Stacy Keach

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Stacy Keach
Stacy Keach in May 2007
Born Walter Stacy Keach, Jr.
(1941-06-02) June 2, 1941 (age 73)
Savannah, Georgia, U.S.
Occupation Actor/Narrator
Years active 1966–present
Spouse(s) Malgosia Tomassi (1986-present)
Jill Donahue (1981-1986: div.)
Marilyn Aiken (1975-?: div.)
Kathryn Baker (1964-?: div.)

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.

Early life[edit]

Keach was born in Savannah, Georgia, the son of Mary Cain (née Peckham), an actress, and Walter Stacy Keach, a theater director, drama teacher, and actor.[1] 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,[2] then earned two BA degrees at the University of California, Berkeley (1963), one in English, the other in Dramatic Art. He earned a Master of Fine Arts 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.[3] 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.[citation needed] 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.[4][5]

He has played the title role in two separate productions of Hamlet.[6]

In 2008 and 2009, Keach played Richard M. Nixon in the U.S. traveling version of the play Frost/Nixon.[4]

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.[7]

He was scheduled to return to Broadway in December 2014 in the revival of Love Letters at the Brooks Atkinson Theater alongside with Diana Rigg, but the play closed before Keach and Rigg were to begin their runs.[8]


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.[4] 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 outlaws’ doomed career, but who is ultimately imprisoned by fraternal ties.[citation needed]. 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).


Keach and Tanya Roberts in Murder Me, Murder You in 1983

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.[9] 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".[10]

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.[11]

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").[12]

In February 2015, Keach played an inmate in NCIS: New Orleans


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.[13]

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).

Personal life[edit]

Keach's star at the Orpheum Theatre, 2010

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.[14] In the 1971 film Doc, Keach impersonated the title character, John "Doc" Holliday, who 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.[15] 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. [16]

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 “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” on the Crosby, Stills & Nash album.

He had a mild stroke in March of 2009, from which he has made a full recovery.[6][17][18]



Title Year Role Notes
Joy Ride 1958 Wechsler
Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, TheThe Heart Is a Lonely Hunter 1968 Blount
Brewster McCloud 1970 Abraham Wright
End of the Road 1970 Jacob Horner
Traveling Executioner, TheThe Traveling Executioner 1970 Jonas Candide
Doc 1971 Doc Holliday
New Centurions, TheThe New Centurions 1972 Roy Fehler
Fat City 1972 Billy Tully KCFCC Award for Best Actor (tied with Marlon Brando for The Godfather)
Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, TheThe Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean 1972 Original Bad Bob the Albino
Wilbur and Orville: The First to Fly 1973 Wilbur Wright
Luther 1973 Martin Luther
The Dion Brothers 1974 Calvin
Watched! 1974 Mike Mandell/Sonny
Conduct Unbecoming 1975 Captain Harper
Street People 1976 Charlie Hanson
Killer Inside Me, TheThe Killer Inside Me 1976 Lou Ford
Squeeze, TheThe Squeeze 1977 Jim Naboth
Greatest Battle, TheThe Greatest Battle 1978 Major Mannfred Roland
Gray Lady Down 1978 Capt. Bennett
Up in Smoke 1978 Sergeant Stedanko
Two Solitudes 1978 Huntley McQueen
Mountain of the Cannibal God 1979 Professor Edward Foster
Ninth Configuration, TheThe Ninth Configuration 1980 Col. Vincent Kane
Long Riders, TheThe Long Riders 1980 Frank James
Road Games 1981 Patrick Quid
Nice Dreams 1981 Sergeant Stedanko
Butterfly 1982 Jess Tyler
That Championship Season 1982 James Daley
False Identity 1990 Ben Driscoll/Harlan Errickson
Class of 1999 1990 Dr. Bob Forest
Milena 1991 Jesenski
Sunset Grill 1993 Harrison Shelgrove
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm 1993 Carl Beaumont / Voice of Phantasm Voice only
New Crime City 1994 Wynorski
Raw Justice 1994 Deputy Mayor Bob Jenkins
Escape From L.A. 1996 Commander Malloy
Prey of the Jaguar 1996 The Commander
Sea Wolf, TheThe Sea Wolf 1997 Captain Wolf
American History X 1998 Cameron Alexander
Future Fear 1998 General Wallace
Fear Runs Silent 1999 Mr. Hill
Children of the Corn 666: Isaac's Return 1999 Dr. Michaels
Unshackled 2000 Warden Kelso
Icebreaker 2000 Bill Foster
Militia 2000 George Armstrong Montgomery
Mercy Streets 2000 Tom
Sunstorm 2001 General John Parker
Birds of Passage 2001 Captain Savienko
When Eagles Strike 2003 General Thurmond
Hollow, TheThe Hollow 2004 Claus Van Ripper
Caught in the Headlights 2004 Mr. Jones
Galaxy Hunter 2004 3V3
El Padrino: The Latin Godfather 2004 Governor Lancaster
Man with the Screaming Brain 2005 Dr. Ivanov
Keep Your Distance 2005 Brooks Voight
Come Early Morning 2006 Owen Allen
Jesus, Mary and Joey 2006 Jack O'Callahan
Haunted Prison 2006 TV film
Honeydripper 2007 Sheriff
W. 2008 Earle Hudd
Chicago Overcoat 2009 Ray Berkowski
The Boxer 2009 Joe
Weather Wars 2011 Marcus Grange
Cellmates 2011 Warden Merville
Jerusalem Countdown 2011 Jackson Based on the Novel, Jerusalem Countdown
The Bourne Legacy 2012 Turso
The Great Chameleon 2012 Max
Ooga Booga 2013
Planes 2013 Skipper Voice only
Nebraska 2013 Ed Pegram
Planes: Fire & Rescue 2014 Skipper Voice only
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For 2014 Wallenquist
If I Stay 2014 Grandpa
Ouija 2014 The Creepypasta Man
Cell 2015 Charles Ardai


