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Stacy Keach

Stacy Keach

American actor
The basics
Occupation Television actor Film actor Television producer Screenwriter Actor Actor
Country United States of America
Date of birth Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia, U.S.A.
Father: Stacy Keach Sr.
Brother(s): James Keach
Spouse: Jill Donohue Malgosia Tomassi
Height: 1.80975 m
Awards Fulbright Scholarship
Education Yale School of Drama, London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, Yale University, Van Nuys High School, University of California, Berkeley
Authority ISNI id Library of congress id All Movie id IMDB id Musicbrainz id NNDB id VIAF id
The details

Walter Stacy Keach Jr. (born June 2, 1941) is an American actor of stage, film, and television. Highly prolific, he has played mainly dramatic roles throughout his career, often in law enforcement or as a private detective. His most prominent role was as Mickey Spillane's fictional detective Mike Hammer, which he played in numerous stand-alone television films and at least three different television series throughout the 1980s and 1990s. The role earned him a Golden Globe Award nomination in 1984.

He has also performed as a narrator for programs including CNBC'S American Greed (2008–) and various educational television programs. Comedic roles include his role in the Fox sitcom Titus (2000–2002) as Ken, the father of comedian Christopher Titus, and as Sergeant Stedenko in Cheech & Chong's films Up in Smoke (1978) and Nice Dreams (1981). His most recent recurring roles include two seasons as Henry Pope, the warden, in the series Prison Break (2005–2007); "Pops", the father of the main character from the boxing drama Lights Out (2011); the elderly father Bob on the sitcom Crowded (2016); and the father of Matt LeBlanc's protagonist Adam on Man With A Plan (2016–). Keach won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for the television miniseries Hemingway (1988).

Early life

Keach was born in Savannah, Georgia, to Mary Cain (née Peckham), an actress, and Walter Stacy Keach Sr., a theatre director, drama teacher, and actor. 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, 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 in 1966 and was a Fulbright Scholar at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.

While studying in London, Keach met Laurence Olivier, his acting hero.



Keach played the title role in MacBird!, an Off-Broadway anti-war satire by Barbara Garson staged at the Village Gate in 1966. 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. In 1967, Keach also starred in We Bombed in New Haven, a play by Joseph Heller that premiered in New Haven at the Yale Repertory Theatre and later was produced on Broadway. 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. 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.

Keach 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. In 1991 and 1996 he won Helen Hayes Awards for Outstanding Actor for his work in Richard III and Macbeth with the Shakespeare Theatre Company. In 1998, he was one of the three principals in a London production of Art with George Wendt.

In 2006, Keach 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 New York Philharmonic. In the summer of 2009, Shakespeare Theatre Company remounted the production of King Lear at Sidney Harman Hall in Washington, D.C., for which Keach won another Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Actor.

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

In 2008 and 2009, Keach portrayed Richard M. Nixon in the U.S. touring company of the play Frost/Nixon.

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. He has performed leads in many productions with the company, including 'Willy Loman' in Death of a Salesman and 'John Proctor' in The Crucible.

He was scheduled to return to Broadway in December 2014 in the revival of Love Letters at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre alongside Diana Rigg, but the production closed before Keach and Rigg began their runs.

Keach was scheduled to play Ernest Hemingway in Jim McGrath's one-man play Pamplona at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago from May 30 to June 25, 2017. Keach appeared in previews of Pamplona, May 19 through May 28, and was well-received by audiences. He was reported as sick on opening night, but still went on stage. The production was halted about an hour into the performance due to his ill health. The following two nights' performances were also canceled, and on June 2, the Goodman Theatre announced that the entire run would be canceled after Keach's doctors advised a period of rest and recuperation.

In February 2018, the Goodman announced that Keach would return to the role July 10 through August 18. Keach said it would fulfill and obligation "to the play, to the city and to myself".


Keach sang backing vocals on the Judy Collins hit song "Amazing Grace". He is also credited with co-writing a song, Easy Times, on the Judy Collins live album "Living".


Keach played a rookie policeman 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 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 & 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. 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). His brother James played Jesse James. 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, main character Dusty Crophopper's flight instructor. He reprised the role in Planes: Fire & Rescue.

