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Harvey Keitel (1939)

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  Summary  

Harvey Keitel is an American actor. Some of his most notable starring roles were in Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets and Taxi Driver, Ridley Scott's The Duellists and Thelma and Louise, Ettore Scola's That Night in Varennes, Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, Jane Campion's The Piano, Abel Ferrara's Bad Lieutenant, James Mangold's Cop Land, Nicolas Roeg's Bad Timing, and Theo Angelopoulos's Ulysses' Gaze. He recently played Detective Lieutenant Gene Hunt on the American adaptation of Life on Mars.

  Biography  

 early life
Keitel was born in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, the son of Miriam (née Klein) and Harry Keitel, Jewish immigrants from Romania and Poland. His parents owned and ran a luncheonette and his father also worked as a hat maker.

Keitel grew up in the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn, with his sister, Renee, and brother, Jerry. He attended Abraham Lincoln High School. At the age of sixteen, he decided to join the United States Marine Corps, a decision that took him to Lebanon, during Operation Blue Bat. After his return to the United States, he was a court reporter for several years and was able to support himself before beginning his acting career.

 career
Keitel studied under both Stella Adler and Lee Strasberg and at the HB Studio, eventually landing roles in some Off-Broadway productions. During this time, Keitel auditioned for filmmaker Martin Scorsese and gained a part in Scorsese's student production, Who's That Knocking at My Door. Since then, Scorsese and Keitel have worked together on several projects. Keitel had the starring role in Scorsese's Mean Streets, which also proved to be Robert De Niro's breakthrough film. He later appeared with De Niro in Taxi Driver, playing the role of Jodie Foster's pimp.

Cast as Captain Willard in Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now, 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 a passive onlooker". After viewing the first week's footage, Coppola made the difficult decision to replace Keitel with a casting session favorite, Martin Sheen.

Keitel drifted into obscurity through most of the 1980s. He continued to do work on both stage and screen, but usually in the stereotypical role of a thug. Ridley Scott cast Keitel as the sympathetic policeman in Thelma and Louise in 1991. That same year, he landed a role in Bugsy, for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor, then played another mobster, Deloris's gangster ex-boyfriend Vince LaRocca in Sister Act several months later. Keitel starred in Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs (which he co-produced) in 1992, 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 off a broader acting range. One of those roles was the title character in Bad Lieutenant, about a self-loathing, drug- addicted police lieutenant trying to redeem himself. He also appeared in the movie The Piano in 1993, and played an efficient clean-up expert Winston "The Wolf" Wolfe in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. In 1996 he did 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 F.B.I. 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 Eyes Wide Shut, due to shooting conflicts. He has shown a willingness to help other start-up filmmakers by appearing in their first feature film. He did this not only for Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino, but also Ridley Scott , Paul Schrader , James Toback , and Tony Bui .

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

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. In 2008, Keitel was cast in the role of Detective Gene Hunt in ABC's short-lived US cover version of the successful English time-travel police drama series Life on Mars.

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.

 personal life
Keitel was formerly in a long-term relationship with actress Lorraine Bracco, known for playing the psychiatrist Dr. Jennifer Melfi in The Sopranos. He married actress Daphna Kastner in 2001. Keitel is the father of three children: daughter Stella from his relationship with Bracco; son Hudson from his relationship with Lisa Karmazin; and son Roman from his marriage to Kastner. He is godfather of close friend Michael Madsen's son Max.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Harvey Keitel", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.