Birthdate: September 5, 1951
Birthplace: Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, USA
Many actors have evolved from specializing in comedy to acclaim for dramatic performances, but few in his generation have accomplished it with a more distinctive touch than Michael Keaton (birthname: Michael John Douglas). In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he reached a stratosphere of global fame for the outlandish title character in Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice (1988) and again with Burton in Batman (1989), and in Batman Returns (1992) as Batman/Bruce Wayne.
Michael Keaton has arguably never matched this double-play, but in between his two blockbusters, he first suggested his dramatic range in Clean and Sober (1988). Keaton’s attempts to expand beyond his identifiable brand as a dynamic, physical comic actor finally made a real impact in Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown (1997), as FBI agent Ray Nicolette (which Keaton revived a year later in Steven Soderbergh’s Out of Sight (1998)). Despite prestigious turns in projects with such masters as Don DeLillo (Game 6 (2005), Keaton’s only major box-office hits were such animated features as Cars (2006) and Toy Story 3 (2010), in which he did voice work.
A new phase of Michael Keaton’s career happened in 2014, with his lauded performance as Riggan, a struggling veteran actor in Birdman (2014), for which Keaton was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar. Keaton starred in back-to-back Best Picture Oscar winners, Birdman and Spotlight (2015), further solidifying his dramatic credentials. Other vehicles designed to cash in on Keaton’s Oscar cache—most prominently his portrayal of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc, in The Founder (2016)—were box-office duds.
Yet Keaton has cleverly jumped on the superhero bandwagon (one which he helped launch in the late ‘80s) in roles in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), Morbius (2022), and reviving his Batman/Bruce Wayne in both The Flash (2022) and Batgirl (2022). His most recent prestige assignments involved portraying real-life figures Ramsay Clark in Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) and as a troubled doctor in Hulu’s streaming limited series, Dopesick (2021).
Michael Keaton was born in 1951 to Leona Elizabeth Loftus and George Alexander Douglas, in Kennedy Township, Pennsylvania. He has six siblings, three brothers, and three sisters. He attended Kent State University from 1969 to 1971, where he studied Speech, and dropped out in 1971. Keaton married Caroline McWilliams in 1982.
The couple divorced in 1990. They had one child, composer Sean Douglas. Keaton had a relationship with Courteney Cox from 1989 to 1995. He owns a ranch near Big Timber, Montana. Keaton’s reported net worth is $40 million.* Keaton’s height is 5’ 10’’.
What’s in a name?: Michael Keaton claims that he found his stage name of “Michael Keaton” by randomly searching the phone book.
AKA: Keaton’s nicknames include Keats and Dougie.
Take Me Out to the Ballgame: Lifelong Pittsburgh Pirates fan Keaton wrote a blog about the Pirates for ESPN’s website in 2013.
A Nice Start: Michael Keaton’s first on-camera performances, as one of the “Flying Zookeeni Brothers,” were on episodes of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood in 1975.
A Gentleman and a Scholar: Keaton is a visiting scholar at Carnegie Mellon University.
Different movies, different directors, same role—twice!: Michael Keaton is one of the few actors to play the same characters in different movies with different directors that are (mostly) not sequels: As FBI Agent Ray Nicolette, created by author Elmore Leonard, in Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown and Steven Soderbergh’s Out of Sight; and four times as Batman/Bruce Wayne in Tim Burton’s Batman, Batman Returns, The Flash and Batgirl.
Go fish: Keaton is an enthusiastic fisherman, which he does near his Montana ranch home, and appears with fellow fishing enthusiasts Tom Brokaw, novelist Thomas McGuane and Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard on the Outdoor Channel show, “Buccaneers & Bones.”