Harvey Keitel

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Harvey Keitel
Harvey Keitel Cannes 2015.jpg
Born (1939-05-13) May 13, 1939 (age 80)
OccupationActor, producer
Years active1967–present
Daphna Kastner
(m. 2001)
Military career
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service1956–1959
Unit2nd MarDiv.png 2nd Marine Division
Battles/warsOperation Blue Bat

Harvey Keitel (/kˈtɛl/ ky-TEL; born May 13, 1939) is an American actor and producer. He has starred in films such as Mean Streets (1973), Taxi Driver (1976), The Duellists (1977), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), Bugsy (1991), Thelma & Louise (1991), Reservoir Dogs (1992), Bad Lieutenant (1992), The Piano (1993), Pulp Fiction (1994), From Dusk till Dawn (1996), Cop Land (1997), The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), Youth (2015) and The Irishman (2019).[1]

Keitel has been nominated for a number of accolades in his career, including Academy and Golden Globe awards, and has won an Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his role in The Piano.[2] From 1995 to 2017, he was a co-president of the Actors Studio, along with actors Al Pacino and Ellen Burstyn.[3]

Early life[edit]

Keitel was born in Brooklyn, New York, on May 13, 1939,[1][4] the son of Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants; his mother, Miriam (née Klein), was from Romania, and his father, Harry Keitel, was from Poland.[5] His parents owned and ran a luncheonette, while his father worked as a hat maker. He grew up in the Brighton Beach neighborhood of Brooklyn,[6] with his sister, Renee, and brother, Jerry. He attended Abraham Lincoln High School. He enlisted in the Marines at the age of 16, a decision that took him to Lebanon during Operation Blue Bat.[6] After his return, he worked as a court reporter for several years before beginning his acting career.[6]


Keitel in November 2009

Keitel studied under both Stella Adler and Lee Strasberg and at the HB Studio,[7] eventually landing roles in some Off-Broadway productions.[6] During this time, Keitel auditioned for filmmaker Martin Scorsese and gained a starring role as "J.R.", in Scorsese's first feature film, Who's That Knocking at My Door (1967).[6] Since then, Scorsese and Keitel have worked together on several projects.[6] Keitel had the starring role in Scorsese's Mean Streets, which also proved to be Robert De Niro's breakthrough film. Keitel re-teamed with Scorsese for Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974), in which he had a villainous supporting role, and appeared with Robert De Niro again in Scorsese's Taxi Driver (1976), playing the role of Jodie Foster's character's pimp.[6]

In 1977 and 1978, Keitel starred in the directorial debuts of Paul Schrader (Blue Collar, co-starring Richard Pryor and Yaphet Kotto), Ridley Scott (The Duellists, co-starring Keith Carradine), and James Toback (Fingers, in which Keitel played a street hood with aspirations of being a pianist – a role Toback wrote for Robert De Niro to play).

Cast as Captain Willard in Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now (1979), Keitel was involved with the first week of principal photography in the Philippines. Coppola was not happy with Keitel's take on Willard, stating that the actor "found it difficult to play him as a passive onlooker".[8] After viewing the first week's footage, Coppola replaced Keitel with a casting session favorite, Martin Sheen.

Keitel drifted into obscurity through most of the 1980s.[6] He continued to do work on both stage and screen, but usually in the stereotypical role of a thug. Keitel played a corrupt police officer in the 1983 thriller Copkiller (co-starring musician John Lydon), before taking supporting roles in the romantic drama Falling in Love (1984), starring Robert De Niro and Meryl Streep, and Brian De Palma's mobster comedy Wise Guys (1986), starring Danny DeVito and Joe Piscopo.

Keitel with singer Harry Belafonte in New York, April 2011

Keitel played Judas in Martin Scorsese's controversial The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) and co-starred with Jack Nicholson in the Chinatown sequel The Two Jakes (1990), directed by Jack Nicholson. Ridley Scott cast Keitel as the sympathetic policeman in Thelma & Louise in 1991; that same year, Keitel landed a role in Barry Levinson's Bugsy, for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. The following year, Keitel played another mobster in the Whoopi Goldberg-starring comedy Sister Act.

