Keir Dullea

Keir Dullea

Born: May 30, 1936
Age: 87
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
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Keir Dullea (/ˈkɪər dʊˈleɪ/; born May 30, 1936) is an American actor[1] best known for his portrayals of astronaut David Bowman in the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey and its 1984 sequel, 2010: The Year We Make Contact. His other film roles include Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965) and Black Christmas (1974).[2] He studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York City.

Dullea was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Margaret (née Ruttan) and Robert Dullea. His mother was of Scottish descent and his father was a second-generation Irish-American.[3][4] He was raised in the Greenwich Village section of New York City where his parents ran a bookstore. He graduated from George School in Pennsylvania, then attended Rutgers University in New Jersey and San Francisco State University in California before deciding to pursue an acting career.[5]

Dullea has been married four times, first to stage and film actress Margot Bennett from 1960 until their divorce in 1968. He was married from 1969 to 1970 to Susan Lessons. In 1972, Dullea married Susie Fuller, who had two daughters from a previous relationship. The couple met during the London run of Butterflies Are Free. Dullea, Fuller and her children lived in London for several years. She died in 1998 after 26 years of marriage. In 1999, Dullea married actress Mia Dillon. They divide their time between an apartment in Manhattan and a house in Connecticut.



Early career

Dullea made his film debut in 1961's Hoodlum Priest,[6] in which he played a juvenile delinquent, though he had had an earlier role as the German pilot in a 1960 television adaptation of Mrs. Miniver starring Maureen O'Hara. In 1962, he starred with Janet Margolin in David and Lisa, a film based on the book by Theodore Isaac Rubin, M.D., a psychiatrist who treated the two mentally ill adolescents portrayed in the film. He played a number of emotionally disturbed youths in films such as the first screen adaptation of James Jones' The Thin Red Line (1964), and Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965), which co-starred Dullea with Laurence Olivier, Carol Lynley, and Noël Coward. Although they shared no scenes together in the film, when Coward initially met Dullea on the set, he uttered the often quoted line, 'Keir Dullea, gone tomorrow.'

Dullea also appeared on television in shows such as Naked City, a police drama about New York City, The Eleventh Hour, a medical drama about psychiatry, and Channing, a drama about life on a college campus starring Jason Evers and Henry Jones. In 1965, he guest-starred as Lieutenant Kurt Muller in episode 20, "To Heinie, With Love", of Twelve O'Clock High. He appeared with John Huston in the movie De Sade (1969), playing the title role (the Marquis de Sade). He also appeared with Anne Heywood and Sandy Dennis in the 1967 film The Fox.

In 1968 he appeared as astronaut David Bowman in Stanley Kubrick's film 2001: A Space Odyssey,[7] which became a box-office success and was eventually recognized by critics, filmmakers, and audiences as one of the greatest and most influential films ever made. His line, "Open the pod bay doors please, HAL," is #78 on the American Film Institute's list of 100 movie quotes.

Later career

Since the great success of 2001, Dullea has had difficulty reproducing a similar success on film, although he was a regular vocal performer on CBS Radio Mystery Theater, which ran from 1974 to 1982. Dullea's other notable roles include Devon in the short-lived 1973 science fiction series The Starlost, Clayton Anderson Jr. in Madame X, Paul Renfield in The Fox, and Thomas Grambell in Brave New World (1981).

He had a major role in the Canadian production, 1974 cult classic Black Christmas. He also appeared as a regular cast member in the Canadian adult soap opera Loving Friends and Perfect Couples, which ran in 1983.[8]

In 1984, he reprised his role as David Bowman in 2010: The Year We Make Contact,[9] Peter Hyams' sequel to 2001. 2010 was nominated for five Academy Awards.[10]

In 2000, he appeared in The Audrey Hepburn Story as Hepburn's father Joseph.

In 2006, he had a role as a US Senator and a "major influence and mentor" to Matt Damon's character, in Robert De Niro's film The Good Shepherd.


