Steven Keats

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Steven Keats
Steven Keats in trailer for "The Friends of Eddie Coyle" (1973)
Born (1945-02-06)February 6, 1945
The Bronx, New York
Died May 8, 1994(1994-05-08) (aged 49)
New York, New York
Occupation Actor

Steven Keats (February 6, 1945 – May 8, 1994) was an American actor who appeared in such films as Silent Rage, Death Wish, Gumball Rally, Black Sunday, The Friends of Eddie Coyle, Badge of the Assassin and the TV-movie version of the Norman Mailer book The Executioner's Song starring Tommy Lee Jones.

Biography[edit]

The son of Jewish emigrants from Denmark,[citation needed] Keats was a popular and prolific actor of the 1970s. He grew up in Canarsie, Brooklyn, New York, graduated from the New York School for the Performing Arts (now Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts). After serving a tour of duty in Vietnam with the Air Force from 1965–1966, Keats attended the prestigious Yale School of Drama in 1969 and 1970. He is the father of photographer and actor Thatcher Keats.

Keats debuted on Broadway in the second cast of Oh! Calcutta! and appeared in over 80 films and TV shows. He was nominated for an Emmy in 1977 for his role as the ruthless, Great Depression-era entrepreneur Jay Blackman, who clawed his way to the top of the "rag trade,' or clothing business, in the mini-series Seventh Avenue. He also portrayed Thomas Edison on the brink of inventing the electric light bulb in the science fiction TV series, Voyagers!.

Another notable role was Keats' memorable performance in the celebrated movie Hester Street (adapted from author Abraham Cahan's original Yiddish story "Yekl.") Set on New York City's Lower East Side of the 1890s, Keats played Jake Podkovnik (late of Russia), an assimilated "Amerikaner," complete with derby hat and an impressive handlebar moustache. Jake is less than favorably disposed toward his recently emigrated wife, the meekly-submissive Gitl (who still clings to the old ways), because she is a constant reminder of his own "greenhorn" (or newcomer) status which he is trying desperately to forget.

Keats guest-starred on the episode of The A-Team called "Harder Than It Looks". At the end of his career, Keats was playing the part of Ed McClain on the soap opera Another World, and guest-starred as Nicholas Davis II on All My Children. On May 8, 1994, he was found dead in his apartment in Manhattan; his death was deemed suicide.

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