In 2012 Keach had a significant supporting role in The Bourne Legacy, and in the 2013 Alexander Payne film Nebraska.

In 2017 the film Gotti will be released. Keach plays the part of Neil Dellacroce, the notorious underboss of the Gambino crime family.


Keach as Mike Hammer and Tanya Roberts as Velda 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. He played Barabbas in 1977's Jesus of Nazareth, 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 Hemingway.

In 2000, he played Ken Titus, the father of the title character in Fox's sitcom Titus. Cast members of Titus have commented they enjoyed working with Keach because he would find a way to make even the driest line funny.

Keach lent his voice to The Simpsons episodes "Hungry, Hungry Homer", "Old Yeller-Belly", "Marge and Homer Turn a Couple Play", and "Waiting for Duffman", portraying Duff Brewery President Howard K. Duff VIII, and the Batman Beyond episode "Lost Soul" as an artificial intelligence. He also guest starred in a 2005 episode of the sitcom Will & Grace, and had a recurring role as Warden Henry Pope in the Fox drama Prison Break.

In November 2013, Keach appeared on the Fox comedy series Brooklyn Nine-Nine, in the episode "Old School". In February 2015, Keach started guest appearing in NCIS: New Orleans as Cassius Pride, father of NCIS Agent Dwayne Pride. In 2017, Keach started guest appearing in Man with a Plan as Joe Burns, father of Adam Burns (played by co-star Matt LeBlanc) and was later promoted to series regular status for season two.


Stacy Keach narrated several episodes of Nova, National Geographic, and various other informational series. From 1989-92, 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 1992-95, 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.

In 2008, Keach once again reprised his famous role as Mike Hammer in a series of full-cast radio dramatisations for Blackstone Audio. (He also arranged and performed the music for the audio dramas. His wife, Malgosia Tomassi also starred in the dramas playing Maya Ricci, a yoga instructor.) Keach has also read many of Mickey Spillane's original Mike Hammer novels as Audiobooks.

Keach played the role of John in The Truth & Life Dramatized Audio Bible, a 22-hour audio version of the RSV-CE translation of the New Testament. He also voiced both Job and Paul the Apostle in The Word of Promise, a 2007 dramatic audio presentation based on the New King James Version.

On January 6, 2014, Keach became the official voice of The Opie and Anthony Channel on SiriusXM Satellite Radio (Sirius Channel 206, XM Channel 103).

Personal life

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.

In 1984, London police arrested Keach at Heathrow Airport for possession of cocaine. Keach pleaded guilty, and served six months at Reading Prison.

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 during that time led to his conversion to Roman Catholicism. Subsequently, he and his wife met with Pope John Paul II to have their son blessed. His wife, Malgosia Tomassi, had gone to the same school as the Pope had attended in Warsaw when young.

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. In 2015, Keach became a Polish citizen.

He suffered a mild stroke in March 2009, from which he has made a full recovery.



