movie-actor howard keel actor movie-actor movie star howard keel images-actor-photos


Howard Keel – MovieActors.com

keel

Keel in KISS ME KATE.

About Howard Keel (1919 – 2004)

Howard Keel was born on April 13th, 1919 in Gillespie, Illinois, to a coal miner, alcoholic father Homer and mother Grace Osterkamp Keel; a lady who was 6' tall, tough, disciplined woman who was a homemaker.

Howard reflected about his childhood. "I had a terrible, rotten childhood. My father made away with himself when I was 11. I had no guidance, my mom was six feet tall, bucktoothed and very tough. I was mean and rebellious and had a terrible temper. I got a job as an auto mechanic, and I would have stayed in that narrow kind of life if I hadn't discovered art. Music changed me completely."

Howard Keel grew up in a poor household, where he often had no lunch for school. His teacher, Miss Rosa Burke would pack two lunches, one for Howard and one for herself, after noticing that he didn't bring one. Howard never forgot her kindness. Every time Howard was in a show near Gillespie, he would always send her comp tickets to the performance.

After his father killed himself in 1930, when Howard was eleven, Howard and his mom moved to the land of opportunity, California, settling in Fallbrook, an uncorporated area of San Diego County. Howard graduated from Fallbrook High School. During WW2, he got a job as a mechanic at first for Douglas Aircraft Company.

Other people in his life encouraged his singing. When he was 20, living in Los Angels, his landlady her him singing, and suggested that he take voice lessons. His employers heard him singing at work, and had him sing for various entertainment opportunities for the company's clients. He was promoted to being a traveling sales person for the Douglas Aircraft.

What inspired him to sing professionally was a Hollywood Bowl Concert. As he trained his voice through lessons, he got a gig as a singing waiter, became a musical festival contest winner, evolving to guest recitalist.

In 1946, Keen was discovered by Oscar Hammerstein II, during an audition for the under-study actor for the role of Billy Bigelow in Broadway's mega-hit, CAROUSEL. After hearing him sing, Oscar cast him right away. He went onto be the understudy for the part of Curly, in OKLAHOMA on Broadway as well, at the same time. One day, Keen was called to sing in both shows on the same day. Bet he was tired after singing in two shows!

In 1947, when the OKLAHOMA stage play went to the London stage at the Drury Lane Theatre, Howard took over the role, and he was a huge hit, where the audience demanded fourteen encores! Queen Elizabeth, who was in the audience, declared him to be the next great star.

Londoners loved him, and he stayed there, earning a living as an actor and concertist, while being hired for his first role in the medium of film; a non-singing character in the 1948 British crime drama, THE HIDEOUT.

At age 29, just nine years after his landlady told him to take voice lessons, Howard was living a positive life completely different than the narrow track he originally was on; being adored for his very special gift of musical theatre and acting with a charisma that drew in audiences.

MGM came to London, saw his performance on stage, and did a really good tap dance, to convince him to join their stable of actors, to do movie musicals back in California; Starting with ANNIE GET YOU GUN, in 1950.

Howard Keel became known for being a big, brawny, athletic, musical comedy actor. Because of his 6'4'' frame, his leading ladies often had to stand on boxes. He played leads in such classics as SHOWBOAT;(1951), CALAMITY JANE;(1953), KISS ME KATE;(1953), SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS;(1954) and KISMET;(1955).

In 1960, Howard was awarded a star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6253 Hollywood Blvd. , for motion pictures.

In the 1960s', Howard was in demand for action films, such as ARMOURED COMMAND:(1961), WACO;(1966), RED TOMAHAWK;(1967) and THE WAR WAGON;(1967), with John Wayne.

When film roles became less offered, Howard returned to the stage, singing and acting in summer stock and touring productions, often getting to work with his former leading ladies from the MGM musical films.

Howard Keel guest starred in many television shows in the 50's and 60's, including THE RED SKELTON HOUR, HERE'S LUCY, FANTASY ISLAND, LOVE BOAT and MURDER SHE WROTE.

He was a member of the cast of TV's DALLAS, which ran from 1981 to 1991. The television show was a night time soap about the shady business deal and dysfunctional families of Texas oil millionaires.