Keitel starred in Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs (which he co-produced) in 1992,[6] where his performance as "Mr. White" took his career to a different level. Since then, Keitel has chosen his roles with care, seeking to change his image and show a broader acting range.[6] One of those roles was the title character in Bad Lieutenant, about a self-loathing, drug-addicted police lieutenant trying to redeem himself.[6] He co-starred in the movie The Piano in 1993,[6] and played an efficient cleanup expert, Winston "The Wolf" Wolfe in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. Keitel starred as a police detective in Spike Lee's Clockers (an adaptation of Richard Price's novel, co-produced by Martin Scorsese). In 1996, Keitel had a major role in Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's film From Dusk till Dawn, and in 1997, he starred in the crime drama Cop Land, which also starred Sylvester Stallone, Ray Liotta and Robert De Niro.

His later roles include the fatherly Satan in Little Nicky, a wise Navy man in U-571, diligent FBI Special agent Sadusky in National Treasure and the latter's sequel National Treasure: Book of Secrets. In 1999, Keitel was replaced by Sydney Pollack on the set of Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut, due to shooting conflicts, and appeared in Tony Bui's award-winning directorial debut, Three Seasons (which Keitel also executive produced). Keitel also re-teamed with Jane Campion for Holy Smoke! (co-starring Kate Winslet).

In 2002, at the 24th Moscow International Film Festival, Keitel was honored with the Stanislavsky Award for his outstanding achievement in the career of acting and devotion to the principles of Stanislavsky's school.[9]

He also appeared in the Steinlager Pure commercials in New Zealand in 2007. Unlike many American male actors, Keitel has appeared nude in several films, including full frontal nudity in Bad Lieutenant and The Piano.

In January 2008, Keitel played Jerry Springer in the New York City premiere of Jerry Springer: The Opera at Carnegie Hall.[6] In 2008, Keitel was cast in the role of Detective Gene Hunt in ABC's short-lived US remake of the successful British time-travel police drama series Life on Mars.[10]

In June 2009, he made a cameo appearance in the Jay-Z video for "D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)", a nod to his Brooklyn origins. In 2013, he appeared in a music video for "Pretty Hurts" by Beyoncé.[11]

In 2013, he starred in the independent film A Farewell to Fools.[12]

Since 2014, he has reprised his role of Winston Wolfe from Pulp Fiction as part of a £40 million television advertising campaign for British insurance company Direct Line.[13][14]

Personal life[edit]

Keitel and wife Daphna Kastner in 2010

Keitel was in a long-term relationship with American actress Lorraine Bracco from 1982 to 1993,[15] but the relationship ended acrimoniously and included a prolonged custody battle over their daughter, Stella (born 1985).[16] He married Canadian actress Daphna Kastner in 2001.[17] He had two more children after Stella: a son named Hudson (born 2001) from his relationship with Lisa Karmazin, and a son named Roman (born 2004) from his marriage to Kastner. He is the godfather of Michael Madsen's son Max.



