Harvey Keitel Biography

Harvey Keitel photo

Born: May 13, 1939


Date of Birth: May 13, 1939

Born in Brooklyn, Harvey Keitel was a delinquent who was thrown out of vocational school for truancy. This ultimately led him to Lebanon with the U.S. Marine Corps. When he got returned home, he studied with Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler. As a struggling actor, he landed some acting roles off-off-Broadway while making a living as a court stenographer and as a shoe salesman.

Fate struck at 26 when he answered the newspaper ad of an N.Y.U. student director, Martin Scorsese. Keitel was cast in Scorsese's thesis film, and then in Mean Streets, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore and Taxi Driver. Over time, Keitel became typecast as an intense, back-alley thug (Wise Guys and Bad Lieutenant ), a stereotype that proved impossible to transcend with his biblical role in Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ. He earned an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of gangster Mickey Cohen in Bugsy (1991) and finally managed to drop the thug persona in 1993 in The Piano, Jane Campion's award-winning film. He put in a strong performance in Reservoir Dogs, for a then-unknown Quentin Tarantino, and his involvement in Pulp Fiction helped get that hit movie made. He and Tarantino reunited once again in 1996 for the vampire flick From Dusk Till Dawn.

Keitel filled his 1997 roster with City of Industry, Head Above Water, Cop Land, and Fairy Tale: A True Story. An extremely prolific actor, he's appeared since then in films such as U-571 (2000), National Treasure (2004), Inglourious Basterds (2009) and The Last Godfather (2010). He was then seen in the 2012 releases Moonrise Kingdom with Bruce Willis and Edward Norton and A Beginner's Guide to Endings alongside Scott Caan and Paulo Costanzo.

More credits include the Oscar-nominated Youth (2015) with Michael Caine and Rachel Weisz and The Comedian (2017) with Robert De Niro and Leslie Mann. He then reteamed with De Niro for the Netflix film The Irishman (2019), directed by Martin Scorsese.

Harvey has a son named Roman (b. 2004) with his wife, Daphna Kaster, whom he met at the Toronto Film Festival. He also has a daughter Stella (b. 1985) with ex-girlfriend Lorraine Bracco, and a son Hudson (b. 2001) with ex-girlfriend Lisa Karmazin.

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