Dullea has also had a long and successful career on stage in New York City and in regional theaters; he has stated that, despite being more recognized for his film work, he prefers the stage.[5] His first Broadway appearance was in 1967 in Ira Levin's Dr. Cook's Garden with Burl Ives. Two years later he starred in the 1969 hit comedy Butterflies Are Free alongside Eileen Heckart and Blythe Danner. The play detailed a blind youth's desire to break free from his overprotective mother and pursue love with a free spirited girl. In the play, he introduced the title song written by Stephen Schwartz (later recording the tune on an album for Platypus Records). In 1974, he played Brick in the Tennessee Williams classic Cat on a Hot Tin Roof opposite Elizabeth Ashley. The production featured the now definitive rewrite of the play.[citation needed] He also starred in the 1975 play P.S. Your Cat Is Dead.

Dullea was one of the last people to see actor Sal Mineo alive. The two were rehearsing for P.S. Your Cat is Dead on the night of Mineo's murder.

In 1982, Dullea starred in an off-Broadway production of A. E. Hotchner's Sweet Prince, under the direction of his wife, Susie Fuller.[11] The following year, the couple co-founded the Theater Artists Workshop of Westport.[5]

In July 1984, Dullea was guest artist aboard the ocean liner Queen Elizabeth 2. On July 11, he performed Anton Chekhov's one-act play The Harmfulness of Tobacco in the QE2 Theatre.

In December 2004, for their annual birthday celebration to "The Master", the Noël Coward Society invited Dullea as the guest celebrity to lay flowers in front of Coward's statue at New York's Gershwin Theatre, thereby commemorating the 105th birthday of Sir Noël. Around the same time, Sony Home Video released Bunny Lake Is Missing for the first time on DVD.

In April 2010, Dullea performed the role of Tom Garrison in the off-Broadway production of the Robert Anderson play, I Never Sang for My Father co-starring Oscar-nominated actress Marsha Mason (as Margaret Garrison) and film and stage actor Matt Servitto (as Gene Garrison).

In October 2012, Dullea performed the role of Heinrich Mann in the Guthrie Theater production of Tales from Hollywood by Christopher Hampton.

During August and September 2013, Keir Dullea starred as Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, playing opposite wife Mia Dillon in a joint production for Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater and Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival.

Between July 10-August 2, 2015, Dullea and wife Mia Dillon were joined by Todd Cerveris, Cameron Clifford, Don Noble and Christa Scott-Reed in the Bucks County Playhouse production of Ernest Thompson's On Golden Pond.[12]


Year Title Role Notes
1961 Hoodlum Priest Billy Lee Jackson
1962 David and Lisa David Clemens
1964 The Naked Hours Aldo
Mail Order Bride Lee Carey
The Thin Red Line Pvt. Doll
1965 Bunny Lake Is Missing Stephen Lake
1966 Madame X Clayton Anderson Jr.
1967 The Fox Paul Grenfel
1968 2001: A Space Odyssey Dr. David Bowman
1969 De Sade Louis Alphonse Donatien, Marquis de Sade
1972 Devil in the Brain Oscar Minno
Pope Joan Dr. Stevens Uncredited Role
1973 Paperback Hero Rick Dylan
1974 Paul and Michelle Garry
Black Christmas Peter Smythe
1977 Three Dangerous Ladies David Segment: The Mannikin
Welcome to Blood City Lewis
Full Circle Magnus Lofting
1978 Leopard in the Snow Dominic Lyall
1983 Brainwaves (it) Julian Bedford
1984 Blind Date Dr. Steiger
The Next One Glenn/The Next One
2010 Dr. David Bowman
1992 Oh, What a Night Thorvald Released Direct-to-Video
2000 The Audrey Hepburn Story Joseph Hepburn-Ruston TV film
fr:La Divine Inspiration Short film
2003 Three Days of Rain
Alien Hunter Secretary Bayer
2006 The Day My Towers Fell Harry Gold Short film
A Lonely Sky Older Man Short film
The Good Shepherd Senator John Russell, Sr.
2008 The Accidental Husband Karl Bollenbecker
2009 Fortune Jonah Pryce
All Me, All the Time Jake
2012 HENRi Henri (voice) Short film
2013 Isn't It Delicious Bill Weldon
2014 Infinitely Polar Bear Murray Stuart
Space Station 76 Mr. Marlowe
2017 April Flowers Mr. X
Valley of the Gods Ulim


