Michael Keaton is an American actor, producer, and director. Keaton first rose to fame for his comedic film roles in Night Shift (1982), Mr. Mom (1983), Johnny Dangerously (1984) and Beetlejuice (1988), and he earned further acclaim for his dramatic portrayal of the title character in Tim Burton’s Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992).
Let’s find out some facts about him!
1. Michael John Douglas was born September 5, 1951 in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh.
2. He is he youngest of seven children.
3. His father, George A. Douglas, worked as a civil engineer and surveyor, and his mother, Leona Elizabeth, a homemaker, came from McKees Rocks.
4. Keaton was raised in a Roman Catholic family. His mother was of Irish descent, and his father was of English, Scottish, Scots-Irish, and German ancestry.
5. He attended Montour High School in Pennsylvania. Keaton studied speech for two years at Kent State before dropping out and moving to Pittsburgh.
6. Keaton first appeared on TV in Pittsburgh public television programs, including Where the Heart Is and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (1975), as one of the “Flying Zookeeni Brothers.” He also served as a full-time production assistant on the show.
7. In 2004, following Fred Rogers’ death, Keaton hosted a PBS memorial tribute program, Fred Rogers: America’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.
8. 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.
9. He decided to use a stage name to satisfy SAG rules, as there were already an actor (Michael Douglas) and daytime host (Mike Douglas) with the same or similar names. The claim that Keaton selected his new surname due to an attraction to actress Diane Keaton is incorrect.
10. He chose Keaton because of an affinity for the physical comedy of Buster Keaton. Keaton’s film debut came in a small non-speaking role in Joan Rivers film Rabbit Test.
11. His next 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.
12. His role as the fast-talking schemer Bill “Blaze” Blazejowski earned Keaton some critical acclaim, and he scored leads in the subsequent comedy hits Mr. Mom, Johnny Dangerously and Gung Ho.
13. He played the title character in Tim Burton’s 1988 horror-comedy Beetlejuice, earned Keaton widespread acclaim and boosted him to movieland’s A list. He originally turned down the role, then reconsidered like most of the cast. He now considers Beetlejuice his favorite of his own films.
14. That same year, he also gave an acclaimed dramatic performance as a drug-addicted businessman in Clean and Sober.
15. Keaton’s career was given another major boost when he was again cast by Tim Burton, this time as the title comic book superhero of 1989’s Batman.
16. Warner Bros. received thousands of letters of complaint by fans who believed Keaton was the wrong choice to portray Batman.However, Keaton’s performance in the role ultimately earned widespread acclaim from both critics and audiences, and Batman became one of the most successful films of that year.
17. According to Les Daniels’s 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 miniseries, The Dark Knight Returns, that Keaton really understood the dark and brooding side of Batman that he portrayed to much fan approval.
18. Keaton later reprised the role for the sequel Batman Returns (1992), which was another critically acclaimed success.
19. He was initially 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 as well. He was reportedly dissatisfied with the screenplay approved by the new director, Joel Schumacher.
20. Keaton remained active during the 1990s, appearing in a wide range of films, including Pacific Heights, One Good Cop, My Life and the star-studded Shakespearean story Much Ado About Nothing.
21. He starred in The Paper and Multiplicity, and twice in the same role, that of Elmore Leonard character Agent Ray Nicolette, in the films Jackie Brown and Out of Sight.
22. He made the family holiday movie Jack Frost and the thriller Desperate Measures. Keaton starred as a political candidate’s speechwriter in 1994’s Speechless.
23. In the early 2000s, Keaton appeared in several films with mixed success, including Live From Baghdad (for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe award), First Daughter, White Noise and Herbie: Fully Loaded.
24. While he continued to receive good notices from the critics (particularly for Jackie Brown), he was not able to re-approach the box-office success of Batman until the release of Disney/Pixar’s Cars (2006), in which he voiced Chick Hicks.
25. On New Year’s Day of 2004, he hosted the PBS TV special Mr. Rogers: America’s Favorite Neighbor.
26. Keaton reportedly was cast as Jack Shephard in the series Lost, with the understanding that the role of Jack would be a brief one. Once the role was retooled to be a long-running series regular, Keaton withdrew.
27. Keaton starred in the 2007 TV miniseries The Company, set during the Cold War, in which he portrayed the real-life CIA counterintelligence chief James Jesus Angleton. The role garnered Keaton a 2008 SAG nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries.
28. He announced in June 2010 his interest in returning for a Beetlejuice sequel.
29. He played Captain Gene Mauch in the comedy The Other Guys.
30. Keaton starred alongside Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, and Naomi Watts in Birdman (2014), playing Riggan Thomson, a screen actor, famous for playing the iconic titular superhero, who puts on a Broadway play based on a Raymond Carver short story, to regain his former glory.
31. He won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy for his portrayal of Thomson and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.
32. In 2015, Keaton appeared as Walter V. Robinson in the film Spotlight.
33. In February 2015, Keaton was cast as Ray Kroc in the biopic The Founder.
34. In 2016, Keaton entered negotiations to appear as a villain in Spider-Man: Homecoming, which will be released in 2017. Producer Kevin Feige confirmed that November that Keaton would be playing the supervillain the Vulture.
35. On July 28, 2016, Keaton received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, located at 6931 Hollywood Boulevard.
36. Keaton was married to the late actress Caroline McWilliams from 1982 to 1990. They have one son, Sean Maxwell Douglas.
37. He also had a relationship with actress Courteney Cox from 1989 to 1995.
38. Keaton, a long-time Pittsburgh resident, is an avid Pittsburgh Pirates fan and negotiated a break in his Batman movie contract in case the Pirates made the playoffs that year (they did not).
39. In the 1980s, Keaton bought a ranch near Big Timber, Montana, where he spends much of his time.
40. An avid fisherman, he is often seen on the saltwater fishing series Buccaneers & Bones on Outdoor Channel, along with Lefty Kreh, Tom Brokaw, Zach Gilford, Thomas McGuane and Yvon Chouinard.
41. Keaton is a Democrat. He endorsed President Barack Obama for re-election in 2012and Senator Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination in 2016.