Title Year Role Notes
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter 1968 Blount
Brewster McCloud 1970 Abraham Wright
End of the Road Jacob Horner
The Traveling Executioner Jonas Candide
Doc 1971 Doc Holliday
The New Centurions 1972 Roy Fehler
Fat City Billy Tully
The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean Original Bad Bob the Albino
Wilbur and Orville: The First to Fly 1973 Wilbur Wright
Luther Martin Luther
The Gravy Train 1974 Calvin
Watched! Mike Mandell/Sonny
Conduct Unbecoming 1975 Captain Harper
Street People 1976 Charlie Hanson
The Killer Inside Me Lou Ford
The Squeeze 1977 Jim Naboth
The Greatest Battle 1978 Major Mannfred Roland
Gray Lady Down Capt. Bennett
Up in Smoke Sergeant Stedanko
Two Solitudes Huntley McQueen
Mountain of the Cannibal God 1979 Professor Edward Foster
The Ninth Configuration 1980 Col. Vincent Kane
The Long Riders Frank James
Road Games 1981 Patrick Quid
Nice Dreams Sergeant Stedanko
Butterfly 1982 Jess Tyler
That Championship Season James Daley
False Identity 1990 Ben Driscoll/Harlan Errickson
Class of 1999 Dr. Bob Forest
Milena 1991 Jesenski
Sunset Grill 1993 Harrison Shelgrove
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm Carl Beaumont / Voice of Phantasm Voice
New Crime City 1994 Wynorski
Raw Justice Deputy Mayor Bob Jenkins
Escape From L.A. 1996 Commander Malloy
Prey of the Jaguar The Commander
The Sea Wolf 1997 Captain Wolf
American History X 1998 Cameron Alexander
Future Fear General Wallace
Fear Runs Silent 1999 Mr. Hill
Children of the Corn 666: Isaac's Return Dr. Michaels
Unshackled 2000 Warden Kelso
Icebreaker Bill Foster
Militia George Armstrong Montgomery
Mercy Streets Tom
Sunstorm 2001 General John Parker
Birds of Passage Captain Savienko
When Eagles Strike 2003 General Thurmond
The Hollow 2004 Claus Van Ripper
Caught in the Headlights Mr. Jones
Galaxy Hunter 3V3
El Padrino: The Latin Godfather Governor Lancaster
Man with the Screaming Brain 2005 Dr. Ivanov
Keep Your Distance Brooks Voight
Come Early Morning 2006 Owen Allen
Jesus, Mary and Joey Jack O'Callahan
Honeydripper 2007 Sheriff
W. 2008 Earle Hudd
Chicago Overcoat 2009 Ray Berkowski
The Boxer Joe
Weather Wars 2011 Marcus Grange
Cellmates Warden Merville
Jerusalem Countdown Jackson
The Bourne Legacy 2012 Turso
The Great Chameleon Max
Ooga Booga 2013
Planes Skipper Voice only
Nebraska Ed Pegram
Planes: Fire & Rescue 2014 Skipper Voice
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For Wallenquist
If I Stay Grandpa
Truth 2015 Lt. Colonel Bill Burkett
Cell 2016 Charles Ardai
Gold Clive Coleman
Girlfriend's Day 2017 Gundy
Gotti 2018 Aniello "Neil" Dellacroce


