Michael McKean

From Academic Kids

Michael McKean (born October 17, 1947) is an American actor, comedian, composer and musician, best known for his portrayal of Leonard 'Lenny' Kosnowski on the sitcom Laverne and Shirley.

McKean began his career as part of the comedy group Credibility Gap with Harry Shearer and David Lander but his breakthrough came in 1976 when he joined the cast of Laverne and Shirley, paired with David Lander who played Squiggy. McKean directed one episode, and the characters became something of a phenomenon, even releasing an album as Lenny and the Squigtones in 1980, which featured a young Christopher Guest on guitar (credited as Nigel Tufnel, the name Guest would use a few years later as part of the spoof rock band, Spinal Tap). McKean also played his character in an episode of Happy Days. After leaving Laverne and Shirley in 1982, McKean played David St. Hubbins in the cult spoof documentary movie This is Spinal Tap and appeared in the soap opera spoof Young Doctors In Love.

McKean quickly became a recognisable name in film and television, with appearances in films such as Clue (1985), Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987), Earth Girls Are Easy (1988), the film adaptation of Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992) and Coneheads (1993). He also had guest roles on such shows as Murder She Wrote, Murphy Brown, Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and Caroline in the City.

Having already appeared as a musical guest and then host of Saturday Night Live, McKean joined the cast in 1994. During this time, he also released a video follow up to Spinal Tap, and playing Mr. Dittmeyer in The Brady Bunch Movie. After leaving Saturday Night Live, McKean spent a lot of time doing children's fare, voicing various TV shows and movies. In 1999, with two children from a previous marriage, McKean married Annette O'Toole.

His more recent films have included Teaching Mrs. Tingle (1999), Mystery, Alaska (1999), Best in Show (2000) (in which he reunited with Christopher Guest), Little Nicky (2000), The Guru (2002) and And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself (2003).

Recent TV guest appearances include The Simpsons, Family Guy, Star Trek: Voyager, and Harvey Birdman, Attorney At Law. In 1998, he guest starred in a two-part episode of The X-Files called Dreamland in which his character, Morris Fletcher, switched bodies with Fox Mulder. The character was a success, and reappeared in 1999's Three of a Kind, an episode which focused on the recurring characters of The Lone Gunmen. The character appeared on their short-lived spin-off series in 2001, and then returned to The X-Files in its final season for an episode called Jump the Shark. In 2003, he guest starred on Smallville, the Superman prequel on which his wife starred as Martha Kent. McKean played Perry White, who - in the Superman universe - ultimately becomes Clark Kent's boss.

In 2003, he appeared in the Christopher Guest comedy A Mighty Wind. Along with O'Toole, McKean had written a love song A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow which was then featured in the film and won the Grammy for best song written for a motion picture. It was also nominated for the Academy Award for best original song. In the film, the 60s-style folk song was performed by SCTV alums Catherine O'Hara and Eugene Levy.

He is currently on Broadway in a production of Hairspray and is also apparently writing his own musical with O'Toole.


2001 - DVD Exclusive Awards - Winner - Best DVD Audio Commentary - This is Spinal Tap (shared with Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer)'

2003 - DVD Exclusive Awards - Nominated - Best Animated Character Performance - The Hunchback of Notre Dame II (shared with Ritsuko Notani)

2003 - Seattle Film Critics Awards - Winner - Best Music - A Mighty Wind (shared with Christopher Guest, John Michael Higgins, Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Annette O'Toole, Harry Shearer and Jeffrey C.J. Vanston)

2004 - Grammy Awards - Winner - Best Song Written for a Motion Picture - A Mighty Wind (shared with Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy)

2004 - Golden Satellite Awards - Nominated - Best Original Song - A Mighty Wind (shared with Annette O'Toole)

2004 - Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards - Winner - Best Song - A Mighty Wind (shared with Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy)

2004 - Academy Awards - Nominated - Best Song - A Mighty Wind (shared with Annette O'Toole)

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