Keel started on Dallas as a temporary guest star, until someone permanent could get hired to replace the character Jock Ewing, who had been portrayed by actor Jim Davis, who had died. When the loyal fans of DALLAS reacted so positively to Keel, he was made a regular on the show, portraying the hot-tempered oil baron, Clayton Farlow. He was with this show from 1981-1991.

On his off time from DALLAS, Howard would take concert tours in England, never forgetting the love of the British people, and their adoration when he most needed it as an artist.

Howard also was awarded a record contract by an English record producing company, at the age of 64! His 1984 albums, JUST FOR YOU, and the album AND I LOVE YOU SO were commercial successes. His last album, REMINISCING- THE HOWARD KEEL COLLECTION also was very well received, being #20 on the UK Albums Chart, for 12 weeks in 1985 and 1986

Keel was philosophical. "You should never envy anyone. One day you might be in that person's position and it might not be so nice."

Howard Keel also commented on the sensitivity of creative people: "Any time you get in an area that takes a great deal of skill, you'll find that the tendrils are much more sensitive. People talk about actors being temperamental, but that sort of thing is everywhere."

Howard Keel was married three times, and had four children. With his first wife, Rosemary Cooper, his marriage was the shortest;(1943-1948).

Howard fell in love with a chorus girl in one of his British stage shows, Helen Anderson, and they were married on January 3rd, 1949-1970. The had three children;(Kaija, Kristine, and Gunnar).

On a blind date, in 1970, Howard met Judy, and they were married in December of 1970. They had a daughter, Leslie, in 1974. They were married until Howard died of colon cancer in 2004.

Howard Keel's notable film credits include:

MY FATHER'S HOUSE (2002)
ARIZONA BUSHWHACKERS (1968)
THE WAR WAGON (1967)
RED TOMAHAWK Í(1967)
WACO (1966)
THE DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS (1963)
ARMORED COMMAND (1961)
THE BIG FISHERMAN (1959)
FLOODS OF FEAR (1958)
KISMET (1955)
JUPITER'S DARLING (1955)
DEEP IN MY HEART (1954)
SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS (1954)
ROSE MARIE (1954)
KISS ME KATE (1953)
CALAMITY JANE (1953)
RIDE, VAQUERO! (1953)
FAST COMPANY (1953)
DESPERATE SEARCH (1952)
LOVELY TO LOOK AT (1952)
CALLAWAY WENT THATAWAY 91951)
TEXAS CARNIVAL(1951)
SHOW BOAT (1951)
THREE GUYS NAMED MIKE (1951)
PAGAN LOVE SONG (1950)
ANNIE GET YOU GUN (1950)
THE HIDEOUT (1948)

Howard Keel's notable television credits include:

WALKER, TEXAS RANGER(TV Series- episode Blue Movies) (1995)
HART TO HART:HOME IS WHERE THE HART IS (TV MOVIE)(1994)
MURDER, SHE WROTE:A Killing in Vegas episode) (Nov. 24th, 1991)
GOOD SPORTS (TV SERIES 1991)
DALLAS (TV SOAP SERIES)(1981-1991)
GREAT PERFORMANCES:Irving Berlin's America -(Mar. 7th 1986)
LIVE FROM HER MAJESTY'S (BBC TV SERIES-episode, 4/15/84)(1984)
THE LOVE BOAT (TV SERIES - 2 episodes) (1981, 1983)
FANTASY ISLAND (TV SERIES-ONE EPISODE) (1982)
THE QUEST (TV SERIES- One episode) (1969)
HERE'S LUCY (TV SERIES--episode Lucy's Safari, Mr. Livingston - (1969)
THE RED SKELTON HOUR (TV SERIES - episode) (1967)
RUN FOR YOUR LIFE(TV SERIES- Episode:The time of the Sharks) (1965)
KISS ME KATE (TV MOVIE)(1964)
ROBERTA (TV MOVIE) (1958)
ZANE GREY THEATER (TV SERIES 1957)

keel

howard-keel

keel-howard

howard-keel

Howard Keel in SHOW BOAT (1951).

howard-keel-images

howard-keel-photoskeel-photo

Howard Keel in KISS ME KATE (1953).

howard-keel-poster