mighty Wind - (shared with Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy)
- 2004 – Golden Satellite Award Nomination: Best Original Song - A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow - (shared with Annette O'Toole)
- 2004 – Grammy Award Winner: Best Song Written for a Motion Picture - A Mighty Wind - (shared with Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy)
- 2003 – Seattle Film Critics Award Winner: Best Music - A Mighty Wind - (shared with Christopher Guest, John Michael Higgins, Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Annette O'Toole, Harry Shearer and Jeffrey C.J. Vanston)
- 2003 – DVD Exclusive Award Nomination: Best Animated Character Performance - The Hunchback of Notre Dame II - (shared with Ritsuko Notani)
- 2001 – DVD Exclusive Award Winner: Best DVD Audio Commentary - This Is Spinal Tap - (shared with Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer)
- Michael McKean Biography (1947-)
- "Saturday Night Live Fun Facts". Retrieved 2007-10-28.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObOKVM6U-7s 'IN THE AIR TONIGHT' from "Adventures of Power". Retrieved May 11, 2012.
- "Michael McKean Returns to Smallville". TVGuide.com.
- "Injury forces Michael McKean out of Broadway show". ap.org. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
- Carlson, Erin (May 31, 2012). "Michael McKean released from hospital to begin physical rehab". The Hollywood Reporter.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Michael McKean.|
- Michael McKean at the Internet Movie Database
- Michael McKean at the Internet Broadway Database
- Michael McKean at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Michael McKean on Twitter
- Michael McKean - Downstage Center interview at American Theatre Wing.org
- Official The Homecoming on Broadway website