Title Year Role Notes
Channing 1964 The Colleague Episode: "The Face in the Sun"
The Winter's Tale 1967 Autolycus Television film
Macbeth 1968 Banquo Television film
NET Playhouse 1971 Wilbur Wright Episode: "The Wright Brothers"
The Man of Destiny 1973 Napoleon Bonaparte Television film
All the Kind Strangers 1974 Jimmy Wheeler Television film
Great Performances Chorus Episode: "Antigone"
Caribe 1975 Lieutenant Ben Logan 6 episodes
Dynasty 1976 Matt Blackwood Miniseries
Lincoln Politician Episode: "Crossing Fox River"
Jesus of Nazareth 1977 Barabbas Miniseries; episode: "Part 2"
The Fitzpatricks 1978 Unnamed character Episode: "The New Fitzpatrick"
Saturday Night Live Man in Cold As Ice Episode: "Christopher Lee/Meatloaf"
A Rumor of War 1980 Maj. Ball Miniseries
The Blue and the Gray 1982 Jonas Steele Miniseries
Princess Daisy 1983 Prince Alexander "Stash" Valensky Miniseries
Murder Me, Murder You Mike Hammer Television film
Mistral's Daughter 1984 Julien Mistral Miniseries
More Than Murder 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 Dr. Jeff Bierston Television film
The New Mike Hammer 1986–1987 Mike Hammer Television series
Hemingway 1988 Ernest Hemingway Miniseries
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 Mike Hammer Television film
Missing: Reward 1989-1992 Host Television series
The Mysteries of the Dark Jungle 1991 Colonel Edward Corishant Miniseries
Mission of the Shark: The Saga of the U.S.S. Indianapolis Captain Charles Butler McVay III, USN Television film
Lincoln 1992 George McClellan (voice only) Television film
Haunted Lives: True Ghost Stories Narrator (voice only) Television series
Revenge on the Highway Claude Sams Television film
Rio Diablo 1993 Kansas Television film
Body Bags Richard Coberts Television film
In The Heat Of The Night Wade Hatton Television film
Against Their Will: Women in Prison 1994 Jack Devlin Television film
Texas Sam Houston ABC Television film
Young Ivanhoe 1995 Pembrooke Television film
Amanda & the Alien Emmitt Mallory Television film
The Pathfinder 1996 Compte du Leon Television film
Promised Land 1997 Ned Bernhart Episode: "Downsized"
Legend of the Lost Tomb Dr. William Bent Television film
Murder in My Mind Cargill Television film
Mike Hammer, Private Eye 1997–1998 Mike Hammer 26 episodes
Touched by an Angel 1997, 2003 Maury Hoover / Ty Duncan 2 episodes
Rugrats 1998–2001 Marvin Finster (voice) 3 episodes
Batman Beyond 1999 Vance (voice) Episode: "Lost Soul"
The Courage to Love 2000 Jean Baptiste Television film
The Outer Limits Cord van Owen Episode: "The Gun"
Titus 2000–2002 Ken Titus 54 episodes
Lightning: Fire from the Sky 2001 Bart Pointdexter Television film
The Zeta Project Roland de Flores (voice) Episode: "The Next Gun"
The Simpsons 2001–2016 Howard Duff / Various (voice) 6 episodes
The Santa Trap 2002 Max Hurst Television film
The Zeta Project Roland de Flores (voice) Episode: "The Next Gun"
Girls Club Harold Falcon Episode: "Book of Virtues"
Miracle Dogs 2003 C.W. Aldrich Television film
Frozen Impact Pete Crane Television film
What's New, Scooby-Doo? 2003, 2005 Harold Lind / The Mayor (voice) 2 episodes
George Lopez 2005 Blaine McNamara Episode: "George Stare-oids Down Jason"
Will & Grace Wendell Schacter Episode: "From Queer to Eternity"
Prison Break 2005–2007 Henry Pope 23 episodes
Desolation Canyon 2006 Samuel Kendrick Television film
Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America Secretary Collin Reed Television film
Blackbeard Captain Benjamin Hornigold Television film
Death Row (a.k.a. Haunted Prison) John Elias Television film
ER 2007 Mike Gates 3 episodes
American Greed 2007–present Narrator (voice only) Television series transmitted on the Consumer News-and-Business Channel
Lone Rider 2008 Robert Hattaway Television film
Ring of Death Warden Golan Television film
Meteor 2009 Sheriff Crowe Television film
The Nanny Express Rev. McGuiness Television film
Two and a Half Men 2010 Tom, Chelsea's father 4 episodes
Lights Out 2011 Pops Leary 13 episodes
Bored to Death Bergeron 2 episodes
Mater's Tall Tales Skipper (voice) Episode: "Air Mater"
Hindenburg [de] Edward van Zandt Television film
30 Rock 2012 Himself Episode: "Murphy Brown Lied to Us"
Anything For Money Narrator Song written and composed to promote CNBC's series American Greed (see above)
The Neighbors 2012–2013 Dominick Weaver 3 episodes
Sean Saves the World 2013 Lee Thompson 3 episodes
1600 Penn Senator Frohm Thoroughgood 2 episodes
Anger Management Ray Episode: "Charlie and Deception Therapy"
Brooklyn Nine-Nine Jimmy Brogan Episode: "Old School"
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit 2014 Orion Bauer Episode: "American Disgrace"
Enlisted Patrick Episode: "Vets"
Jennifer Falls Mike Episode: "Jennifer's Song"
The Exes Bill Drake Episode: "An Officer and a Dental Man"
Hot in Cleveland 2015 Alex 2 episodes
Full Circle Bud O'Rourke 8 episodes
NCIS: New Orleans 2015, 2017 Cassius Pride 3 episodes
Crowded 2016 Bob Moore 13 episodes
Blunt Talk Arthur Bronson 2 episodes
Ray Donovan Marty (The Texan) 2 episodes
Blue Bloods 2016-2017 Archbishop Kevin Kearns 3 episodes
Man with a Plan 2017–present Joe Burns 23 episodes
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