Title Year Role Notes
All the Kind Strangers 1974 Jimmy Wheeler Television film
Caribe 1975 Lieutenant Ben Logan Television series
Dynasty 1976 Matt Blackwood Mini series
Jesus of Nazareth 1977 Barabbas Mini series
Rumor of War, AA Rumor of War 1980 Maj. Ball Mini series
Blue and the Gray, TheThe Blue and the Gray 1982 Jonas Steele Mini series
Princess Daisy 1983 Prince Alexander "Stash" Valensky Mini series
Murder Me, Murder You 1983 Mike Hammer Television film
Mistral's Daughter 1984 Julien Mistral Mini series
More Than Murder 1984 Mike Hammer Television film
Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer 1984–1985 Mike Hammer Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama
The Return of Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer 1986 Mike Hammer Television film
Intimate Strangers 1986 Dr. Jeff Bierston Television film
New Mike Hammer, TheThe New Mike Hammer 1986–1987 Mike Hammer Television series
Hemingway 1988 Ernest Hemingway Mini series
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Miniseries or Television Film (tied with Michael Caine for Jack the Ripper)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor - Miniseries or a Movie
The Forgotten 1989 Adam Roth Television film
Mike Hammer: Murder Takes All 1989 Mike Hammer Television film
Missing Reward 1989-1992 Host Television series
The Mysteries of the Dark Jungle 1991 Colonel Edward Corishant Mini series
Mission of the Shark: The Saga of the U.S.S. Indianapolis 1991 Capt. Charles Butler McVay Television film
Lincoln 1992 George McClellan (voice only) Television film
Haunted Lives: True Ghost Stories 1992 Narrator (voice only) Television series
Revenge on the Highway 1992 Claude Sams Television film
Rio Diablo 1993 Kansas Television film
Body Bags 1993 Richard Coberts Television film
In The Heat Of The Night 1993 Wade Hatton Television film
Against Their Will: Women in Prison 1994 Jack Devlin Television film
Texas 1994 Sam Houston ABC Television film
Young Ivanhoe 1995 Pembrooke Television film
Amanda & the Alien 1995 Emmitt Mallory Television film
The Pathfinder 1996 Compte du Leon Television film
Legend of the Lost Tomb 1997 Dr. William Bent Television film
Murder in My Mind 1997 Cargill Television film
Mike Hammer, Private Eye 1997–1998 Mike Hammer Television series
The Courage to Love 2000 Jean Baptiste Television film
Titus 2000–2002 Ken Titus Television series
Lightning: Fire from the Sky 2001 Bart Pointdexter Television film
Simpsons, TheThe Simpsons 2001, 2003, 2006 Howard Duff (voice only) Television series
The Santa Trap 2002 Max Hurst Television film
Miracle Dogs 2003 C.W. Aldrich Television film
Frozen Impact 2003 Pete Crane Television film
Prison Break 2005–2007 Henry Pope Television series
George Lopez 2005 Blaine McNamara Television series
Desolation Canyon 2006 Samuel Kendrick Television film
Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America 2006 Secretary Collin Reed Television film
Blackbeard 2006 Captain Benjamin Hornigold Television film
Death Row (a.k.a. Haunted Prison) 2006 John Elias Television film
ER 2007 Mike Gates Television series
American Greed 2007 Narrator (voice only) Television series
Lone Rider 2008 Robert Hattaway Television film
Ring of Death 2008 Warden Golan Television film
Meteor 2009 Sheriff Crowe Television film
Nanny Express, TheThe Nanny Express 2009 Rev. McGuiness Television film
Two and a Half Men 2009 Chelsea's father Television Series
Lights Out 2011 Pops Leary Television Series
Bored to Death 2011 Bergeron Television Series
Hindenburg 2011 Edward van Zandt Television film
30 Rock 2012 Himself Television Series
Anything For Money 2012 Narrator Song written to promote CNBC's series "American Greed"[19]
The Neighbors 2012–2013 Dominick Weaver Television Series
Sean Saves the World 2013 Lee Thompson Television series
1600 Penn 2013 Senator Frohm Thoroughgood Television series
Anger Management 2013 Ray Television series
The Simpsons 2015 Don Bookner Television series