Year Title Role Notes
1967 Reflections in a Golden Eye Soldier Uncredited
1967 Who's That Knocking at My Door J.R.
1970 Brewster McCloud Photographer Uncredited
1973 Mean Streets Charlie
1974 Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore Ben
1975 That's the Way of the World Coleman Buckmaster
1976 Taxi Driver Charles "Sport" Rain/"Matthew" Nominated—National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor (2nd place)
Nominated—New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor (2nd place)
1976 Mother, Jugs & Speed Tony "Speed" Malatesta
1976 Buffalo Bill and the Indians Ed Goodman
1976 Welcome to L.A. Ken Hood
1977 The Duellists Feraud
1978 Blue Collar Jerry Bartowski
1978 Fingers Jimmy Fingers
1979 Eagle's Wing Henry
1980 Death Watch Roddy
1980 Saturn 3 Benson Voice dubbed by Roy Dotrice
1980 Bad Timing Inspector Netusil
1982 The Border Cat
1982 That Night in Varennes Thomas Paine
1983 Copkiller Lt. Fred O'Connor
1983 Exposed Rivas
1984 Falling in Love Ed Lasky
1984 Nemo Mr. Legend
1985 Camorra (A Story of Streets, Women and Crime) Frankie
1985 El caballero del dragon (The Knight of the Dragon) Clever
1986 Off Beat Mickey
1986 Wise Guys Bobby DiLea
1986 The Men's Club Solly Berliner
1987 The Inquiry Pontius Pilate
1987 Blindside Penfield Gruber
1987 The Pick-up Artist Alonzo Scolara
1988 The Last Temptation of Christ Judas Iscariot Nominated—Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actor
1988 Dear Gorbachev Nikolaj Bucharin
1989 The January Man Police Commissioner Frank Starkey
1990 Two Evil Eyes Roderick Usher Segment: "The Black Cat"
1990 The Two Jakes Julius "Jake" Berman
1990 Grandi cacciatori Thomas
1991 Mortal Thoughts Det. John Woods National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
1991 Thelma & Louise Hal National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
1991 Bugsy Mickey Cohen Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
1992 Reservoir Dogs "Mr. White" Larry Dimmick Also co-producer
Sant Jordi Award for Best Foreign Actor
1992 Bad Lieutenant The Lieutenant Fantasporto's International Fantasy Film Award for Best Actor
Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead
Nominated—New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor (2nd place)
1992 Sister Act Vince LaRocca
1993 Point of No Return Victor the Cleaner
1993 The Piano George Baines Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
1993 Rising Sun Lt. Tom Graham
1993 Dangerous Game Eddie Israel Venice Film FestivalGolden Ciak for Best Actor
1993 Young Americans John Harris
1994 Monkey Trouble Azro
1994 Pulp Fiction Winston "The Wolf" Wolfe
1994 Imaginary Crimes Ray Weiler
1995 Smoke Augustus "Auggie" Wren Berlin International Film Festival's Special Jury Prize (shared with Wayne Wang)
David di Donatello for Best Foreign Actor
1995 Blue in the Face Auggie Wren Also executive producer
1995 Ulysses' Gaze A
1995 Clockers Det. Rocco Klein
1995 Get Shorty Himself Uncredited cameo
1996 From Dusk till Dawn Jacob Fuller Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
1996 Head Above Water George
1997 City of Industry Roy Egan
1997 Cop Land Ray Donlan
1997 FairyTale: A True Story Harry Houdini
1998 Shadrach Vernon
1998 Lulu on the Bridge Izzy Maurer
1998 Finding Graceland Elvis
1998 Sweets of Roses Hubie Voice
1998 Gunslinger's Revenge (Il mio West) Johnny Lowen
1999 Three Seasons James Hager Also executive producer
1999 Holy Smoke! PJ Waters
1999 Presence of Mind The Master
2000 U-571 CPO Henry Klough Nominated—Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actor – Action
2000 Prince of Central Park The Guardian
2000 Little Nicky Satan
2000 Viper Leone
2001 Nailed Tony Romano
2001 The Grey Zone SS-Oberscharführer Eric Muhsfeldt Also executive producer
2001 Taking Sides Major Steve Arnold
2002 Ginostra Matt Benson
2002 Red Dragon Jack Crawford
2003 Crime Spree Frankie Zammeti
2003 The Galíndez File Edward Robards
2003 Who Killed the Idea? Private Investigator Short film
2003 Dreaming of Julia Che Also producer
2003 Chasing the Elephant The Mystery Man Short film
2004 Puerto Vallarta Squeeze Walter McGrane
2004 National Treasure Agent Peter Sadusky
2004 The Bridge of San Luis Rey Uncle Pio
2005 Be Cool Nick Carr
2005 Shadows in the Sun Weldon Parish
2006 One Last Dance Terrtano
2006 A Crime Roger Culkin
2006 The Stone Merchant [it] The Merchant Ludovico Vicedomini
2006 Arthur and the Minimoys Miro Voice
2007 My Sexiest Year Zowie
2007 National Treasure: Book of Secrets Agent Peter Sadusky
2009 Chaos
2009 Inglourious Basterds Allied Commanding Officer Uncredited voice
2009 The Ministers Detective Joseph Bruno
2009 Wrong Turn at Tahoe Nino
2010 A Beginner's Guide to Endings Duke White
2010 Little Fockers Randy Weir
2010 The Last Godfather Don Carini
2012 Moonrise Kingdom Commander Pierce
2013 A Farewell to Fools Father Johanis
2013 The Power Inside O'Mansky
2013 The Congress Al
2014 Two Men in Town Bill Agati
2014 The Grand Budapest Hotel Ludvig Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2014 Rio, I Love You Himself Segment: "O Milagre"
2014 By the Gun[18] Salvatore Vitaglia
2014 Gandhi of the Month Edward Baker
2015 Youth Mick Boyle
2015 Outlaws The Director Short film
2015 The Ridiculous 6 Smiley Harris
2016 Chosen Papi
2016 The Comedian Mac
2017 Madame Bob Fredericks
2017 Lies We Tell Demi
2018 Isle of Dogs Gondo Voice
2018 First We Take Brooklyn Anatoly
2018 The Last Man Noe
2019 Esau Abraham
2019 See You Soon Billy
2019 The Painted Bird Priest
2019 The Irishman Angelo Bruno
2020 Fatima Films that have not yet been released Professor Nichols Post-production
TBA Lansky Films that have not yet been released Meyer Lansky Post-production
Films that have not yet been released Denotes films that have not yet been released


