- Michael John Douglas
September 05, 1951 (age 69)
- Actor, Singer, Comedian, Dancer, Voice Actor
- Caroline McWilliams
- Leona Elizabeth Loftus, George A. Douglas
Michael John Douglas (born September 5, 1951), better known by his stage name Michael Keaton, is an American actor, comedian, producer, and director. He became popular for his early comedic film roles, notably for his performance as the title character of Tim Burton's Beetlejuice (1988), and later gained international fame for his dramatic portrayal of Bruce Wayne / Batman in Tim Burton's Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992). Other notable films of his include Night Shift (1982), Mr. Mom (1983), Clean and Sober (1988), Pacific Heights (1990) and Jackie Brown (1997), as well as providing voices for characters in the Pixar films Cars (2006) and Toy Story 3 (2010).
Keaton, the youngest of seven children, was born in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, and lived in Robinson Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. His father, George A. Douglas, worked as a civil engineer and surveyor, and his mother, Leona Elizabeth (née Loftus), a homemaker, came from McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania. Keaton was raised in a Catholic family. His mother was of Irish descent, and his father was of English and Scottish ancestry. He attended Montour High School in Pennsylvania. Keaton studied speech for two years at Kent State, before dropping out and moving to Pittsburgh.
An unsuccessful attempt at comedy led Keaton to working as a TV cameraman at public television station WQED (TV) in Pittsburgh. Keaton first appeared on TV in Pittsburgh-based public television programs, including "Where the Heart Is" and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (1975), as one of the "Flying Zucchini Brothers." He also served as a full-time production assistant on the show. In 2004, following Fred Rogers' death, Keaton hosted the PBS memorial tribute program, Fred Rogers: Everybody's Favorite Neighbor. Keaton also worked as an actor in Pittsburgh theatre; he played the role of Rick in the Pittsburgh premiere of David Rabe's Sticks and Bones with the Pittsburgh Poor Players.
Keaton left Pittsburgh and moved to Los Angeles to begin auditioning for various TV parts. He popped up in various popular TV shows including Maude and The Mary Tyler Moore Hour. Around this time Keaton decided to use an alternative surname to avoid confusion with well-known actor Michael Douglas and daytime host Mike Douglas, as well as to satisfy SAG rules. The rumor that Keaton changed his surname because of an attraction to actress Diane Keaton is incorrect. He chose Keaton because of an affinity for the physical comedy of Buster Keaton.
His next key break was working alongside James Belushi in the short-lived comedy series Working Stiffs, which showcased his comedic talent and led to a co-starring role in the comedy Night Shift directed by Ron Howard. His role as the fast-talking schemer Bill "Blaze" Blazejowski alongside Henry Winkler's nerdish morgue attendant earned Keaton some critical acclaim, and he scored leads in the subsequent comedy hits Mr. Mom, Johnny Dangerously, and Gung Ho.
Keaton's role as the title character in Tim Burton's 1988 horror-comedy Beetlejuice, which co-starred Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Catherine O'Hara and Winona Ryder, earned Keaton widespread acclaim and boosted him to movieland's A list. He originally turned down the role, then reconsidered. He now considers Beetlejuice his favorite of his own films.
Michael Keaton's career was given another major boost when he was again cast by Tim Burton, this time as the titular comic book superhero of the 1989 blockbuster Batman. Burton cast him because he thought that Keaton was the only actor who could believably portray someone who has the kind of darkly obsessive personality that the character demands. Warner Bros. received thousands of letters of complaint by fans commenting that Keaton was the wrong choice to portray Batman, given his prior work in comedies and the fact that he lacked the suave, handsome features and tall, muscular physicality often attributed to the character in the comic books. However, Keaton's dramatic performance earned widespread acclaim from critics and audiences alike, and Batman became one of the most successful films of the year.
According to Les Daniels' reference book, Batman: The Complete History, Keaton wasn't surprised when he was first considered as Batman as he initially believed the film would be similar to the 1960s television series starring Adam West. It was only after he was introduced to Frank Miller's comic book mini-series, The Dark Knight Returns, that Keaton really understood the dark and brooding side of Batman that he portrayed to much fan approval. Keaton later reprised the role in the sequelBatman Returns (1992), which was another critically acclaimed success, though also controversial for being much darker and more violent than the previous film.
He was set to reprise the role again for a third Batman film, even going as far as to show up for costume fitting. However, when Burton was dropped as director of the film, Keaton left the franchise. He was reportedly dissatisfied with the screenplay approved by the new director, Joel Schumacher, which Keaton considered to be too light-hearted in tone. According to the A&E Biography episode on Keaton, after he had refused the first time (after meetings with Schumacher), Warner Bros. offered him $15,000,000, but Keaton steadfastly refused. He was subsequently replaced by Val Kilmer in Batman Forever (1995).
Keaton was married to actress Caroline McWilliams from 1982 until 1990. They have one child, Sean Maxwell (born 1983). He also had a relationship with actress Courteney Cox from 1989 to 1995.