Year Title Role Notes
1960 Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse Tim Dryden Episode: Cry Ruin
Mrs. Miniver German Pilot CBS TV-Movie
1961 Route 66 Paul Episode: Black November
Hallmark Hall of Fame Elisha Episode: Give Us Barabbas!
Play of the Week Episode: All Summer Long
The New Breed Frank Episode: Prime Target
1961, 1962, 1963 The United States Steel Hour

Donald 'Don' McCabe
Episode: The Big Splash
Episode: The Golden Thirty
Episode: Far from the Shade Tree
Episode: The Young Avengers
Alcoa Premiere Maples
Linc Ketterman
Tommy Miller
Eric Green
Episode: People Need People
Episode: The Tiger
Episode:Ordeal in Darkness
Episode: The Broken Year
1961, 1963 Naked City Joey Ross
Les Gerard
Episode: Murder Is a Face I Know
Episode: The Apple Falls Not Far from the Tree
1962 Checkmate Eddie Phillips Episode: A Very Rough Sketch
Cain's Hundred Alec Benden Episode: A Creature Lurks in Ambush
Kraft Mystery Theater Episode: Cry Ruin
The DuPont Show of the Week Lieutenant Episode: The Outpost
The Eleventh Hour Jerry Bullock Episode: Cry a Little for Mary Too
1963 Empire Skip Wade Episode: Stopover on the Way to the Moon
Bonanza Bob Jolley Episode: Elegy for a Hangman
Going My Way Dennis Brady Episode: One Small Unhappy Family
1964 Channing Episode: The Trouble with Girls
The Wednesday Play Episode: Pale Horse, Pale Rider
1965 Twelve O'Clock High Lt. Muller Episode: To Heine - With Love
1970 Black Water Gold Christofer Perdeger ABC TV-Movie
1971 Montserrat Montserrat PBS TV-Movie
1972 McMillan & Wife Buzz Simms Episode: Blues for Sally M
1973–1974 The Starlost Devon
1975 Switch Anthony Kirk Episode: The James Caan Con
1976 Law and Order Johnny Morrison NBC TV-Movie
1978 Because He's My Friend Eric ABC TV-Movie
1979 The Legend of the Golden Gun General Custer NBC TV-Movie
1980 Brave New World Thomas Grambell NBC TV-Movie
The Hostage Tower Mr. Smith CBS TV-Movie
1981 No Place to Hide Cliff Letterman CBS TV-Movie
1983 Loving Friends and Perfect Couples
1986 Guiding Light Dr. Mark Jarrett
1989 Murder, She Wrote Jason Reynard Episode: Test of Wills
2000 The Audrey Hepburn Story Joseph Hepburn ABC TV-Movie
Songs in Ordinary Time Sam Fermoyle CBS TV-Movie
2001 Witchblade Dr. Immo Episode: Convergence
2001, 2006 Law & Order Paul Lyman
Andrew Keener
Episode: Hubris
Episode: Cost of Capital
2002 Ed Robert Stanley Episode: Nice Guys Finish Last
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Judge Walt Thornburg Episode: Justice
2009 Castle Jonathan Tisdale Episode: Flowers for Your Grave
2011 Damages Julius Episode: I'm Worried About My Dog
2016 The Path Dr. Stephen Meyer
2018 Fahrenheit 451 Historian HBO TV-Movie

Radio appearances

Date Program Episode/source
January 6, 1975 CBS Radio Mystery Theater The Premature Burial
January 27, 1975 CBS Radio Mystery Theater A Coffin For The Devil
March 18, 1975 CBS Radio Mystery Theater It's Murder Mr. Lincoln
March 19, 1982 CBS Radio Mystery Theater The Magic Stick Of Manitu
March 31, 1982 CBS Radio Mystery Theater I Am The Killer

Awards and nominations

BAFTA Awards

  • 1964: Nominated, "Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles" - David and Lisa

Golden Globe Awards

  • 1962: Won, "Most Promising Male Newcomer"

Laurel Awards

  • 1963: Nominated, "Top New Male Personality"

San Francisco International Film Festival

  • 1962: Won, "Best Actor" - David and Lisa

[ Source: Wikipedia ]

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