Year Film Role Notes
1966 Hogan's Heroes German Soldier Uncredited
Episode: "The Great Impersonation"
1966 Dark Shadows Blue Whale customer Uncredited
2 episodes
1968 N.Y.P.D. Ramby Episode: "Case of the Shady Lady"
1971 Great Performances Jerry Episode: "A Memory of Two Mondays"
1973 Kojak Jerry Talaba Episode: "Siege of Terror"
1974 The F.B.I. Ernie Episode: "Deadly Ambition"
1974 A Memory of Two Mondays Jerry Television film
1984 La bella Otero Ernest Jurgens Television film
1985 Amazing Stories Byron Sullivan Episode: "Vanessa in the Garden"
1986 The Ellen Burstyn Show Frank Tanner Episode: "Reading Between the Lines"
1988 The Play on One Carl Episode: "Down Where The Buffalo Go"
1989 This Ain't Bebop Television short
2000 Fail Safe Brig Gen Warren A. Black Television film
2002 Saturday Night Live Siegfried Episode: "Robert De Niro/Norah Jones"
2006 The Path to 9/11 John O'Neill 2 episodes
2008–2009 Life on Mars (U.S.) Lieutenant Gene Hunt 17 episodes
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
2012 Fatal Honeymoon Tommy Thomas Television film
2016 Inside Amy Schumer Proposition Man Episode: "Fame"

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Harvey Keitel". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on January 27, 2019. Retrieved January 27, 2019.
  2. ^ "AFI Past Winners - 1993 Winners & Nominees". AFI-AACTA. Archived from the original on October 27, 2015. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
  3. ^ Lipton, James (October 18, 2007). Inside Inside. Dutton. p. 14. ISBN 9780525950356.
  4. ^ "Person details for Harvey Kutel". familyserarch.org. Retrieved December 27, 2014.
  5. ^ Schoemer, Karen (November 7, 1993). "Harvey Keitel Tries A Little Tenderness". The New York Times. Retrieved March 7, 2013.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Inside the Actors Studio. The Actors Studio, Bravo Network, Betelgeuse Productions. 1998. Retrieved December 27, 2014.
  7. ^ HB Studio Alumni
  8. ^ Cowie, Peter (1994). Coppola: A Biography. New York: Scribner. p. 122. ISBN 978-0-306-80598-1.
  9. ^ "24th Moscow International Film Festival (2002)". MIFF. Archived from the original on January 16, 2013. Retrieved March 30, 2013.
  10. ^ Mitovich, Matt (July 24, 2008). "Scoop! Keitel Lands on Mars as Homicide Boss". TV Guide. Retrieved March 7, 2013.
  11. ^ Dolan, Jon (December 13, 2013). "'Beyonce' Breakdown: The Ultimate Guide to Bey's Surprise New Album". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
  12. ^ "Monterey Media Acquires Three Films, Including Works Starring Gerard Depardieu and Harvey Keitel". indiewire.com. October 17, 2013. Retrieved November 6, 2013.
  13. ^ "Direct Line challenges rivals with Harvey Keitel 'fixer' ads". marketingmagazine.co.uk. August 29, 2014. Retrieved September 4, 2014.
  14. ^ "Meet Winston Wolfe". directline.com. August 30, 2014. Retrieved September 4, 2014.[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ John Lombardi (January 12, 1998). "Scenes From a Bad Movie Marriage". New York Magazine.
  16. ^ "Scenes from a Bad Barriage". The Independent. March 7, 1998. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
  17. ^ Pinto, Goel (October 7, 2001). "American-Jewish Actor Harvey Keitel Gets Married in Jerusalem". Haaretz. Retrieved January 27, 2019.
  18. ^ Mottern, James (November 29, 2012). "Slate for 'God Only Knows'". jamesmottern.com. Archived from the original on February 16, 2013. Retrieved March 7, 2013.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Paul Newman
President of the Actors Studio
With: Al Pacino
and Ellen Burstyn
Succeeded by