Kevin Kline

From Academic Kids

Kevin Delaney Kline (born October 24, 1947 in St. Louis, Missouri) is an American actor.

Kline graduated from the Saint Louis Priory School in 1965, and attended Indiana University where he began as an aspiring classical pianist. He joined the on-campus theater group the "Vest Pocket Players" and fell in love with the theater as an undergraduate.

In 1970 he was awarded a scholarship to the newly-formed Juilliard Drama School in New York. In 1972, he joined with fellow Juilliard graduates, including Patti Lupone and David Ogden Stiers, and formed the City Center Acting Company, under the aegis of famed British actor John Houseman. The troupe, which later shortened its name to The Acting Company, traveled across the U.S. performing Shakespeare and other classical plays.

In 1976, Kline left the Acting Company and settled in New York City, doing a brief stint as the character Woody Reed in soap-opera perennial "Search for Tomorrow." This was followed in 1978 by a small role as Bruce Granit, a matinee' idol caricature, in Hal Prince's "On The Twentieth Century," for which Kline won his first Tony award.

In 1981, Kline paired up with rock diva Linda Ronstadt in the New York Shakespeare Festival's Central Park production of the The Pirates of Penzance, garnering a Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical, for his comically dashing portrayal of the Pirate King. He later played the role in a film version of the musical, also with Ronstadt.

In ensuing years, Kline appeared many times in New York Shakespeare Festival productions of Shakespeare, including title roles in "Richard III," "Much Ado About Nothing," Henry V," and two productions of "Hamlet," one of which he also directed. Dubbed "the American Olivier" by New York Times theater critic Frank Rich for his stage acting, Kline finally ventured into film in 1982, winning the coveted role of Nathan opposite Meryl Streep in Alan Pakula's "Sophie's Choice." (Streep won an Academy Award for her performance in the film.)

During the 80s and early 90s, Kline made several films with director Lawrence Kasdan, including "The Big Chill," "Silverado," "Grand Canyon," "I Love You To Death," and "French Kiss."

In 1987, Kline won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the film, A Fish Called Wanda, in which he played a caricature of a painfully stupid American ex-CIA thug opposite John Cleese's genteel British barrister. In 2000, the American Film Institute AFI named the film as #21 in its list of the top 100 funniest movies ever made.

Though he has been offered many roles that could have boosted him to box-office superstardom, Kline has kept a wary distance from the Hollywood star-making machine and developed a reputation for picking parts with discrimination, leading to the industry moniker "Kevin Decline."

Other awards have included New York Drama Desk awards, Golden Globe awards, a Gotham Actor Award, a Hasty Pudding Theatricals Man of the Year Award, and a St. Louis International Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award.

Personal Life: Romantically linked to a succession of female performers during his years as a stage actor, including Patti Lupone, Gilda Radner, Mary Beth Hurt and Linda Ronstadt, Kline married actress and former model Phoebe Cates, in 1989. The couple make their home in New York City and have two children, Owen, who will appear in the upcoming "The Squid and the Whale," and Greta.

Since his son's diagnosis with juvenile diabetes, Kline has been active with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. In November 2004, he was presented with the JDRF's Humanitarian of the Year award by Meryl Streep for his volunteer efforts on behalf of the organization.


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