  1. ^ "Stacy Keach Biography (1941-)". Retrieved 2013-02-22. 
  2. ^ mentioned in
  3. ^ "James Lipton Takes on Three".Million Dollar Baby, DVD, directed by Clint Eastwood
  4. ^ a b c Marks, Peter (June 14, 2009). "Enter the King, With New Rules". Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-07-16. 
  5. ^ "The Plays - Production Details". The Shakespeare Theatre Company. Retrieved 2009-07-16. King Lear by William Shakespeare, directed by Robert Falls, 6/16/2009 - 7/26/2009 
  6. ^ a b Stacy Keach Suffers Mild Stroke Los Angeles Times, March 18, 2009
  7. ^ King, Susan (2002-03-31). "Much to Do in a Few Short Radio Days". L.A. Times. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Henderson, Kathy. "His Practical Approach: Stacy Keach's Heart is With the Stage But TV Suits His Life and Family Fine," ''Los Angeles Times'', Sunday, December 6, 1992". 1992-12-06. Retrieved 2013-02-22. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ Commentary found in Titus Season 1&2 DVD.
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Stacy Keach - Links". Retrieved 2009-07-16.
  15. ^ "Keach Appeal Rejected On Cocaine Sentence". New York Times. Associated Press. December 19, 1984. Retrieved 2009-07-16. 
  16. ^ Interview with Raymond Arroyo on the TV show "The World Over" aired on EWTN on 12/07/2014.
  17. ^ "Star Keach recovering from stroke". BBC. 19 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-16. 
  18. ^ Dobuzinskis, Alex; Bob Tourtellotte and Paul Simao (March 18, 2009). "Stacy Keach had mild stroke: spokesman". Reuters. Retrieved 2009-07-16. 
  19. ^ "American Greed: "Anything For Money"". YouTube. 2012-11-07. Retrieved 2013-02-22. 

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